July 26, 2010

LA Times interview about stalking E.L Doctorow and being "anti-precocious."

The LA Times book blog, Jacket Copy, is asking a bunch of writers for memorable summer reads.  I recommended one new book, Gina Frangello's story collection "Slut Lullabies."  Not only is Gina a beautiful writer, she also used to run Other Voices lit mag; years and years ago, she accepted the first story I ever published in a magazine that printed more than 17 copies and/or was run out of a meth lab. I can't recommend her book highly enough (or her novel).  She's fantastic.

Then I blather endlessly about my love of E.L. Doctorow's "The Book of Daniel."  It's by far the best book I've ever read.  If you're too cheap to buy your own copy (it's from the '70s, so a used copy should run about a nickel), send me your address and I'll mail you mine.  That's how much you need to know about this romp!

The whole interview is here, but a quick peek:

JC: When did you start [reading & writing]?

JM: I came to reading and writing fairly late in life. I hear stories of writers who “penned” their first opus at age 8, plopped on granny’s lap and scribbling relentlessly, already cutting their literary teeth. But I was “anti-precocious”: didn’t read my first novel until I was 17. That book was Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five.” Before then, I’d only skimmed Jane Austen and Mark Twain and the like, and those authors are certainly good at what they do, but it wasn’t for me. Vonnegut showed me that writers could be crazy on the page, reckless, their imaginations zigzagging anywhere. After that, I was hooked.