Guest Picks: Pico Iyer

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Writer Pico Iyer spoke to Leonard Lopate recently about exploring the parallels he saw between his life and the writer Graham Greene's. He also told us that his favorite comfort food is a cup of strong black English tea. Find out what else he's a fan of!

What have you read or seen over the past year (book, play, film, etc…) that moved or surprised you?

        Bill Cunningham: New York, last year’s stunning documentary. I’d never heard of him before, I have no interest in fashion, and yet I found this mix of sweetness, optimism, austerity and depth as moving and illuminating as anything I’ve seen.


What are you listening to right now?

        Leonard Cohen’s new collection of late, austere hymns, Old Ideas, and always—always—Sigur Rós, not least in their stirring new live double cd.

What’s the last great book you read?

        Changing My Mind, Zadie Smith’s collection of essays. It’s humbling and inspiring to encounter a writer, and such a young one, with such extraordinary wisdom, humility, openness and range. She can—and does—write astonishing memoir, reportage, lecture, literary criticism, and political essay.


What’s one thing you’re a fan of that people might not expect?

        McDonald’s (but I’d better keep quiet about that). And the Metallica documentary, Some Kind of Monster.


What’s your favorite comfort food?

        Strong black English tea.