Will Hindmarch is a freelance writer, graphic designer, and game designer. He also blogs at Gameplaywright and The Gist. Look for him at Jeff VanderMeerâ€™s reading in Atlanta at 8pm on December 11th at Manuelâ€™s Tavern.
How did you find the book you’re reading now?
I first found Jeff VanderMeer’s books through this very instrument: the blog. First I discovered the writer, then I discovered his works. So I was a fan of Jeff’s before I was a fan of Ambergris. I read him, once, as the future king of Booklife, in a senseâ€”as a writer talking about the writing lifeâ€”and then, later, as a fantasist. So I don’t much remember Jeff’s work as a text alone, as stories from some mysterious stranger. I’ve always known it as Jeff’s writing.
How you discover a writer effects how you read the work, doesn’t it? Everything comes with this layer of context, and while we can relax our eyes and let it fall out of focus, so we see just the story on the page, it’s still there to be seen.
Thinking about it lately, as a I try to fathom how we find readers and how readers find us, I’ve realized that I find a lot of books by finding the writer first. It’s not usually blogs, for me, as much as it is hearing this or that story about this or that writer; catching a glimpse of an oeuvre before I go grasping for a bit of it. I read Michael Chabon’s novels because I’d read his essays here and there and thought, “I wonder how this guy builds his stories?” I read John Hodgman and David Rakoff after I heard them on This American Life.
I don’t do a lot of blind buying. I don’t gamble much with what I read. I’m not proud of that, necessarily, but there it is.
So I’m left wondering how you found what you’re reading now. How did you find your newest favorite book? And if that book is Finch, then tell me how you found VanderMeer.