We heard presentations on Abraham Vergese, Spike Milligan, and Hunter S. Thompson, a trio whose dinner party it would be fun to observe the way Gay Talese shadowed Frank Sinatra. This class was about Talese, of course, and Bill Buford and George Plimpton and Kahta Pollit – how each of these writers participated in their reporting, even when it seems they are invisible.
We talked about the depth of reporting – and personal honesty – in these pieces: no composite characters, real names, verifiable facts, and detail after detail, even when in summary instead of scene.
Next week we’ll look at Adam Hochschild’s deep reporting of historical events using archives and other sources, and Dan Barry writing about a town’s past through observing its present. We’ll also hear the final batch of presentations, on Susan Orlean, Gay Talese, Jan Morris and Ernest Hemingway. Another dinner party that would be fun to observe . . .