Reading List: Aram Pachyan


Aram Pachyan, fiction writer, novelist and essayist

Known for the novel Goodbye, Bird and short stories Robinson.

What would you write in your own obituary?

I won’t honor death so much. I hate death, I refuse it.

What? If not a writer?

I would follow the family traditions. Would become a doctor, as my father, a surgeon. I regret for not having done it.

Do you read paper or electronic?

Now only on paper. My e-reader finally lost the battle. There is one simple reason behind that, I like to “wear out” the book. I mark the margins with red, black, yellow and blue pencils, make notes, and I even put page markers of different colors on the lines. The book becomes a colorful map when I am done with the reading. And it offers me another, new and different opportunity to reread the same book in a very different way. The possibility to put notes in a book with a pen, pencil or a marker is a very important component of my reading. However wide is the opportunity in an electronic book to make notes, it still limits the possibility for a live communication with the book, which also helps to create your biography as a reader.

And it is also necessary for me to see my favorite books on my bookshelves next to each other, to have a library, which builds a very special ceremonial atmosphere. Electronic readers cannot give me the same emotions.

At this moment Bento’s Sketchbook by John Berger, Utz by Bruce Chatwin, War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, the first volume and diaries by Tolstoy too, Memoirs of Elias Canetti, The Double Written Man by Grigor Pltean and No News by Gurgen Khanjian is in my list of books to reread.

What’s the last great book you read?

Distant Star by a Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño. I haven’t read such a book for a very long time. I hope to read it in the original if I ever learn Spanish.

Who is your favorite overlooked writer?

Ruben Filian, who is unfairly and carelessly overlooked by the readers.

What’s the best book you’ve ever received as a gift?

Lots of them, but the recent ones to be outlined are three. I always wished to have them and now I got them as a gift: Leavetaking by Peter Weiss, Microscipts by Robert Walser and A Fortunate Man by John Berger.

Which childhood books and authors impressed you?

The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.