Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reading For Professionals

So what are you going with yourself these days? Ah that old refrain tossed out to the recovering journalist and part-time loafer. Suppose I say that "I read." Then my polite interrogator undoubtedly asks what I am reading while thinking  that he/she had better go refill her/his glass. The luxury of having time to read, to pick among the great choices available and know at the same time you are helping support a worthy profession, even helping keep public libraries alive. Could the decision by the Pulitzer jury this week not to award a fiction prize  have helped in a perverse way to  raise the profile of the rejected candidates? Every book is a journey, the cliche goes. Author Darin Strauss had a strenuous personal journey writing his memoir "Half A Life" about how an accident as a teenager changed his life. He was driving a car that killed a high school classmate when she seemed to deliberately turn her bicycle into his path. You will have to live your life on the double to make up for her, the girl's parents told him afterwards. He is now father of twin boys after writing an earlier book about the famous Siamese twins Cheng and Eng joined at birth. The New York author-educator (a teaching post at NYU) spoke at a benefit function April 18 on behalf of 826DC (see, the local branch of the national urban nonprofit started by Dave Eggers (McSweeney's, etc.) to tutor young people and encourage creative writing at all levels.

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