Dave Eggers

In 2010, someone recommended a book to me.  The book was, Zeitoun.  The author:  the incomparable Dave Eggers.  Cue a rapper in the background yelling out:  "Often imitated, never duplicated!"  All jokes aside, I probably would not have ever read this book based on the title or the cover; luckily for me I was in the throes of having a crush on the recommender and so I pressed on.  I'm so very glad I did (because let's put it this way the crush is long gone, but I still have Eggers)!

The book is a true story about a Syrian-American man named Zeitoun, living in New Orleans in 2005.  You guessed it; the plot is centered around the infamously horrific Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath of that storm.  The surprise comes when you suddenly can't remember if you are reading a book about 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina.  Zeitoun's story is unfathomable, and I highly recommend that people read it! 

Shortly after reading the book I saw that Dave Eggers was going to be doing a reading/discussion on the book at the historic Tattered Cover in LoDo.  While I definitely wasn't subscribed to the school of Eggers quite yet, I figured I would go check it out.

Picture this:

March 4th 2010, a girl on the verge of turning 29, and having recently discovered that she was indeed capable of noticing the men folk around her.  Hello.... Mecca!  Sensory overload!  Upon arriving at aforementioned book signing, she was surprised to see that in a swerving line that wound it's way through aisles of books there were scattered upon the floor: bearded men.  Bearded men drinking coffee, bearded men with their nalgene's, bearded men with their stacks of Dave Eggers books waiting to be signed.  Welcome to the cult of Dave Eggers! 

As I found my way to the back of the line and popped a squat on the floor, I looked at my phone:  2 hours to go!  Who is this author?  Why are there so many people here?  Sipping on my latte and listening to others around me I came to a conclusion:  These people care about education.  At the time I was working at a crummy call center that took advantage of people and put them on the path to education through for profit colleges where I knew they were going to pay way too much for their "education" and that their so called "credits" would never transfer to a legitimate institution.  Needless to say, at that point I was only dreaming of the day that I would work for a real school. 

---At last, they opened the doors for us!  The room quickly filled and people were left standing in any spot they could find around the edge and at the back of the room.  Once the room had settled, a staff member approached the podium and introduced... Dave Eggers!  He approached the podium.  He seemed kind of short; had some facial scruff, dark hair, deep eyes; overall a good looking fella.  By the end of his presentation I was in love. 

Eggers is quite accomplished.  Aside from shedding light on human rights violations, he has been a pulitzer prize finalist, has started a publishing empire, opened a chain of unique tutoring centers, has given one of the most inspiring TED talks about said tutoring centers, has written screenplays, and most recently has started a foundation called ScholarMatch where they help match under resourced kids with donors to raise funds for college.  He is AMAZING!!!

Since this magical night in March of 2010 where I became converted and now buy into all things "Eggers";  I have since read:  You Shall Know Our Velocity!, A Hologram for the King (his newest), and most recently I read his oldest, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.  And can I just say, wow!?!?!  Sure, I haven't yet read everything the man has written, but I can honestly say that I think he may be the most influential and significant writer of our time!  And sure, his McSweeney's website is filled to the brim with worshipers of Dave; some are hilarious, and some don't even have an ounce of what he has and they come off as derivative wannabes.  Anyone familiar with his work cannot deny... that he has sparked a hip lit revolution!

Even with this healthy obsession, I will not be running out and reading every last word he has ever written right away; Eggers is not someone I want to saturate my reading craving with all at once.  I like to let whatever I've just read of his marinate for a while; enjoy it, take it in.  However, with each book of his read one thing becomes more and more undoubtedly clear: This won't be the last, I will be back for more!