Monday, April 12, 2010

Dreaming Deeply with Richard Russo

Just got back from a lovely little affair: a discussion with Pulitzer prize-winning author Richard Russo.   The school where Mrs. Next teaches assigned the brilliant Empire Falls to the eleventh grade and then had him at the school to speak to the kids.  Sadly, I missed his presentation but was able to attend a lunch attended by eight faculty/staff types and Mr. Russo.  While he was peppered with questions, the esteemed author ate a turkey on wheat and pasta salad. 

A few high notes: 

*He just finished editing the next edition of Best American Short Stories.  He spoke highly of work by Wells Tower, Steve Almond, Lauren Groff and Brendan Mathews.

*Work on his next novel begins soon.  That said, it could take him anywhere from a year and a half to six years until it's completed if his track record is examined.

*His daughter is a bookseller at an indie bookstore.  I wish I could explain why this makes me so happy.

*He never pictured Paul Newman as Sully in the HBO adaptation of Empire Falls but as soon as Newman walked toward him on the set, limping in character, he knew it would work out well. 

*A Kindle is a likely purchase for him in the near future.  He's never read a book on one but thinks the ability to have all the books, magazines and papers he reads with him on an upcoming trip to Italy makes sense. 

*After our discussion, he was headed to a local NPR station to be interviewed by Bob Edwards whose featured topic this week is The Future of the Book.

*Favorite quote du jour: "When I read, I want to dream deeply."  

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