Rowan Moore, author of Why We Build, talks about his favourite books, bloggers and sporting moments, past and present.


2012: A year in books

What is your favourite Picador book ever?

Musil's The Man Without Qualities, or Bolano's 2666


2012: everything else

What was your favourite cultural event of the year?

I'm trying to think of something other than the Olympics. Sod it: the Olympics. 

Who is your hero of the year?

Nate Silver, of, for respecting facts.

Who is your villain of the year?

Anyone connected with Fox News, for not doing so.

What is your most powerful memory of the year?

Going to see Usain Bolt at the Olympic stadium wasn't bad.

What is your greatest disappointment of the year?

Something football related, and therefore too trivial to be repeated here.

What is your resolution for 2013?

Install a larger window in my basement (see below).

What is your favorite blog or who is your favourite tweeter?

Favourite tweeter: Ben Goldacre

Give us one Prediction for 2013?

Israel and Palestine will not make peace


Becoming and being a writer

What would you be if you weren’t a writer?

An architect, but not a very good one.

What was your favourite book as a child?

King Ottokar's Sceptre, Hergé

Where do you write?

In a large basement surrounded by about 1500 books but with frighteningly little natural light.

Can you give one piece of advice to people wanting to become a writer?

Get born into a wealthy family.

Do you read on paper or ebook?


One book that changed your life?

The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross, because it showed how a "difficult" subject can be made accessible, which helped me write (and sell) Why We Build.

One book you have read more than once?

Nostromo by Joseph Conrad. Three times. I'm beginning to get the hang of it. I have also failed to read Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations three times. 

Your worst ever job?

Measuring a burnt out flat above a chip shop in Barnet in January. It was all soot, grease, and sleet.

What gives you nightmares?

Toasted cheese. Buildings by Santiago Calatrava. 


Read more about Why We Build

9th December: Jenny Lawson's life in books