Review: Fascinating Facts (not Fiction) from Columnist Dave Astor

BY  |  Monday, Apr 10, 2017 12:30pm

Trivia, quirks, political connections, surprising coincidences, and lots of Aha! moments fill the pages of Dave Astor’s new book of literary curiosities. With a title like Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time, the pun-loving Astor has promised a lot — and he delivers with details about over 100 authors as varied as Dorothy Parker, Miguel de Cervantes, Alex Haley, Aldous Huxley, Shirley Jackson, Zora Neale Hurston, and Vladimir Nabokov.

Each of the short, readable chapters focuses on one obscure or quirky fact, sometimes paired with a related detail, that ties in to an author’s life or work. Even those well-versed in literary history will find lots of new trivia to contemplate and enjoy. Dave Astor has been working on this entertaining collection since 2011, discovering the details by reading biographies and scouring websites devoted to the featured authors.

One of the side-benefits of the many interesting chapters is a reminder of all the works of fiction you’ve read and have yet to read. Mentions of The Yearling, Kindred, The Quiet American, Faust, A Confederacy of Dunces, and Native Son will both whet readers’ appetites and remind us that great literature remains consistently relevant to our lives.

Astor introduces the book as an “escape” into facts, and promises readers will be entranced by “great trivia, anecdotes, oddities, coincidences” and peculiar connections between different authors. For those familiar with Dave Astor’s literature blog, Dave Astor on Literature, and his weekly op-ed column, MontClairVoyant, you’ll recognize his signature twists, allusions, and puns throughout the chapters. The Fascinating Facts are decidedly PG, so it makes for an appropriate gift to all ages of friends, acquaintances, and it’s a fun gift for all literature lovers and teachers.

Order your copy of Dave Astor’s Fascinating Facts About Famous Fiction Authors and the Greatest Novels of All Time in Kindle or paperback today!

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And we can get this project completed in time for Montclair's sesquicentennial when we can stick a fork into historic preservation as a public policy.

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