Deb Olin Unferth is the guest. She's the author of three books, the most recent of which is a memoir called Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War (Henry Holt). It was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award.
Dave Eggers says
"This is a very funny, excoriatingly honest story of being young, semi-idealistic, stupid and in love. If you have ever been any of these things, you'll devour it."
And Bookslut calls it
“[O]ne of the best memoirs of the past several years. It's a difficult book to stop reading; Unferth is charming, charismatic, and breathtakingly smart… [Revolution is] more than enough to catapult Unferth into the ranks of America's great young writers.”
Monologue topics: Memorial Day weekend, Venice Beach, Katy Perry, celebrity sightings, Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, the gym, Paul Rudd.
Masha Hamilton is the guest. She is currently working in Afghanistan as Director of Communications and Public Diplomacy at the US Embassy, and her new novel, What Changes Everything, is now available from Unbridled Books.
Caroline Leavitt raves
"As real and immediate as a racing pulse, Hamilton’s dark jewel of a novel turns the political into the personal with a blazing tapestry of characters, all grappling with the terrifying cost of war and the unbreakable bonds of love. Thrilling and magnificent."
And Jillian Cantor says
"Intensely gripping and beautifully written, What Changes Everything shows the lengths we will go to save each other and ourselves. A stunning collage of loss, grief, love, and most of all, survival, Hamilton’s characters—and their stories—are richly drawn and achingly real."
Monologue topics: Memorial Day, Frances Ha, personal lives of celebrities intruding on the moviegoing experience.
Maureen Corrigan of NPR's Fresh Air says
"Europa Editions...has been doing the Lord's work in terms of introducing European literary novels, many of them in translation, to an American readership."
And the LA Weekly says
“You could consider Europa Editions...as a kind of book club for Americans who thirst after exciting foreign fiction.”
Monologue topics: blurbs, bullshit, Jim Carroll, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, The Pussy Posse, the grandeur of delusions.
Kendra Grant Malone is the guest. She is the author of two poetry collections, Everything is Quiet (Scrambler Books) and Morocco (Dark Sky Books), the second of which she co-wrote with Matthew Savoca.
Blake Butler says
"Kendra Grant Malone contains several hundred people. Likewise, her words seem to protect several hundred other words beneath their giddy, precise calm. Here is a mother and a voyeur and a pervert and a magick-making child, somewhere between them all your brand new old friend, teeming with such heat. Here is language more honest than I could ever be. I suggest you keep it close, warm. I suggest you keep an eye, as if this book had human hands beyond its gorgeous shoulders it would tickle you to death; it would hump your funny tired body, then eat your head for what you’ve seen."
And Ben Greenman says
"Any book that thanks ‘vodka, cocaine, and Citalopram, for making mood swings bearable and this book possible’ is likely to a strong sense of its own identity, or identities, and Kendra Grant Malone’s Everything is Quiet certainly does. Strong: her use of language, her voice, her commitment to getting it right, even as she’s describing how she frequently gets it wrong. Sense: a good ear, a good eye, an intimate acquaintance with bodies and what (and who) they do. These fifty sexy, thoughtful, and sometimes pained poems do right by sex, love, and sometimes pain, not to mention menstrual blood, greasy hair, funny faces, and watering eyes."
Monologue topics: bachelor parties, relief, contradiction, antisocial behavior, strip clubs, Wrangler jeans, fly-fishing.
John Irving says
"Red Moon is a serious, politically symbolic novel—a literary novel about lycanthropes. If George Orwell had imagined a future where the werewolf population had grown to the degree that they were colonized and drugged, this terrifying novel might be it."
And Library Journal, in a starred review, raves
"This literary thriller by an award-winning young writer will excite fans of modern horror who enjoy a large canvas and a history to go with their bloody action. . . . Fans of Max Brooks's zombies and Justin Cronin's vampires will enjoy the dramatic breadth of Percy's tale of werewolves."
Monologue topics: the Internet, blackouts, addiction, meditation, masturbation, my mother.
Anna Stothard is the guest. Her novel The Pink Hotel is now available in the United States from Picador. And her latest effort, a novel called The Art of Leaving, is just out in the UK from Alma Books.
The New York Times calls The Pink Hotel
“Stylish… captures an outsider’s gape at sun-drenched Los Angeles.”
And Davy Rothbart raves
"The Pink Hotel is mysterious, lyrical, and utterly absorbing, by turns funny and forlorn. [Stothard's] writing bristles with sexiness and suspense, love, loss, and longing. This is the best book I’ve read in years.”
Monologue topics: stopping, vistas, nature, personal space, park benches, eating on airplanes, Reese Witherspoon.
HTML Giant says:
"There is nothing on the back cover. A wall of black staring at you. No pull quotes or blurbs, and by the second page you realize why: because the book speaks for itself....I read this tiny book in one sitting in a coffee shop amazed by its power and had to go indoors to drown out the outside world to reread it and devour it properly....Early frontrunner for best book I’ve read this year, certainly the most memorable. I can’t remember reading anything quite like Solip....Solip is a twitter account from hell, a deranged patient babbling on a shrink’s couch....Concise yet brimming with ideas and thoughts and lists and fragments and run-ons and then it’s over and you’re left wondering what the fuck happened."
Monologue topics: fiction, nonfiction, my novel, paralysis, creative quandaries, Errol Morris, Baltimore, The Black Guerilla Family, prison corruption.
The library was recently featured in the New York Times:
"Matt Nelson, a graduate student in creative writing at Queens College and one of the library’s two founders, explained the origins of the place, which is meant to serve as a reading room and gathering spot in addition to book lender. Mr. Nelson and Jacob Perkins, both 26, started the library in February, inspired in part by Pilot Books, a bookstore in Mr. Nelson’s hometown, Seattle, that carried volumes by independent publishers, and which closed in 2011.
"Mellow Pages also specializes in those more arcane titles. Without the advertising budgets of major houses, the smaller presses have more difficulty finding readers, Mr. Nelson said, and the idea behind the library was to form a community of people who could share books that were not easy to find elsewhere."
Monologue topics: voicemails, Spencer Madsen, Skype, my voice, cheese, New York City.
Cheryl Strayed says
"The Still Point of the Turning World is about the smallest things and the biggest things, the ugliest things and the most beautiful things, the darkest things and the brightest things, but most of all it’s about one very important thing: the way a woman loves a boy who will soon die. Emily Rapp didn’t want to tell us this story. She had to. That necessity is evident in every word of this intelligent, ferocious, grace-filled, gritty, astonishing starlight of a book."
And Kirkus, in a starred review, calls it
"A beautiful, searing exploration of the landscape of grief and a profound meditation on the meaning of life."
Monologue topics: wedding, Chicago, sobriety, alcohol, 5-Hour Energy, Tay-Sachs, NTSAD.org