This week contains the very, very best holiday of the year. I’m looking at you, Thanksgiving! I know some of you have already put up the tree and have Bing Crosby blasting right now (SHAME!), but I implore you to pause and think of the great benefits to savoring this beautiful day of gratitude, loved ones and comfort food. I sincerely hope you are spending Thanksgiving this year surrounded by your loved ones. Here at the library, we’ve been thinking about beloved authors, specifically about which beloved authors we would want to share our holiday table this week. I sent a request to my colleagues to tell us which authors they would invite to dinner, and this is the digital conversation that ensued. These are authors for whom we are grateful, and with whom we would happily share a turkey and a pumpkin pie. We’re breaking with tradition this week–there’s more than ten–but if there is ever a day when your cup runneth over, this is it. May you and yours have so much to be grateful for during this season. Happy Thanksgiving from the Orem Library!
Wally Stegner, obviously! I have a bit of a crush on him, but I’d invite his wife Mary as well. Not only was he brilliant and handsome, he was wise and a touch curmudgeonly, too.
Erin Morgenstern, if for no other reason, so we could find out when the next book will be released. Because we are DYING!
Sherman Alexie. This would make for entertaining, inappropriate dinner conversation, which is essential to any Thanksgiving feast.
J.R.R. Tolkien. A man who invented hobbits, with their insatiable appetites, has got to enjoy a good meal himself, yes? Plus, all of my family members are Lord of the Rings nerds who work in quotes from Samwise, Gandalf, Aragorn et al at every opportunity, so perhaps we would all delight the author with our witty use of his words. At any rate, how cool would it be when the potatoes were placed on the table and someone said “You know, taters? Boil ’em, mash ’em, stick ’em in a stew?” with Tolkien sitting right there with us?
David Foster Wallace could, if assured his bandana is perfectly appropriate for the occasion and made to feel comfortable by the company present, converse intelligently but not pompously about any subject. We may need to add lobster to the menu.
Emily Dickinson, to get her out of her room, and to engage in iambic conversation.
Anthony Burgess, to tell him I know that we all know he continued to write and publish after Clockwork orange, but insist that everything he says during and after dinner be said in Nadsat. We’d have to be careful not to mention Stanley Kubrick.
M. R. James. Though Halloween would be behind us, it’s always fun to hear ghost stories after dinner, and, in the written form, James is the master.
Flannery O’Conner because her Southern accent would take me back to my childhood. She may bring a proper pecan pie, instruct us on the proper, or best, pronunciation of “pecan,” and may bring along peacock.
Thomas Pynchon, mainly to make Mike Smith happy, but also because he is cool enough to be, or, at least, to once have been, a huge Giant Sand fan.
Haruki Murakami to cook the spaghetti, and be the DJ.
Norah Ephron! Her books, movies, and the descriptions of those who knew her show that she was funny, kind, clever, and charming. She was also an excellent cook, although, based on an essay in I Remember Nothing, I think we’d end up fighting passive-aggressively about who would bring dessert. Pie is my thing.
I would add the Nabokovs, Vladimir and Vera, to the guest list. After the meal Vladimir could lecture on the proper way of identifying butterflies, namely through comparison of the microscopic structures of their genitalia. Vera could document the routes of their epic American road trips.
I would need Jane Austen. Her wit and commentary would brighten any family function. And H.P. Lovecraft. He’s from Rhode Island so we are practically kin. If we plied him with drink, he could tell tales at the table that would prevent overeating. I am sure.
I appreciate James inviting Thomas Pynchon to the party on my behalf. However, all other guests should brush up on their epistemological marginalia and Looney Tunes back catalog before dinner. I’ll bring the Acme blowtorch and anvil.
I would also like to invite Hunter S. Thompson to bring the dessert. He and Dostoyevsky can wind each other up about crime and politics, and afterward we can all go out back to shoot pop cans off the porch.
It would certainly be interesting to get Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky up to speed on America’s political climate. Some say that our current presidential election evokes Dostoevsky’s novel Demons. I would like to talk to the great Russian and world literature psychologist about American politics, violence/crime, education, religiosity, and mental health issues. That’s a lot to cover in one evening.
I invite Mary Roach, author of Bonk, Stiff, and Gulp, to set the tone for my dinner conversational style.
Not a one. Nobody! I hate company for Thanksgiving. It’s best (and maximized for gluttonous consumption) with no one around but the cook, the kids, and that guy who is sometimes awake after 2PM. Unplug the phone and bring me the bird.
At one point in time, I may have invited John Madden. No more.
Don’t forget Mark Twain, to provide scathing commentary and jokes at everybody’s expense.
As you can tell, our literary Thanksgiving would be epic. And I gotta say, with the delightful characters here on staff at the Orem Library, it wouldn’t hurt to have a few of them around your holiday table either. I am certainly grateful for our library staff, the great colleagues who make this place hum, and for the community that makes this collection of knowledge and information possible. And I’m thankful for all of you blog-readers and library patrons. Very happy Thanksgiving, my friends.