Breakfast with Links, Monday, September 22nd
Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken

On the Books, with Elisha Cooper

PastedGraphic.jpg-1 (2) Picture-book people know Elisha Cooper as the creator of such gems as A Goodnight Walk, Beach, and Magic Thinks Big. Parents could relate to Crawling, a memoir of his first year as a dad. Now young-adult readers are getting acquainted with this versatile writer's work in ridiculous/hilarious/terrible/cool: A Year in an American High School. Reported with a wry sense of humor, the "literary documentary," as Bookslut says, navigates the hallways with eight students at Chicago's Walter Payton College Prep High School; small illustrations by the author run throughout the book.

I invited Elisha Cooper to stop by and visit, asking him, of course, about what he's reading lately. Take it away, Mr. C.
I’m reading too much now, and not in a good way. In the morning, I’m swearing my way through The New York Times. Throughout the day, I continue to read The Times and online for the latest election coverage. Though, maybe this shouldn’t be considered reading. Gorging?
But I am reading with my daughters, and that’s good. I just bought Old Bear, the new picture book by Kevin Henkes, and have been looking at it with my four-year-old. With my six-year-old, we’ve been reading Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And I’ve been reading them both Castle, by David Macaulay. I loved this book as a boy, and it’s been fun rediscovering it (“It’s déjà vu, all over again!” as Yogi Berra said), sharing cool stuff about drawbridges and battle axes with my two girls. They seem to like it.

Once the girls are in bed, I’ve been reading Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (with one eye on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart). I’ve read it twice before (I guess I have a habit of rereading books I love), and it may be one of the most fascinating best-written books ever. It’s about, well,… read it.

It’s so good, but the problem is that it’s keeping me up late. I’m up until two in the morning, bleary-eyed, chin-dropping my way through another amazing chapter. Great books sort of kill you.

And then it’s morning again, and more election-coverage to suffer through in The Times. I’ve got to stop reading.

P.S., don't miss Elisha Cooper's funny piece in Publisher's Weekly about the awkwardness of writing the author's note. The dynamic blogging duo at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast features a lengthy interview with Mr. C. today, too. Last summer Chasing Ray talked to the author about how he wrote ridiculous/hilarious/terrible/cool.

Previously in "On the Books":

Marc Tyler Nobleman
Betsy Howie
Susan Taylor Brown
Nathaniel Lachenmeyer
Janet Halfmann


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How funny that you and the 7-Imps are on the same page with Elisha Cooper today!! I really love that loose, wavy artwork of his.

It's Elisha Cooper week! Who knew? I like his art, too, TadMack.

Yeah, really. Who knew? That's great! What a nice surprise.

That Henkes book he speaks of is just sublime.

Jules, that is a hoot.

I'm liking the Henkes book more each time I read it. I LOVE EC's "Magic Thinks Big"; I had a cat almost that size. His name was Edward.

My very favorite, though it's hard to pick, is A Good Night Walk (I hope I got the title exactly right). It's captivating! And, yes, Magic Thinks Big is wonderful, too.

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