Brandon Schrand talks about the influence reading literature had on his early life, when he was a boy growing up in Soda Springs, Idaho, and during the seven years he spent muddling his way through college (the first person in his family to go to college). He also reads several passages from his second memoir, Works Cited: An Alphabetical Odyssey of Mayhem and Misbehavior.
About the Book:
“Doing things by the book” acquires a whole new meaning in Brandon R. Schrand’s memoir of coming of age in spite of himself. The “works cited” are those books that serve as Schrand’s signposts as he goes from life as a hormone-crazed, heavy-metal wannabe in the remotest parts of working-class Idaho to a reasonable facsimile of manhood (with a stop along the way to buy a five-dollar mustard-colored M. C. Hammer suit, so he’ll fit in at college). The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn informs his adolescent angst over the perceived injustice of society’s refusal to openly discuss boners. The Great Gatsby serves as a metaphor for his indulgent and directionless college days spent in a drunken stupor (when he wasn’t feigning interest in Mormonism to attract women). William Kittredge’s Hole in the Sky parallels his own dangerous adulthood slide into alcoholism and denial.
With a finely calibrated wit, a good dose of humility, and a strong supporting cast of literary characters, Schrand manages to chart his own story—about a dreamer thrown out of school as many times as he’s thrown into jail—until he finally sticks his landing.
The music in this program was written and performed by John Floridis.
Brandon R. Schrand is the author of Works Cited: An Alphabetical Odyssey of Mayhem and Misbehavior (2013), and The Enders Hotel: A Memoir, the 2007 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize winner, a 2008 School Library Journal Best Adult Books for High School Students selection, a 2008 Idaho Book Award Honorable Mention Winner, and a 2008 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sports Illustrated, The Dallas Morning News, The Utne Reader, Tin House, Shenandoah, The Missouri Review, Columbia, River Teeth, Ecotone, and numerous other publications. He also has essays in several anthologies including Borne on Air: Essays by Idaho Writers (EWU Press); Now Write!: Nonfiction Writing Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers (Tarcher/Penguin); and The Book of Dads: Essays on the Joys, Perils, and Humiliations of Fatherhood (Ecco/Harper Collins). He has won the 2006 Willard R. Espy Award, Shenandoah’s 2008 Carter Prize, the Pushcart Prize, four Pushcart Prize Special Mentions, and has had Notable Essays in the Best American Essays 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2013. His nonfiction has also earned a Yaddo residency. He lives in Moscow, Idaho with his wife and two children where he teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Idaho.