Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Amy Bass

A professor of history in New York, Amy Bass lived in Lewiston, Maine for four years as a student at Bates College. Her writing has appeared in Slate, Salon, and CNN Opinion, and her work for NBC’s Olympics coverage earned her an Emmy in 2012 for Outstanding Live Event Turnaround.

Bass's new book is One Goal: A Coach, a Team, and the Game That Brought a Divided Town Together.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
Over the last two years while writing One Goal, the book that has remained on my nightstand and I’ve picked up again and again is Elizabeth Strout’s The Burgess Boys. Like me, Strout went to Bates College, which is in Lewiston, where One Goal takes place. Her book is set in the fictional Shirley Falls, an economically-depressed Maine mill town fraught with racial and religious conflicts since the onset of thousands of Somali refugees. Sound familiar? The story is based on a ripped-from-the-headlines incident that took place in Lewiston years ago, and is detailed in One Goal. While I read mountains of pages to research One Goal, from the local Lewiston sports pages to UN documents on refugees and everything in between, Strout’s book was what I picked up every time I needed clarity. If I needed to hit the reset button on my thinking, on my writing, it was Strout.

In terms of reading for leisure – and it had been a while – I just finished Celeste Ng’s magical Little Fires Everywhere. I adored her first book, Everything I Never Told You, and taught it this past fall in my senior seminar. It was a joy to sit down with Little Fires Everywhere, a deceptively complicated story about a small town in Ohio festering with class and racial tensions. The way she frames a story – telling us, as with her first book, what the tragedy is upfront and then bringing us along as the narrative unfolds, meaning we focus on the why instead of the what – is something I am fascinated with. I am duly fascinated by her compelling female characters– complicated, not always likeable, and disturbingly authentic. We need more of that. I need more of that.
Visit Amy Bass's website.

The Page 99 Test: One Goal.

--Marshal Zeringue