Saturday, March 26, 2011

Ben Tanzer

Ben Tanzer is the author of the books Lucky Man, Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine, Repetition Patterns and 99 Problems. He also oversees day-to-day operations of This Zine Will Change Your Life.

His new novel is You Can Make Him Like You.

Recently I asked Tanzer what he was reading. His reply:
I've actually been in a really interesting stretch over the last month where I've been reading three debut novels, okay, two novels, and one memoir for those of you counting at home, all three by authors I have become friendly with, and all quite different in tone and texture, but still all debuts, and self-published or from new, small presses, so quite cool, fun to dig into and deserving of a wider audience.

The first is Sophomoric Philosophy by local Chicago writer and daddy cool Victor David Giron, which is published by his press Curbside Splendor and covers all of the things classic and true debut male novels are supposed to, sex and girls and music and drugs, but also rises above so many of these novels by introducing the theme of immigrant kids and their families and ultimately where the world as we think we know it is heading. The second is Chasing the Runner's High by Ray Charbonneau, a self-published memoir that movingly and obsessively captures the author's efforts to own his compulsive need to run, and keep running, reign in his substance abuse and somehow find balance somewhere in all that, a great read for runners, and everyone else. And the third is Fight For Your Long Day by Alex Kudera from rocking new upstart Atticus Books and it is the tale of an underpaid and disenfranchised adjunct professor making his way through his longest work day of the week, and along with the humor displayed and spot on observations about life in this post-911 world, the craftsmanship in this book is really extraordinary, seemingly belying the fact that this could possibly be someone's first novel.

All three books explore the themes I am endlessly drawn to, compulsive males trying to somehow make sense of their endless compulsions around work, women, drugs and their place in a world that doesn't quite make sense to them; and I hope more people find these books and give them a home.

In addition, and I know this is cheating, because this is sort of a list and all, but as I work through these books, I am also staring at short story collections by three other writers I know and plan to read next, all of which are sure to quite rock - Daddy's by Lindsay Hunter; Songs of Vagabonds, Misfits and Sinners by Ken Wohlrob and Don't Smell The Floss by Matty Byloos.
Read an excerpt from You Can Make Him Like You, and learn more about the book and author at the official website.

The Page 69 Test: You Can Make Him Like You.

My Book, The Movie: You Can Make Him Like You.

--Marshal Zeringue