Adventures in Reading


Books in Audio

If you ever have the oppurtunity to hear an author or poet read their works please allow me to stress and encourage you to take advantage of the situation. Last Thursday evening I went to such a reading to hear Nin Andrews and Kirk Nesset, and I had a phenomenal time. While some people find this distracting to the literature and there are bound to be disappointments, listening to an author read their works adds new dimensions and allows you the oppurtunity to ask a multitude of questions and to get to know the author’s influences and styles. (Not to mention that at most readings unpublished literature is usually read as well as published.)

Before I comment on the readers and their works, I did want to stress a new dimension of physicality that is added. Ideally an author reading their own text will read it the way it is intended to be read. While this is undoubtedly not always true, it is fascinating to see and hear the personage behind the literature. I know certain pieces have entirely changed for me after hearing the readings. For example, Diane Gilliam Fisher’s Kettle Bottom. I had read this book of poems multiple times but upon seeing and hearing her read the poetry I cried unabashedly during the entire program.

This was my third time hearing Nin Andrews read. The first time she almost exclusively read from Book of Orgasms, which I at the time found distracting and juvenile. (Blame it on my sophomore year creative writing course where many of my peers had gone beyond tittering about sexuality and entered a new realm of gorging on the sexiness of sex.) Rereading that collection of poetry now, some years later, is entirely different and far more meaninfgul. However, at her reading Andrews read new poems that will be in her next collection and she also read from her book Sleeping With Houdini. Andrews overall is a delightful poet but she really shines and moves the reader when her poetry is more confessionary in style.

Kirk Nesset was sensational. Thursday was my first time even of hearing him (and his adorable pooch Ryan he brought with him), and I was so impressed I had no qualms in dropping $20+ for his newly released collection of short stories Paradise Road. The readings were quirky and fun, and Nesset added a charming humor to them that so far has carried over into the actual writing. Another perk to listening to authors: sometimes you get to hang out with them afterwards, and after a few beers with Nesset I am now even more thrilled to see what else he has written.

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