The Sunday Salon: Colum McCann, my two-exclamation point boyfriend (and who i happen to be hanging out with monday night)

The Sunday Salon


“So, you’re definitely out tomorrow night at that thing with that book boyfriend of yours?” said my husband.

That thing with that book boyfriend of yours. This is communication at its finest when you’ve been married for nearly 21 years.

“Oh, my God, absolutely,” I answered, understanding exactly what The Husband was referring to. “I mean, I bought the tickets almost a YEAR ago, for God sakes.”

Husband looks at the fridge calendar for confirmation.

“Oh, jeez, look at this,” he says, sounding uncannily like Archie Bunker. “This guy who I’ve never even heard of gets two exclamation points on the calendar,” he says, pointing to my handwritten Melissa @ Pgh Arts and Lectures – 7:30 pm -COLUM MCCANN!! 

“Well, of course he does. It’s Colum McCann.”

“Who I’ve still never heard of until he showed up on my fridge with two exclamation points.”

“He’s amazing. Just the most incredible writer ….”

“If you say so.”

Oh, I do. If you’re a reader of this blog, you know I absolutely do. And, lest you be concerned, my marriage is perfectly fine. The Husband (probably not unlike most spouses of book bloggers) just happens to find his wife’s passion for certain books and her behavior regarding the authors who write them to be …well, in some cases, somewhat perplexing at times.

That’s understandable. Even moreso when you live in a city such as Pittsburgh,  one that, from my perspective, is so much more literary than I ever imagined before moving here nearly three years ago. It’s a town that offers opportunities like the one I have tomorrow night, when my literary boyfriend Colum McCann comes to town as part of Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures, as part of its Literary Evenings, Monday Night Lecture Series.

Needless to say, I’m trying to contain myself in so I don’t go all crazy batshit fangirl book blogger over the guy.

(But between you and me? I’m really, really super excited. As if you couldn’t tell.)

When I bought these tickets – which really was almost a year ago, because I was afraid that Colum McCann would be such a draw that this would be sold out, which I heard last week that it was, but now just a few tickets seem to be available, but OK, whatever – my big goal was to read all of Mr. McCann’s books. Every one.

I’ve made it through three, all of which I adored: Let the Great World Spin (see my review here), Songdogs (which I’ll review tomorrow because I’ve been saving it for a special occasion and a night with Colum McCann is indeed A Special Occasion) and – two weeks ago while I was on bedrest – TransAtlantic (which I haven’t reviewed yet).

I will confess that my boy Colum has a literary flaw: I couldn’t finish Zoli. I don’t know whether it was me reading it at the wrong time or what, but I couldn’t get into that story. Since it’s Colum McCann, I will give it another try. Dancer is checked out from the library and due back on Saturday, so that could be doable. We’ll see.
* * * 
BarkMy impending evening with Colum McCann is, of course, the major bookish news this weekend. Besides that, I’m currently reading Bark, Lorrie Moore’s newest short story collection – and so far, I tend to agree with those reviewers who aren’t overly impressed. I’ve only read “Debarking,” about a newly divorced man dating a woman with some unusual quirks, particularly regarding her 16 year old son, and “The Juniper Tree,” which describes a dream-like visitation between two colleagues after one has passed away from cancer.

As for my audio book, I had been listening to Orlando by Virginia Woolf but decided that this one is much more suited for print than audio. At least, for me it is. It was my first week back to work post gall-bladder surgery and I needed something lighter than Woolf for my commute.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

So, instead I switched to Anna Quindlen’s Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, which is definitely lighter listening and entertaining enough – and read by the author.

There is a sense of feeling like I’ve heard all this before, though. There seems to have been a spate of authors of a certain age and at a certain stage of their lives writing about how they were the daughters of the feminists, how they were told they could do anything, how raising kids and working and having it all wasn’t as fulfilling as everyone said it would be, and how nobody wanted to admit this and that everyone thought it was just them who felt that way. Finally, there comes a time – maybe sparked by a milestone birthday or a life crisis – when you just accept your life as it is, find your own path, and say the hell with all that.

It doesn’t feel like Quindlen is saying anything groundbreaking or new here. I think my generation (I turn 45 next month) has learned from the Anna Quindlens (thank you, Anna) and the Nora Ephrons (thank you, Nora) and are figuring these things out for ourselves sooner, if we haven’t already. Maybe that’s why this isn’t resonating with me. Maybe I’m somehow out of sync with this one. Wouldn’t be the first time.

How’s your weekend been? What are you most anticipating in your world?

Thanks for sharing this post!

2 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: Colum McCann, my two-exclamation point boyfriend (and who i happen to be hanging out with monday night)

  1. Pingback: The Sunday Salon: A Week of Author Meetings | melissa firman

  2. Deb Nance

    Yes, yes, certainly two exclamation marks, possibly three. I saw McCann just before Christmas and it was wonderful (recounted here.

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