Book Book Book Book
Commentary Commentary RSS Reviews Podcasts_Audio Podcasts RSS Blog Links Archives Indexes
10-05-11: A 2011 Interview with Ruth Rendell


"Oh, I could kill him."

—Ruth Rendell

I almost flew to New York. The only things stopping me, other than total lack of funds and time was the thought that I should save the live interview for my next trip to London. I do hope to fly again someday. And besides, I thought I could do an ISDN interview, which would give me sterling sound.

With the help of an intrepid publicist, I booked studio time in New York and here in Santa Cruz, which proved to be amazingly difficult. I could get the Baroness into NY, but no way could I be permitted to use my funky Santa Cruz NPR-affiliate studio at 6:00 AM on a Thursday morning.

But I did manage to get some time set aside, but sat helplessly while we tried to make ISDN work. It didn't. Oh, the folks on both ends of the transaction were highly skilled and very helpful. But in the end, I spent an hour with Baroness Ruth Rendell ssaying mostly, "Can you hear me?"

And that was to be that. Her schedule thereafter was full.

Then, said intrepid and extremely helpful publicist, helped me set up a phone interview, pretty much on the fly, later in the week. All the machinations though the has not been for nought. I managed to get Ruth Rendell on the phone, and we had an utterly delightful conversation abouther work in general, which I've been reading her work since the 1980's, and her newest novel, 'The Vault,' which you can hear by following this link to the MP3 audio file.




10-04-11 UPDATE: Podcast Update: Time to Read, Episode 12: Neal Stephenson, 'REAMDE'


Here's the twelfth 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 twelfth episode is a look at the work of Neal Stephenson and his latest novel, 'REAMDE.'

Here's a link to the MP3 audio file of Episode 12: Time to Read: Neal Stephenson, 'REAMDE.'




10-03-11: A 2011 Interview with Erin Morgenstern

Click image for audio link.

"I'm always kind of a fantastical writer."

—Erin Morgenstern

When I met Erin Morgensgtern at KQED, I could tell that I was speaking with someone whose work went far beyond prose. She had the bearing of not just a writer, but a visual artist, or perhaps an actress.

Both talents would come in handy were she to be hired by Le Cirque des RĂªves, and indeed, she did at times seem like a refugee from her own creation. She'd have been perfectly happy were we to be conducting the interview a century ago, under gaslight.

The genesis of 'The Night Circus' is itself a story worthy of the novel and circus. It's certainly not a straightforward tale, even though Morgenstern admitted to using a spreadsheet to keep track of the varying time-streams in the story. For all the delicate artistry on display, what keeps a book like this hanging together are the nuts and bolts of making sure that everyone is the right age in the right scene.

We started out conversation with a discussion of her work with tarot cards, and it made me wish that I had brought my deck. Yes, indeed, I do have a deck, which I can see right now as type this up, and yes, it is contained in the official swath of black silk. But listeners need not consult the tarot to determine their future; you can simply follow this link to the MP3 audio file to hear the author discuss a book you are certain to enjoy.



New to the Agony Column

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

01-03-15: Commentary : Rebecca Lloyd 'Mercy and other Stories' : "You humans are practiced executioners." Zanti Leader, The Outer Limits

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Audio Review of Rebecca Lloyd 'Mercy and other Stories' : "Our knives and monsters are ever ready, and as real as we need them to be."

12-30-14: Commentary : Kathy Freston 'Quantum Wellness' : : Tipping Points

12-29-14: Commentary : Kathy Freston Embraces 'The Lean' : Series of Successive Approximations

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Kathy Freston : "...visualize how you'd like your life to look..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 188: Kathy Freston : Quantum Wellness, Veganist and The Lean

12-19-14: Commentary : Mark Samuels 'Written in Darkness' : Sinkholes of Despair

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Audio Review of Mark Samuels 'Written in Darkness' : "This is an abyss that is not content to merely gaze back."

12-16-14: Commentary : Christopher Hobbs and Leslie Gardner 'Grow It, Heal It' : Natural and Effective Herbal Remedies from Your Garden or Windowsill

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Christopher Hobbs : "I want to integrate both the traditional uses and the traditional wisdom and knowledge and experience with modern science."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 187: Christopher Hobbs : Grow It, Heal It

12-09-14: Commentary : Tad Williams Is Caught 'Sleeping Late on Judgment Day' : As Below, So Above

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Tad Williams : ...Heaven and Hell couldn't be an open, on-going dramatic conflict; it would be more like the Cold War."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 186: Tad Williams : Sleeping Late on Judgment Day

Commentary & Podcast Archive

Archives Indexes How to use the Agony Column Contact Us About Us