Orhan Pamuk: By the Book

From The New York Times:

PamIf you could recommend one book to the American president, what would it be? To the prime minister of Turkey?

Many years before he was elected president, I knew Obama as the author of “Dreams From My Father,” a very good book. To him or to any American president, I would like to recommend a book that I sometimes give as a gift to friends, hoping they read it and ask me, “Why this book, Orhan?” “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values” is a great American book based on the vastness of America and the individual search for values and meaning in life. This highly romantic book is not a novel, but does something every serious novel should do, and does it better than many great novels: making philosophy out of the little details of daily life.

I respected the Turkish prime minister’s politics of pushing the army away from politics and back to the barracks, though I am not happy about going to courts for my political opinions like many, many others during his reign. He sued a cartoonist for picturing him as a cat, though as anyone who comes here knows we all love cats in Istanbul. I am sure Erdogan would enjoy the great Japanese writer Natsume Soseki’s book “I Am a Cat,” a satirical novel about the devilish dangers of too much Westernization, narrated by a smart cat.

More here.