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04-24-09: Agony Column Podcast News Report : Three Books With Alan Cheuse : Three Thillers

This week on "Three Books With Alan Cheuse," we have the upshot of a random comment I made before we talked last time. I'd mentioned that I was thrilled that he'd liked the Lincoln Child novel, 'Terminal Freeze', and told him I thought he might like 'Fragment' by Warren Fahy.

The next thing I know, he's told me that he read it on a plane, and then goes on to suggest two more novels worth your valuable time and money. In addition to 'Fragment', we talked about
'Marine One' by James Huston (St. Martin's Press ; May12, 2009 ; $24.95) and 'The Genesis Secret' by Tom Knox (Viking / Penguin ; April 30, 2009 ; $26.95). You can hear our conversation about three thrillers that worth the time you will spend turning the pages as fast as possible by following the link to this MP3 audio file.


04-23-09: Agony Column Podcast News Report : Peter Beagle Reads at SF in SF : "Oakland Dragon Blues"

Last Saturday's SF in SF was featured in BoingBoing, and heavily attended. It was a full house with just enough overflow so that everybody could be seated in the super-comfy happiness of the Variety Children's Charity Theater. There, we were blessed — and over the course of the next few podcasts, you'll hear the evidence — with superb performances by Terry Bisson, the moderator, and Peter Beagle and Dick Lupoff, the guests.

Peter Beagle is a brilliant writer and stylist who has been published since he was nineteen and over the last fifty years, he's written some of the cornerstone works of fantasy and helped invent what is now called Young Adult fantasy. His reading was every bit as magical as his career, with a story titled "Oakland Dragon Blues" that is hilarious, thought-provoking and touching. It had better end up on the receiving end of some awards, but now you have the chance to hear it before it is published by following this link to the MP3 audio file podcast.



04-22-09: Catching Up with Jeremy Lassen : Why We Love the End of the World

We just can't get enough apocalypses. If it were up the speculative fiction writers in this world, we'd have blown up about thirty solar systems' worth of planets — and this in the last decade. And that's part of what accounts for the upswing in speculative fiction of all stripes while the rest of the literary world explores the Big Swirly. It must be sort of galling for the Captains of Litrachur to see Zombies invade Jane Austen (hell, it's galling for me), to see super-smart, goofy Christopher Moore dance on the grave of grumblin' King Lear and turn out a book that is by any measure (for measure) a superb comedic work of literary art. As you might expect, Jeremy Lassen and I had something to say on the subject.

I gave Jeremy of Night Shade Books to ask him about a recent article in Publisher's Weekly where he got to air his views early and often. . From there, the conversation turned out swimmingly as we talked about the forthcoming novel by Paolo Bacigalupi, a novel he might not have been able to afford had the old line of New York publishing not been decimated by recent layoff and consolidations. You can hear my conversation with Jeremy by following this MP3 audio link.



From left: "Silent" Joe Di Lellio, Troy Snyder,
Mark Crain, Dick Gabler
04-21-09: Agony Column Podcast News Report : Brew Your Own Beer with the Zymurgeeks

I went to scavenge, but I ended up drinking beer. Showing up on the wrong day for an interview proves to be a problem only if you show up late. If you show up a full day early, as I did recently, you night be lucky enough to meet Santa Cruz's own Zymurgeeks, a bunch of home-beer brewers who came to the Capitola Book Café with many samples of their latest creation. I had a blast talking to "Silent" Joe Di Lellio, Troy Snyder, Mark Crain, Dick Gabler, Dave Bossie and Mark Taylor.

So, zymurgy is the chemistry of fermentation, thus — Zymurgeeks. I talked to the Zymurgeeks and sampled some incredible brews; a honey-ginger mead and a smoked beer. It turns out that home-brewing your own beer is not that expensive and not that hard. Moreover, there's an art that you can learn, one that's analogous to cooking. You can indeed just make do with the materials to hand if that's what's required. To hear about beer, follow this link to an MP3 audio file of my interview with the Zymurgeeks.



04-20-09 : A 2009 Interview with Anneli Rufus and Kristan Lawson : "We can't rely upon the non-scavengers to tell us how to behave, we have to tell ourselves how to behave"

She's wearing a Versace jacket she pulled from a dumpster. He's wearing a blindingly colorful lime-green shirt covered with bright billiard balls that he found in a garbage can. They're thrifty enough to show up early, and willing to share a mic. Also, apparently, they have a bit of telepathy going on.

You can hear their undercurrent of communication in the way they pick up on one another's leads, an easy back-and-forth that suggests an utter familiarity. I originally thought that I'd only be speaking to Anneli, but happily Kristan was able to join us. The office I scavenge as a studio at Capitola Book Café is barely big enough for one guest, which actually made it easier in some ways, to have the two of them share a microphone. These are writers who are clearly working on the tenet of "Write what you know." But happily, they're not evangelists, just the sort of ultra-knowledgeable guides you want to show around a practice that is smart and fun. Do note that, by their definition, you're scavenging when you upload this totally-free MP3 audio file of our interview; that makes me a "scavengee."


New to the Agony Column

04-17-15: Commentary : Erik Larson Follows a 'Dead Wake' : Countdown to Destiny

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Erik Larson : " "...said to have been found in the arms of a dead German sailor..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 201: Erik Larson : Dead Wake

04-15-15: Commentary : Peter Bell Reflects 'A Certain Slant of Light' : Strange Stories of Modern Scholars

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Peter Bell : "...I looked up some of the old books..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 200: Peter Bell : Strange Epiphanies and A Certain Slant of Light

03-14-15: Commentary : Marc Goodman Foresees 'Future Crimes' : Exponential Potential

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Marc Goodman : "...every physical object around us is being transformed, one way or another, into an information technology..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 199: Marc Goodman : Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It

03-01-15: Commentary : William Ury on Getting to Yes with Yourself: And Other Worthy Opponents : To the BATNA, Robin!

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with William Ury : ...he proceeded to shout at me for approximately 30 minutes..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 198: William Ury : Getting to Yes with Yourself: And Other Worthy Opponents

02-22-15: Commentary : Jennifer Senior Experiences 'All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood' : Reading Fun for the Whole Fambly!

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Jennifer Senior : "...it becomes a source of enormous tension once a baby comes along..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 197: Jennifer Senior : All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood

02-09-15: Commentary : Stewart O'Nan Looks 'West of Sunset' : Twilight of the Great

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Stewart O'Nan : "...we see him as a tragedian because is life is a tragedy..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 196: Stewart O'Nan : West of Sunset

02-04-15: Commentary : Armistead Maupin Maps 'The Days of Anna Madrigal' : Swiftly Flow the Years

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Armistead Maupin : "I could see what silliness was going on while it was happening..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 195: Armistead Maupin : The Days of Anna Madrigal

01-31-15: Commentary : Christine Carter's Path to 'The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work' : Neurohabits

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Christine Carter, Ph.D. : "...a real tipping point..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 194: Christine Carter, Ph.D. : The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work

01-23-15: Commentary : Jake Halpern Pushes 'Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld' : Non-Fiction 21st Century Noir

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Jake Halpern : "...he goes to Las Vegas to this debt-buyers' convention..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 193: Jake Halpern : Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld

01-19-15: Commentary : David Shields and Caleb Powell Assert 'I Think You're Totally Wrong' : The Power to Bicker

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with David Shields and Caleb Powell : "I read no book reviews any more; the level of discussion is really pedestrian." David Shields "I'm just saying it's a conflict of interest!" Caleb Powell

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 192: David Shields and Caleb Powell : I Think You're Totally Wrong

01-17-15: Commentary : Charles Todd Expects 'A Fine Summer's Day' : We Interrupt This Program...

Commentary : Charles Todd Engages In 'A Test of Wills' : The Politics of Passion and Policing

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Charles and Caroline Todd : "...let them be themselves and sort it out..." Caroline Todd "...it's more on a personal level..." Charles Todd

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 191: Charles Todd : A Fine Summer's Day

01-13-15: Commentary : Rosalie Parker Unearths 'The Old Knowledge' : The New Old World

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Ray Russell and Rosalie Parker : "I thought I'd write something for fun.." Ray Russell "..there was a side of me of that was interested in the strangeness..." Ros Parker

01-12-15: Commentary : Richard Ford 'Let Me Be Frank with You' : The Default Years

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Richard Ford : "...most of our politicians are morons..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 190: Richard Ford : Let Me Be Frank with You

01-06-15: Commentary : Bessel van der Kolk 'The Body Keeps the Score' : Human Trauma

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Bessel van der Kolk : "...being able to see what happens in the brain really helps us to understand certain things..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 189: Bessel van der Kolk : The Body Keeps the Score

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