Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Carl Deuker

Carl Deuker participated in several sports as a boy. He was good enough to make most teams, but not quite good enough to play much. He describes himself as a classic second-stringer. "I was too slow and too short for basketball; I was too small for football, a little too chicken to hang in there against the best fastballs. So, by my senior year the only sport I was still playing was golf." Deuker still loves playing golf early on Sunday mornings at Jefferson Park in Seattle, the course on which Fred Couples learned to play.

Combining his enthusiasm for both writing and athletics, Deuker has created many exciting, award-winning novels for young adults, including the latest, Swagger. Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Deuker's reply:
I'm presently reading A Dance to the Music of Time, by Anthony Powell. It's a 12 volume work, and I'm with Jenkins as he finishes up his school days in England. The other book I'm reading is Smoke by Ivan Turgenev, the Russian novelist who exists in the shadow of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Why these books? I was an English major, and I learned to revere the classics ... too much. As I've grown older, I've come to realize that the "great" writers aren't the only ones who write great books. More, I've come to think that at least a part of the "greatness" attributed to the canonized writers is simply a result of conformity. So I seek out the books that live in a sort of purgatory. These days I'd rather read Trollope than Dickens; Turgenev than Tolstoy. And then, when I get tired of being serious, I find myself a good Jack Reacher novel and thoroughly enjoy the action-packed violence that it promises ... and delivers. Those are great books, too.
Visit Carl Deuker's website.

--Marshal Zeringue