Tag Archives: Daniel Pinkwater

Silly hats

About four years ago, Logan introduced me to Daniel Pinkwater’s books, and to their characters who spend time in funky older city neighborhoods where artists and other talkative eccentric folk live, and as much as I have liked the stories and the characters to my surprise I find myself living in a kind of slightly twisted version of just such a neighborhood, with monks who stand upon a rooftop to ring bells and a guy who makes wooden whales and chickens in his backyard and people who all have known each other for years and even the charming clusters of lawyers in charcoal-gray suits Monday through Friday (yes such places do exist outside fiction, just escape the suburbs to live in a place that might be a little less safe but far more real). Maybe you’ve read Daniel Pinkwater’s young adult novels and his Young Adult Novel, and if you have I think you’ll understand this question: What’s up with all his references to Chicago? True it is the great city in the United States, but. I mean. Chicago. You don’t get book contracts writing about Chicago or about any other midwestern city or indeed about any city that even vaguely resembles Chicago or the midwest, although heaven knows we already have far too many books set in Manhattan and L.A. and Boston and Dodge City and even Seattle. Of course if you live in the suburbs and haven’t read any of Daniel Pinkwater’s books, you can correct that situation. Or if you’re not a fundamentalist you really must read The Last Guru so you can find out about a fourteen year old guru who points out, “The Silly Hat Monks practice in a spiritual way by wearing the silliest hats possible. The more spiritually advanced a person is, the sillier the hat he wears. This prevents other people from getting the idea that he is anyone to take seriously.”