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06-13-09: Alan Cheuse and 'Single Scene Short Stories' : One Book, Many Lessons

No, not every book has text, even, probably some textbooks. Still, here's a book where text is king and Alan Cheuse is your guide to intricacies of crafting great fiction. In today's conversation with Cheuse, we talked about the power of these short stories and about the literary elements of craft that give them their intensity. Rather than looking at three books, we look at many stories and venture into literary criticism and theory, stepping right past the lines the hem in book reviewers. We talk about Raymond Carver's one thousand page monument to minimalism and Alan reads an entire story by Amy Hempel. You can hear our conversation by following this link to the mp3 audio file.



06-12-09: Jeremy Lassen And Night Shade Books : Bringing Back Night Shade from the Undead

We know where to find the usual unusual. Just pop in your local independent bookstore and levitate over to the "I read great books with embarrassingly juvenile covers," section. There, in books festooned with busty babes brandishing big weapons and mighty-pect men glowering at the future or the world of fantasy before them, you will find the usual unusual. You'll find a few books too, or at least the percentage allotted by Sturgeon's Law.

Jeremy Lassen is a busy guy — too busy, as he tells it. If you’re interested in genre fiction, the publishing world and how a couple of guys can go out there and take on the entire "independent publishing" and then Random House, just for grins — then pull up a chair (or fasten your seat belt, if you're listening on the way to work) and catch the latest tale of terror from none other than Lassen himself. He[ll not only tell you how thrilling it is have piles of books in your house (that YOU published), he'll tell you about the coming months and Night Shade's quite wonderful catalogue. Let me mention that there's a Lovecraft-sorta deal coming out that sounds to my mind quite wonderful. So sit right back and hear the tale, the tale of a fateful trip ... by following this link aboard this tiny ship.



06-11-09: Anne Ishii Speaks to Her Museyon : Curating the Travel Guide

When last we met Anne Ishii, she was engulfed not in flames, but comic book pages, translating 99,000 cartoon balloons of dialogue. Time flies (unlike cartoon dialogue balloons) and even in the most inhospitable places, plants and publishing thrive. You might think you'd be better off engulfed in flames than starting a new publishing venture, but clearly, Anne Ishii thinks otherwise.

Anne Ishii is clearly not risk-averse. Starting a new line of book in a climate where publishers are cutting costs by cutting staff might seem like a risky proposition, but the deal with book is this:

They make you believe.

You read a book and connect, and that's a connection that just doesn't get dismissed by logical arguments. Anne Ishii, however, finds a lot of logical reasons to like the Museyon Travel Guides, and I suspect that many readers will as well. These are solid books — well-written, crowded in the way travel books are but with a sense of purpose and beauty often lacking in their brethren. You can hear how a publishing company gets founded and why, as well as what's up with the latest spin on travel books by following this link to the mp3 file.



06-10-09: Agony Column Podcast News Report — Agony Column Broadcast Show from February 22, 2009 : Michael Katakis and Xinran"

The world is still much with us, and thusly, so should we still be listening to world traveler and commentator, Michael Katakis as he talks about his book 'Traveller' and Xinran speak about her book 'China Witness: Voices from a Silent Generation'.

We'll keep it short and to the point today, because we have lots of work in the hopper. Today's podcast is a slight edit of my broadcast show from February 22, of 2009; it featured Michael Katakis and Xinran, both worldly writers. I find it interesting how much our perception of the world has changed in four mere months, and thus, hearing these writers in a new setting is really quite interesting. Because you can't cross the same river twice, you can't hear the same interview twice either. The audio's changed and so have you. You can find out how by following this link to podcast of a broadcast.



06-08-09 : A 2009 Interview with Guillermo Del Toro : "They are essentially vermin"
Guillermo Del Toro and Rick Kleffel, Beverly Hills, CA

Of course there's the true terror for an interviewer; the fear that you'll get stood up, especially when you're a web guy or (more terrifying) vaguely associated with NPR. With that sort of double-whammy, I watched the seconds crawl with just about as much terror as I'd experienced reading 'The Strain.' But after experiencing not-undue strain, I was able to talk with Guillermo Del Toro, and we totally hit it off, since we're both big fans of monsters. Nothing like a shared adolescent joy to fire up a conversation. Del Toro is every bit as smart and funny as you might think, plus, did I mention that he loves his monsters? He also talks extensively about the writing and collaboration process, as well as exploring the differences between writing for film and writing a novel. Once we got going, his minder had to stop us. You can hear the result by following this link to our interview.



New to the Agony Column

07-11-14: Commentary : Roz Chast Asks 'Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?' : NO

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Roz Chast : "...I had no idea of how it worked because we had never talked about it."

07-08-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 170: Roz Chast : Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

06-30-14: Commentary : Alan Furst Passes 'Midnight in Europe : Wrong Side of War

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Alan Furst : "...certain periods are echoic..."

06-29-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 169: Alan Furst : Midnight in Europe

06-27-14: Commentary : Sarah Lotz Counts 'The Three' : The Uses of Fear

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Sarah Lotz : "...people need answers..."

06-25-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 168: Sarah Lotz : The Three

06-21-14: Commentary : Steven Galloway Conjures 'The Confabulist' : Creating Harry Houdini

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Steven Galloway : "...so much has been written about Harry Houdini..."

06-18-14: Commentary : Raymond B. Russell Heralds 'The Dark Return of Time' : An Atmosphere of Crime

Agony Column Podcast News Report : Thomas Frank on Parlor Tricks : "Off With Their Heads!"

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 167: Steven Galloway : The Confabulist

06-16-14: Commentary : Geoff Dyer Has 'Another Great Day at Sea' : The Steel Beach Party

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Geoff Dyer : "..but it was as nothing compared to the noise of planes landing..."

06-15-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 166: Geoff Dyer : Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush

06-09-14: Commentary : Colson Whitehead Does 'The Noble Hustle' : Incandescent Memories of the Future

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Colson Whitehead : "...I won five dollars, and from then on..."

06-08-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 165: Colson Whitehead : The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky and Deaths

06-02-14: Commentary : Kaui Hart Hemmings Explores 'The Possibilities' : Framing Life

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Kaui Hart Hemmings : "I burned that copy and started fresh."

05-31-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 164: Kaui Hart Hemmings : The Possibilities

05-26-14: Commentary : Kent A. Kiehl Heeds 'The Psychopath Whisperer' : Prison of the Mind

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Kent A. Kiehl : "How do you measure the cost of those sixteen homicides?"

05-21-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 163: Kent A. Kiehl, PhD : The Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience

05-19-14: Commentary : Justin Go Clocks 'The Steady Running of the Hour' : Time-Crossed Lovers and Wars

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Justin Go : "... there was always something that had to happen ..."

05-15-14: Commentary : Jeff VanderMeer Grants 'Authority' : The Parallax Views

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Jeff VanderMeer : "...the land people don't talk to the sky people don't talk to the water people..."

05-13-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 162: Justin Go : The Steady Running of the Hour

05-12-14: Commentary : Matt Taibbi Views 'The Divide' : Zero-Sum Economic Morality

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Matt Taibbi : "... the biggest bank robbery in the history of the world ..."

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