Monday, August 3, 2009

Brian Schofield

Brian Schofield has been a journalist since 1998, and has worked as executive editor on GQ Active magazine, and as editor of the Sunday Times Travel Magazine. His writing has appeared in the New Statesman, The Sunday Times, the Independent on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Conde Nast Traveller, GQ and FHM.

His first book, Selling Your Father's Bones, a work of literary non-fiction on the history and ecology of the American North-West, was published by Simon & Schuster in the US.

Last week I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I'm not actually one of those people who reads several books at once - I find that when you finish one of them, you tend to abandon all the unfinished ones and move on, so I try to stick to 'one at a time'. So my current bedside read is the Las Vegas-based satirical novel Beautiful Children by Charles Bock. I don't read a lot of contemporary literary fiction, as I rarely find it tackles the big, compelling themes of 21st century life, and I'm not yet convinced Brock has something desperately important to say, but I'm only 70 pages in, so let's see. Vegas as metaphor for America has been well done before, but he's doing something different by focusing on the suburbs not the strip - and south-western sprawl as metaphor for America is a rich seam to mine.

As evidence of the quite different scale of modern non-fiction, to my mind, I've just finished The State of Africa (US title: The Fate of Africa) by Martin Meredith. It's an epic survey of a continent gone wrong, starting from colonial independence after World War 2, to the present day. I cannot recommend it too highly - to be part of humanity in 2009, you have to try to understand Africa, and this book offers a tremendous guide to the whole tragic saga.
Read about Schofield's top ten list of "furious books that scream at the system."

Visit Brian Schofield's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue