Skills I wish I had

We all have our idols.  As a wanna-be writer, mine is Dave Eggers.

You know, the Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius guy?  But that’s not his best work, in my opinion.  Nope.  His last couple of bestsellers have been more journalistic, and it’s brilliant stuff.

Eggers takes a setting that’s a bit touchy yet no doubt ripe with fascinating stories (New Orleans in the wake of Katrina) and tells one from the perspective of a unique character (a Syrian immigrant, his American wife and their family).  It’s a social commentary, a micro-biography and a damn good page-turner all in one.  (See also: What is the What, a “fictionalized” account of a Sudanese refugee’s escape and emigration.  Also a fantastic book.)

I wish I could write like that.

Well, maybe I can – who knows.  I guess I haven’t really tried.  But if I do become a successful writer one day, Dave Eggers will be high on my self-made “influenced-by” list.  (Along with Sting, of course.)

And when I’m a best-selling author, I’ll give you all free copies of my book.  But for now, I’ll have to settle for giving away my gently used copy of Eggers’ Zeitoun. Just leave a comment on this post – any comment will do, but may I suggest recommending something fantastic you’ve read lately?  Or tell us about what you’re reading right now?

Winner will be picked randomly on Friday at, let’s say, 4:52 PM.  And, go!

Today’s EAT: Since this post is sort of random, I wish I had a great recipe or something to share.  Sadly, tonight’s dinner was kinda boring.

Sesame tofu, greens and wontons, all doused in ponzu.  It’s not even a Big Ass Salad proper, really.  Oh well.  It was delicious.  Ever since last month’s tofu revelation, I’ve been kind of loving the stuff.  I think because it makes me feel like I’m eating fried food.  Tricky tofu!

Today’s DRINK: No wine, no beer, no nothing tonight.  Just a tall glass of water with lemon.  How wholesome!  But only because I’m resting up for the weekend.

Today’s RUN: A dark and treacherous 4.2 miles (37:44, 8:59 pace).  Hey Raleigh, ever heard of street lights?  Seriously.  Don’t make me wear one of those dorky headlamps.

Today’s QUESTION: What’s on your bookshelf, nightstand, or toilet tank? Get your comment in by Friday afternoon for a chance to win!


32 responses to “Skills I wish I had

  1. Bookshelf: Cold Mountain, The Kite Runner, Hannibal Rising, The Devil Wears Prada (what?! 🙂 )

    By far, the most interesting book I’ve read in 2010: The Help

  2. I just read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, and it was everything I hoped it would be. Then I read The Road by Cormac McCarthy and my life changed… I love books : )

  3. Right now I’m reading Stolen, by Lucy Christopher. I’m not very far into it, so I can’t really say to much about it. It’s a YA book- so far it’s about a girl who was kidnapped from an airport. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. lame.

  4. I also loved Mockingjay. 🙂 Right now I’m reading The Celestial Globe by Marie Rutkoski (another children’s/YA book), and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

  5. The Piano Teacher-tells the story of Hong Kong pre and post WWII. Excellent book thus far!

  6. So, unfortunately on my bookshelf and nightstand these days are a TON of journal articles and very academic looking books. PhD students don’t have time to read for pleasure and my “To Read” list has grown immensely over the past 5 years. Zeitoun is actually already on the list and since I have made it a priority to read a book for “fun” over the holidays this is perfect timing! I went to Undergrad in New Orleans and the city and people have a special place in my heart. I’m always interested in learning about how others view the city and how it has influenced them…

  7. I have never read Dave Eggers, but my sister loves him. I would love to read this book, sounds very interesting! Maybe if I don’t win, I will read it anyway. 🙂

    I am finishing up the third installment of Steig Larsson’s Millenium series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. This one was long, I am ready to finish it and move onto something else!

  8. Somebody else mentioned this book really recently and I immediately put it on my to-read list. Right now I’m trying to get through Everything is Illuminated, but I’m not loving it

  9. I just finished Stanley Hauerwas’ memoir Hannah’s Child, which I loved and would highly recommend. It’s just the right level of theological.

  10. I love blogs posts about books!!! I definitely need to read this, especially since I love Dave Eggers and having lived in New Orleans, I love all books about the city.

    I recently finished “One Day” by David Nicholls which I loved and am about to start “Life As A Mix Tape” by Rob Sheffield

  11. hahah i LOVE the 4:52pm time cut off. the last book i read was “61 hours” by lee child. it’s a jack reacher novel and AMAZING

  12. I just finished up The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and am now working on A Tale of Two Cities. It’s dense, especially for pre-bedtime reading, which is pretty much the only time I have to read! I’m thinking non-fiction after this, and am definitely going to look into Zeitoun.

  13. I am currently reading Columbine. It’s depressing, but brilliant.
    I just finished In Cold Blood. Ditto.
    Pick me, pick me so I can stop reading these depressing books about murder!

  14. Umm currently not reading anything which is bizarre because I always have a book. Hmm maybe I need to go check out B&N.

  15. Right now I’m tag-teaming between two books: One to read on the bus to work, one to read at night before bed. They are “Notes from a Small Island” by Bill Bryson, and “Cannery Row” by John Steinbeck.

    Bryson cracks me up every time; I love him.

  16. that book has been on my reading list! just finished freedom by jonathan franzen – it was a long but quick read, i liked it

  17. So, I’ve never read any Dave Eggers, but my current book is vaguely connected – it’s a silly mystery, “Death Gets a Time Out” by Ayelet Waldman, who is the wife of Michael Chabon, who is buddy buddy with the McSweeney’s crew. For school, I have to read The House on Mango Street.

  18. I’m reading a few cookbooks, a book on emotional eating and a murder mystery by William Tapply!

  19. I love Dave Eggers, but I haven’t read this book. What is the What is my favorite of his so far.

    Currently, I’m reading Infite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It lives up to all the hype and then some.

  20. I just finished reading Little Bee by Chris Cleave for the second time. Amazing. And I’m an English teacher so I’m always looking for great new books! L.O.V.E. David Eggers – you’ve got great taste!

  21. I think the last time you did a book giveaway I commented that I was reading Anna Karenina. Well, I am still reading it. Maybe I’ll finish sometime before 2011…

  22. Oh! I’ve never read David Eggers, but I’m intrigued. The last book I read was The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest, but that was before school started 😦 Now it’s all about my biochem book.

    All time favorite is “I Know this Much is True” by Wally Lamb, the last sentence kills me every time. “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is also right up there. 🙂

  23. I just finished my PhD in sociology so I’m currently not reading anything! I’m too tired from writing my own book/dissertation. Zeitoun sounds like the perfect 1st post-dissertation book to read. We have a bunch of books for runners on the nightstand and academic journals on the bookshelf!

  24. I have a ton of stuff on the bookcase…one of my faves is Shadow of the Wind and I’m now about to start reading Little Bee.

  25. What’s on your bookshelf, nightstand, or toilet tank?

    A picture of your mom.*

    What do I win?

    *I assure you, its the “royal” “your mom” and not actually your mom. Yeah…

  26. I love this post! I need to get into a new author and you have peeked my interest. 2 favorite books ever: When I was in college “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky changed my life. More recently, The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein. Great Stuff!

  27. I recently read “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov. Amazing amazing amazing. Especially considering English is Nabokov’s 4th language!

  28. I loved reading The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb. A very well written book about a shocking and still raw event.

  29. For the past two months I’ve been trying to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I HATE IT. I want to love it like everyone else, but I don’t.

    Up next I’m reading the Help and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

  30. Hi Shelby! I haven’t commented before but the promise of an Eggers book is enough to bring me out of the woodwork. I’m actually a big fan of Eggers, despite the fact that I’m not a 20-something male hipster. And Zeitoun has been on my list for a while now. As for current reads: I just taught Roth’s The Counterlife yesterday – that book is crazy! – and am now reading Junot Díaz’s Drown (the collection of stories he published before Oscar Wao), which I’ll teach to my other class next week. Pleasure reading has yet to happen this term, but when I do find a few hours, Robert Bolaño’s The Savage Detective is the first thing I’ll tackle. I loved 2666 and highly recommend it – it’s worth the slog!

  31. sluggishly trekking through the condensed version of the DSM whilst sometimes reading the new irving novel, “last night in twisted river.” been so tied up in my job, though, that i have little time for either.

    book sounds good. pick me, pick me!

  32. Eat, Pray, Love (it’s not all that, despite the mass outcries of devotion) and a few issues of Runner’s World.

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