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The Pursuit Of An Interesting Life, Meet Patrik Henry Bass

Patrik Henry Bass is from Laurinburg, North Carolina and now he's the editorial projects director for Essence Magazine.

Patrik Henry Bass has spent the last 49 years searching for the extraordinary moments in life. 

As a child he found those moments in the books he devoured at the library—the stories he read carried him far beyond his hometown of Laurinburg, North Carolina. His love of literature led him to a career in journalism. Today he's an award winning writer and the editorial projects director of Essence Magazine.Host Frank Stasio talks with Bass about his life journey and the many careers that led him to his dream job in New York City as a curator in the literary world. 

Patrik has also compiled an "Essential Reading" list for The State of Things. These are the books he's read and is still reading to this day. Along with each book is a quick thought about why the books are essential. 

  • Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl--  “First book I read and re-read and re-read at the age of 8. Dahl's mix of moral tale with madcap antics left a major impression on me.”
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison-- “I read The Bluest Eye in the twelfth grade at Scotland High School in Laurinburg, N.C. I could think of nothing else but becoming a writer or working in the publishing industry by the time I was on the third page.”
  • The World According to Garp by John Irving--"The first major book that I read for pleasure that was not on a high school syllabus. I realized that literary fiction could become wide read.”
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez-- “I discovered a short story by Marquez at Wingate College, and soon became obsessed with international writers and writing.”
  • Crash Diet by Jill McCorkle-- “During my sophomore year at college, I read a Charlotte Observer review of July 7th by McCorkle. I was stunned she lived in Lumberton, N.C., less than twenty minutes from Laurinburg. The seeds were deeper planted that I could become a writer.”
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison--“I had graduated from Wingate and was living in a Brooklyn boarding house. I read Beloved in a single reading and was haunted for days. It is the book that is the most dog eared and filled with notes and underlinings. It is also the book I have re-read the most.”
  • Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion-- “My go-to airplane reading from trips to Banff to Honolulu to Lake Tahoe.”
  • Scoop by Evelyn Waugh--"When I want to laugh out loud..."
  • The Evidence of Things Not Seen by James Baldwin-- “The Atlanta Child Murders marked my childhood. Reading Evidence as well as The Fire Next Time and Notes of a Native Son marked my evolution as a non-fiction writer.”
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James-- “Brilliant writer I discovered in my role at Essence. A novelist to watch for the future.”
Hady Mawajdeh is a native Texan, born and raised in San Antonio. He listened to Fresh Air growing up and fell in love with public radio. He earned his B.A. in Mass Communication at Texas State University and specialized in electronic media. He worked at NPR affiliate stations KUT and KUTX in Austin, Texas as an intern, producer, social media coordinator, and a late-night deejay.
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