Fromm is a four-time winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award for his novels As Cool as I Am and How This All Started; a story collection, Dry Rain; and memoir, Indian Creek Chronicles. The film As Cool as I Am, starring Claire Danes, James Marsden and Sarah Bolger, will be released in 2012. Fromm is the author of four other short story collections and has a new novel and story collection finished and says he’s working on a new nonfiction project about “more fish eggs in the wilderness.” He’s on the faculty of Oregon’s Pacific University’s Low-Residency MFA Program and lives in Montana with his family.
Fromm moved to Missoula a couple years ago and lives a few blocks from Shakespeare and Company, where he says he’s “learned to trust all of Garth’s recommendations.” But for his favorite NW indie, he says, “even though it’s a ways down the Bitterroot, my old pals at Chapter One Bookstore will always have my back, and my heart.”
December 25th. Kind of perfect for me, as this is when I usually realize I’m going to be a little late with the Christmas shopping, again. But, five books? Five? I just walked out and looked at the shelves. This is a tough call. An impossible one. I’ll leave out so many good books, good friends even. Once I start, where would I stop? I mean, they’re presents, right? And I’ve got more books than friends. So I’m going to limit myself to five that I actually gave as gifts this year.
Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle is one I’m always pushing on people. I love most of what this Irish writer has done, but this novel in particular, winner of a Booker Prize a while back, so draws you into this ten-year-old kid in Dublin that you’ll start muttering ‘shite,’ and ‘jaysis,’ without even knowing it. When I write a novel, this is the one I shoot for, to climb into another’s skin the way Doyle did into Paddy’s, letting him run the whole show.
The World of a Few Minutes Ago by Jack Driscoll. This one won’t be rolling off the press until February, but pre-order it from your local store! Not only will you be dishing out an incredible collection of stories by an incredible guy, you’ll also be handing out bragging rights for being the first kid on the block to have one. It just doesn’t get much cooler than that.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. My son’s middle school librarian shoved some hideous fifty-year-old book on him when it was time to read anything at all to do with Native Americans. Not quite ready for Winter in the Blood, so I gave him Sherman’s moving, funny, right-to-the gut story of growing up on the Spokane reservation. But I read it again myself first. Just for fun.
Kraken by China Mieville. Okay, my high school son is lost in the time warp of fantasy and admits his tastes are indiscriminate. Trying to raise the bar, I asked around and was pushed Mieville’s way. This is such a strange and twisted world, told so matter of factly, I got drawn straight in. He and Gaiman go so far past genre it isn’t genre. Just fine, smart writing.
The Lonely Polygamist Brady Udall. My pick for last year’s novel of the year. I kept thinking to myself, whoa, Brady must have lost a child, whoa, Brady must have gotten tangled up in an affair, whoa, Brady must have a shitload of wives. I live in a fictional world most of the time, know better than to connect fiction with the writer’s real life, so when I find myself feeling that everything in a story seems so true it must have been experienced first hand, I know I’m reading the real deal.