Saturday, September 29, 2012

My brief wondrous visit with Junot Diaz

Washingtonian that I am, I was so sad to miss last weekend's National Book Festival. The sting was at least somewhat relieved when my friends Rina & Jacob invited me to go see one of the Festival's headliners when he came through the Bay Area recently. Junot Diaz was at the top of my must-see list. If I'd known what an interesting, unusual, and entertaining speaker he is, he would have been even higher on my list.

Confession: I never read Junot Diaz's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. It just... never happened. It's been nagging at me ever since. So, I jumped on his recent collection of linked stories, This is How You Lose Her. Consider my socks knocked right off. I'll be revisiting the backlist in the near future.

The videos posted here were filmed on Friday, September 14th, outside of Copperfield's Books in Santa Rosa, CA. Yes, outside. Diaz was cold. I was cold. And the lighting was really bad as the sun set. Sorry about that. Don't let that keep you from watching because Diaz is a fascinating speaker. And do go out to see him live, should you get the chance. These videos begin with the one at the top, and then can be watched in sequence moving down. Enjoy!


  1. I have "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" waiting for me to start after I finish "What in God's Name." Yay, me! Anyway, there's a great interview with Junot Diaz in Sunday's NYT Magazine, about inspiration, the theme for this week's issue. The interview's specifically about "This Is How You Lose Her" and where he goes for inspiration generally.

  2. Hey SL,

    Thanks for the heads up on the NYT article. I will check it out. Meanwhile, how timely is this? Did you see that Diaz won a MacArthur Genius Grant the other day? Yay, Junot! He needs it, if it takes him 16 years to complete a story collection.

    Yes, I need to get around to Oscar Wao. I'll be curious to hear your thoughts. Part of the reason I had not read it to date is that Knikkki hates the book violently. VIOLENTLY. We mostly agree, but occasionally she and I are really not sympatico, and I strongly suspect that to be the case here.

    Enjoy your reading!

  3. I hadn't heard about the grant. Kudos to Diaz!

    I'll be starting Oscar Wao today or tomorrow, so I'll let you know how that goes.