Episode 05: Allan Gurganus

Books by Allan Gurganus

Books Mentioned on The Spine

  • Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee
  • A Death in the Family by James Agee
  • Middlemarch by George Elliot
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Writers Mentioned

  • Jane Austen
  • Charles Dickens
  • Anton Chekhov

Memorable Quotes

  • About reading as a child: “All of the imagination that a lot of people use in reading I used to read the woods."
  • “I discovered something called a library. It had about 2,000 books, and I started reading them fairly systematically. And I discovered literature with a capital L.”
  • "Literature really saved my life. Without that, I think I think I might have gone crazy.”
  • “I’ll give every book 30 pages."
  • “Writing is exhaling and reading is inhaling."
  • “Reading is everything to me."
  • “My goal as a writer is to create something that will be read forever, and I see that as a reparation for all the joy and pleasure I’ve gotten from reading. It’s a payment on a great, inexhaustible debt."
  • “That’s what separates the people who are out to write pot-boiling best-sellers from people who are genuinely interested in humanity. And genuinely interested, like [James] Agee, in leaving a testament to how complicated, how completely charged and difficult it is to live in the world. And try, however imperfectly, to identify with those around you, and to be patient with those around you."
Allan Gurganus