Pynchon fans tend to be somewhat reclusive […].
From the “About” page of Pynchon in Public
Get ready for “Pynchon in Public Day”!
Scattered all over the world on May 8 mysterious signs appear on letterboxes and Pynchon books pop up in public – on buses, in cafés and bars, on public places, read by Pynchon fans – some with paper bags covering their heads – while European statesmen commemorate the end of the Second World War in Europe, none of them with Gravity’s Rainbow in their hands, though.
Before observers even stand a chance of becoming paranoid and making out some conspiracy, in a flash of lightning all is over. Photographs of “Pynchon” in public, however, appear on social media, adding up to a collective read-in, uploaded for posterity.
Us Pynchon peers know: once again it is “Pynchon in Public Day” – Pynchon aficionados, Pynchon fans all over the world celebrate their (favorite) author’s birthday by showing up in public and reading one of Pynchon’s books.
Why “Pynchon in Public”?
The idea was developed by Martin Paul Eve and Bill in a pub in England in 2011 “to celebrate the work of author Thomas Pynchon” (quoted from “Pynchon in Public Day”). The Day falls on May 8, Thomas Pynchon’s birthday.
The Pynchon in Public Podcast
If you haven’t listened to it before: the podcast covers readings of works by Pynchon by a crew of self-acclaimed “non -experts” (they “know” quite a lot though!) in a panel-discussion format.
Listen to it and you’ll be inspired by their readings and interpretations! So far, the podcast, which is available for iOS- and Android-devices, has covered The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity’s Rainbow, and Bleeding Edge in a read-through fashion. After a summary of the plot, chapters or episodes of the novels are discussed.
The podcast even features a great intro: self-made, in traditional musical style: the song by the “Chums of Chance” in Against the Day (Pynchon 2006: 15).
Which Pynchon novel will you read in public on May 8, 2019?
Now get ready for The Pynchon in Public Day on May 8, 2019 – which novel will you read where – alone, with a partner, or as a crew – and post online?
Let the Pynchon crowd and whoever is interested know via Twitter with #pynchoninpublic or via “Pynchon in Public” on Facebook!
Further Reading and Listening
- Thomas Pynchon. Against the Day, London: Jonathan Cape, Random House; 2006.
- Pynchon in Public Podcast, URL: http://pynchoninpublicpodcast.com (Last seen: May 5, 2019).
- “Episode Zero”, Pynchon in Public Podcast, November 21, 2013, URL: http://pynchoninpublicpodcast.com/podcast/podcast-episode-zero/ (Last seen: May 5, 2019).
- Featured image: Excerpt from Gravity’s Rainbow © Thomas Pynchon, 1973: 439; photograph by Utz Klöppelt | Reading Pynchon, May 8, 2018.
- Gravity’s Rainbow in Aachen, Germany, by Thomas Pynchon, Germany © Photograph by Utz Klöppelt | Reading Pynchon, May 8, 2018.