Monday, May 5, 2014

Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson's latest book is One Summer: America, 1927.

From his Q & A with Emma Chastain for The Barnes & Noble Book Blog:

Did you ever consider writing a baseball book?

I always wanted to do a baseball book; I love baseball. The problem is that a very large part of my following is in non-baseball playing countries. So I have to factor that in. And I’ve always been keenly fascinated with Babe Ruth as a person. You don’t have to know anything about baseball to respond to Babe Ruth because he’s just this magnificent human being. And a really good story because he was this kid who grew up essentially as an orphan, you know, had a tough life, and then he became the most successful baseball player ever. But he was also a really good guy. He was good to kids and he was very, very accommodating to his fans. If you look at photographs, he’s always surrounded by hundreds of kids, and they obviously loved him and he loved them. You don’t have to know baseball to respond to that. So I thought Babe Ruth would be a good way for me into baseball.

I did realize that Lindbergh was at the same time. I thought, “That’s got to make for an interesting story, the fact that you’ve got these two things happening.” And what I found—to my complete surprise—was there were all these other things happening at the same time in the summer of ‘27. Things like the Great Mississippi Flood and the execution of Sacco-Vanzetti, Al Capone and Prohibition. There’s lots and lots of books on all of those things individually but nobody’s ever seen them as part of a package. What I found was that all these things interlinked in interesting ways, and influenced each other in ways that hadn’t been noticed before.

Did you discover anything that surprised you about the way Americans lived their daily lives in 1927?

A lot of it was just...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue