Saturday, April 21, 2018
Books

What's James Anderson reading?

Nightstand

James Anderson

Anderson is a former publisher who oversaw Breitenbush Books, a publishing house he founded in Portland, Ore., in 1975. Early next year, Anderson, 62, will see his own book published when Caravel Books releases his novel, The Never-Open Desert Diner. Anderson describes the book as "a literary noir hybrid.'' Set in the high desert of southwestern Utah, it is the story of Ben Jones, a truck driver whose life takes a mysterious turn when he comes across a woman playing a cello.

What's on your nightstand?

A lot. First, I've got Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. He is the (executive director) of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama. The book involves death row, and he makes quite a larger, persuasive case about the death penalty. It's very good. It's important to honor the conventions of storytelling even if you are writing nonfiction. I read all kinds of things, and ones that have the biggest impact on me are the ones that tell stories.

And to whom would you recommend Just Mercy?

Anybody who wants a really good story and also those interested in social justice.

Do you want to continue with the other books on your nightstand?

I've also got Rex Burns, Body Slam. It concerns a detective based in Colorado. I've got Morning Light by Barbara Drake. It reminisces about Oregon. I've got Missing the Moon, poems by Bin Ramke, and Breathturn Into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry of Paul Celan.

Do you read poetry often?

Yes, I read poetry off and on all the time. I think fiction writers can learn so much from reading poetry, about syntax and juxtaposition of metaphor. It helps elevate prose.

When did you decide to write The Never-Open Desert Diner?

Someone close to me was a heroin addict, and I was helping this person, and in order to do that we had to move, basically to run from drug dealers. As I was trying to help get him off heroin, I didn't have a computer, but I wanted to write. I started writing the novel on stationery. It just came out because it was a way of entertainment for me during this time.

Since you were in the business and now you're looking at it from a writer's point of view, how important is it in 2014 to have a publicist and an agent?

I want to give you concise answers. Yes, I do think agents are important. Are they as important as they used to be? It depends on where you are at with your career. Is a publicist important? Yes. In part because you can't do everything yourself. If you try to do everything yourself, when are you going to have time to write? When are you going to hug your children? When are you going to go to work? The fact is that there are things publicists can do and they can do them better than you.

Contact Piper Castillo at [email protected] or (727) 445-4163. Follow @Florida_PBJC.

Comments
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
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 Dial M for Murder. His new novel is True Fiction, an Ian Ludlow mystery. When we caught up with him by phone recently...
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
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
Review: In ‘God Save Texas,’ Lawrence Wright finds the state of the nation’s future

Review: In ‘God Save Texas,’ Lawrence Wright finds the state of the nation’s future

Lawrence Wright has taken on plenty of complex and controversial topics.The New Yorker staff writer and author of nine previous books won a Pulitzer Prize for The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 and was a finalist for the National Book A...
Published: 04/12/18