First, I should probably apologize for letting almost A MONTH go by with no posts. I have no excuse for ignoring all (two) of you fine people for that long. I have, maybe, one-week’s worth of excuse – I wrote my first official book review for Bookbrowse.com two weeks ago! I will blog about The Children’s Book after that review is published, and put a link up so you all can check it out. With any luck, my bio on their site will encourage two more people to find me out here in the interwebs. Won’t I be special then? Now, to business.
Michael Chabon (pronounced Shay-bon, as I learned this week) is a crazy good writer. I first saw the name after watching the film, Wonder Boys (starring Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand, and the ever-fabulous Robert Downey, Jr.), which was based on his second (published) novel (which is about the experience of writing his second [unpublished] novel, which sucked hard-core). I loved the movie and (as usual) went looking for more quality entertainment by the same guy. His first novel (Mysteries of Pittsburgh) was good, but it was The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay that made me a die-hard fan. Not only great writing and superb story-telling, but a comic-book-history theme and the obligatory gay sub-plot! But don’t take my word for it – he won a Pulitzer for that one. I’ve since read all his novels and a few of his short stories, eagerly awaiting each new gem.
This is a writer who just gets better and better. Some of his latest stuff (The Final Solution, Gentlemen of the Road) has been short novellas with great story – but the language is better than great, it is extraordinary. I just want to dive in and swim around in the words and phrases and sentences forever and ever. And he’s only two years older than me (and apparently happily married <sigh>). He should have a few more decades to be cranking this stuff out.
One of the dozens of reasons I moved to Portland was because there was so much cool stuff going on here. Case in point – a reading by Michael Chabon! Free at Powell’s! His new book! Book-geek heaven hosts book-geek-idol extraordinaire! And did I mention it was free? And less than five miles from my house? At the coolest bookstore on the planet? (sorry Title Wave, but it’s true). Of course, I was going. But, I must admit I was worried. What if he was lame in person? What if he spoke like that guy on the Clear-Eyes commercials? What if he was stiff and boring and ruined my future reading pleasure with his lameness? I shudder to think.
Thankfully, he was everything I hoped he would be. I’d seen photos, so I knew he was reasonably attractive (one worry down, dozens to go). But he was funny and humble and sexy and teasing and witty, and human while being utterly adorable. And he really did look a lot like Michael Douglas did in the film. He read two essays from his new book which were marvelously written and slyly thought-provoking while making us laugh out loud (me and my 200 best book-geek friends). All in all, a perfect first-run of the author visit circuit at Powell’s, and confirmation that my author-love is not misplaced.
This week – Barbara Ehrenreich comes to town.