Taras Grescoe discusses Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile, on The Leonard Lopate Show.
Where are you from?
I was born in Toronto, grew up in Vancouver, and have lived in Montreal for the last 16 years. I spent four years in Paris in the 1990s.
Who are your favorite writers?
Vladimir Nabokov, Laurence Sterne, Marcel Proust, Martin Amis, James Joyce, Saul Bellow, S.J. Perelman.
Which book/books have had the biggest influence on your writing?
Michael Herr's Dispatches, V.S. Naipaul's non-fiction oeuvre.
What are your hobbies and outside interests?
Learning foreign languages, traveling, bicycle repair.
What is the single best piece of advice anyone ever gave you?
The editor of my first book told me: if you keep on writing books, you will end up healthy, wealthy, and wise.
What is your favorite quote?
"All fanaticism is a strategy to prevent doubt from becoming conscious."—H.A. Williams, 1965
What is the question most commonly asked by your readers? What is the answer?
Where's your wife? (Back in Montreal.)
What inspired you to write your first book?
Curiosity about the place I'd moved to, Quebec, and frustration with facing looming deadlines as a magazine writer.
Where do you write?
In an office in my third-floor apartment, looking out over a maple tree. When I can, I write at retreats. The last one I did was a 5-week residency at the Banff Center in the Canadian Rockies.