Interview Links

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.

– John Hawkins over at Right Wing News has an interview with Claire Berlinski, author of Menace In Europe and the novel Loose Lips.

– 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?

TB: Hmm.

RB: [still laughing] What do you bring to the table?

TB: Another thing I can’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 do—I just won’t do what is asked of me. I did have things to say and afterwards this very nice producer said, “You know, you wrote a really good book and you are really self deprecating in your book and that’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 it’s about.”

– Mr. Birnbaum also recently spoke with Alberto Manguel. Here is the teaser:

Should “America” only include the United States? Does art criticism matter when it doesn’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? Who’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.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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