Read It Forward loves Erik Larson – his books, his blog, the way he lets us inside “the author’s lair,” his candid talk about where he gets ideas for his books. He wanders the library stacks, he reads newspaper obits, he visits museums when he’s on tour. “Mostly, though, I have no idea where my ideas come from,” he admits, “They rise to the surface over time like methane in a swamp, waiting to be ignited by some small spark.”
A wine-propelled conversation with a publishing industry friend recently dovetailed with a thread on Twitter to remind me that as much as talking about books I love, I’m always happy to talk about books I didn’t love. Books that enticed, then disappointed.
Kira here, editor of Read It Forward. I have to tell you about the day I met Stacey Lannert, author of Redemption. I was working at Harmony Books at the time. I remember when editor Julia Pastore brought in Stacey’s memoir proposal. Her story is unthinkable. To say I was nervous to meet her would be an understatement.
Chances are, you’ve read it, read about it, or heard friends talking about this extraordinary story. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has been hailed by critics and embraced by readers, including RIFers! In addition to spending fifty-five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks has been selected for over 60 Best of the Year lists and has already won several awards. Soon to be made into an HBO movie by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball. Not to be missed.
When I began to write a book about these four men and the revolution in science they helped bring about, I saw it as a story of science and ideas. Soon, however, it became a story of friendship. These men were such fascinating intellects. Each was brilliant in more than one field – Babbage the inventor of the first computer, Herschel a great astronomer who also coinvented photography, and Jones an economist of note who influenced Karl Marx – and together they utterly transformed science. Yet they were also passionate, loving men, whose relationships with one another (as well as with the women in their lives) were intense. This was a true fellowship of minds and hearts, one which I still find inspiring.