6 questions we always ask: Dylan Hicks, author & musician

Before I go gushy fangirl a few facts: You can see/hear Dylan Hicks read from Boarded Windows part of Coffee House Press’ Biblio Bash at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 5. They have a ton going on & you should follow that there link to get all the details. If you’re busy on Saturday you can go to The Loft at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 10 and listen to Dylan read from his new novel and sing a few songs. Oh, I almost forgot, he’ll be reading at the UofM Bookstore in the Coffman Union from 4 – 5 p.m. today.

Now for the gushy fangirl portion. Please feel free to skip this part and jump right on down to where Dylan Hicks answers our six questions and mentions Mary Gaitskill which makes me want to just die right now of pleasure. You know what? I’ll do you a favor and skip most of the gushing. If you’re so inclined you can read it on I Will Dare.

What I will tell you before we get to those questions is that as I type this I’m listening to “Dylan Hicks sings Bolling Greene” which is an album you get to download (for free) when you buy Hicks’ novel Boarded Windows. While I’m only fifty pages into the novel, I just have to say that every part of this — accompanying album, the writing itself, and the beautiful book cover — makes every one of my nerd parts tingle with joy. Seriously, this makes the booknerd/musicgeek in me nearly implode with happiness. I’m shutting up now.

What book(s) are you currently reading?
I’m just starting two books by people I know: one is The Man Who Saw a Ghost: The Life and Work of Henry Fonda, a critical biography by the independent scholar Devin McKinney; the other is Cul De Sac, a collection of linked stories by Twin Cities writer Scott Wrobel.

Dylan Hicks Events
4 p.m., Today, May 1
UofM Bookstore, Coffman Union

7 p.m. Saturday, May 5
Coffee House Press Biblio Bash

7 p.m. Thursday, May 10, The Loft

6:30 p.m Thursday, May 17, Northeast Library

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 13, Magers & Quinn

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? Who?
I just reread Jane Austen’s Emma, mostly because I’m trying to make progress on a novel that takes some of its form from romantic comedies. Emma is impossible throughout much of the book, but her wit, intelligence, and essential kindness are irresistible, and I guess I relate to her blundering and lack of scholarly discipline. I’ve also had crushes on several of Mary Gaitskill’s narrators and characters.

If your favorite author came to Minnesota, who would it be and what bar would you take him/her to?
I don’t have a single favorite living writer, but J.M. Coetzee is up there. His recent books in particular have spots of subtle comedy, but all the same he seems like a pretty austere guy, one who, like me, doesn’t drink — going to a bar, then, might be pointless. Maybe I’d instead take him to Tao Foods, after which we’d bike over to the Walker. To avoid saying something stupid, I’d pretend to have laryngitis.

What was your first favorite book?
I don’t specifically remember favorite books from early childhood, though like most of my peers I liked Dr. Seuss. As a boy I read Judy Blume, Mad magazine, and D. Manus Pinkwater. Pinkwater’s strange and funny Lizard Music was my preadolescent favorite.

Let’s say Fahrenheit 451 comes to life, which book would you become in order to save it from annihilation?
It’d be a shame if everyone memorized personal, perhaps obscure favorites on the grounds that surely someone would have Shakespeare covered, so I’d play it safe and go for the complete works, picking an edition without footnotes: their absence hinders comprehension, but makes for smoother reading, which must in the end help comprehension. One problem, though, is that people who constantly quote Shakespeare are often resented and ridiculed.

What is one book you haven’t read but want to read before you die?
I will sometimes reference Proust or call something “Proustian,” then shamefully remember the dusty bookmark waiting somewhere in the early stages of In Search of Lost Time’s second volume. I really enjoyed Swann’s Way, and I don’t remember liking the second book less; I just wanted a break, figured I’d come back to it. Now I’ve forgotten nearly everything and would have to start at the beginning.

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