Ryan Ridge is the author of the story collection Hunters & Gamblers and the poetry collection Ox. In 2013, Mud Luscious Press will publish his novel(la) American Homes. He lives in Long Beach, California, and is working on the second book of his American trilogy, American Dreams. He can be found online at www.ryanridge.com
what are you reading now
I’m reading Charles Portis’s first novel Norwood. It’s got it all: ex-marines, circus midgets, portly sisters, psychic chickens, etc. Awesome characters all around. Lean prose. Amazing dialogue. Portis gets things moving and keeps them moving. One of the all time great “road novels.”
classic you’ve been meaning to read
Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, but I’m saving it for my deathbed.
last book to make you laugh out loud
Mike Topp’s Sasquatch Stories made me LOL a lot.
book you borrowed and never returned
Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffman
strangest dream involving a book, writer, or literary character
Recently I dreamed Donald Barthelme and I were coaching a high school cross country team. We just sat in the bleachers the whole time, smoking cigarettes and drinking gin. Telling the kids to run faster at irregular intervals. I think the dream was about teaching pedagogies.
most scribble-ridden book in your collection
My copy of Airships by Barry Hannah has a second book in the margins.
book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone
I don’t think I’ve ever done this (consciously at least), but on my coffee table now I have: William Eggleston’s Guide, Three Hundred Years of American Painting by Alexander Eliot, Where Children Sleep by James Mollison, The Acme Novelty Library by Chris Ware, as well as a couple old Time Life books (one on mountains and the other is about The Gold Rush). Are you impressed? A little bit?
if you could subscribe to only one literary journal
Tough question. There are so many good journals. I’d say Artifice if I had to chose just one. Their aesthetic resonates with me. I think they’re my favorite. No one else is doing anything like them. They're originals.
best thing you’ve read online recently
Stoked Volume II is incredible. Every piece is worth reading.
most anticipated upcoming release
Roxane Gay’s Ayiti (Artistically Declined Press)
Michael Bible’s Simple Machines (Awesome Machine Press)
Mel Bosworth’s Freight (Folded Word Press)
Derek White’s Ark Codex 0 (Calamari Press)
recommended reading list:
Titular Characters I’d Invite to a Cookout
- Ray by Barry Hannah
- Fay by Larry Brown
- Motorman by David Ohle
- Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
- Notable American Women by Ben Marcus
- Willard and His Bowling Trophies by Richard Brautigan
- Don Quixote by Cervantes
- Norwood by Charles Portis
- The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy