Last Night’s Reading: Illustrated Encounters with Extraordinary Authors by Kate Gavino
New Yorker-by-way-of-Texas Kate Gavino goes to a lot of book readings in and around NYC’s boroughs, “and even [in] New Jersey.” While some might go seeking “an autograph … the free food … to schmooze,” Gavino goes “to observe and draw.” Her literary outings are pithily encapsulated into a cartoon-like portrait paired with a favorite quote from the evening, then posted to her well-recognized Tmblr blog, Last Night’s Reading. Lucky are these extraordinary authors who get Gavino-ed!
Writers “are excited! They are tipsy! They are wise,” Gavino muses about her subjects. And, here for the first time, her observant drawings are collected and bound in rich color and detail, organized by themes, with personal additions unavailable on screen (because books are always better!). “I get to share what I see and hear with you,” she promises.
“Authors aren’t known as the most attractive bunch,” Gavino comments. “But in terms of words, writers are geniuses. I mean, that is their job.” Lorrie Moore, Colum McCann, Khaled Hosseini, Lois Lowry share “knowledge.” “Love” gets filtered through Tiphanie Yanique, Rick Moody, Rainbow Rowell, and Saeed Jones. “Fun” is remembered in “standout” shoes belonging to Sapphire and Zadie Smith, and in quotes from Donna Tartt, Jennifer Egan, R. L. Stine, and Mindy Kaling.
“Creativity” gets quoted via E. L. Doctorow, Anne Rice, Margaret Atwood, and Chip Kidd. “Storytelling” belongs to Tony Morrison (to whom Gavino once quipped ” …’Sup?”!), Helen Oyeyemi, James McBride, and Edwidge Danticat. Rita Dove, Julie Otsuka, David Mitchell, Claudia Rankine embody “Strength,” while Anne Patchett, Jamaica Kincaid, Roxane Gay, Jonathan Safron Foer, Kazuo Ishiguro represent “Identity.”
“Life/Death” musings get introduced by Gavino’s favorite reading which happened in a cemetery (“Few things make you a better listener than being surrounded by the dead”), and includes John Green, Nicole Krauss, David Sedaris, and Ursula LeGuin.
Each and every one of these authors (and the many more not mentioned here) make up Gavino’s reasons “why I go to book readings.” I’d add Gavino herself to those reasons why – oh, if only she posted her schedule before she ventured out! Just imagine: To watch a writer be Gavino-ed is surely witnessing a delightful bit of literary history in the making!
Readers: Young Adult, Adult