What’s Tommy Tomlinson Reading?

Tommy Tomlinson

We asked writer Tommy Tomlinson about his favorite books, and he told us a few stories:

My favorite book is and always will be The Mad Scientists’ Club, by Bertrand R. Brinley. I bought it from the Scholastic Book Club in third or fourth grade, then kept buying it over and over because I would read it until the pages fell out. It’s a collection of short stories about this group of smart and clever kids who come up with all these wild projects — they build a fake Loch Ness Monster for the lake in their little town, or they “haunt” a house to scare the bejesus out of the town bullies. It made me believe I could do anything with good friends and enough imagination. I tracked down a copy on eBay a few years ago. I never want to be without it.

I just finished Lincoln In the Bardo by George Saunders after seeing him at the Sensoria festival at CPCC. The form takes some getting used to — it’s a dialogue among ghosts in the cemetery where Lincoln comes to visit his freshly dead son Willie. But after a few dozen pages, the world Saunders built started to make sense, and the emotional payoff is tremendous.

My favorite read so far this year is IQ by Joe Ide. The premise is hard to beat: A detective with the skills of Sherlock Holmes, but he’s young and black and living in Long Beach. Loved the hero, loved the twin mysteries that intertwine throughout the book, loved the way Ide walks you through how IQ acquired his special set of skills. And the very last page is breathtaking.

There are five or six authors I buy no matter what they write. I’m reading every new Lee Child thriller, every new Michael Lewis angle on how the world works, every new Beth Macy exploration of her corner of Virginia. And every year, when the new volume of the Best American Sports Writing series comes out, you might not as well not talk to me for a few days.

We put a Little Free Library in front of our house a couple years ago, and just the other day somebody put Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle in there. I’ve always wanted to dive into Murakami. Now’s the time.

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