BookHampton was very pleased to welcome back Adam Ross — an old friend by now — last Saturday night, to read from his new book Ladies and Gentlemen, a collection of short stories published by Knopf. His debut novel, Mr. Peanut, was quite a sensation last year; while that novel, as the author acknowledges, was somewhat dark, these stories are much lighter, and frequently very funny. Following a wholly unprompted but much appreciated talk on the importance of independent bookstores, Ross read a section of one of the stories and then engaged in a lively discussion with audience members.
He explained that it took him twelve years to write Mr. Peanut, and while much of this elongated process was attributable to trying to hold down a job at the same time, there were instances of being stuck at one place or another in the novel and he wrote the stories in Ladies and Gentlemen as diversions, in the hope that doing so would by that indirect route help him out of whatever impasse he had reached in the larger book; the totally different tone and style of the stories helped in this process as well. Since the stories already existed, moreover, he was able to have a second book published much more quickly than would otherwise have been possible, and thus, as he said, to "avoid the sophomore jinx".
Asked about his favorite writers, Ross said that this is something of a fluctuating list, but that a perennial favorite was Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being. He explained that he is attracted by the book's structure, which is derived from a Beethoven string quartet, much as Mr. Peanut actually is modeled on a Möbius strip.
Adam Ross is a highly thoughtful and articulate speaker, and we look forward to welcoming him again soon.
— Jeremy Nussbaum
All the books mentioned can be ordered by selecting the title; signed copies of Ladies and Gentlemen and Mr. Peanut are also available to order. For more information about our exciting calendar of events, visit bookhampton.com.