David Shields is presenting the Nonfiction Award.
Shields is walking slowly up to the stage. He does want to keep us in suspense. Particularly after Hass’s protracted speech. And he is READ-ING THE BOOK TIT-LES SO SLOW-LY. We’ve been here for four hours. Come on, dude. Will it be Hitch?
“How did the panel choose these five books? We got along famously for the first several months. We made the usual jokes about how we could make it up to our respective mail carriers.” (He’s not getting laughs. And now he’s blundered another joke — “under the weight” — uh.) And the bland manner he puts into “When it came to crunch time….” Okay, now I’m longing for Hass to get on the stage again.
“To quote the poet, writing is fighting.” Which poet? “And the book that we judge to matter the most, that we thought mattered the most…”
Doesn’t this man realize that there are reporters here on deadline?
But the nonfiction winner is Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.
[12/30/07 UPDATE: A reader writes in to inform me that David Shields has a stutter and that his slow-speaking style came about because of this.]