Monday, July 8, 2013

Stephen Kiernan

Stephen Kiernan's new novel is The Curiosity.

Last month I asked the author about what he was reading. Kiernan's reply:
As a literary omnivore, rarely do I have fewer than four books going at once. I read to suit my mood in the way many people choose what music they put on. At the moment I’m enjoying:

A Voyage for Madmen by Peter Nichols, about the 1968 solo nonstop sailing race around the world. I picked up this book as research for my next novel, but discovered it is one of the great adventure reads ever. In an era when NASA was closing in on the moon, nine men set out to perform a heroic feat closer to home. Only one made it all the way.

Mark Twain by Ron Powers. I read too few biographies, though there’s not one I’ve regretted opening. When this book was a National Book Award finalist I bought a copy, but it fell to the bottom of my stack. My mistake. Once I began this colorful individual’s story, I realized the book was a masterpiece, a perfect match of author and subject, and the kind of biography that can only be written by someone who has studied its central character for a lifetime. Powers not only understands Twain, he fully comprehends the cultural context of the era in which he lived and wrote. Occasionally the author indulges himself in sardonic reflections on today’s society as well, and the tone is deliciously reminiscent of Twain. While I am deliberately reading this book slowly, to savor it, I predict I will be giving it as a gift for years.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich. Though only a few dozen pages into this recent novel, I am completely hooked.

For poetry, I’m enjoying Major Jackson’s first collection, Leaving Saturn. Lately I’ve also been visiting Stephen Mitchell’s lucid translations in Selected Poems of Ranier Maria Rilke, possibly my most reread book.

Introductory Oceanography by Harold Thurman and Charles Chapman’s Piloting: Seamanship and Small Boat Handling (56th edition) are also near to hand, again for research purposes. Despite their dry text, both contain the seeds for hundreds of poems, and a good dozen short stories.
Visit Stephen Kiernan's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: The Curiosity.

--Marshal Zeringue