08-28-09: Three Books With Alan Cheuse : Fall Preview
E. L. Doctorow,Homer & Langley
John Irving,Last Night in Twisted River
Sherman Alexie,War Dances
Looking for a few books worth your valuable time to read this fall? Join Alan Cheuse and I as we talk about three of the big releases for this fall. Your summer reading days are coming to an end, so you’d best cram in all the bad beach reading you can find out there. Soon enough, America's best authors will be bringing you new work to keep you warm in the winter.
For many, this is the last week of summer. Next week, school will be back in session, and down at the beach at 5:20 AM, I'll see Dave the School Bus Driver for the first time since June. Books, like school and movies, follow a predictable pattern, and the fall brings on the
prestigious "Big Lit" releases. I managed to corral Alan Cheuse for one last chat down by the beach to preview three books you’re going to hear a lot about this fall; E. L. Doctorow's subtle, visionary 'Homer & Langley' a massive new novel by John Irving, 'Last Night in Twisted River,' and from Sherman Alexie, 'War Dances,' a collection of short stories. You can the leaves turn gold in the background as Alan and I chat about these fine books by following this link to the MP3 audio file.
08-27-09: Agony Column Podcast News Report — Marta Randall Reads at SF in SF on August 22, 2009 : ' The Dark Boy'
Marta Randall has the sort of precision required to write an effective short story. I had spoken with her before her reading, and I could tell, just tell that she was able to not only put angels on a pinhead, she could make them dance there as well. At Saturday's SF in SF, she proved that to be true with a reading of the sort of story from F&SF that I often think could as easily end up in The New Yorker.
No, I'll not give you a hint as to what the story is about. I didn't have one and you neither want nor need one. Just know that Randall reads with the same precision you'll find in the writing, and the same power as well. It was fascinating to hear the variation between the novel and the short story in terms of how it felt on the receiving end. I was pleased that neither author thought that their work required any introduction. I always prefer to directly immerse myself in the work. You can as well by following this link to the MP3 audio file.
08-26-09: Agony Column Podcast News Report — Elizabeth Lynn Reads at SF in SF on August 22, 2009 : 'Dragon's Treasure'
There's reading aloud — and then there is the act of performing your work. At Saturday's SF in SF, Elizabeth Lynn trended towards the latter, with a stellar reading that emphasized the drama.
I really liked the way Lynn read. She didn't give us any setup. She told us she was going to read out of 'Dragon's Treasure,' and then proceeded to read most if not all of the first chapter of the book. This was immersion at its finest, and I shall pass the benefits on to my readers and listeners. Click the link, follow to hear Elizabeth Lynn's powerful performance of 'Dragon's Treasure.'
08-25-09: A 2009 Interview with Gill Dennis at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Conference
"There are too many ifs in that sentence." — Gill Dennis
One of the big tracks at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Conference is screenwriting, which is sort of out-of-keeping with the beautiful, bucolic setting. Here you are in the forest learning to write screenplays, to speak the language of high-tech collaboration. But then you talk to Gill Dennis and realize that screenwriting has a heart, a connection to the human as intense as an interview.
Gill Dennis is a screenwriter, and always has been. His first produced work was Return to Oz, and his most recent was Walk the Line. For the latter, he found himself facing a challenge no less formidable that Johnny Cash himself. How to find the story in a man's life, even a man with a life engaging as Johnny Cash? Dennis knows how. He just talked to the man.
Gill Dennis is a genial man, who seems a bit like a minister or clergyman when you meet him. And to my mind, he might have made an excellent confessor. He's man who knows that they way to learn is to listen, and to ask the questions that will find the heart of the subject. You talk to him for five minutes and you'll quickly find that he is perfectly in place the arts-oriented creative Squaw Valley Community of Writers Conference. He starts at the heart of his subject, no matter how difficult and moves to the center with unerring accuracy. He's an expert communicator, which serves him both as a teacher and writer. You can learn to listen — and listen and learn — by following this link to the MP3 audio file of our interview.
08-24-09: A 2009 Interview with David Corbett
"Crime is all about the individual putting himself above society." — David Corbett
David Corbett is a serious mystery writer. He's steeped in the genre and in the life itself. He spent fifteen years as a private investigator, and then wrote 'The Devil's Redhead' and 'Done for a Dime.' His most recent book is 'Blood of Paradise.' He was at the recent Mystery Writing Conference held at Book Passage, where I had the chance to talk to him.
Take a deep breath before you sit down to talk with David Corbett. The author of 'The Devil's Redhead', 'Done for a Dime,' and 'Blood of Paradise,' spent fifteen years as a private investigator. He knows how to immerse himself in others lives, and the path
he's chosen of late is not an easy one. Corbett is passionately committed to writing the best and most intense mysteries he can, and he brings the skills and techniques of a private investigator to his writing. We talked about guns, gangs, and his latest work, 'Blood of Paradise' as well as his forthcoming novel 'Do They Know I'm Running.' He's spent a lot of time in El Salvador of late, examining a society that has been torn asunder by internecine war and class struggles. I spoke to him at the Book Passage Mystery Writing Conference, where he was teaching classes on characterization, and we talked about what he teaches and why. You can hear our conversation by following this link to the MP3 audio file.
05-04-13: Commentary : Reasons Not to Leave the House, Reality Check : The Truth Hurts Edition: 'Down the Up Escalator' by Barbara Garson, 'The Wolf and the Watchman' by Scott C. Johnson,'The Book of Woe' by Gary Greenberg, 'Confessions of a Sociopath' by M. E. Thomas