Entertainment Weekly calls it
“Stunning . . . comes across as a bleaker, funnier, R-rated version of The Glass Castle and marks the arrival of a blazing new voice in literature.”
And The New York Times Book Review calls it
“A luminous, layered accomplishment.”
Monologue topics: the sun's lethal nature, worrying about people not being worried about me.
From the publisher:
"Being a lesbian doesn’t come natural to everyone. That’s what Erika Kleinman learned during her sexual awakening in 1990s Seattle, when she began dating a host of butch women who were all too willing to show her the ropes. My Life as a Dyke recounts Kleinmans’ relationships with candor and humor while making one thing clear: no matter who you’re interested in, dating can be a nightmare."
Monologue topics: people smiling at me, cosmic energy, narcissism, walking meditation, Los Angeles.
Maggie Nelson is the guest. She is the critically acclaimed author of books like The Red Parts, Bluets, and The Art of Cruelty.
The New York Times Book Review calls The Art of Cruelty
"An important and frequently surprising book . . . could be read as the foundation for a post-avant-garde aesthetics. . . . Nelson, who is also a poet, is such a graceful writer that I . . . just sat back and enjoyed the show.”
And BOMB Magazine says of Bluets
"From blue factoids like Benedict de Saussure’s 1789 invention of 'cyanometer, with which he hoped to measure the blue of the sky,' to her own struggles with depression, Nelson gifts us with what seems like a lifetime study of blue while somehow slyly avoiding any of the obvious 'blue' clichés. Maggie Nelson continues to raise the bar higher in what a reader can expect from a book. Bluets is smart yet intimate, quiet yet provocative, and a welcome addition to the poetic non-fiction discourse."
Monologue topics: mortality, memory, writing, childhood, wiping, O.J. Simpson, major cultural moments.
Joyce Carol Oates says
"Dear Lucy introduces a young writer with a most original voice and a tenderly eccentric vision. Julie Sarkissian has created a boldly lyrical, suspenseful, and mysterious fictional world in this striking debut novel."
And Ron Rash raves
"In Dear Lucy, Julie Sarkissian has accomplished what many veteran novelists never achieve: a startlingly original work that is also profound and wise in the vagaries of the heart. What an amazing debut."
Monologue topics: mail, listener reactions to the Tao Lin episodes, Alt-Lit.
Michael Kimball says
"There’s a hell of a lot more charm in Savoca’s book than a novel about sad and smart twenty-somethings should ever have."
And Scott McClanahan says
“Man, this book gets in you. It’s like baby food. You could go to the store and buy a jar and eat it with your hands, but it’d be better to have someone who shares your last name spoon it out on your tongue. After reading it, you will say, ‘Give me more, Momma.’ I want more. MORE. MORE. GIVE US MORE MATTHEW.”
Monologue topics: writing, superstition, childhood, memory, punting the ball at the new girl, shooting my little sister with a slingshot.
Emily Gould is the guest. She is the author of the memoir And the Heart Says Whatever (Free Press, 2010), and her novel entitled Friendship is due out from FSG in 2014. A former co-editor at Gawker, she now runs her own publishing venture called Emily Books, with Ruth Curry.
Curtis Sittenfield says of And the Heart Says Whatever:
"These smart, poignant essays about being young and literary in New York City are like a twenty-first century version of The Bell Jar but with more pot, sex, technology, and (thank goodness) a different ending."
Monologue topics: moaning, humming, Starbucks, Miles Davis, elevators, neighbors, styrofoam, avoidance, existential pain.
The New York Observer says
"Tao Lin [is] an excellent writer of avant-garde fiction. His new novel is his most mature work, and follows a young New York writer to Taipei, where he must reconcile his family’s roots with the haze of MDMA, texts and tweets that he’s been living in. Mr. Lin has refined his deadpan prose style here into an icy, cynical, but ultimately thrilling and unique literary voice."
And Blake Butler says
“The insane level of scrutiny of everyday personal behavior in Taipei feels somewhere between that of Andy Warhol and a young, bored Patrick Bateman. All the strange modernity we’ve come to expect from Tao Lin—alienation, obsession, social confusion, drugs, the internet, sex, food, death—is rendered here with an calm intuition, somehow distant and metaphysical at once, brutally honest and avoidant, touching and monotonic, like getting sewn inside a mask of your own face. And as can also always be expected of the author, it is mesmerizing, sharp, singularly him, a work of vision so relentless it forces most any reader to respond.”
Monologue topics: tweets, Denver, water, Matt Bell, TNB Book Club, In the House Upon the Dirt between the Lake and the Woods.
Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, says
"For all its straightforwardness, Lin’s previous work—with its flat, Internet-inspired prose issued by small presses—has presented a stumbling stone for readers who fall outside his North Brooklyn contingent, for whom he is the standard bearer. This will change with the breakout Taipei, a novel about disaffection that’s oddly affecting. . . . Everything about Taipei appears to run contrary to the standard idea of what constitutes art. And yet, the documentary precision captures the sleepwalking malaise of Lin’s generation so completely, it’s scary. . . . Yet for all its emotional reality, Taipei is a book without an ounce of self-pity, melodrama, or posturing, making the glacial Lin (Richard Yates) the perfect poster child for a generation facing—and failing to face—maturity.”
And Bret Easton Ellis says
“With Taipei Tao Lin becomes the most interesting prose stylist of his generation.”
Monologue topics: Terence McKenna, telepathy, language, evolution, death, getting [your] act together.
BookPage calls it
“Difficult to read, but impossible to put down—this is perhaps the best way to describe Melanie Thorne’s debut, Hand Me Down. Like Janet Finch’s 1999 bestseller White Oleander, this is a raw and all too realistic story about a California teen forced to move from house to house—and often from bad situation to worse—after her well-intentioned but self-centered mother makes a life-changing choice.”
And The Associated Press says
“Melanie Thorne's debut novel is raw with emotion as she describes Liz's often futile efforts to protect her sister and herself from the predator their mother has invited into their lives. It is often hard to remember that this is, in fact, a novel and not a memoir… Thorne's novel is an eye-opener… she leaves the reader haunted by a nagging question: What happens to the children who are not so lucky?”
Monologue topics: cynicism, Ancient Greece, guerilla theater, graffiti art, public sex.