Jonathan Lethem joins Paul Holdengräber for a conversation as he bids farewell to his friends and fans at his last event before leaving for his appointed position as the Roy Edward Disney Professor in Creative Writing at Pomona College in California.
Jonathan Lethem is the author of seven novels, including The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Jonathem Lethem is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship and his most recent book is Chronic City.
Paul Holdengräber is the Director of LIVE from the NYPL.
Jonathan Allen Lethem is an American writer. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Lethem trained to be an artist before moving to California and devoting his time to writing. His first novel, Gun, with Occasional Music, a genre work that mixed elements of science fiction and detective fiction, was published in 1994. It was followed by three more science fiction novels. In 1999, Lethem published Motherless Brooklyn, a National Book Critics Circle Award-winning novel that achieved mainstream success. In 2003, he published The Fortress of Solitude, which became a New York Times Best Seller. In 2005 he received a MacArthur Fellowship. Lethem is also a prolific essayist and short story writer.
Written (or printed) message of considerable length, meant for circulation and recorded on any of various materials that are durable and light enough to be easily portable. The papyrus roll of ancient Egypt is more nearly the direct ancestor of the modern book than is the clay tablet; examples of both date to c. 3000 BC. Somewhat later, the Chinese independently created an extensive scholarship based on books, many made of wood or bamboo strips bound with cords. Lampblack ink was introduced in China c.AD 400 and printing from wooden blocks in the 6th century. The Greeks adopted the papyrus roll and passed it on to the Romans. The parchment or vellum codex superseded the papyrus roll by AD 400. Medieval parchment or vellum leaves were prepared from the skins of animals. By the 15th century, paper manuscripts were common. Printing spread rapidly in the late 15th century. Subsequent technical achievements, such as the development of offset printing, improved many aspects of book culture. In the late 1990s, downloadable electronic books became available over the Internet.