An Interesting Genre of Books
I wonder if there’s a name for the genre of books comprising first-person accounts by a relatively “ordinary” people of their time spent with a famous person. I just finished reading a book in this genre by Jay Parini, a novelist and poet I’d never heard of, titled Borges and Me: An Encounter. (Through an odd concatenation of circumstances, while still a graduate student, around 1970 or thereabouts, Parini spent about a week with Borges, who at that time was an elderly, blind, world-famous, Argentinian literary legend.) Parini’s account made for entertaining reading. I’d never heard of Deidre Bair, either, but I’ve now started reading her book Parisian Lives, an account of her time spent with Samuel Beckett and Simone de Beauvoir. Reading books like this can be like looking in on the private everyday activities of unusually interesting people, leading to seeing them in a new light.