Better with Eggers
Last Saturday, one of our great contemporary writers visited Santa Cruz and delighted an eager crowd as he read from his book The Eyes and the Impossible. Presented as a conversation between Eggers and his editor for the book Taylor Norman, this was much more than the average literary event. The house was packed, and Eggers put on a virtuosic show complete with a huge trunk full of props he used to engage the audience.
Eggers is a serious writer, but also one who doesn’t skimp on fun. He writes rigorous journalistic articles for esteemed outlets, but he also authors heartfelt children’s books. This range was on full display Saturday as he shifted from topics like the resilient spirit of Ukrainians during this current war, to the wild child antics of kids riding cardboard sleds dangerously downhill in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. He threaded all his thoughts together with an obvious love for language.
A Book as a Beautiful Object
The smell of a new book is one of my favorite scents. It announces the start of a journey, an adventure’s beginning. Eggers displayed his love of books as beautiful objects when he described to the crowd how he developed the deluxe wood-bound edition of The Eyes and The Impossible for McSweeney’s, the small publisher he founded by Eggers in 1998.
An Office on a Ship
Eggers explained how he came to write this book in a boat office in the San Francisco Bay. As the stay-at-home orders of the pandemic brought the internet to his previously WiFi-free home, Eggers felt the need to escape distraction by setting up shop inside a sailboat at the harbor. The result was that he found himself surrounded by wildlife and this ambient element proved the perfect background noise to write his book that is an ode to wildness and wild spaces.
Eggers’ question and answer session included planted questions whose answers included borrowing a prop from his hefty trunk. This had the audience rumbling with laughter as he grinned with his canine-like smile. This new book is about the life of a dog, after all, and he embodied that spirit with ease. Check out his new book about Johannes the free dog in The Eyes and the Impossible, and make sure to purchase it at Bookshop Santa Cruz to support their ability to bring world class writers to Santa Cruz.