03 March 2004

Jeff VanderMeer Goes Back to School

Jeff VanderMeer kindly let me know about a new post at his blog which he thought I might like. He didn't say what it was about, and so I started wondering ... the possibilities were many, and frightening. But then I saw: It's a joyful, funny, and detailed chronicle of a day spent as a guest author at a prep (that is, college preparatory) school. And since I teach at such a place (albeit in frigid New Hampshire, not sunny Orlando), I was, indeed, quite interested. When I saw that the students had read parts of City of Saints and Madmen, I was particularly thrilled, because I'm thinking of offering it as one of our many possibilities for our students' summer reading (they get to choose from a long list).

Read Jeff's chronicle. It's a beautiful study of a writer engaging with various audiences, some of them quite young. I can, myself, attest to the fact that these sorts of things can have a huge effect on students, as the visit of a certain writer to my school when I was a wee 13-year-old, completely obsessed with SF, was one of the happiest and most inspiring moments of my life (which may say more about my life than about the event itself...)

And while you're being impressed with Jeff V, be sure to pre-order his upcoming collection, Secret Life, which I've gotten a chance to peak at and can assure you will be considered one of the great short story collections of the decade. Really. It's that good. (Fine, accuse me of hyperbole, even though it isn't hyperbole in this case. I don't require you to trust me, as I'm a habitually unreliable narrator. But buy the book anyway.)

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