Friday, May 24, 2013

Kevin M. Bailey

Kevin M. Bailey, formerly a senior scientist with NOAA, is an affiliate professor at the University of Washington and author of Billion-Dollar Fish: The Untold Story of Alaska Pollock. He also operates a boutique consulting firm promoting small-scale traditional fisheries.

Recently I asked him about what he was reading.  Bailey's reply:
All my life I’ve been a step behind. That’s given me a perspective from the tail-end of the crowd. Late in life and true to form, I’ve developed a passion for writing. Since I’m a novice writer without an MFA, I’ve played catch-up by taking some writing classes. It’s helpful to read your instructor’s work before you take a class. Or, if you are like me, you get insight by reading their book after the parade has passed by. Here are three books on my coffee table from teachers of my writing classes, and a couple other books I’ve read recently.

Chris Cokinos, The Fallen Sky. Chris taught at the Wildbranch Workshop sponsored by Orion Magazine. His book is a masterful braiding of astronomy with stories of obsession and memoir. He writes of the compulsion of meteor hunters and also about his own preoccupation with learning their stories, and the deeply personal consequences of that.

Peter Mountford, A Young Man’s Guide to Late Capitalism. Peter led a class on story structure at Richard Hugo House in Seattle. I am totally blown away by Peter’s book. It’s a story of a hedge fund analyst who is scoping out the effects of Evo Morales’s election in Bolivia on the natural gas market in South America; a great story and the reading flows effortlessly.

Nick O’Connell, The Storms of Denali. I’ve taken two classes from Nick on creative nonfiction at the Writer’s Workshop in Seattle. His book is abiding on my nightstand. Nick is a master storyteller and a professional writer, and I’m looking forward to reading his book.

Two other books passed by earlier and have themes that still ring true. Erik Larson’s Story of a Gun was written a decade ago, but we are still struggling with gun control legislation and the stranglehold the NRA has on Congress. The other book is Deborah Cramer’s Great Atlantic. This is a story of a voyage woven into a comprehensive view of the Atlantic Ocean. The writing is beautiful and lyrical, exploring the complex relationship of man and the sea.
Visit Kevin M. Bailey's website.

--Marshal Zeringue