I’ve been busy collecting new books to read. Last week I met with the wonderful Erin Lovett of W.W. Norton and talked about some of their very interesting books coming up for Fall ’11. I’m looking forward to reading a new book by Pam Houston (love her!), as well as two other novels, White Truffles in Winter by N.M. Kelby (sounds like a great book for foodies) and Heft by Liz Moore, a Philadelphia author.
Speaking of Philadelphia authors, in October I’ll be launching a new reading series at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts (www.cheltenhamarts.org) called Philly Writes, in which we’ll be featuring local published authors. If you want to save the dates for the first few readings, they will be October 19, November 9, December 14, and January 11. Authors to be announced soon!
And speaking of reading, I read a wonderful first novel in my last meeting of this past spring/summer session of Hot Off the Press called The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai (Viking). I love this book! It’s smart, quirky, fun, unusual, and well-written. Just my kind of book!
If you want to learn more about it go to the author’s website and start by reading an FAQ written by the author. You’ll like her immediately—she’s sharp, funny, and sassy: http://rebeccamakkai.com/the-borrower-faq/
The Borrower borrows its title from a classic children’s book by Mary Norton and tells the story of children’s librarian Lucy Hull, who borrows a ten-year-old boy named Ian Drake for a cross-country road trip where one of them may or may not be kidnapping the other.
The story begins in a Midwestern city that Lucy decides to call Hannibal, MO. Lucy meets Ian during the library story hours she conducts. He is an exceptionally bright child whose reading interests are hampered by his evangelical parents (who may be trying to de-gay him with classes with Pastor Bob). Soon they wind up taking off on a journey that brings them into contact with a host of wacky characters including Lucy’s Russian immigrant father, a pianist (lots of fun to be had with that word!) named Glenn, and more!
The book is fun and playful and clever and you might stop there and never notice (but you should) that beneath its deceptively playful exterior is an examination of a complex array of serious issues (what it means to be an expatriate, running away, the importance of literature...). There are Lolita and Huck Finn parallels and references to a wealth of wonderful children’s (and adult) literature. I highly recommend it!