Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jamie Kornegay

Jamie Kornegay lives in the Mississippi Delta, where he moved in 2006 to establish an independent bookstore, TurnRow Book Co. Before that he was a bookseller, events coordinator, and radio show producer at the famous Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi. He studied creative fiction under Barry Hannah at the University of Mississippi.

Kornegay's new novel is Soil.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
As a full-time bookseller, in addition to part-time writer, I find myself reading mostly current fiction and non-fiction. My recent favorites include M.O. Walsh’s insanely readable My Sunshine Away and Colin Barrett’s rich story collection Young Skins. Just had a rare snow day here in Mississippi and finished Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig by Mark Essig. I thoroughly enjoyed this history of the pig, how it has developed and endured alongside humans, even when culture has despised it. The biggest surprise was David Vann’s new novel Aquarium. A real gut-punch of a book, confrontational yet balanced with beauty and redemption.

I just started Whisper Hollow, an impressive debut novel by Chris Cander, and am nearly finished already. It defies you to put it down and keeps calling – one more chapter, one more chapter.

Also dead-middle into Moby-Dick. Okay, I faked reading it in college. I’ve always felt guilty about it, so now I’m reading a chapter every day. (So much better than the Cliffs Notes!) Just today I read Ishmael’s tangential and detailed critique on the many shoddy attempts by artists to paint whales. Lends credence to the idea that Moby-Dick is the first metafiction.

I’m heading out for book tour tomorrow. I enjoy packing books for a road trip, trying to predict what I’ll be in the mood to read. I don’t want them all stored lightly on a machine because I relish the encumbrance. Some selections from my go-box: The Other Joseph by Skip Horack, who is thus far two-for-two with a great story collection, The Southern Cross, and a remarkable novel, The Eden Hunter; The Teeth of the Souls by Steve Yates, a friend who works for the University Press of Mississippi and is a fine writer with a knack for surprising historical detail; Where All Light Tends to Go, a slim, severe work of Southern grit-lit by David Joy; A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, which everyone is raving about; and The Jezebel Remedy by Martin Clark, a clever and funny writer coming to my store, Turnrow Books, in June.
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The Page 69 Test: Soil.

--Marshal Zeringue