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I had the pleasure of attending an event a couple weeks ago in honor of Ben Greenman’s book Please Step Back. A man in a wacky yellow jacket from a website that chronicles world records attempted to have Ben set a record for the longest story written in one minute (he failed). Todd Zuniga from Opium magazine interviewed him and had him complete a literary Rorschach test. Audience members spoke about their literary projects (including our own Underwater New York–www.underwaternewyork.com). And, Ben read the beginning of his novel, inspiring me to purchase it and read the rest.
As I learned at the event, the germ of Please Step Back began as a biography of the musical artist Sly Stone. Then, the same thing happened to Ben as often happens to me when I attempt to write nonfiction–he wanted to make stuff up. So, eventually that project morphed into this one, which, though it contains grains of Sly Stone’s life, is fiction. Read the rest of this entry »
Ever since reading The New New Journalism in Alice Truax’s class (what is new new journalism? you wonder–well, mostly it’s just a snappy title for a book of interviews with literary nonfiction writers)–I’ve wanted to pick up a Jon Krakauer book. It does take some doing for me to read nonfiction when there is so much unread fiction out there, though, so I put it off for more than a year. But luckily, the opportunity to start in on Mr. Krakauer’s oeuvre recently presented itself.
Due to some crazy Midwestern weather, my journey to Chicago the other week took about 7 hours, which ruined, among other things, my vacation reading time line. I’d brought only one book with me (Sag Harbor), planning on reading it on the flights there and home, but by the time I was ready to return to New York, I was mere pages away from finishing the novel. So, I plucked Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith off of Genevieve’s book shelf and delved in to one wacky narrative.