A Life In Books: David Hajdu

He loves Henry James, though he admits James's novels are full of dead ends. Then again, as a biographer, David Hajdu has a knack for working around dead ends, resulting in the detailed life stories of musicians Joan Baez and Billy Strayhorn.

An Important Book that you admit you haven't read:
I read lots of classic novels, but what I'm more bothered by is my inability to keep up with great stuff that's being written now. I'd love to get around to reading "What Is the What" by Dave Eggers. Everyone says it's great.

A classic that, on rereading, was disappointing:
"Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes. It's great, but I haven't been able to get through it again. I'm sure it's not his fault, it's mine. I suppose I'd like it more if I learned Spanish, but working with English is hard enough as it is.