8 Great Questions: Denis Leary

The author and actor confesses his ultimate deathbed read (and loves Joan Didion as much as the rest of us).

Denis Leary

In an America so gluten-free that a box of jelly donuts is now a bigger threat than Vladimir Putin, it’s time for someone to stand up and make us all smell the covfefe. In his searingly comic new book, Why We Don’t Suck: And How All of Us Need to Stop Being Such Partisan Little Bitches, Dr. Denis Leary is on a devoted mission to #MakeAmericaLaughAgain. Using the clamorous political atmosphere as a starting point, he takes a bipartisan look at the topics we all hold so dear to our patriotic hearts—including family, freedom, and the seemingly endless search for fame and diet vodka.

Recently, Denis checked in with Read It Forward, sounding off on an unexpected beloved word and the book he gives to every sports fan he knows.


Author Photo: Henry Leutwyler

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What’s the book on your bedside table?

September 1918: War, Plague, And the World Series by Skid Desjardin. It combines my three favorite subjects: history, disease, and the Boston Red Sox. Not in order of importance.

What’s the one book you tell everyone to read?

Anything written by my wife, Ann Leary. The Good House, The Children, anything by Ann is worth the time. I've read her next one, and it's fantastic. Stay tuned, Ann fans!

Name three characters from literature or authors (dead or alive) that you’d want in your ideal book club?

Joan Didion, Robert Caro, and Jane Leavy.

What word do you love and why? What word do you hate and why?

Cunf. It's in my latest book. If you want to know why, you have to buy it. The word I hate is smartphone. These things have only made all of us more stupid.

What’s the one book you love to give as a gift and to whom do you give it?

The Game by Ken Dryden. Best hockey book ever written. One of the top five sports books ever written. I give it to any sports fan I know.

What’s the one book you read as a kid that has stuck with you?

What’s the one book that never fails to delight or inspire you?

One Summer: America 1927 by Bill Bryson.

If you could only read one genre for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

History. I’m fascinated. I've been waiting for the final volume of Robert Caro's Lyndon B. Johnson biographical series, and I'll wait another 20 years if that's what it takes. I may have to die and get reincarnated if he doesn't finish it soon, which would be fine with me. Something to look forward to on my deathbed.

DENIS LEARY is a five-time loser at the Emmy awards. And the Golden Globes. He has lost in both the drama and comedy categories. In leading and supporting roles. Not to mention writing. Leary hopes to one day be nominated for—and more than likely not win—an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Tony Award. His first literary foray Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid was a New York Times bestseller, but not nominated for The National Book Award. In his long and storied entertainment career, Leary has also never won The Stanley Cup, The Nobel Peace Prize, or an argument with his wife.