Tracy Kidder, Anne Fadiman, Joyce Carol Oates, and thousands of screaming kids

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The books, at least, are silent (Photo: L.A. Cicero)

I’m off, or close to being off, for the annual “Three Books” event at Stanford — this year featuring Tracy Kidder, Anne Fadiman, Joyce Carol Oates, and thousands of screaming kids in Memorial Auditorium. The din is truly frightening, as this year’s incoming freshmen try to signal their identification with their future alma mater by yelling, chanting, hooting, whistling, and stomping.

I will be quietly typing in a corner as the three authors answer questions about their books – actually two books and a pamphlet:  2009’s Strength in What Remains by Kidder; Fadiman’s 1997 book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down; and Oates’ 1996 short story, “The Undesirable Table,” reprinted in pamphlet form, from her collection Will You Always Love Me?

lt’s usually an interesting show — always a noisy one.  I wonder if Oates’s eminent presence will subdue the mob a little — she’s regularly shortlisted for the Nobel (at least at Ladbroke’s).

More later…


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