[Ed: Since we spoke to him last, Gary Shteyngart has been fully immersing himself in the social media that his novel Super Sad True Love Story makes so horribly and amusingly disturbing, with regular (often dachshund-themed) Facebook updates about his book tour. He recently sent us a note which we pass on to you below.]
OMG, I just got back from the West Coast part of my tour and I’m sad to say: reading isn’t dead. Darn it!! I just wrote a book predicting the death of literature and here I go out into the world and hordes of people actually show up at my readings. Not just people, mind you. San Diegoans!
Some authors don’t like touring, but it’s so hard not to love my readers who I think (and I’m biased here) are the cutest, coolest, funniest people out there. They email my agent saying “Um, is it okay if I bring a Kindle for the author to sign?” Is it ever! I’ll sign freaking anything. What I really would love is for people to bring a dachshund, because my best friend is a weenie dog and I really miss him when I’m on the road. There was actually this guy at one of my readings who had this big long torso, stubby little legs, and the wettest brown eyes I’ve ever seen and I just kept turning back to him the whole reading and picturing him on all fours asking for a turkey treat. Sigh. Amazon should consider a rent-a-weenie program in select cities. It does get lonely out there on the road.
But not too lonely! Because people always cry out the strangest things. Elderly Russian woman at West Coast reading: “Do you know zey are killing Jews at San Francisco State University?”
Incredulous author: “I didn’t…Oh, my…Really?”
Russian Woman: “Yes, zey are vishoos anti-Semites!”
Author: “Well, I’m a vicious Semite!”
Later at the signing the woman hovers over me and when the last person leaves says, “You know, you’re not a bad writer, but you need to have children. Then you won’t be a child yourself. Look at Ayn Rand. Great writer, but never had children.” Point taken, ma’am. Shteyngart Shrugged.