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Ronreads interview: Junot Diaz

Unless you guys have been living under a rock lately, you probably all know that Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz was in town recently for the second Manila International Literary Festival organized by the National Book Development Board and co-presented by National Book Store.

Getting to interview him for my newspaper job wasn’t just a big honor, it was also stressful beyond belief. See, I have this thing of melting down right in front of really established foreign writers. Since I know that these authors have done a lot of interviews before, I try to think of the most unique question that I can – which really just end up in disaster, as evidenced by my interview with Neil Gaiman.

For this interview, I tried not to do too much research lest I end up psyching myself out like I did with Neil Gaiman. Aside from reading “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” and a lengthy interview he did with the Harvard Advocate in 2009, I pretty much tried to go into the interview with as clean a slate as possible.

I don’t really know if that worked out in my favor or if it relaxed me any, because I was still very, very nervous on the day itself. If it weren’t for the fact that Junot was such a nice guy and such an enthusiastic speaker, I feel like I would have made quite an ass out of myself yet again.

Anyway, under the cut is the complete transcript of my interview with him, while you can find the article I wrote for the newspaper here. And if you guys stick around, I might even announce a little giveaway later on!

Continue reading Ronreads interview: Junot Diaz

Your week in books#26

  • Here’s the trailer for “Snow White and the Huntsman”, where Bella Swan, after being trained by Thor, leads the Men of Gondor in a rebellion against Aeon Flux. or Aileen Wuornos if you’re all indie and stuff.
  • Two Pulitzer Prize winners will be heading to our fair shores next week! Edward P. Jones, author of “The Known World“, and Junot Diaz, author of “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao“, will be taking part in the Manila International Literary Festival, which will be held from November 16 to 18. (Source)
  • There’s going to be a course on Harry Potter at Durham University in the United Kingdom. The Guardian’s kicker takes the cake, though: “Module will focus on ‘social, cultural and educational context’, but no word on whether Expelliarmus will be applied to students with poor grades.” (Source)
  • I love a good plagiarism story, and boy is this one crazy. Debut novelist Q. R.
    Q. R. Markham, plagiarist

    Markham’s novel, “Assassin of Secrets”, recently came out to strong reviews, with Publishers Weekly noting that the “obvious Fleming influence just adds to the appeal. Turns out, the “obvious Fleming influence” was around because Markham — Quentin Rowan in real life — used Fleming’s actual words, along with the word of Robert Ludlum and many more. The blog “Reluctant Habits” even provides a rundown of the works plagiarized! (Source 1, Source 2)

  • “Assassin of Secrets” most definitely will not make it to Amazon’s Best Book of 2011. Haruki Murakami’s “1Q84” and Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus” made it though! (Source)
  • The New York Observer has a nice profile on Anthony Bourdain, who it appears is now going into publishing. (Source)
  • Barnes and Noble has a new Nook tablet out! (Source)
  • Check out “The Books They Gave Me”, a Tumblr blog focusing on books given by lovers. (Source)
  • Take a look at some stills from the David Cronenberg film, “Cosmopolis”, based on the Don Delilio novel of the same name. It stars Robert Pattinson! (Source)
  • In that other Robert Pattinson film that’s based on a book, he talks about how Bella’s placenta tastes like “cream cheese and strawberry jam”. I can’t wait to watch this movie. (Source)
  • Finally, “One Tree Hill” star Chad Michael Murray is now a graphic novelist, coming out with “Everlast” under Archaia. I will now take this opportunity to post shirtless pictures of him under the cut. (Source)

Continue reading Your week in books#26