Saturday, November 28, 2015

Chattng With Guterson, Brunelle, And Hinman At Bainbridge Island Bookstore

We wandered into downtown Winslow and stopped at the bookstore (Eagle Harbor Book Co.) where we ran into three local Bainbridge Island authors on display with their books.  I guess this can be anywhere from author hell to heaven, trying to get people to buy your books.  And for me it was a chance to talk to three writers.

Gutterson with Problems With People and Cedars
I had read David Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars long ago - it won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.  It weaves in Bainbridge Island's complicated history of Japanese-Americans' relationship to the white population on the island through a murder trial.   It deals with the essential topic of this blog - how do we know what's true?  Did Kabuo kill Carl over old family feuds?  There's also a pivotal role for a journalist who has his own history with the families involved.  

David's new book is short stories titled, Problems with People.  We talked a bit about the difficulties of writing about people you know.  He offered that when it's fictionalized, no one really knows what is true and what is not.  Except, I suggested, those involved, and they might not agree with the writer's view of events.  Personal experiences are critical fodder for a serious writer.  It's a dilemma.   

Lynn Brunelle, was enjoying the opportunity to talk about her book Mama Gone Geek As I understood her,  it's about figuring out ways to talk to her kids about big questions - like why Grandma was forgetting things, but really was into Santa Claus when her son was starting to question Santa Claus.  Using science.

She used DNA to help explain where babies come from.

My daughter told me when we got home that Lynne was one of the writers for the Bill Nye The Science Guy television show.

The third author was Wendy Hinman.  From the title of her book, Tightwads On The Loose, I thought this was going to be about how to live cheap.  It is, in a way, but it's really about her seven years of sailing adventures with her husband on a 31 foot sailboat.  The route our discussion focused on was from Japan to Seattle - a 49 day trip that was a little south of the northern route that freighters take.  I asked if she seen the Pacific Gyre - the continent of floating plastic in the north Pacific - and she said no.  It tends not to have good winds and they were sailing.  Their radio went out fairly quickly, so all they had in case of trouble was an emergency beacon.

Since I'm from Alaska, she mentioned her friend's book, Treadwell Gold.  We had been to the mine back in 2010 when Dennis, a Juneau local with long family ties to the mine, took us around.

Here, from the Hinman's book, is a map of their travels.  Sorry it's not a little clearer, but you make it bigger and clearer by clicking on the image.

[Update Nov. 30, 2015:  I once told an ADN reporter it would be nice to have an editor to catch my typos.  He told me, no, I was better off without one.  He was talking more bout choice of what I wrote and and how I wrote, not about typos.   That's all a preface to a mea culpa to Wendy and David for misspelling your names.  Wendy's caught while I was posting, but left it wrong in the title.  I put an extra t in David's.  But I think I've got it right now.]

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