Friday, October 30, 2015

Some Thoughts on Jesse Eisenberg Tonight.

Oh, the complications of who is doing the introductions! Since I was going to say a few words at the Sarah Vowell event at the Milwaukee Public Library tomorrow, I told Todd that he could introduce Jesse Eisenberg. Then I forgot I said this and wrote an introduction anyway. But then I realized I wasn't supposed to write it, and stopped. And then I decided that I should mention a couple of things that would be inappropriate to come from Todd.

Reading Bream Gives Me Hiccups, I decided that the author was the love child of Steven Millhauser *and Woody Allen. Then I learned he was actually the child of Barry Eisenberg and Amy Fishman. Then I became convinced that, having grown up in Queens in the 60s and 70s, that I went to high school with his father. And then I remembered, every high school class in Queens in the 70s probably had a kid named Barry Eisenberg. (And later I learned that his father went to Forest Hills High School, not Cardozo.)

As I read the book, I was continally reminded of the work of Simon Rich, especially his first collection, Ant Farm. And then I learned that not only are they friends, but that Eisenberg was planning to invite him to his theoretical dinner party on NPR, along with George Saunders and Jon Ronson, because they are funny. I read the last Jon Ronson, So You Think You’ve Been Shamed, about internet bullying. Hilarious!

Todd is not from Queens, nor does he read Simon Rich and Jon Ronson. But he is well aware of many other authors and of whom they are love children. And that's why I am glad he introduced Jesse Eisenberg,** author of Bream Gives Me Hiccups.***

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*Who the heck is Steven Millhauser, you ask? He's an amazing writer who won the Pulitzer Prize for Martin Dressler in 1997, a novel that sort of imagines what would have happened if a Walt Disney type created a hotel that rivaled Disney World, and built up instead of out. But the book that I was of course reminded of was Edwin Mullhouse, which is the biography of a young creative genius. And by young, I mean 11. It was my backlist pick last spring, but boy, did I do a bad job of selling it.

**Photo credit Marzena Wasikowska.

***We'll have signed copies tomorrow.

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