J.C. Hallman's "B & Me" -- The Writer as Reader (and Fan, and Critic, and Commentator, Etc.)

Mar 11, 2015

On this edition of ST, we speak with the writer J.C. Hallman, who was raised in Southern California, studied at the University of Pittsburgh and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and now teaches at Oklahoma State University. (Hallman can be visited online at his website.) We speak with Hallman about his widely acclaimed new work of "creative criticism" -- just now out from Simon & Schuster -- called "B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal." This book is a funny, smart, far-reaching, and often insightful meditation on the life and literary development of the contemporary American writer Nicholson Baker -- who himself once wrote a book about John Updike called "U & I." But Hallman's "B & Me" is also an engaging exploration of our culture's relationship to books in a digital and screen-defined age, the role of art in an increasingly commodified world, the power that good books have to both change us and help us grow, and so on. And further, as was noted of this book in a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "Witty.... Hallman is a talented writer.... 'B & Me' is a wide-ranging and idiosyncratic career survey for Nicholson Baker's work, a love letter to the act of reading, and a commentary on the modern novel. It's difficult to do Hallman's work justice, but this is a book that readers will absolutely adore." Note that Hallman will be reading from and signing copies of this book tonight, Wednesday the 11th, at a Book Smart Tulsa event at Lucky's on the Green. The event begins at 7pm, and the venue is located at the Guthrie Green in downtown Tulsa.