Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor is a quirky and odd tale of two women and two mysteries in Night Vale – a small town where the weird is normal. The book is based on the podcast by the authors that chronicles the strange events that occur in the town.

I am more of a grounded-in-realism reader and this book is not that. It has shape-shifting characters, alien sightings, and other odd occurrences. Although this is not my type of book, it does keep the reader’s attention.

The main characters Jackie Fierro (a pawn shop owner who is given a piece of paper with the only words “KING CITY” on it) and Diane Crayton (her son is a shape-shifter who is increasingly interested in knowing more about his absent father) try to figure out the weirder things going on in the town.

Two mysteries abound: who is a mysterious man who keeps handing out “KING CITY” notes and why does Diane’s ex keep popping up in town. In Jackie and Diane’s quest to find information, they escape with their lives as they visit the local library (local librarians are monsters).

Expect the unexpected and hang on for the weirdest ride of a tale.

How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on The Firing Line

For some odd reason I had not really listened to the Federalist Radio Hour until just recently.  This despite being a huge fan of The Transom and all things Ben Domenech. But I am now tuning in on a regular basis.  He has had some fascinating authors on for extended conversations and it is refreshing in today’s soundbite world.

Speaking of that, I just finished listening to his conversation with Heather Hendershot, professor of film and media at MIT, and the author of the new book, “Open to Debate: How William F. Buckley Put Liberal America on The Firing Line.”  It is worth a listen.

A Conversation with Olen Steinhauer – Part Two

 

In the second part of our conversation Olen Steinhauer and I discuss the life of an expatriate and its impact on your perspective toward your own and other cultures, the future of publishing, and his plans for the future, among other things.

A Conversation with Olen Steinhauer – Part One

Oeln SteinhauerIf you know me or have read this blog for any length of time it is not a secret that I am a big fan of Olen Steinhauer. I have read all of his books and interviewed him a number of times.  He is one of those authors I would like to call “a friend of the blog.”

So what better way to break out of my recent funk but to fire up the podcast and have another conversation?  As luck would have it, Olen has a new book out, The Cairo Affair, which makes for the perfect topic of conversation.

Olen and I talked about The Cairo Affair, the risk of bringing current events into a novel, the magic of fiction, his approach to writing, plot and characters development, and more.  Part One is above and I will post Part Two tomorrow.

Enjoy.

UPDATE: Part Two now posted.

Joseph Bottum and America’s Anxious Age – Part 2

In the second part of my conversation with Joseph Bottum about his book An Anxious Age we focus on the future.  If Bottum’s description of American history is right and his understanding of where we are and why is on target, what now?  We touch on the culture war, drawing pictures and telling stories rather than engaging in intellectual combat, the path from editor of magazines in the power centers of the East Coast to writing memoir and fiction two time zones west, and even on the state of publishing today.

Part one of the interview.  Listen to Part Two above. (Again, apologies for my lack of audio skills and or technological adeptness)

Michelle Herman Interview Part 2 – Stories We Tell Ourselves

In case you missed part 1 yesterday, this is the second part of an interview with Michelle Herman.

Her most recent book, Stories We Tell Ourselves, is a set of two extended personal essays and was released by the University of Iowa Press this past March.

In this section of the interview we continue to discuss her writing and touch on art and the unconscious, what’s next for her as a writer, as well as the Kindle Single program and changes within the publishing industry.