You really should read: The Ramen King and I

San Francisco-based Andy Raskin's essays can be read and heard everywhere from the New York Times to This American Life, but whatever the medium, the message—especially in his new Ramen memoir—includes Japanese culture, women and food, and it's damn funny. His 2007 essay "A Gut Above," which examines the claim that Asian intestines are longer than Caucasian guts, is essential, oddball reading. Noon Sunday, Oct. 11. Powell's Books Stage.

What's your personal writing ritual?

I write in a crowded French-style coffee shop on a MacBook Pro. To block the noise, I use Hearos Ultimate Softness earplugs (rated at 32 db).

What are your favorite themes to write about (or that you're most guilty of rehashing)?



-My mother

The most beautiful word in the English language is: Frisbee.

What authors made you want to pick up a pen in the first place, and why?

My biggest inspiration is Carol Wasserman's "Love Letter to NPR." When she says, "There's nothing wrong with you," I cry. Every time.

Fight Club time: If you could fight one author (or critic), who would it be and why?

The guy who adapted a story I wrote and published it (as a quiz) in McSweeney's. Without attribution.

Your cure for writer's block:

The new Häagen-Dazs Five line [of ice cream], vanilla bean flavor.

Share one thing you've had to change in your everyday life thanks to our current recession.

Gave up the new Häagen-Dazs Five line, mint flavor.