Definitely Christopher Fowler, who writes the "Peculiar Crimes Unit" and "Bryant & May" series. He has such a great sense of humor and knows so much about the history of London. His books are so much fun to read.
— Rena Gorman, Aurora
I would have to choose Thomas Pynchon. I'd love to sit down and talk to him about "V" and "Gravity's Rainbow," two of my favorite reads, and find out he's working on now.
— Gary Rejsek, Bolingbrook
Nick Hornby, because "High Fidelity" has been my favorite book since long before the movie. I identify with Rob.
— Mare Swallow, Chicago
Joseph Conrad because I think it's interesting and admirable that his native language is Polish, yet he wrote descriptive and complex prose in English. I enjoy how his novels' settings range from revolutionary Russia to the South Seas to Africa in his most memorable, enjoyable, riveting, sinister and evil novel, "Heart of Darkness."
— David Baumgartner, Chicago
Michael Chabon, so we could discuss, not necessarily in this order: (1) That dads aren't babysitting, (2) comics, (3) McSweeney's, (4) "Doctor Who," (5) being bored in basements, (6) talking to your kids about drugs and your own past with them, (7) the time I visited Berkeley and went for a long walk hoping we might just might bump into each other, (8) "Tigana" versus "Song of Ice and Fire," (9) feminism and the physical dangers present to women, (10) being married to someone with depression, (11) maps.
— Nicole Steeves, Chicago
What could be more hilarious than dinner with the Marquis de Sade? I imagine that it would be a long feast with dirty jokes and cheap laughs and wine and philosophy. No, I would not let him seduce me. Of course, that's easier said than done because seduction is what the man is known to do. I admire a lot of writers but I think that dinner with the Marquis would make for some terribly good fun.
— Iulia Gheorghiu, Palatine
Living, I would like to have dinner with Chuck Klosterman. When I read his stories, I hear them in the voices of my friends and I having conversations. I would also like to have dinner with Philip K. Dick because his writing was so mind-bendingly cool. I'm sure a conversation with him would be a trip.
— John Kreis, Chicago
For a living author, I would love to dine with J.K. Rowling because I grew up with the "Harry Potter" books, and they've been a really important series throughout my life. I would also like to dine with Douglas Adams because his style has had a huge impact on my own writing and I would love to bounce ideas off of him!
— Brianna Kratz, Chicago
I would love to have dinner with the man who rode in the last cavalry charge of the British army, who fought in the trenches of World War 1, who rallied his country from the brink of defeat in World War 2, who won the Nobel Prize for literature, and who always drank Champagne with dinner. Winston Churchill, of course.
In my youth my mother placed in my hands various books that she thought I should read. Circa 1964 it was Henry Roth's "Call it Sleep," the bleak novel set on the Lower east side of Manhattan at the beginning of the last century. Today we know that Roth was himself tormented — even disturbed — which came across vividly in his portrayal of the anguished Schreal family. From time to time — I returned to the book for a second reading about seven years ago — flashbacks from "Call it Sleep" have re-entered my mind virtually randomly. Frequently I even struggle for a few moments before I am able to recall the searing source of all my imaginings. I aspire to plumb with Henry Roth the dynamics of "Call it Sleep," which I have circled back to for almost fifty years.
—Michael H. Ebner, Lake Forest
I thought only for a short time before I came to MY obvious answer. It wouldn't be dinner, it would be a Tuesday morning drink at the Bird & Baby with J.R.R. Tolkien and the Inklings during term at Oxford. As a high school religion teacher I'm continually fascinated by the way generations of students have been captivated and enthralled by both "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings." I'd be curious as to what Tolkien thought of being named 'The Author of the Century' and the incredible popularity of the film treatment of his books. To me he seems to have put one over on us all and would be enjoying the last laugh having disguised the 'Via Dolorosa' as a popular entertainment!
—John Schuller, Wheaton
Richard C. Lindberg, who has written more than a dozen books about people and events in Chicago history. His latest, "Whiskey Breakfast," is a classic on generations of Swedish immigrants and the obstacles they faced while striving to succeed in their "new world."
Not even a minute's hesitation: Christopher Hitchens. The obvious first question would be, "So, changed your position at all?" Can't think of any more fascinating dinner companion, nor one with more first-person, vital information I'm dying to know... (sorry)
I would like to have dinner with M.C. Beaton. I find joy and laughter in her books; Agatha Raisin is a hoot!
—Janet Mauer, Homewood
Next week's question: What is your favorite travel literature title? Why did you choose that particular book?Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times