‘Necessary Errors’ Is Our Next MashableReads Book
Necessary Errors is a coming-of-age story of a 20-something gay Harvard graduate named Jacob who moves to Prague one year after the Velvet Revolution. As he searches for the remaining post-revolution spirit, he falls in with a group of expatriates who are on various journeys of self-discovery. This novel ultimately deals with the expectations of personal growth one anticipates after making life-changing decisions — and how one deals with uncertainty in an ever-changing world.
We’ll be hosting a Twitter chat with Crain on Nov. 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET. You can discuss the book with the author personally along with other participants all over the world. Make sure to follow @mashlifestyle for discussion about the book using the hashtag #MashReads during the chat. You can also join our Facebook group to stay up-to-date and let us know what you think of the book throughout the month.
Want to hang out with the author in person? Share your thoughts on the book using the hashtag #MashReads prior to the Twitter chat, and we will select 10 people to visit the Mashable HQ to meet Caleb Crain and participate in our book club.
We spoke with Crain about self-development in the social media age, Internet trolls and his ultimate geek confession. Take a look below.
Q&A With Caleb Crain, Author of Necessary Errors
Mashable: How do you think the intimacy that your expats share would change if they were a part of the Connected Generation — that is, millennials and those who think like them. With the sharing and openness that comes with social media, have we forever lost the slow building of self, especially for those in a new country?
Crain: A few readers of the novel have told me that they felt it to be a kind of bittersweet tribute to the slow pace of life before smartphones. I didn’t intend it to be, but communication was a lot more physical and happenstance in those days, and maybe it was inevitable that in trying to recapture that texture of life I ended up eulogizing it a little. I’m a big fan of being alone and of trying to notice things that no one else is in a position to notice, and I do worry sometimes that social media may discourage such quiet, everyday experiences of independence.
You’ve done some really great expansion on Goodreads showing visuals for ’90s Prague. We love it! What made you decide to engage your audience this way, and why are you using the Goodreads platform to get feedback?
Thanks! Actually I publish those photos and ephemera on my blog, Steamboats Are Ruining Everything, but I’ve managed to pipe the images out to Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads via RSS and other Internet mechanisms that I only faintly understand.
The Internet can be a little shallow, historically speaking. It’s pretty good at supplying daguerreotype boyfriends, and it’s rich with vacation photos taken within the past year. But the recent past — the early 1990s, for example — is rather thinly documented online, maybe because it’s a period not yet old enough to be endearing but not recent enough to have been blogged about. Since I have these photos, which helped to jog my memory while I was writing, I thought I could contribute to repairing the lacuna where Prague is concerned. Also, I think it’s a pity that novels are almost never illustrated any more.
To what extent is Necessary Errors autobiographical, if at all?
If the novel is ever translated into Czech, I’ve thought of giving it the title Bylo nebylo, a phrase that literally means, “There was and there wasn’t,” but it is usually rendered in English as “Once upon a time….”
What is your biggest online pet peeve?
If only there were a Wikipedia of known trolls. I suspect that no more than seventeen unhappy men are responsible for almost all the sock puppeting and name-calling on the Internet.
Do you have a nerd confession you’d care to share with the world? Maybe bizarre collections or membership in an obscure fandom?
My husband and I keep our apartment well stocked with 8-inch, 9-inch, and 10-inch protective polyester sheeting. I’m referring to Brodart Just-A-Fold III Archival Book Jacket Covers, of course. I’m going to be ordering a new supply tonight, as it happens, because we seem to have used up all our 10-inchers.
Images: Mashable, Bianca Consunji