Stranger Than Fiction: The Art of Literary Journalism by William McKeen
Here’s exactly how to make a geek girl happy:
While she’s listening to an audiobook lecture series about literary journalism, address her as “fun-seeker.” Professor McKeen, the dear man, does this precise thing, and it gladdened my heart. Here’s how he starts out some of his lectures: “All right, fun-seekers…”
I mean, those are some encouraging words. I actually do realize I’m not the life of the party, but being told I’m a fun-seeker when listening to something semi-academic… oh, this makes me a happy one.
So this audio series had me completely blissing out, because I am all about the literary journalism.
And this guy is so wonderfully smart about the subject, and he’s engaging as all hell to listen to.
And guys! He’s talking about Tom Wolfe (in his obnoxious white suit) and Truman Capote (in his purple cape) and George Plimpton (playing football with the Detroit Tigers) and Hunter S. Thompson (getting pummeled by the Hells Angels) and Gay Talese (who would churn out a whopping single paragraph each day, and then stick it on the wall and read it from across the room using binoculars). These are some odd ducks.
And this lecture series puts them all in context and relates them to one another in a way that is completely fascinating to learn.
If I hadn’t been driving while listening, I’d’ve been jotting down lots of titles I need to read. Instead, I did the thing where I repeat it to myself incessantly, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold…” to try to remember it upon disembarking from the car.
And: happiness. In the final lecture, McKeen gives a list of recommended further reading.
So, yes. The Modern Scholar series is improving my world. And the “Stranger Than Fiction” lectures are my favorite of the bunch.