Ron Charles of The Washington Post calls it
“The best book I’ve read so far this year...Henderson choreographs these parts so masterfully that the novel is never less than wholly engaging… All week I was looking for opportunities to slip back into these pages and follow the trials of this rural social worker.”
And The New York Times says
“First novels don’t come much more confidently written or fully imagined than this.”
Monologue topics: travel, family travel, parental aspirations, travel hell.
Entertainment Weekly says
“What begins a little like Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep quickly warps into a sickly addictive thriller…think ABC’s Revenge when it was good, only more scandalous…With books like Bittersweet to stuff in beach bags, it’s beginning to feel a lot more like summer."
And The New York Times Book Review says
"A fairy tale aspect—of the Grimm, not the Disney variety—pervades the novel, which artfully builds an increasing sense of menace…Like a Downton-in-Vermont, Bittersweet takes swift, implausible plot turns, and its family secrets flow like a bottomless magnum of champagne, but Beverly-Whittemore succeeds in shining a light into the dark, brutal flaws of the human heart.”
Monologue topics: success, competition, ego, Vanity Fair, The Last Magazine.
Mike Sacks is the guest. His new book, Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today's Top Comedy Writers, is now available from Penguin.
Bob Odenkirk says
“No one generates more interesting, revealing, or entertaining interviews than Mike Sacks. Poking a Dead Frog is a classic.”
And Will Ferrell says
“This book is what I really look forward to in a book about humor: rich with words and humor, and funny stories with words. Thank you for your time.”
Monologue topics: family vacation, sweltering heat, chickens, fear, sexlessness.
George Saunders calls it
“A real tour de force [and] a beautiful fable...The reader is swept along by Sloan’s enthusiasm.”
And John Hodgman says
“In a time when actual books are filling up tag-sale dollar boxes, along with VHS tapes and old beepers, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore reminds us that there is an intimate, adventurous joy in the palpable papery things called novels, and in the warm little secret societies we used to call ‘bookstores.’ Robin Sloan’s novel is delightfully funny, provocative, deft, and even thrilling. And for reasons more than just nostalgia, I could not stop turning these actual pages."
Monologue topics: Episode 300, Stephen King, Lorrie Moore, Teju Cole, angst, Mary Karr, false summits.
Publishers Weekly says
"Schrag's frisky debut...is one of the most original coming-of-age stories of recent years."
And Flavorwire says
"Ariel Schrag’s story about a teenager who goes to spend the summer in New York with his sister is unlike any coming-of-age story you’ll read anytime soon. Funny and tender... Anybody familiar with Schrag’s comics won’t be disappointed with her work as a novelist; if you haven’t read her other work, let Adam be your introduction and read everything else you can find of hers from there."
Monologue topics: preschool, social anxiety, inferiority, courtesy, instincts.
The Daily Beast calls it
“Fantastic…These Cheever-esque stories all show that Barbash has a sensitive ear towards the subtle ways that relationships are formed and altered, but he’s also not afraid to open a story with a car accident and watch the sparks fly.”
And The New York Times says
“These stories should come with a warning: They might undo you.”
Monologue topics: competition, competitive mania, confusion, fear, loathing.
Karen Russell says
"It's hard to believe that this astonishing novel is Brittani Sonnenberg's first--she writes about family with wisdom, humor, and native daring. Here is Persephone's journey, undertaken by an entire family, the Kriegsteins, who ricochet through time zones, moving from Berlin to Singapore to Wisconsin to Shanghai to Atlanta, together and alone. Sonnenberg's prose is so vital and so enchanting that you will read this book in the dilated state of a world-traveler, with all of your senses wide open. Her family members are so well-drawn and complex that you'll close this book certain they exist."
And Wim Wenders calls it
"A captivating tour de force that follows a nomadic family across generations and continents."
Monologue topics: mail, multilingualism, cultural superiority, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Iran, Egypt.
Brian Evenson calls it
"A dark and luscious hell ride through the damaged but nonetheless appealing rituals of bondage. These are tantalizing and difficult stories in which fantasy and reality bleed (quite literally) into one another."
And Matt Bell says
"Each of these compelling stories is ruled not by certainty but by maybe, by sometimes, by ‘this is not necessarily a proclamation of anything’—and so we finally sense behind their pages the nervous heart of the modern man, stubbornly clinging to a fading authority, now more desperately than ever before.”
Monologue topics: thanks, Skylight Books, xTx, Roxane Gay, Lisa Mecham, curtseying.
Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, says
"Gwyn’s (Dog on the Cross) story is a gripping tale of men at war in the desolate snow-capped mountains of eastern Afghanistan, and captures the essence of close combat—the terror, excitement, chaos, tension, and cruelty, as well as the harsh decisions men make under stress...its gritty realism is part of the strength."
And Nic Pizzolatto, creator of HBO's True Detective, says
“Wynne's War is a deep and beautifully written story of men, war, and madness, told by a young American master. A page-turner of poetic and savage grace, of our time but transcending it, this novel takes its rightful place among the great American literature of war.”
Monologue topics: bad news, miscarriage, feeling bad about feeling bad, bad luck, bad.