Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Books

Jeremy McCarter, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s co-author, tells us what he’s reading

Nightstand

Jeremy McCarter

McCarter, 41, is the co-author with Lin-Manuel Miranda of the book Hamilton: The Revolution. It was McCarter who introduced Miranda to Oskar Eustis, the artistic director of the Public Theater in New York, and that introduction led to Hamilton’s debut at the off-Broadway theater. The rest is history. McCarter, who studied history at Harvard, is also the founder of the Make-Believe Association, a nonprofit production company based in Chicago, and the author of the new book The Young Radicals, a novel about five real Americans fighting for their ideals. McCarter is making an appearance at 7 p.m. Sunday at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. When we caught up with McCarter, he described his appearance as "a talk about the extraordinary good fortune to be around the development of Hamilton and how I saw my friend Lin-Manuel and a bunch of insanely talented young artists create a story that is changing the world. It is also about the power of stories.’’ For information on tickets, visit strazcenter.org.

What is on your nightstand?

Leaves of Grass.

What made you decide to pull Walt Whitman off the shelf right now?

It was partly because I love his writing. His poems are strange and evocative, and he has a kind of magic in the way he writes. I also love the impulse that led him to write them in the first place. He felt the U.S. was not just a new country, but a new kind of country, and it needed not just new poems but a new kind of poetry to describe it. I respond to the sense of America’s messy, glorious possibilities. I take it down at least once a year. To me, it is a head space I like to be in — this big sprawling beautiful sense of the American character.

I’m also reading a lot of stories and insights on stories for my company — insights on how stories work and what they do. Two I have loved have been The Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman and an amazing new book, The Annotated African American Folktales, edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Maria Tatar. It wasn’t a new realization, but I certainly realized even more signs of the richness and the complexity of the African-American storytelling traditions in this country and its influence on the culture at large. It’s wonderful.

Who would you like people to pick up and read for the first time?

I think to answer this, I’ll say one of my all-time favorite writers — Thornton Wilder, and his short novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey is just the most beautiful thing. Wilder has this incredible understanding and sensitivity of the human heart.

Now that Hamilton is not new anymore, can you talk about how it still excites you?

I’m seven years into hearing those songs, and they still amaze me. I still hear new things in them even now.

What is the best part of the success of Hamilton?

It is the kids. It is getting to watch the influence the show has had and is having on young people. It is thrilling. That to me is where the show’s greatest influence will be felt. It is on inspiring thousands and thousands of young people.

Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] Follow @Florida_PBJC.

Comments
Mystery writer Lee Goldberg, author of ‘True Fiction,’ talks Agatha Christie, and more

Mystery writer Lee Goldberg, author of ‘True Fiction,’ talks Agatha Christie, and more

NightstandLee GoldbergGoldberg, the author of 30 books, has also been a writer and producer for several TV shows, including Monk and Diagnosis Murder. His new novel is True Fiction, an Ian Ludlow mystery. When we caught up with him by phone recently ...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/21/18
Events: SunLit Festival concludes with Jack Kerouac event, Antiquarian Book Fair and more

Events: SunLit Festival concludes with Jack Kerouac event, Antiquarian Book Fair and more

Book Talk The fourth annual SunLit Festival concludes today with these events. For information, go to facebook.com/sunlitfestival or keepstpetelit.org/sunlit-festival. All events are in St. Petersburg. • 37th annual Florida Antiquarian Book F...
Published: 04/20/18
Review: Gilbert King’s ‘Beneath a Ruthless Sun’ a compelling, horrifying look at Florida’s racist history

Review: Gilbert King’s ‘Beneath a Ruthless Sun’ a compelling, horrifying look at Florida’s racist history

If Willis McCall were a fictional character, he’d be too far over the top to be believable. Readers (and editors) would scoff that no one could be such a monster of violent, unabashed racism — and get away with it for so long. But McCall...
Published: 04/20/18
Notable: Advice-givers write about their own life choices

Notable: Advice-givers write about their own life choices

NotableSince you askedThree women whose jobs involve giving advice write about navigating their own life choices.Can’t Help Myself: Lessons & Confessions From a Modern Advice Columnist (Grand Central) by Meredith Goldstein, the Love Letters columnist...
Published: 04/20/18
Rachel Slade talks books, magic hands in the library and the sinking of El Faro

Rachel Slade talks books, magic hands in the library and the sinking of El Faro

NightstandRachel SladeIn her new book, Into the Raging Sea, Slade gives an in-depth account of the tragic sinking of the El Faro, a Jacksonville-based cargo ship that plummeted to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean during Hurricane Joaquin. While doing...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/24/18
Book review: James Comey wants to explain himself

Book review: James Comey wants to explain himself

In 2016, as the director of the FBI, James Comey publicly dissected Hillary Clinton’s email server controversy. Later, we learned that Comey was keeping to himself the beginnings of an investigation into Russia’s active interference in the U.S. elect...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Review: Richard Powers’ ‘Overstory’ an ever-branching story of humans and trees

Review: Richard Powers’ ‘Overstory’ an ever-branching story of humans and trees

Henry David Thoreau once heaved a big stone against the trunk of a chestnut tree to bring down a shower of nuts. He loved their sweet meat, but the meal filled him with guilt. "It is worse than boorish, it is criminal, to inflict an unnecessary injur...
Published: 04/18/18
Florida historian Jack E. Davis wins Pulitzer Prize for ‘The Gulf’’

Florida historian Jack E. Davis wins Pulitzer Prize for ‘The Gulf’’

Florida got a shoutout from the Pulitzer Prizes on Monday: The 2018 literary prize for history was awarded to University of Florida professor Jack E. Davis for his book The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea.Davis, who grew up in Pinellas County and...
Published: 04/16/18
Notable: Lose yourself in books that reimagine tales and legends

Notable: Lose yourself in books that reimagine tales and legends

NotableLegends 2.0Three new books offer striking reimaginings of the tales and legends of different cultures. Children of Blood and Bone (Henry Holt and Co.) by Tomi Adeyemi is a debut YA novel of epic magical adventure with characters based on the O...
Published: 04/13/18
Hey, book lovers: SunLit Festival continues with events aplenty

Hey, book lovers: SunLit Festival continues with events aplenty

Lots of things to do for literary-minded folks in Tampa Bay, and most of them are free.
Published: 04/12/18