Thursday, July 4, 2013

Gerry FitzGerald

Gerry FitzGerald has been in advertising for nearly thirty years and owns an advertising agency in Springfield, Massachusetts. He holds a master’s in journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University and is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He lives in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts with his wife, Robin.

His new novel is Redemption Mountain.

A couple of weeks ago I asked FitzGerald about what he was reading. His reply:
For the past several years, my reading has been confined almost exclusively to non-fiction books about mountain climbing. Actually, I’ve been an arm-chair mountaineer for many years, beginning, as many others did, with Herzog’s classic Annapurna when I was a teenager. When I decided a few years ago that my second novel would be about three women mountain climbers racing to be the first female to summit all fourteen of the 8,000 meter mountains, my research began again in earnest. My library contains perhaps fifty or sixty climbing books, and my Kindle another dozen.

Most recently, I reread two of the books most pertinent to my story, which are in fact mentioned prominently in my book. The Last Step: The American Ascent of K2 by Rick Ridgeway, is a classic mountaineering book about the first American expedition to reach the summit of K2, in 1978. If you feel the urge to read just one book about Himalayan mountaineering this summer, this is a great choice – beautifully written and fabulous photography.

The other book that I needed to reread was a personal favorite of mine, although a lesser known book than many in the category. Jennifer Jordan’s Savage Summit: The Life and Death of the First Women of K2, is enthralling and heartbreaking. Even at a second reading, I still have tears in my eyes at the end of the accounts of the first five female summiteers of K2.

Like many writers, I think, I always have two or three books open at one time. In my locker at the YMCA, to make that hour on the cross trainer even close to bearable, I have Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Lincoln (which I finished in April), and Killing Kennedy, a wonderful and easy book to come back to after a week or two of laziness.

Of course man does not live by bread alone, so earlier this year I took a break from the mountains to read The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli, a beautifully written, engrossing story. I particularly enjoyed being re-immersed in the sights, smells and noises of Saigon, where I spent 1970.

Waiting on my Kindle is A Prayer For Owen Meany, the only John Irving I’ve missed. I’ll start it this weekend. Promise.
Visit Gerry FitzGerald's website.

--Marshal Zeringue