It began with a figurine. The story behind veteran New Yorker reporter Susan Orlean's most recent venture into literary journalism is simple, though the book that resulted is a bit more in-depth. When Orlean was a child, her grandfather kept a toy version of canine TV star Rin Tin Tin on his desk. The German shepherd left a small mark on her childhood and a larger one on her career: In September, Orlean released Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, a 336-page historical biography of the dog behind both the figurine and one of the time period's most endearing television shows.
"When by chance I learned that Rin Tin Tin was a real dog, not just a television character -- a real dog with a real life that was extraordinary -- I was drawn into the story and eventually to the idea of writing this book," Orlean writes on her website.
If you need further evidence of either Orlean's literary prowess or the German shepherd's literary presence, consider the first sentence to his story: "He believed the dog was immortal." Orlean will read from the book at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Tattered Cover LoDo, 1628 16th Street; copies are $27 if you want her to sign one. For more information, go to www.tatteredcover.com or call 303-436-1070
Tue., Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m., 2011