I read widely from many genres. Perhaps this blog will feature fewer ratings and reviews, but I certainly intend to write about my reading life - it's the subject I most find myself wanting to talk about.
Sherman Alexie is one of my favorite living authors. It's silly to rank them, but let's say top five - or possibly top three.
This morning, it's a quiet Saturday, but one week ago, I was having the time of my literary life seeing him speak. There's a story, of course . . .
About three weeks ago, I received a message from a friend in the Cities saying Alexie was going to be at the University of Minnesota on February 20, and she had a ticket for me, if I'd like to go. I thought about it for about two seconds (after all, it is a 325 mile drive) and said YES, I'd love to. I haven't seen Alexie live since I was an undergraduate; let's call it two decades ago.
And then I went on a reading binge.
I've been reading Alexie since the early '90s, with his first book (and still my favorite), "The Business of Fancydancing." (You may recall my review http://carissagreen50.booklikes.com/post/958896/the-business-of-fancydancing.) Over the years, more books followed: "First Indian on the Moon," "Old Shirts and New Skins," "Ten Little Indians," (what happened to my copy of that book?) "What I've Stolen, What I've Earned." I saw "Smoke Signals" at the Fargo Theatre, the best movie house in my state. I acquired a copy of "Face," although I haven't yet got around to reading it. But all of this has been over the course of a couple of decades.
Coincidentally, at Christmas I received "The Best American Poetry 2015," edited by Alexie, with the controversial nom de plume poem inside. I'd been reading my way through that book slowly since New Year.
But with the reading approaching, I got to work. In about two weeks I read the novel "Indian Killer," the YA books "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" and "Flight," the screenplay for "Smoke Signals," and the short story collection "The Toughest Indian in the World." I made it about half-way through "Reservation Blues," about two-thirds of the way through the poetry collection "The Summer of Black Widows" and about a quarter into "War Dances." Oh, and I listened to fourteen and a half episodes of Alexie's podcast with Jess Walter, "A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment."
It has been so very good.
The Alexie event at U of M was excellent, and so well attended. It was in an auditorium with four balconies, and there probably weren't 100 empty seats in the whole place. Fun, fun, moving, thoughtful, heartbreaking, fun - just like Alexie's writing. He spoke for more than an hour, I'd guess, and there was almost an hour of other programmed material, the traditional drummers and singers known as Redbone, a couple of Indian comedians, and two student emcees who brought the whole thing together.
We skipped the Alexie signing line, because there were hundreds and hundreds of people waiting, so no personal moment, but that doesn't mar the experience. Worth every mile of the drive. I'm so grateful to my friend, C. Thank you, Thank you!
And now, as I draw my Alexie reading binge to a close, one question remains: What to read as a palate cleanser after such a good, good meal?