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30 July 2009


"Mom is my number one fact-checker."

Now that's the truth. My husband and I have to check with my mom when we forget how long we've been married. She's in her 80s.

A big thank you to Michael Perry for responding to the menage questions!

Ha! So true. Luckily I have Mr. CR too, who has a mind like a steel trap, while mine is definitely more sieve-ish.

I too was blown away by Michael Perry's lengthy answers, and join you in thanking him.

I may have to run out and pick up this book. I've always liked authors who can take a few to answer nagging questions from the proletariat.

That was awesome! You must have some clout.

...I'm feeling smug because he validated my point about different people in a family remembering events differently.

I would like to hear what you think about this one. I don't think it would be too sentimental for you, but I'd be interested to find out.

I have no clout, but I think authors are being encouraged to take book clubs (even online ones) seriously, so that worked in our favor. Yes, I too thought his remarks on memories and memoir were really interesting. And validating to your remarks as well!

Also: I think we got nice answers back from these authors because they're nice people. (Didn't mean to sound so jaded about authors answering because they're interested in book groups.)

Very kind of Perry to respond and his answers are excellent.

I once accidentally* heard Michael Perry on What Do You Know, and he seemed like a truly decent person--exactly the kind who would answer his readers' questions with more than a modicum of grace. I'm glad that really seems to be true. I'm saving his new book (and the one from Wade Rouse about moving to rural Michigan) for my vacation next month--I can't wait!

*I cannot bear that radio show and normally flip to something else, but couldn't get any other stations in during a long road trip, so I kept it on anyway. I was so happy he was the guest--he was pretty funny and very mellow.

It's funny: I went to the bookstore this afternoon (well, yesterday afternoon--I'm a night owl) and noticed a stack of "Truck: A Love Story" on the bargain shelf. I didn't buy it, as I'm not really convinced that Perry would be my mug of beer. This is going to sound terrible (and Mr. Perry, if you're following this, I'm not trying to be offensive), but these books make me think of Larry the Cable Guy. And I don't like LtCG. (Hell, I don't even have cable. I hate TV.) (God, I hate that I feel like a snob about this, but let's face it: our book tastes are like night and day.) I could still buy it tomorrow (well, today) but I'm worried that it'll just collect dust. Then I'll just feel bad.

Come on, librarian. I need you to convince me.

Another librarian that has met Perry and sat next to him at a fundraiser dinner can attest to the fact that Perry is SO NOT Larry the Cable Guy. I hated even seeing that comparison in writing. Larry the cable guy is a stereotypical southern dimwit character. Perry is an intelligent, thoughtful Wisconsin writer. He writes memoirs not comedy and there's nothing dimwit about him. The cheesy covers of books are decided by publishers, not writers. Perry himself said he was often rallying librarians to make sure this book was not shelved with car repair manuals as it's Dewey Decimal classification suggests. Just so you know...

Say, maybe "Truck: A Love Story" *should* be shelved with car repair manuals! That way maybe people who are more into car repair than reading might stumble across it.

My dad is a mechanic, and one of the most prodigious readers in the family. I shudder to think anyone might write off those of us from blue collar backgrounds as less literary.

Okay, Brandon,
You'll note another librarian has jumped in to do my job for me, which I fully support. (Thanks, Katharine!) She also said exactly what I thought regarding Larry the Cable Guy--who is a stereotypical Southern dimwit, but one who is "acted" by a very cold and calculating non-dimwit who figured out that anything dumb is big money in America these days and went with it. Michael Perry is not like that at all. One of my favorite lines is how he's one of the few volunteer firefighters who ever missed a call because he was at a poetry reading. His book reads just exactly like what he seems to be -- an interesting and interested, intelligent guy who has traveled and lived different lives but also wants to feel connected to a home and a community.

If nothing else, I think you might enjoy him because he was raised in what sounds to be a pretty strict fundamentalist religion, and now himself is more of an agnostic.

Come on--your curiosity is piqued, admit it. That said, I wouldn't start with "Truck" or "Coop," they're for when you already have Perry Mania. I would start with "Population 485." Check it out of your library if you don't want to take a chance on buying it--supporting libraries is good too, as they often purchase smaller fiction and nonfiction titles and keep them going.

We're not always that far off on book taste, I don't think. I think we both have an appreciation for books that don't waste our time, and I don't think Pop. 485 is a waste of time.

Oh, and Brandon, stop being such a lazy bugger and read both this book and Tom Bissell's The Father of All Things. You like how I'm moving from polite suggestions and reasoning to bullying? It's my religious side coming out.

Oh, the argument about where to put Truck has very little to do with what librarians think anyone will read, blue-collar or otherwise. That has more to do with wanting everyone to find a book they might enjoy--because I am too dumb to repair my own car (which is true), librarians worry that I would never find a book like "Truck" because I'll never be browsing the car repair manuals. Anyone who's worked a reference desk knows you can never guess what people will be looking for according to their careers or socioeconomic statuses (or, I should say, we could make some guesses, but we're certainly not always right). I personally say all libraries should purchase two copies of truck and put one in its Dewey spot and one on a little stand at the circ desk with a sign that says "Check this book out--it's awesome."

I'm off to check my library RIGHT NOW.

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