19 June 2012

Five authors to watch out for on Twitter

Last week I went to a reading cohosted by Jami Attenberg, an author I discovered solely because she's on Twitter. Because of that, I know she's been out of New York for five-ish months (photos of New Orleans, road trips, cute dogs) and if we're lucky she might read from her new book THE MIDDLESTEINS, out this fall, whose fast food-patterned cover bears a blurb from none other than Jonathan Franzen. Of course, Franzen famously hates Twitter, but in Attenberg's case he might make an exception.

From Attenberg's tweets, and her blog, I assembled a picture of a woman who was quiet and solemn and somewhat tall. This is why online impressions are dangerous, because at the reading I was acquainted with a happy, near-bubbly woman who read from her New Orleans travel journal and made me want to pack my bags right away. (Also, about average height, not that it matters.) Turns out that social-media first impressions can be just as dangerous as the other kinds.

Here are five other authors you should check out on Twitter, if you aren't already following them.

Meghan Daum (@Meghan_Daum): Apparently she's not going to answer my pleas to write a new book every year, but the author of MY MISSPENT YOUTH and the recent LIFE WOULD BE PERFECT IF I LIVED IN THAT HOUSE writes a regular column for the L.A. Times now, and tweets about her writing life ("Speaking tonight at my alma mater. Managed to get worst case of laryngitis in my life. Anxiety dreams can come true!") as well as pithy commentary on the viral human-interest story of the day (on Marina Keegan: "Death of young Yale grad indisputably tragic. Wondering how many others w/o NYer jobs lined up also died last wk that we haven't heard abt?") It was also on Twitter that I found out (via Sarah Weinman, newsbearer to the book world) that she just signed a deal for a new essay collection, UNSPEAKABLE. Maybe I'll get my wish after all.

Elif Batuman (@BananaKarenina): Come for the punny name, stay for the insights into Turkish culture ("Naming the one Turkish character on your TV show 'Kemal Pamuk' is like naming your only British character 'Sir Winston Shakespeare.'") and meta-jokes ("Twitter suggested I follow Dalai Lama - I considered it, but what if later I change my mind and unfollow him and he gets super-mad?")

Matthew Batt (@MattCBatt): This is my official debutante pick for the first-time memoirist whose book SUGARHOUSE, out this very week, chronicles the years when he and his wife bought an old crack house and planted their unsteady flag in it. His tweets are like a tiny window into a different life ("Nothing like a trip on a hot day to a public pool to make me feel like a complete patrician ass.") and while he's there to promote, he does so with whimsy ("Index of evildoers mentioned in SUGARHOUSE: Karl Rove; Idi Amin; Darth Vader (twice); my 8th grade shop teacher; Mr & Lady Macbeth.")

Andrew Shaffer (@AndrewTShaffer, also @EvilWylie, @EmperorFranzen): The busiest man on Twitter, the one who showed up to Franzen's first FREEDOM reading in New York City in an Emperor Palpatine-style cloak, was always working stealthily behind the curtain even as he quipped about the sad state of modern letters ("TELL ME you didn't just put a link to your Amazon book on my Facebook wall with the status "Indie Authors Rule!" delete block block block"). And if I take the time to read anyone's parody of FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY, it's going to be his, FIFTY SHAMES OF EARL GREY, for which I hear he was handing out branded tea bags at BookExpo America a few weeks ago.

Kate Christensen (@aquavita): Attenberg's cohost at the event I went to last week is new to my Twitter feed, a former Brooklynite who lives in Maine now (a place, like Batt's St. Paul, I can only imagine). Unlike her cohost as well as Batt and Shaffer, I had read Christensen's most recent book THE ASTRAL (and really liked it) before I was even aware that she was on Twitter. From the landscape, I look forward to her blog posts about cooking and advice on writing as she presses forward with the memoir she said last week she had to write.

For more recommendations: Social media for authors: Play now, get to work later

No comments: