Monday, February 02, 2015

Stewart O'Nan

We got to see Stewart O'Nan, no secret my favorite writer, at Warwick's Bookstore last week. And he was everything you would hope for in your favorite writer: funny, charming, modest, enthusiastic.
He read quite a bit from his new books WEST OF HOLLYWOOD and he read it so well, I wanted him to read the whole book to me.

Most amazing thing he said: he works from 9-5 to produce one page. And sometimes he fails to do that. Every word has to sparkle to his ear as well as his brain.  But this is probably why his writing is so gorgeous.

My favorite books of Mr. O'Nan are A PRAYER FOR THE DYING, SPEEDQUEEN, THE LAST NIGHT AT THE LOBSTER, and EMILY, ALONE but all of them were great.

Often, after hearing or seeing a writer, I am a bit less enthusiastic about them. But in this case, I am even more enamored.

What writer have you been most impressed by at a reading or on a podcast or radio program?


John said...

Alexander McCall Smith. By far he was the most witty, effervescent and affable writer I've ever heard or had the pleasure to meet. He got me to try his books, but I'm not such a fan of them these days. Still he was highly entertaining. Larger than life even!

Runner-up: Alan Cumming, the well known actor. He sort of qualifies because has written two books. The most recent a memoir about his finding his real father. He was interviewed and read two passages from the memoir. One of the best nights out we had last year was listening to him talk about his life. Fascinating. And as you can imagine hysterical at times.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I loved Cummings most recent bio--which I read after seeing him on that show about finding your roots. He is as talented a writer as actor.

Jerry House said...

Colin Dexter. He spilled his beer on my copy of his (then) latest book; later, in signing the book he claimed it was Morse who spilled the beer.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Would have loved to hear him. And I have to say, Megan is good at these events. I may be bias but people always comment afterward.

R. T. said...

I have four different memories:

(1) listening to recordings of Dylan Thomas

(2) listening to Vincent Price and chatting with him for a few minutes after class when he visited my undergraduate classroom (a general humanities "arts appreciation" course)

(3) having drinks with an intoxicated Broderick Crawford in an L.A. airport bar.

(4) receiving a handwritten note from Samuel Beckett who was politely turning down my invitation to attend my directorial debut as a college student (i.e., a production of Waiting for Godot in 1972)

Now how is that for (a) not really responding to your question, and (b) coming up with an eclectic mix of memories?

George said...

I agree with John on Alexander McCall Smith. But meeting Donald E. Westlake and talking to him for awhile was really a thrill.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

R.T. - very cool, especially Broderick Crawford.

The most fun writer was probably Dave Barry, who is as nice in person as he is funny on the page.

Jeff M.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Another one:

Walter B. Gibson, creator of The Shadow, doing his wonderful "magic" act in his 80s.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We saw a lot of great ones in UK. The best being the two biographers on Graham Greene practically coming to blows.
Love the memories, RT.

Margot Kinberg said...

So glad you got the chance to meet him, Patti!

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Not read anything by Stewart O'Nan but clearly I should - thanks Patti.