Thursday, May 23, 2013

An Author a Day for Thirty Days: Day 23

I roll my eyes at Susan Orlean all the time. She doesn’t know it of course, but I do. It started years ago when I was working at a bookstore in Florida and we were to host an event for her book The Orchid Thief. Orchids? Really, lady? Talk about a snooze of a topic, orchids? The only thing more boring than actual orchids would have to be the people who would want to read about them and then gather to talk about them.

Uhh..wrong. Thank you book gods for putting me on the schedule the night Susan Orlean came to talk about The Orchid Thief to a group more diverse than any I had ever seen. It was not only my introduction to the absolute cray cray world of orchid people (wait, is that a sci fi movie?), but the nutters who walk in the alligator infested everglades to illegally search for the illusive ghost orchid. And, I may be making this up, but I know that Orlean had a ghost orchid on her person that night. I peeped it with my own eyes.

Most recently Orlean wrote a book called Rin Tin Tin. Huh. Well sure it has a gorgeous cover, and yeah, I like dogs as much as (probably a little less) than the next lesbian, but do I really want to read a book about Rin Tin Tin? I roll my eyes at crazy Susan Orlean and open the book. About five pages in, I make my way to the front counter, pay for the book and then go sit in my car and read for almost an hour. I finished the book the next night. It made both mine and Liz’s year-end best of list.

Somewhere along the way I also read The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup: My Encounters with Extraordinary People. Profile books are tricky to write, really difficult to make interesting. It was after tearing through this paperback that I realized that this book exemplifies why Susan Orlean can probably write about anything she wants. She has authentic affection for the people she writes about, and while some might be living on the outskirts of normal society, she treats each of her subjects with dignity and respect.

So yea, I am an absolute true believer in Susan Orlean. I am even smart enough to follow her on Twitter, turns out; she’s pretty hilarious too.  

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