Our guest list-maker today on 28 Authors, 28 Variations on a List is Garth Stein, whose novel The Art of Racing in the Rain has been on the Pacific NW Bestseller List since its publication in 2008. Today is not just Day 6 of our December list-fest but Stein’s birthday. Wish him a happy 29th!
Stein writes: “I am looking forward to a calm Christmas in Seattle, as opposed to last year’s frenetic family gathering in NYC for which 18” of snow arrived uninvited. I don’t care how big your apartment in NYC is: with my family and a foot and a half of snow, it’s too small! I am enjoying the seasonal cynicism of my teenagers, as well as their compassionate Christmas feelings toward their younger brother, Dashiell, who is 4-1/2 years old and is in the sweet spot of Christmas joy. (He keeps asking how come Santa looks different every time he sees him.) My own Christmas gift seems to be coming true: I am putting the finishing touches on my new novel, A Sudden Light, and look forward to its publication in 2012. And I am very much looking forward to not writing on Christmas Day! (Oh, I am *so* looking forward to not writing on Christmas Day!).”
Here’s his list, with links to his local store, Queen Anne Books.
Look, I Made a Hat: Collected Lyrics (1981-2011) with Attendant Comments, Amplifications, Dogmas, Harangues, Digressions, Anecdotes and Miscellany by Stephen Sondheim. Did I ever tell you I used to work for a Broadway producer? Well I did! Philip Langner of The Theatre Guild. And one of my perks was to go see lots of shows, usually in preview. That’s where I saw Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters in Sunday in the Park with George, way back when . . . This compilation of lyrics and stories goes to all my theater-loving friends.
The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, edited by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem. Philip K. Dick rocks. He was also a crazy genius. I mean, you’d have to be to write the stuff he wrote. This is a selection of his notes, journals and writings put together with great care by the editors. I know that some purists don’t believe Dick’s private thoughts should be read by others. Still. I’m not a purist, so I want to read them. Sorry, Mr. Dick, but you are a fascinating man . . .
Hotel Angeline, A Novel in 36 Voices by Jennie Shortridge et al. This was my idea: Get 36 authors together to write a novel in six days. In front of a live audience. And simulcast on the Internet. We did it! Seattle7Writers, a non-profit literary organization co-founded by me and six other NW authors, put it all together, and Open Road published the book. Fifty percent of all proceeds are donated to literacy programs. You can bet many of my relatives will find this in their stockings!
Historical Atlas of Washington and Oregon by Derek Hayes. My new book begins in 1874 in Kansas City, moves to Portland, Gray’s Harbor and then up to Seattle, so I’ve looked through a lot of books with old photographs and maps of the Northwest recently. This is actually one of the coolest books I’ve seen. For anyone who loves maps and history, this is just a fun book to page through, and it’s a fascinating book to read, for those who want to immerse themselves in the Northwest.
The Red Book by C.G. Jung, Sonu Shamdasani, Mark Kyburz, and John Peck. Every now and then you’ve got to bring out the Howitzer. This book is big, and it’s expensive, I know. But sometimes you have to give your father-in-law something that will take his breath away, and if this is your year for that, give him The Red Book. It’s stunning. Amazing. Fascinating. Creepy. Beautifully rendered and put together. And it’s an exacting facsimile and translation of the original, which is snuggled in a vault in Switzerland. Like with Philip K. Dick, there are purists out there who say Jung’s diaries are none of your business. You’ll have to make that call for yourself.
Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 by Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace. I gave this book to my father years ago. He laughed at me, and said he’d never read a book this thick. But then he opened it and he read the entire thing. Okay, he was from New York, so he had de facto interest. But it’s a really well written book that needs to be thick to tell it right. If you can’t afford to give a plane ticket to the City, give them this book!
Ultimate Speed Secrets: The Complete Guild to High-Performance Race Driving by Ross Bentley. All of Ross’s books of wisdom are finally in one edition. This one goes to all my race car-driving friends who could stand to shave a few tenths off of their lap times. Bentley, a local Seattle guy, is the Yoda of automotive racing. Follow his words, Grasshopper, and you find that the world slows down for you.