Megan discussed this same idea last month, and I liked and agreed with her response so much that I could just copy/paste it here. But instead I'll try to be original. And I'll try to forget that the idea of having to feed ten strangers I admire makes me so nervous I feel like I'm about to have a seizure.
But hey, what's Thanksgiving Dinner without a seizure or two, amirite?? Here we go:
1. Jeffrey Eugenides. I just had the privilege of hearing him speak last week, and I also got to meet him (in the awkward way we "meet" authors at book signings) and now I'm reading The Marriage Plot. So he was the author who jumped to mind first when I started thinking about this list. He was so funny, smart, personable, and relatable at the reading; I feel sure he would make a great dinner guest.
2. Adam Levin. It seems like I can't go very long without mentioning this guy in a Blue Bookcase post. I have so many questions about The Instructions- the writing, the research, the characters- it's the kind of book that could provide a great dinner conversation. Plus I know so little about Mr. Levin. I'd like to get to know him better over Tofurky and brussels sprouts. (Is this coming off as weird? That's the problem with writing about favorite authors who are still living.)
3. Mo Willems. I'm crazy about this guy's picture books. A while back I saw a video (which, alas, I can't find now) of him reading Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus to a group of elementary school kids and now I'm sure that my own children would love to have him at Thanksgiving dinner. I think he has a kid or two, and if his whole family came to dinner then our kids could play together and that would be fun. (Yep, definitely getting a stalker-y vibe here. Don't worry Willemses! I'm not actually planning to invite you to dinner!)
4. Oliver Sacks. Loved The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, loved Musicophilia, love every episode of Radiolab that features him. He is a fascinating, brilliant, incredibly accomplished person: a neurologist, author, and musician. From what I understand, though, he's also painfully shy and so might be unlikely to accept my invitation.
5. Joel Derfner. I'd want more than your average amount of laughter at my Thanksgiving table, and that's a big part of why I'd invite Joel Derfner. I thought Swish was so funny, and I'd love to learn more about how his creative process when he's writing text differs from when he's writing music. I also really enjoy his blog.
6. Margaret Atwood. I feel like I know this lady through her tweets. She is a force for good, not to mention an incredible storyteller and wordsmith. I think she'd be able to keep us all abreast of current events throughout dinner. Plus she seems totally nice and interested in common folk like you and me!
7. Ruth Reichl. Even though I wasn't wild about her memoir, I do think Ms. Reichl had a very interesting life, and I've enjoyed her contributions to The Splendid Table. I'd ask her to bring a dish to share, and I'm sure it would outshine everything else we would be eating.
8. Celia Rivenbark. I think Ms. Rivenbark is hilarious with her snarky Southern humor; she'd be sure to liven up the conversation. And I definitely don't get the impression that she'd be snooty or elitist. Yay for guests who make everyone feel comfortable!
9. Amanda Blake Soule. Ms. Soule would have all kinds of ideas of cool things for me to do/make with my kids. I need an inspirational idea person at my table. Actually, I'd rather have her come the day before Thanksgiving to help make decorations and stuff. She's pretty amazing.
10. Geraldine Brooks. I've only read Caleb's Crossing, but I loved it and I'd love to talk about what Ms. Brooks thinks "The First Thanksgiving" was really like. I'm also curious about what her research process is like, and how the process was different with each of the different periods about which she has written.
Now that I've spent all this time daydreaming, the actual Thanksgiving feast coming up in two days seems a little dull. But then, no author schmoozefest can really compare to a good meal spent with great people and all the genuine love and gratitude I'm lucky to feel during Thanksgiving. So I'm not going to feel too sorry for myself. :)
Have a great holiday, everybody!