I was fortunate to be asked to write about any American classic of my choice for the Library of America:
On the right side of my writing desk in my study is a black wooden bookshelf with thick, box-like sections where I keep books I need for my current projects. But on the wall in front, the wall that I face while I write, is a bookshelf on which are kept the books I know I will return to regularly. Those are the books that have made me who I am: they hold the key to the kind of writer I want to become. These titles are my personal classics. On the top of the shelf there is a boxed set of Paris Review interviews and the framed photographs of my two children, and below them, in the first row, a line of hardbound books in their white cardboard cases. These are the Library of America editions of Philip Roth’s writings.
I must have already read three or four novels of Roth’s before he became central to my thinking. Why did this happen? Perhaps the change occurred one night in Delhi.
(I chose this image because I imagine it was made when Roth was still teaching. In an English department! Photo from here)