Sunday, September 28, 2008

Karin Slaughter Interview

Listen to us dance around all the twists in Karin Slaughter's newest book, Fractured. One, two, three; turn, one, two, three...

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

David Wroblewski Interview

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle is definitely the best-written book that I've read this year. And this is probably the best author interview I've ever done. David Wroblewski is articulate and thoughtful, and I thought we had a wonderful time talking about his book. I am damn proud of myself. No joke.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Howard Bahr Interview

Howard Bahr is known for his several excellent Civil War novels, but Pelican Road is about a train collision in Misssissppi in 1940. So very excellently written, Pelican Road is a novel for grown ups. People who know regret, loss, cruelty but manage to get up every day anyway. Our fates are all sealed, but dammit, you have to fight aganst it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

John Perkins Interview

John Perkins is the author of the best sellers Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Secret History of the American Empire. The books have made a big splash, and I really wanted to like them, but I found Perkins's tone to be self-aggrandizing, and he really only got out of the biz when the checks stopped coming in. I really think he over eggs the pudding, much as Simon Winchester did in The Professor and the Madman.

In person, he was a very pleasant fellow. I was a bit combative, and for this I must apologize. I get a bit defensive when I run into what I presume to be knee-jerk anti-Americanism. Absolving Arab and Muslim empires for their bloody expansions in the past just gets under my skin. The "West" isn't the only expansionistic and imperialistic culture around. It isn't the first and it won't be the last. Our world has been a long history of peoples invading peoples, and to hold the West up to specific and, I believe, disingenuous scrutiny shows a lack of awareness of world history at best and willful cultural mendacity at its worst.

Enjoy, if I haven't scared you off.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

MicroFiction - 4L3X4ND3R

He said, "Where is the romance in sustainability? It is the drive that makes us human. Burn through every resource, burn every field and bridge. Forward ever forward. Advance or perish. Death and oblivion are at your back. Innovate. Expand. If the universe has taught us anything, it is expansion. When expansion ends, contraction begins. Yes, indulge yourself in petty romances of bucolic splendours of times past, lost in nostalgic reveries. However, I, for one, intend to be the alien overlord who is welcomed."

I said, "Bold words from a six year old."

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jeffrey Buckner Ford Interview

My interview with Jeffrey Buckner Ford is now available for download. Mr. Ford's book, River of No Return: Tennessee Ernie Ford and the Woman He Loved, is a memoir of his family during the time of his father's, Tennessee Ernie Ford, tremendous fame as one of America's greatest entertainers in the 1950s and 1960s. He will also be signing his book at Davis Kidd in Memphis on Tuesday June 24th at 6 p.m.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Martin Clark Interview

This interview is four years old, but I am interviewing Judge Clark again in four weeks. His first two books, The Many Aspects of Mobile Home Living and Plain Heathen Mischief, are pretty awesome. His newest one, The Legal, Limit comes out on July 11, and I'll interview him on July 14. Be there, or be held in contempt.

Abandon all hope, ye who clicketh here:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Happening - A Kind of Review

M. Night S's (If he hasn't the time to spell out his first name, I haven't the time to spell out his last.) movies are no longer getting steadily worse. There is no way any movie could be as bad as Lady in the Water. (I rented that one at the behest of an ex-girlfriend. I could be clever and say that was the reason that led to our break up; however, that would be giving Mr. MNS too much credit. And I am steadfastly opposed to giving his ego any more fuel.)

This is not to say The Happening is a return to form of his first two major films. In fact, it only retreats back to the level of crappiness that was The Village. Here's my gripe. I don't think he can direct actors. Bruce Willis is decent at what he does. Samuel L Jackson, the same, as well as Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix. But how he actually sabotaged William Hurt and Paul Giamati with some of the crummiest dialogue ever is simply evil. It is horrifying. It is as if he should film himself ruining actors; that would be far scarier than what he is actually making movies about.

He doesn't have much to ruin in The Happening. Mark Walberg can't act very well. He seems like a jock in high school who takes a theater class in high school to get chicks, but ends up liking theater a lot, but ultimately has no talent, so his earnestness is cute for two minutes and then just turns into pathetic. Zooey Deschanel, I've liked her in every role that I've seen her in. I never thought she had tons of talent, but her personality carries her a long way, in my estimation. (And she is way cuter than her older sister.) And still, she is just wasted in this movie. The actor that came across the best was John Leguizamo, but he wasn't particularly good either. Betty Buckley's part had the potential to be a very interesting character, but MNS seems determined to turn all the forest's trees into cardboard.

Cardboard is actually a bit generous. More like a pulpy Big Chief tablet page. (That's not quite it, either. I have a fond nostalgia for the Big Chief tablets.) More like East German toilet paper. He takes something that is supposed to be good and usable, and turns it into an inadequate simulacrum of utility that is also a pain in the ass.

MNS is upset with the world. At our lack of respect for the magic all around us. At our lack of appreciating the beauty of life and the people who care for us. Instead of making movies to inspire us to do better in the stewardship of our planet and encouraging responsibility for our families and communities, he has decided to punish us... by making us watch his god-awful movies. (I really did like Unbreakable, though.)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Kevin Sessums Interview

In 2007, I interviewed Kevin Sessums. He's a big shot celebrity journalist. I am not. He is homosexual. I am not. He is bald. I am not. Could we find common ground? Well, we both read his memoir called Mississippi Sissy, so we talked about that. Everything works out if you give it enough time.

Click here if you are secure in your masculinity:

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Dennis Lehane Interview

A couple of years ago I interviewed Dennis Lehane. Things got off to a rocky start when I called him Tim Lehaye. (The Left Behind dude) I edited that bit out, and we talked about his collection of short stories and play called Coronado. You peeps know him for writing Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and Shutter Island. You peeps know me for botching interviews.

We went out for ribs and beer after the interview. When I dropped him off at his hotel, he had an armful of Bud Light. He didn't offer me one. Guess the LeHaye thing ticked him off pretty good.

Here's the clicky clicky:

Friday, May 23, 2008

Daniel Wallace Interview

OK, it's been busy around here lately, so I'll dig into the vault for an interview I did in 2007 with Daniel Wallace. He's best known for writing Big Fish. We talked about his novel, Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician, which isn't as racist as it sounds. We did this one for a local cable show, so the sound quality kinda stinks. Sorry.

click here for the download:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kevin Brockmeier Interview

I talked with Kevin Brockmeier in late April 2008 about his latest collection of short stories, The View from the Seventh Layer. He handles SF and the fantastical with a very literary fiction-oriented approach. We also talked about comics. (I had to bluff my way through part of that, my comics knowledge is all second hand from friends. Thanks to Gabe Vaughn, Cold Eth, and the late Rick Driskill for giving me the skills to fake it to make it.)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Patrick McGrath Interview

I got a chance to talk to Patrick McGrath a few weeks ago. He has written many great psychological thrillers like, Spider, The Grotesque, and Asylum. His newest novel is Trauma. He was a great interview; I was my typical mediocre self.

Click here for the download.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Fiona Maazel Interview

Last Last Chance is probably the best book that I have read so far this year, but don't get cocky, Ms. Maazel. I have an advance copy of Martin Clark's The Legal Limit in mah grubby mitts, and I am about to pass out waiting for Glen Davis Gold's Sunnyside.

That bit of ego-checking aside, Ms. Maazel has written an incredibly open-hearted and often hilarious novel of addicts, reincarnation, kosher chickens, super-plague, and the complications of family. Never has the potential end of humanity left me feeling more hopeful. Laff, doomed man, laff.

click this for download:

Friday, May 02, 2008

Speed Racer? Eh...

Am I just old, or was I just a grumpy kid? Speed Racer sucked when I was a crumbgrabber, and I have no desire to see the new movie version. The Wachowskis (If that is indeed how their name is spelled, not that I give one whit enough to do even a perfunctory Wikipedia search.) have made progressively worse movies starting with the vastly over-rated and mostly icky, Bound. It is written; I have spoken...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tony D'Souza Interview

Tony D'Souza got a lot of great press for his first novel, Whiteman, and is getting good notices for his newest one, The Konkans. We had a chat about the latter, had some misunderstandings, and I made him late for a signing.

click here for the download

Friday, April 04, 2008

Harry Belafonte, Jr.

I just got to shake Harry Belafonte, Jr.'s hand. He came to the station to do a program with US Rep. Steve Cohen. Everyone is in Memphis for the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination. (Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CSPAN, etc.) Here's a crummy phonecam pic that you can't tell is Mr. Belafonte and Congressman Cohen, but ...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Jacqueline Winspear Interview

Novelist Jacqueline Winspear dropped by the studios a few weeks ago to talk about her new novel, An Incomplete Revenge, the fifth in the Maisie Dobbs series. We talked of the Great War, hops picking in rural England and the Romany people, and even about her former career as a life coach. She is also one of the contributors for the great group blog, (Don't worry, it's SFW.) A nice time, all around.

Monday, March 31, 2008

WGI Wig Out

Vanderbilt University in Nashville was host for a regional for Winter Guard International, which is some kind of competitive color guard drill team thingamajig. The costumes for some of the groups were fruit loopier than Toucan Sam's tummy after a well-balanced breakfast. Enjoy, my retinas still haven't forgiven me.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Stupid Question Tuesday

What happens to a werewolf astronaut on the moon?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Douglas Preston Interview

Douglas Preston is perhaps best known for his Pendergast series he writes with Lincoln Child. I had a chance to talk to him in January of 2008 about his solo novel Blasphemy. It's a story of a particle accelerator and the love triangle it's involved in. OK, maybe not quite, but a particle accelerator starts talking and science and religion are headed for their own collision course.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Chuck Thompson - Book Talk Podcast - March 2008

Man, talking with Chuck Thompson was mighty fun. Not only is he an engaging guy with a sense of humor, but he was also a member of Mood Paint which was a precursor to one of my favorite bands, Pond. He also co-wrote one of my favorite Pond songs, Young Splendor. His book is a travel memoir called Smile When You are Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer. He dishes some dirt, but he also tells some great stories without much snark. Click here for the goodness.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lauren Groff Interview

On February 21, 2008 Lauren Groff stopped by the WYPL studios to have a chat about her debut novel, The Monsters of Templeton. This was her first in-person radio interview, so a decided shift from the ueber-recognizable Neil deGrasse Tyson from last week. Click here for the interview goodness.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Woo Hoo! I Interviewed Neil deGrasse Tyson!


OK, sometimes stuff just falls in one's lap. Last week I got to interview Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of NOVA science NOW, director of the Hayden Planetarium, and all-around smart guy. He was in Memphis for a lecture and I had called his people two weeks prior to see if I could get him to come on to the radio program I produce for WYPL Radio called Book Talk. His publicity person didn't call me back until the day he was in town, THREE HOURS before his only window. I was really nervous because I hadn't even bothered preparing for an interview that I wasn't expecting to happen.

So I drove downtown to pick him up at his hotel. We got back to the station and had a nice 30 minute chat. On the way back, he plugged his iPhone into my car stereo, and we listened to "American Woman" by The Guess Who and "Atomic Dog" by George Clinton. Listening to George Clinton with Neil deGrasse Tyson while driving in my Saturn. Life is way too odd sometimes.

I finally have figured out how to store files online, so you can download the interview here. And a bonus for all you, this is the full interview. The one for radio had 2.5 minutes pared off. I will also start posting my other interviews on my blog. It's not quite a real podcast. But I've talked to some cool people over the years, like Walter Mosley, Kinky Friedman, Haven Kimmel, and Bruce Campbell. So check back once a week and listen to me be nervous and listen to authors talk about themselves. And extra bonus, all the interviews are done in-person so the audio quality is usually pretty good.