“The way things worked” here last week, Lisa and Lisa conducted an author interview very close to home. We walked down our Vermont town’s main street, just past the local library, Dan & Whit’s general store and our favorite independent bookseller , to climb a set of wooden stairs that landed us in the magical studio (Greek columns included) of local author and illustrator David Macaulay .
Our conversation with Mr. Macaulay took a few more philosophical twists and turns than most jamcasts. We touched on questions such as “when is one truly educated?”, “why do we read?”, “what are “appropriate” topics for children’s literature?”, “how does one find their passion?” and “how do you tell a good story?”.
In between reflecting on these lofty topics (and nibbling on coffee cake Lisa LC brought along – see if you can hear the clinking of knives and forks in the background) we discuss in-depth David’s recent recommended reading including: Richard Hamblyn’s The Invention of Clouds: How an Amateur Meteorologist Forged the Language of the Skies. His thoughts about this nonfiction book inspired both Lisa’s to more deeply consider not only clouds but other every day phenomenon, such as snowflakes, raindrops, sand and eventually even death as we learned about another of Macaulay’s favorite books, How We Die: Reflections of Life’s Final Chapter by Sherwin Nuland. This is the only book he has ever read in one sitting as it was so fascinating he was unable to put it down.
We also learned what Mr. Macaulay’s wife and children, all avid daily readers, are engrossed in and took a moment to appreciate the importance of a good librarian . His family’s current reading choices include a young James Bond series by Charlie Higson, Anthony Horowitz’s series for young adults, The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, and Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout. David Macaulay’s own childhood reading remembrances include Hans Christian Anderson’s Fairy Tales , Grimm’s Fairy Tales and titles that use maps to enrich story and the stimulate the imagination – The Wind in the Willows and Peter Pan.
Based upon David’s recent reading materials, Lisa LC added two recommendations: Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup and Hot Pink Flying Saucers and Other Clouds by Gavin Pretor-Pinney and International Cloud Appreciation Society members (who knew there was such an organization).
This epidsode of the Bookjam offers an insight into what can inspire the best conversations – hit upon what a person is passionate about and listen – and how much fun it is to speak with someone who is as gracious as he is interesting.
David Macaulay’s many books include: The Way Things Work, The Way We Work, Angelo, Black and White, Mosque, and Cathedral to name only a few.