Friday, June 24, 2011

Bruce Littlefield

Bruce Littlefield is a best-selling author, lifestyle expert, and an arbiter of American fun. He shares his passionate curiosity (and occasional mischievousness) with millions of people through his books and appearances on NBC’s Today Show and CBS’s Early Show.

His new book is The Bedtime Book for Dogs.

Earlier this month I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
When I’m writing, I don’t get to read as much as I’d like to. (And having done 10 books in the last 10 years, I’m writing a lot!) I know many people might find that crazy—a writer not reading—but early in my career I realized if I was reading while writing a book, I’d end up mimicking the voice of the writer I was reading. And the voice of Ernest Hemingway doesn’t work too well for garage sales, though I do buy his belief that "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

My favorite time to read is on vacation. A book on a plane is a great distraction and a book by a pool with a cocktail in hand is a great luxury. I love non-fiction.

The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs, in which the genius writer chronicles 12 months of living a strictly Biblical life, including all the facial hair that goes with it, is a recent fave. Jacobs’s devotion to his craft is to be admired (and his wife deserves a medal.) I grew up Southern Baptist in South Carolina, so his journey is both funny and insightful. As a writer, I was impressed by how he handled his subject with respect and by his dedication to the craft.

I read Chelsea Handler’s Chelsea, Chelsea Bang Bang in one sitting (and three cocktails) by the pool. I felt the cocktails were appropriate, having loved her Are you there Vodka? It’s me Chelsea. She’s funny. I’d say Vodka is the better read, but any woman willing to admit her discovery of self pleasure and her father’s insanity in one book gets my attention. I always appreciate any book that makes you laugh out loud.

While working on The Bedtime Book for Dogs, I did an extraordinary amount of research into dogs and dog behavior. I fell in love with Inside of a Dog by Columbia University psychology professor Alexandra Horowitz. After reading her brilliantly researched book, my dog Westminster and I spent some time with her doing some dog cognition testing. She’s genius and her book is enlightening. Because of her book, I now realize I’m not just taking Wes out for a walk, I’m taking him out for a smell.

And one book that I like to always have nearby is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. I read snippets of it whenever something has ruffled my feathers. Even though it was written in the 1930s, there are still gems of wisdom that apply today, like: “Never neglect a kindness. Look for ways to do or say something nice.” I like books that enlighten, make me laugh, and help make the world a better place.
Visit Bruce Littlefield's website and Facebook page.

--Marshal Zeringue