Thursday, November 3, 2011

Brian Doyle is In The House!

With great excitement and admittedly more than a wee bit of trepidation, we remind you that Brian Doyle will be reading at Broadway Books tonight from his recently published collection of stories, Bin Laden's Bald Spot, published by Red Hen Press.

Brian Doyle, Brian Doyle. What more can we say about Brian Doyle, other than that he is one of our dearest friends, one of our favorite writers, and unquestionably one of the most animated authors ever to appear in our store. In fact he's appear many times, because we have a weakness for animated authors who are also brilliant and quick-witted and wise with words. His recently published novel, Mink River, which we told you about here, is currently the bestselling novel in our store for 2011. Here is a video clip of the book launch for Mink River. What a fun night that was!

So, here, in no particular order, are things you may or not know about Mr. Doyle:
  • He is the editor of Portland Magazine at the University of Portland
  • He has written a lot of books. Maybe twelve. I think. He writes essays, fiction, and "proems."
  • His work is frequently anthologized and has appeared in oodles of publications.
  • In 2008, he received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, for "murky reason" (according to the biographical note in his newest book).
  • The opening sentence of his book about wine-making in Oregon, The Grail: A Year Ambling & Shambling through an Oregon Vineyard in Pursuit of the Best Pinot Noir Wine in the Whole Wide World, opens with a 400-word sentence.
  • He is in a running battle with the writer David James Duncan over who can get the longest subtitle on the cover of a book. Surprisingly, he says he is losing.
  • The best thing that ever happened to him? Becoming a father, because it "completely destroyed any semblance of ego and arrogance -- you cannot be a dad and think you are cool."
  • He is the doting father of three. "On my gravestone I'd be proud if it read A GOOD DAD. Everything else is second."
  • One of his pet peeves is that our society and culture pay so much empty lip service to "family values" and children being the center of our lives, "but we do not act as we speak." Children go hungry, are homeless, lack health care, and are taught in understaffed schools.
  • One of his favorite books of 2009 was Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader. He is also a big fan of the Patrick O'Brian sea novels.
  • As an editor and a writer, Brian is intimately familiar with rejection notes. He says he sometimes daydreams about having them made up for all sorts of events in his life: Avoiding an argument with his wife (BRIAN DOYLE REGRETS THAT HE IS UNABLE TO PURSUE THIS MATTER) or sidestepping a sure-to-be-tedious meeting ((I WOULD PREFER TO HAVE MY SPLEEN REMOVED WITH A BUTTER KNIFE).
  • He once used the ampersand as a plot device. 
  • Brian says he has the most interesting marriage in history.
  • Brian says he "tries to tell small true stories and not draw conclusions or wax cosmic, just let the reader eat the stories and connect where he or she can."
  • One of his goals was to undermine Osama bin Laden's arrogrance by getting people to laugh at him.
In his newest book, Bin Laden's Bald Spot, Brian once again plays skillfully with words and phrasing, in stories that are sometimes very short with sentences that are sometimes very long. The stories bring to mind David Foster Wallace in their straightforward accounts of anything-but-straightforward events, of Raymond Carver in their blunt, unadorned dialogue, and of Julie Whitty in their willingness to believe what is happening even if it absolutely shouldn't be. Cynthia Ozick calls Brian Doyle "an extraordinary writer whose tales will endure." We couldn't agree more.

We hope you will join us tonight at 7 for the tornado of ideas and words we fondly know as Brian Doyle.

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