I had some technical issues over the weekend that resulted in a couple of posts disappearing (been that kind of week) so content will be delayed yet again. Below are some links to interviews you might find interesting.
– Robert Birnbaum continues to crank out the interviews. Here is one with Thomas Beller, author of How to Be a Man: Scenes From a Protracted Boyhood and The Sleep-Over Artist. The Washington Post’s Jonathan Yardley had this to say about Beller:
Thomas Beller is a smart, funny, interesting guy who labors under the misfortune of knowing that he’s a smart, funny, interesting guy, but for the most part he manages to avoid the pitfalls — narcissism, self-absorption, self-congratulation — that such knowledge often creates. To be sure, he is an accomplished navel-gazer — “How to Be a Man” is all about Me, Me, Me — but he is disarmingly self-deprecatory and gets his laughs, of which the book has a number, mainly at his own expense.
The interview includes this interesting exchange:
RB: What is it you think you can do [laughs] as a writer?
RB: [still laughing] What do you bring to the table?
TB: Another thing I canâ€™t do is answer questions that directly. But I can tell you apropos of what I can do as a writer that I did a radio interview with the North Carolina NPR affiliate. And the guy who conducted it was not a local. He was subbing. He had come down from Washington. A very nice guy, very intelligent. Had read at least a respectable amount of the book. And understandably wanted me to discuss some of the thematic offshoots of what that issue [raised by How to be a Man] might bring up. I just went into this thing of what I doâ€”I just wonâ€™t do what is asked of me. I did have things to say and afterwards this very nice producer said, â€œYou know, you wrote a really good book and you are really self deprecating in your book and thatâ€™s great, but when you go on the radio you have to get over that and say that you wrote a good book and say what itâ€™s about.â€
– Mr. Birnbaum also recently spoke with Alberto Manguel. Here is the teaser:
Should â€œAmericaâ€ only include the United States? Does art criticism matter when it doesnâ€™t account for emotions? Our man in Boston talks to author Alberto Manguel about working with Borges and responding to paintings.
– National Review Online has an interview with Charles Murray, author of In Our Hands : A Plan To Replace The Welfare State. In the book the famous libertarian proposes to end the welfare state by replacing it with a grant system. The gist of it is given in this exchange:
Kathryn Jean Lopez: First things first. $10,000? Whoâ€™s getting and when? And can I use it on my credit-card debt?
Charles Murray: If you’ve reached your 21st birthday, are a United States citizen, are not incarcerated, and have a pulse, you get the grant, electronically deposited in monthly installments in an American bank of your choice with an ABA routing number. If you make more than $25,000, you pay part of it back in graduated amounts. At $50,000, the surtax maxes out at $5,000. I also, reluctantly but with good reason, specify that $3,000 has to be devoted to health care. Apart from that, you can use the grant for whatever you want. Enjoy.
Yet another non-fiction book I would like to read. But I am hopelessly behind so I doubt I will get to it.