Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jennifer duBois

Jennifer duBois’s A Partial History of Lost Causes was one of the most acclaimed debuts of recent years. It was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, winner of the California Book Award for First Fiction and the Northern California Book Award for Fiction, and O: The Oprah Magazine chose it as one of the ten best books of the year.

Her new novel is Cartwheel.

Recently I asked duBois about what she was reading. The author's reply:
A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East, David Fromkin

Fromkin’s seminal account of WW1-era Great Gamesmanship reveals the shocking arbitrariness of some of the 20th century’s most important decision-making: its bluffs, feints, taunts and imposters; its choices made via games of chicken and communicated via games of telephone; its overarching blend of credulity and paranoia. Reading this book makes the endless conflicts of the modern Middle East seem not only explicable—but in retrospect, nearly inevitable.

Tenth of December, George Saunders

The stories in Saunders’ brilliant National Book Award nominated collection are hilarious and wise and dark, and bottomlessly compassionate, and perilously sad; they unfold in a world that is a lot like our own, just a little more so.

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman

Anne Fadiman’s account of an epileptic Hmong child and the culture clash that impeded her medical care is as gripping as it is enlightening. With clear-eyed empathy, Fadiman offers a rare perspective on the most common kind of tragedy—that which arises when two sets of good intentions meet and do not recognize each other.
Visit the official Jennifer duBois website.

The Page 69 Test: A Partial History of Lost Causes.

My Book, The Movie: A Partial History of Lost Causes.

The Page 69 Test: Cartwheel.

--Marshal Zeringue