Double Your Pleasure

Tonight I attended the E. L. Doctorow reading, the capstone event to his two-week residency at ASU. I wasn't familiar with is work, so I didn't know what to expect. He read a short story from his most recent collection, Sweet Land Stories. I don't remember the title, but it was about a girl named Jolene. And it was fabulous. I mean, it was probably the best piece of fiction I've ever heard read aloud.

It broke a lot of narrative rules without sacrificing any of the story's heart or relevance, and it maintained this strange rhythm and cadence throughout—a sort of crude, comfortable folksiness.

Afterward, I had the (doubled) pleasure of enjoying a post-reading dinner with Mr. Doctorow and some guests. He is such an interesting person—he doesn't take shit, really, and I admire that about him. He also provided some great relationship advice on how to make marriage work: "Disagree on everything for as long as you possibly can."

I'm going to add his book City of God to my reading list and get it in the queue. It sounds like something right up my alley (like Unbearable Lightness of Being, perhaps? Has anyone read this Doctorow book?)

It was a cool way to close out my Thursday.

And yesterday I phoned C. D. Wright. I feel as cool as the guy who knows all the famous people but is himself of very little consequence.


  1. Charles, you're as cool as the cool person who can phone up CD Wright. ;-)

    Sounds like a literary feast! I miss my old ASU days!

  2. *GASP* You absolutely must read "The Book of Daniel". It's AMAZING.

  3. You remind me of the time my partner & I heard Aleksandar Hemon read The Accordion, an absolutely riveting story out of The Question of Bruno. We had never heard of him, and had actually attended the reading to hear a couple of other authors who paled by comparison. What a discovery! We bought both his books. That was at last year's Metropolis Bleu festival here in Montreal. It's great to "discover" a well-known author this way! Check him out. He's a true poet in prose (and an awesome thing is that he only had a basic command of English 13 years ago when he arrived from Sarajevo.)