Kim Stanley Robinson shares the books he loves – and a story that got better with age – Orange County Register

Spending a Saturday listening to authors discuss their work while you eat lunch and chat with other readers sounds pretty good right now.

That’s happening tomorrow at the Pasadena Convention Center as the 14th annual Pasadena Women’s Author Festival returns after a two-year absence. The festival features a stellar cast of authors: Maggie Shipstead, Gabriela Garcia, Nadia Hashimi, Alka Josi, Sarah Manguso, Claire Vaye Watkins and Monica West.

To find out more, I spoke to Norah Morley, who is the chair of the event, and she explained it to me.

“We’re inviting seven award-winning female writers to come talk about their journey as a writer and as a woman,” says Morley. “The day is filled with authors speaking, people asking questions of the audience, lunch being served, books being sold, and authors signing their books.”

Masks will be required (except for eating and drinking) and all attendees will need to present proof of coronavirus vaccination.

Another thing to point out: this is a charity fundraising event; tickets are $100 and include lunch.

According to the group, the Pasadena Festival of Women Authors has awarded $400,000 in grants to nonprofit community organizations since 2009.

Morley talked about where the support goes: Writer-in-Residence & Summer Creative Writing Academy at Pasadena City College; the Pasadena Public Library’s One City, One Story program; Pasadena Senior Center Learning Masters Series; PEN Center Los Angeles’ You are a Writer workshops and WriteGirl’s creative writing and mentoring workshops for high school girls.

In addition to providing support for literary programs, she also argues that it’s a good time.

“It’s a really wonderful day, because you get the stimulation of hearing these authors talk about their personal journey, as well as how they wrote this particular book. And you would have the opportunity to hit the pause button in your life, and be in a room, listening to writers and talking to other people about writers. And, of course, lunch with friends.

“It’s just a great, energetic and uplifting day. And I think, given what we’ve all been through, where we felt like we couldn’t come together, that we could try to come together now and enjoy this day, I think it’s going to be a really nice time. . We are all looking forward to it. »

And yes, in case you were wondering, men are welcome too. “Absolutely. I’m bringing my brother,” laughs Morley. “I was bringing my husband but he just had knee surgery.”

For more information about the event and its COVID safety policies, go here.

Rose Leslie and Theo James in “The Time Traveler’s Wife”. (Photo by Macall Polay/Courtesy HBO)

Last week, I mentioned a bunch of literary adaptations I wanted to watch, and forgot to mention HBO Max’s “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” based on Audrey Niffenegger’s novel (that’s Rose Leslie and Theo James from the series above).

I remember loving this book, and even leaving work one night to see the author talking about the paperback release at Book Soup. Adding this one to my (already too long) list of things to watch out for.

What are you going to read, do or watch this weekend? Email me at [email protected] and I may share your response in future newsletters.

Thanks, as always, for reading.


Kim Stanley Robinson on ‘The High Sierra’ and the books he loves

Author Kim Stanley Robinson's latest book is
Author Kim Stanley Robinson’s latest book is “The High Sierra.” (Photo credit: Darryl DeVinney / Courtesy of Little Brown)

Kim Stanley Robinson is the bestselling author of over 20 books, including the Mars Trilogy, “2312”, “Shaman”, “New York 2140” and “The Ministry for the Future”. Although he has won the prestigious Hugo, Nebula and Locus science fiction awards for his work, his latest book, “The High Sierra”, is an in-depth personal account of his nearly 50 years of trekking experience in the Sierra Nevada mountains, providing a deeply engaging experience. collection of memories, maps, photos, anecdotes, poetry and more.

Q. The Sierra is a vast and glorious region. What initially attracted you?

My friend Terry told me about it with our friend Joe. We had been friends since college and moved to Florida together after graduating from high school. The summer after our first year of college, Terry said, “Let me show you something awesome,” and Joe and I said yes. Our first trip was epic and we never looked back.

Q. For those primarily familiar with your fiction, how would you compare “The High Sierra” to your previous books?

It’s similar in structure to “Ministry for the Future” and “2312”, in that it’s a mix of varying styles and content, with each chapter being different from the one before it. And readers of my fiction might recall many long walks over rocky terrain, and even some trips into the Sierra, that my characters took, so I would say there might be more similarities than differences. In this book, however, I do memory and also non-fiction: not the same things at all, because it became clear to me that memory is closer to fiction than to non-fiction.

Q. Is there a book or books that you always recommend to other readers?

If people are interested in trying science fiction but unfamiliar with it, I always recommend Ursula LeGuin’s “The Left Hand of Darkness.” Over the past few years, I’ve often found myself recommending Elena Ferrante’s “My Brilliant Friend” quartet.

Q. What are you reading now?

I’m reading a new novel by Irish novelist Oisin Fagan, as yet unpublished; he sent it to me in manuscript. Surprising.

Q. How do you decide what to read next?

I like to be random! I keep a big stack of books I’ve bought second-hand at the library sales by my bed, and when I finish one novel I start another, almost by chance – whichever seems best to me. that time, and very often from a writer I’ve never tried before. I like the sense of accident and the discovery of new treasures.

Q. Do you remember the first book that marked you?

Sure! [“Adventures of] Huckleberry Finn,” second year. So vivid and astonishing – rarely equaled since for me – made me a lifelong reader, and later a writer too.

Q. Is there a book you dread reading?

I don’t think I will read Bolano’s “2666”. Nervous isn’t quite the word, it’s worse than that; fear. He’s a good novelist.

Q. Can you remember a book that you read and thought must have been written just for you (or conversely, one that was definitely not written with you in mind)?

I think Richard Powers’ “The Echo Maker” had everything I love to experience in a novel. Conversely, I just rolled my eyes at “Infinite Jest”.

Q. What did you take away from a recent reading – a fact, a snippet of dialogue or something else?

It’s a bit off topic but it really stuck with me. When you read novels in print form, you know when the end is near and read accordingly – that’s a good thing, that awareness. But movies can end abruptly without warning and take you by surprise, in a good way. So in the “Before Sunrise”, “Before Sunset”, “Before Midnight” trilogy of films, in the second of the series, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy are in conversation as usual in the three films, at full throttle, and Julie points out to Ethan, “You’re going to miss your plane” and Ethan says “I know” with his happy smile and the movie STOPS just in that second. It makes me laugh just thinking about it.

Q. What are some of your favorite book covers?

I really like the cover of my novel “New York 2140”. Otherwise, to be honest, I don’t notice the covers much.

Q. Is there a genre or type of book that you read the most – and what would you like to read more of?

I read novels of all kinds all the time. I would like to read more poetry.

Q. Do you have a favorite book or books?

Talk about books — I love Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series.

Q. What books do you plan or hope to read next?

I am about to read Les Excellents Lombards by Jane Hamilton, and the biography of Louise Colet by Francine du Plessix Gray.

Q. Is there anyone who has had an impact on your life as a reader – a teacher, parent, librarian or someone else?

My mother read to me at night and always encouraged me to read (but not when the sun was shining!) Then also Mrs. Catherine Lee, my high school English teacher. She was inspiring.

Q. What do you find most appealing in a book: the plot, the language, the cover, a recommendation? Do you have any examples?

For me, novels focus on the characters and the plot, and then also the sensibility of the narrator, the feeling that I have for the sentences that I read – a kind of state of flux that I like. Examples: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Molly Gloss, Cecelia Holland, Joyce Cary, Peter Dickinson… I could go on for a long time.

Q. What is a memorable literary experience – good or bad – are you willing to share? (A book you liked or hated, or a book you read in a memorable situation)

I read Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet on overnight trains while traveling through Europe in 1977, out of order, so I read the second volume’s review of the first volume before the first volume itself – unexpectedly powerful! And very, very romantic. I just reread the quartet last year — crazy but in a very good way; and the volume I thought was the lowest in 1977, the third “Mountolive”, this time I found it to be the best of the four by far. Different perspectives of age, I’m sure. It’s interesting to reread the books that hit you hard when you were young, it’s worth it!


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