Saturday, January 27, 2007

"What is N.M. Kelby reading?"

N.M. Kelby is the author of Whale Season and other books.

I recently asked her what she's been reading. Her reply:
To ask what a person is reading is a dangerous thing. What’s the point of that? Are you interested in getting a book recommendation or trying to figure out what influences a writer? Or both? Or, do you just want to open up their brain and blow some dust off?

It’s a very complicated question.

I could tell you that right now, at this moment, I’m reading Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in French at while wintering in Versailles. A friend has just stopped by with a lovely red that he’s brought over from his vineyard.

Or, I could tell you that I’m reading Kinky Friedman while sitting at Stubbs in Austin waiting for Dwight Yoakam to finish his set so that we can talk about the movie we’re doing together. At my table, along with Kill Two Birds and Get Stoned, there would be some collards, fried okra (all smothered in hot sauce), and a BBQ sandwich (again, with hot sauce.) And a beer, probably a lite beer since I burned out my taste buds on the Texas Pete’s and don’t need the calories.

Both could be true.

Or, I could tell you this––I am sitting in my office with the space heater cranked on high because it’s 51 degrees in Florida and damp and I am working on my new book and I am behind deadline because it’s not easy to create an existential mystery and when I get stuck (which is often) I pick up one of the two books I am currently reading, Against The Day by Thomas Pynchon (love the hot air balloon scene) or Trader Vic’s Tiki Party by Steve Siegelman (which is not only features the history of Trader Vic, but some mighty fine chow).

You see, what you believe is your choice. I will, however, leave you with an inspirational quote from the P.T. Barnum of the restaurant world, Victor Jules Bergeron––“Make every drink as though it were to be the best you’ve ever made.”
Some readers may think the more fantastic scenario Nicole mentions is the one involving Dwight Yoakam and the movie talk, but I happen to know he really is planning on making the film version of Whale Season.

As for the story about reading Un yankee à la cour du roi Arthur, I'm more skeptical. But you never know.

The answers to the last two questions in Nicole's first paragraph are: yes, yes.

Read the results of the Page 69 Test for Whale Season, and visit Nicole's website.

--Marshal Zeringue