It's a few minutes past midnight in New York and I just got back from dinner after my reading. The reading went well. Met a man whose father had been a Colonel in the USMC and wrote a book called The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor
. Anyone ever hear of it? Also a young guy recently returned from Iraq and out of the Army who is at school at Columbia and a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. It's nice to be out and reading and talking to people. The Q&A and signing after the reading are the more dynamic experience of the evening for me.
One of my students from the Tin House Summer Writing Festival also attended, Yvonne Garrett. So, another PDX connection.
I think it takes two people to find a Portland connection. Maybe just one.
The other day I was at my favorite coffee spot in NYC, Café Grumpy, new to Chelsea where I live and the best damn coffee in the city. And, can you believe it, they have those punch cards where nine drinks buys you a free tenth, so, I comment that I hadn't seen one of those since living in Portland, and the woman behind the counter says, I just moved from Portland. And I say, I used to live there and taught at Lewis and Clark, and she says, I just graduated Reed. I wonder if this will get me more free coffee? Anyway, if you are in Chelsea have coffee at Café Grumpy, 20th street between 7th and 8th, right next to the police.
Anyone know the best Bergman biography?
I haven't yet read Bush's comments on the new strategy in Iraq. I'll catch them in tomorrow's paper. Comments?
What are your favorite books so far on the Iraq war?
Mine is Night Draws Near by Anthony Shadid. A fascinating portrait of Iraq and Iraqis from pre-invasion through late 2004, just when thing started to get really ugly. You can see the seeds of the sectarian violence and the real growth of anti-Americanism and the hopelessness that regular Iraqis felt, from the poor and working classes through the professional class.
I also liked Over There by Alan Feuer, who was a crime beat reporter for the N.Y. Times and then ended up chasing the war. He's got some smart insights about the practice of journalism at war and the draw of war for the journalists.
And now, let's talk novels. A top five? OK.
Hopscotch, Julio Cortazar
State of Grace, Joy Williams
Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov
Herzog, Saul Bellow
White Noise, Don DeLillo