Saturday, September 28, 2013

"I became a reader of the exiled books"--Jonathan Lethem

Here's my favorite Jonathan Lethem story.  Long before he won the National Book Critics Circle Award for MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN, or the MacArthur genius grant for being ..well...amazing,
Jonathan Lethem was an author on book tour.

I met him out in the hinterlands when he was touring for AS SHE CLIMBED ACROSS THE TABLE.  I'd read about 30 pages of it.  I loved it. It was full of physics and science and it was hilarious.

I nattered on about physics and various physicist's books I'd loved but Jonathan Lethem didn't have much to say. Well, maybe he's just bored with people talking science to him, or he's tired I thought. No matter.

He signed the book and off I went.

Only as I continued reading did I realize the book is a satire.  All the science is made up stuff. Jonathan Lethem didn't know a quark from a quack.  When I figured that out I laughed so hard at myself I had to go out and buy the rest of his books.

And when I ended up reading MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN about two blocks from the epicenter of the novel, well, that became one of my all time favorite  Why I love Living in NYC moments.

Here's a great interview with a wonderful author about how he works.  There's a series of these at the Daily Beast that are worth your reading time as well.


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Essays, short stories, novels, cross-genre, hey , is my kinda guy.

french sojourn said...

Loved the book signing story...half a piece of paper.


Amanda Capper said...

You keep posting new links, and they're great, I enjoy them, I've bookmarked every damn one of them, but do you get any work done?

Lance said...

Great post. I have been unaware of this author. Interesting information on his writing process. To follow up on Amanda's comment, how do you expect us to get any work done? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the interview over at the Daily Beast. I think what I liked best about his writing process is that he said he spent time with the book every day. He didn't really pay attention to word count (although if he got 3 pgs, he said he noticed it and was excited). But, it was the bottom line of that statement. The every day, a little at a time, and it got done. LOVED that.

Janet Reid said...

Amanda, work? what work? Actually, this IS work for me. Not reading queries, or reading ms, but staying current on other writers I admire, trends, places that post pieces about writers.

I'm VERY fortunate to have work that is exactly what I'd do if I didn't need to work.