By Emily Landgraf
Most authors do not begin readings by spouting off their bosses’ Facebook updates. Most authors are not Shane Jones, and that was exactly how he began his reading Thursday, Nov. 3 in Sweigart Auditorium.
Jones, who was brought to Rider courtesy of Writer’s Block, has an atypical story. His debut novel Light Boxes was first published by Publishing Genius Press, a small independent press in Baltimore. After that, the book found its way into the right hands and was picked up be Penguin Books.
At the reading, Jones continued on with his unconventional style, trying to keep things fresh and interesting for the audience. After reading the status updates, Jones read an email exchange between him and his editor and a comment a copy editor made about the accuracy of Jones’ references to McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches in his new novel Daniel Fights a Hurricane, due out in August 2012.
“If you ever publish a book, that’s something that you can look forward to, dealing with copy editors,” Jones joked. “They’re very thorough.”
Jones continued on, reading several poems, an excerpt of his upcoming novel and a bit of Light Boxes, a novel about a war against February.
Shane’s style can best be described as experimental literature, and his prose is rhythmic, saturated with imagery. When asked about his influences, Jones named One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez as the novel that set him free.
“When I read that book, it just gave me permission to do whatever I wanted.”
Jones was also asked about the role flight plays in Light Boxes.
“I guess I find flight, sky, air, space — things like that — interesting, and it’s also an area where I can do whatever I want. It doesn’t restrict me in my writing,” he said.
Andrew Martinez, a senior and president of Writer’s Block said he was not as familiar with Jones as he was with Joe Meno, but still enjoyed the reading.
“He brought in some very funny things to read. I thought it was a nice little way to show off his style, his randomness that he has,” he said. “I thought he was a great guy, and when his new book comes out I’m going to pick it up.”
There were a number of reasons that Dr. Mickey Hess, an associate professor of English, wanted to snag Shane Jones for the Writer’s Block series.
“I assigned Shane Jones’ Light Boxes for my English 313 Experimental Writing class and I wanted to bring him in because I think it’s nice to be able to tie an author that’s actively being used in a class to the series,” he said. “Also, I like to bring in relatively young authors who are just kind of starting out on their careers and still understand what it feels like to sending stuff out and people don’t know your name yet.”