Nightstand | Andy J. Solomon
Solomon, 66, is a Shakespearean scholar and English professor who was hired by the University of Tampa in 1976 to design and administer its creative writing major. Solomon, a Clearwater resident, is also the author of fiction and poetry, and has been published in the Atlantic, Boulevard, Creative Nonfiction and New Orleans Review.
What's on your nightstand?
Suttree by Cormac McCarthy, and I'm also reading Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W. Loewen.
Is Cormac McCarthy one of your favorites?
His writing is beautiful. In Suttree, you find yourself luxuriating in the language. It's interesting because Suttree isn't as plot driven as, say, All the Pretty Horses.
So for you, does that make Suttree a more pleasurable read?
Not exactly, because of course everyone enjoys plot. It keeps us turning the pages, but he creates such a richly textured atmosphere through his language that the book becomes a delightful aesthetic experience.
Lies My Teacher Told Me is on history and history books. Are you reading it for pleasure?
I'm reading it because of my interest in how we teach history in our schools. We should do a better job. Without understanding where we've been, we can't understand where we are going. . . . I don't think this is the fault of history teachers. It's really the fault of the textbook adoption committees on school boards. If you are a publisher of history textbooks, you've got to satisfy all the school boards around the country that insist that America gets presented in a glowing light.
For readers who experience Shakespeare anxiety, what Shakespeare would you recommend?
There are two or three. For kids, Romeo and Juliet seems to absorb them, with Juliet being two weeks shy of her 14th birthday. Two other plays I'd introduce to anyone are Julius Caesar — it seems to be the easiest introduction — and Othello, because it is so totally gripping on stage and it concerns sexual jealousy, which everyone has experienced.
I remember when I was in school Hamlet seemed to grab students.
Actually Hamlet might have been the play that brought me into Shakespeare too. Back then it was during the Vietnam War. Hamlet was ordered by the older generation to kill someone, which was very much against his nature, and many men of my generation faced the same dilemma.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer