Weekly Geeks #24 – Author “fun facts”

Weekly Geeks #24 sends us in search of fun facts about authors.

1. Choose a writer you like.
2. Using resources such as Wikipedia, the author’s website, whatever you can find, make a list of interesting facts about the author.
3. Post your fun facts list in your blog, maybe with a photo of the writer, a collage of his or her books, whatever you want.
4. Come (back to the main WG post on Dewey’s blog) to sign the Mr Linky with the URL to your fun facts post.
5. As you run into (or deliberately seek out) other Weekly Geeks’ lists, add links to your post for authors you like or authors you think your readers are interested in.

Ever since I read his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, almost twenty years ago, Michael Chabon has had a secure place near the top of my “favorite authors” list. However, his website doesn’t get nearly as high marks from me, so my facts come from his Wikipedia page (any opinions interjected are strictly my own, though).

  • The author was born on May 24, 1963 (a Gemini) in Washington DC, and grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and Columbia, MD. He also attended college in Pittsburgh.
  • The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael ChabonHis first novel, which takes place in Pittsburgh during the summer following the college graduation of the son of a Mob accountant, was written as his thesis for his MFA in Creative Writing. His advisor sent it to a literary agent without telling him.
  • His sympathetic portrayals of gay and sexually-confused young adults in The Mysteries of Pittsburgh earned him a mention in a late-1980’s Newsweek article about up-and-coming gay writers. It was a case of mistaken identity. Chabon was married to his first wife, poet Lollie Groth, at the time. He has been married to fellow writer Ayelet Waldman since 1993, and they have four children.
  • Wonder Boys: A Novel by Michael ChabonChabon’s second novel, Wonder Boys (my personal favorite), was inspired by his struggles with his first second novel. (Read the Wikipedia entry and that will make sense, I promise.)

  • For two years, Chabon produced The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist for Dark Horse Comics, a quarterly anthology based on the comic-book character created by Kavalier and Clay in their Adventures.
  • The Yiddish Policemen's Union: A Novel (P.S.) by Michael Chabon Chabon’s post-Pulitzer writing has focused on merging literary and genre fiction. His most recent novel, 2007’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, a “hardboiled detective story that imagines an alternate history in which Israel collapsed in 1948 and European Jews settled in Alaska,” won the Hugo and Nebula awards (for science fiction) and the Sidewise Award for Alternate History.
  • Chabon maintains a strict work schedule: 10 AM-3 PM, Sunday-Thursday (observing the Jewish Sabbath from Friday to Saturday evening), with a goal of writing 1000 words per day.
  • While he didn’t work on the screenplay for the well-received 2000 movie adaptation of Wonder Boys (one of my favorite book-to-movie pleasant surprises), about one-third of his screenplay draft for Spider-Man 2 was used in the final film.

Check out the Mr Linky on the main WG post and see if anyone has posted fun facts about any of your favorite authors! I found some for members of my family:

>> Ali at Worducopia‘s Weekly Geeks fun facts were all about one of my husband’s top favorites, Christopher Moorethis link is to his (irregularly updated) blog. (ALERT: Fool will be published on February 10, 2009!)

>> The Bookworm‘s WG post is about my stepdaughter’s favorite writer, Dean Koontz.

Do you know a fun fact about one of your favorite authors to share in the comments? Then please do so!

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  1. I really like Joyce Carol Oates. She draws beautiful fiction out of the stories of this USA, her home state, NY and her personal life.

    This post is very nicely done! Fun read!

  2. LarryG – I’ve read several of Oates’ novels – nowhere near all, since she’s insanely prolific, and some of them are frankly more appealing to me than others. The ones I have read never fail to pull me in, though, and since I spent a few years living in upstate NY, I like revisiting the area through her books.

  3. I thought these weekly geeks looked fun, but I just couldn’t decide on ONE author and don’t seem to have the time for longish posts. I’m glad you wrote about Michael Chabon – I had no idea he’d written comic books about the Escapist! I’d love the read those!

  4. When I started reading your post I knew I recognized the Chabon’s name, but I couldn’t place it at first. Then I got to the part about his latest novel and I remembered. I haven’t read it, but I’ve heard a lot about it.

    It’s kind of surprising that an author like this doesn’t have a whole lot of information about himself on his site.

    I’m going to go read the person’s post on Koontz now. 🙂

  5. Serena – Glad to have made the intro! If you’ve never read Chabon, I’d suggest you try him out.

    Michelle – I haven’t read them myself, but I’d heard about them. He’s veered off into some interesting directions in the last few years.

    Mike – His website was a real disappointment, I’m sorry to say. Then again, when it comes to authors’ websites, they can’t all be Jasper Fforde.

    Yeah, I thought of you (as well as my stepdaughter) when I posted that Koontz link :-). Have fun!

  6. I bought a copy of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay because of someone's recommendation, but I haven't had a chance to read it yet. My husband really liked it (I convinced him to give it a try since it had a comic book angle).

    I had never heard of Michael Chabon until recently and now I see his name everywhere. He's credited over and over with crossing the genre/literature line and getting people who wouldn't otherwise read genre fiction to give it a try.

  7. Wendy (Literary Feline) – I would be one of those who make the crossover because of Michael Chabon. I’m not much for genre, as I think most people who read my blog already know :-), but since I know his more traditional literary fiction already, I’d be more open to seeing his approach.

    I liked Kavalier & Clay a lot too – you should find a chance to read it yourself :-)!