Saturday, October 24, 2015

Knopf 100 Day 6

Just when you thought the only excellent thing to come out of Florida was the snake that ate an alligator video; these four authors were introduced to me in while I lived in that big ole lug of a state.

17. I stumbled upon Edwidge Danticat’s  first collection of stories, Krik? Krak! in 1995; I met her after she was done with her panel and signing at the Miami Book Fair and asked her if she wanted to go see Joyce Carol Oates. She’s not dumb so we walked over to see JCO and then Edwidge ditched me. Forever. Haven’t seen her since. I believe two things to be true to this day; one, she never would have found the JCO panel without me, and Danticat gets better with each book. She truly does. Last year's Claire of the Sea of Light just blew me away, and the The Dew Breaker and Brother I’m Dying are simply two of the best books you’ll ever read. If you’re a Junot Diaz fan and have not discovered Edwidge, you’ll love her.
18. Not to be dramatic, but Mona Simpson once saved my life. Too dramatic? Well, Anywhere but Here certainly made me realize that I wanted to work with books. It was given to me by my best friend Lulu (I actually ‘borrowed’ and never returned it). At that time, it was the book I had most identified with, and it made me feel, well, not so alone. I will always have a soft spot in my heart for that fantastic book, but she has written so many good books after it, Off Keck Road being my favorite.

19. A friend took me to hear Pico Iyer read at Books & Books (where I was twice not hired) and it spoiled me for any other travel writer. Falling off the Map: Some Lonely Places of The World was probably the first travel writing book I’d ever read, and it’s still one of my favorites. Pico explores some of the most isolated places on the planet including North Korea, Vietnam, and Cuba; some are isolated due to politics others due to geography (Iceland, Bhutan). I also highly recommend The Lady and the Monk and Sun After Dark. Iyer has written about one million books and essays so it’s hard to keep up.

20. This isn’t going to look good because this will be the second time in this post where I mention basically stealing a book. Let me say this though, I was very poor when I lived in Florida. And this was pre-library Florida, so books were very difficult to come by (look it up if you don’t believe me!). Anyway, I once again borrowed a book. This time it was from a party I wasn’t exactly invited to, now that I think about it. On the other hand and in my defense…I was never invited to parties. Maybe because of the book stealing. Anyway the book in this particular thievery was The Remains of the Day by the great Kazuo Ishiguro. Oh my god how I loved that book, and still love that book. I did return the book to the rightful owner who was a woman twice my age, had zero patience for me, and said she didn’t remember “lending me a book or inviting me to her party.” Guess she had a pretty bad memory. 

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