05-16-12:A 2012 Interview with Mark Sundeen and Daniel Suelo
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"What would happen if we actually practiced this stuff?"
Mark Sundeen and Daniel Suelo were in high spirits when they arrived at the Capitola Book Café to talk about Sundeen's biography of Suelo, 'The Man Who Quit Money.' Suelo was not wearing his trademarked hat, and his shock of gray hair gave him a rather professorial air. Hunkered down in the lounge with big cups of chai tea, they could have been TA's on break from UC Santa Cruz.
Were that to be the case, their lectures would have been quite well-attended. Suelo's blog has recently hit big, and he's been getting coverage in lots of media outlets, even, yes, this one. To be honest, I was not all that interested in the book, but Tamera at Capitola Book Café urged me to give it a chance. What I found had the feel of a novelistic story, not a pop-celeb puff piece, and I finished the book easily.
Mark and Daniel make an interesting pair. They both tend to the quiet side, though Mark is incisive and quick to the point. Daniel is a bit quieter and more contemplative. You can see why he thought he might become a sadhu when he was in India. He's definitely cut out for the life is he leading. He wears it well. It was a fun interview, and I just followed what was interesting to me. Afterwards, I was told by both men that nobody else had asked the sorts of questions I did.
Happily, I had time to sit down speak with her before the show, to chat about her work in a more general manner. It was nice to speak with her outside the boundaries of an interview, where I tend to focus on the latest specific written work. Luhrman works in a number of areas that I find interesting.
When we sat down to talk in front of the audience, the conversation went easily, with new questions that I'd not had a chance to ask the first time around. When it came time for the audience Q&A things did get a bit contentious. With perfect hindsight, I now have in my arsenal a means to make sure that these Q&A's don’t go south in the future. In the interim, I used my discretion as an editor to clean up and tone down some of the more digressive questions. I tried to cut to the chase.
05-15-12 UPDATE:Podcast Update: Time to Read Episode 44: David Vann, 'Dirt'
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Here's the forty-fourth episode of my new series of podcasts, which I'm calling Time to Read. The podcasts/radio broadcasts will be of books worth your valuable reading time. I'll try to keep the reports under four minutes, for a radio-friendly format. If you want to run them on your show or podcast, let me know.
My hope is that in under four minutes I can offer readers a concise review and an opportunity to hear the author read from or speak about the work. I'm hoping to offer a new one every week.
The forty-fourth episode is a look at David Vann, 'Dirt.'
Some interviews are almost too easy, and talking to Marika Blossfeldt about 'Essential Nourishment' was really just fun. We managed to meet at the Capitola Book Café and talk in the back office. The hour flew by, and as we spoke, I was thinking that I could easily have prepared any two of the dishes I cooked in prep for the interview we spoke in that hour.
It was nice to talk with Marika about her background, to hear her story about the Estonian farm and art colony that inspired the book. As ever, I was reminded of the importance of hearing the author actually speak, to hear her voice saying the words. It provides a critical perspective on the work itself. The shading and inflections of how Marika speaks will help you understand just why her recipes work so well, and to my mind, inform your preparation.
We spoke at length about the lifestyle aspects that begin the book, and I asked her about her background in cooking. She talked of the New York School where she went to learn about nutrition, and her family background. We also talked about the recipes, but did not, alas, just list out the ingredients and prep. Still, her suggestions and thoughts were helpful when I went back and tried some more after the interview. You can hear our delicious 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