The New York Times review of Christopher Paolini's dragon-loving Eragon perhaps describes it best: "For all its flaws, is an authentic work of great talent." Paolini, for all his nearly 25 years, is an arguably talented fantasy writer whose skills, we can hope, are refined in his upcoming book, Brisingr. The third installment of the Inheritance Cycle—which was originally billed as a trilogy but is now a four-parter—releases on Saturday, Sept. 20, and two Albuquerque Barnes and Noble locations (600 Menaul NE and 3701-A Ellison NW) are celebrating with dragon-related events. Both gatherings start at 10 a.m.
I’ve always been fascinated with artist biographies—poring over who did what, when and at what age. Like how Joseph Kosuth wrote Art After Philosophy and After when he was 24 or how Gordon Matta-Clark did his amazing architectural cuts before dying at the age of 35. This historical research matters when you make art. It’s barometric; using the lives of the artists you admire as a way to put your own career (or lack thereof) in context. If you’re 25 and you read that Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignon when he was 26, it creates a kind of historical chip on your shoulder and you grumble back into the studio to try to one-up the bastard.
Junot Díaz is the “It Kid” in literature today. The author of the 1996 short story collection Drown, he was awarded this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead). The novel chronicles the journey of an overweight, sci-fi loving, Lord of the Rings-obsessed, first-generation Dominican-American whose hopes as a writer are crushed by his inability to find love (or even a little action).