Chabon Visits New York

This may shock some of my regular readers, but despite the fact that my Web site will celebrate its fifth year anniversary in six weeks, tonight was actually the first time I’ve ever actually met Michael Chabon or been to one of his readings. And so, for once, I get to give you the news first hand on what happened.

More than 150 people turned out to hear Chabon read from The Yiddish Policemen’s Union at a Barnes & Noble. The reading was part of a national tour promoting the paperback version of the hit novel about the frozen chosen.

Never having been to one of these before, it was interesting to see what people brought with them for signatures. I spied a guy with a mint condition copy of Untold Tales of Kavalier & Clay ready for Chabon’s John Hancock, and to my right and left were people who lugged every one of Chabon’s books with them. (As for me, I just brought a copy of — what else — Kavalier & Clay.)

A Q&A followed. Among the highlights:

On Who Is He Reading: Kelly Link. “Two great collections,” he said.

On People Who Call Yiddish Policemen’s Union Anti-Semetic: “I’m just such a philo-semite that it’s hard to get my mind around.”

On Advice for Young Writers: “Take it easy on yourself,” he says. “When you’re 20, 21, 22 and you think you want to become a writer and you are writing, you also have a tendency to feel guilty when you don’t write.” He was only 22 when he wrote Mysteries of Pittsburgh, he noted. “I probably could have had a lot more fun and still gotten going on the novel.”

On The Coen Brothers Directing the Yiddish Policemen Adaptation: “That sucks,” he said (sarcastically of course).

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