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James Gleick Time Travel
November 10, 2016 08:09 AM PST
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of the Avid Reader. Today our guest is James Gleick, author of Time Travel, a history. Published in September by Pantheon. Suppose it could have easily been Time Travel a future but then this interview would have been done some time ago.

James was born in NYC graduated from Harvard and worked for years as an editor and reporter for the NYT.

He recently wrote The Information, a history, a theory, a flood. Before that was Chaos a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist. He also wrote Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman (my hero) and Isaac Newton both shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize. As well as so many others.

Without Time (both the book and the concept), there would be very little to do. Here or anywhere. We would have all the space in the universe and no place to go.

Time gives us a chance to be born to play baseball, to fall in love, to marry have children, watch them grow, grow old ourselves die as we remember chunks of what was a life either well lived or not.

And wouldn’t it be nice if we could go back through time and lazily revisit those moments that we hold so dear or perhaps better yet scurry back to those moments where we went terribly wrong and perhaps took the road more travelled and perhaps carefully and with plenty of time untangle what would otherwise be Gordian knots but with the advantage of slowing things down and letting the gears slip backward are now just slipknots.

But...James says we can’t do it.

But he has provided us with a framework within which we structure our universe and our consciousness’ highway and James has given us a bit of a roadmap to that highway and whether or not it is a one way street or a thoroughfare which can be traversed both ways.

The Fix Jonathan Tepperman
November 10, 2016 07:08 AM PST

 
1Q1A Jonathan Tepperman The Fix
November 10, 2016 07:06 AM PST
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By Gaslight Steven
November 04, 2016 06:56 AM PDT
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By Gaslight Steven Price
November 04, 2016 06:53 AM PDT
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The German Girl Armando Lucas Correa
November 03, 2016 04:33 AM PDT
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Armando Lucas Correa, author of The German Girl published just last month by Atria.

Armando is an award winning author and journalist with 20 years of experience in Hispanic media and is the Editor-in-Chief of People in Espanol.

The German Girl is his first novel.

In 1939, Jews were already being treated like pariahs in Germany. Kristalnacht had already occurred. Jews were forced to wear armbands, their businesses and home were taken and they were gradually waiting, sometimes without hope or attempt at escape for the noose around their neck to inextricably tighten.

But then, for those who had the motive and the means, their came a beacon in the darkness.

The transatlantic liner the Saint Louis appeared, a golden ticket out of Germany to the island of Cuba. But that ship ended up being for most of its passengers a circuitous death sentence. Forbidden to land in Cuba except for a few, like our protagonists, it was then ignored in the United States with President Roosevelt infamously failing to answer a cable asking for mercy.

It then wandered until returning to Europe, not to Germany, but dropping its passengers, those who remained alive, at places like Paris, London, The Netherlands and Belgium. Most, those who did to return to London died in concentration camps.

Armando traces the journey of The St. Louis, through the eyes of the young German Girl Hannah and her Mother and Father as well as her “boyfriend” Leo and other passengers, some few of which were as lucky or unlucky as she.

There is also an equally compelling tale of Anna, Hannah’s great niece and a reunion in Cuba, after generations in which we discover much that was hidden and live through Hannah’s eyes the past reawakened and from Anna’s voice revelations about her father AND her mother.

Welcome Armando and thanks for joining us today.

1Q1A The German Girl
November 03, 2016 04:30 AM PDT
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Armando Lucas Correa, author of The German Girl published just last month by Atria.

Armando is an award winning author and journalist with 20 years of experience in Hispanic media and is the Editor-in-Chief of People in Espanol.

The German Girl is his first novel.

In 1939, Jews were already being treated like pariahs in Germany. Kristalnacht had already occurred. Jews were forced to wear armbands, their businesses and home were taken and they were gradually waiting, sometimes without hope or attempt at escape for the noose around their neck to inextricably tighten.

But then, for those who had the motive and the means, their came a beacon in the darkness.

The transatlantic liner the Saint Louis appeared, a golden ticket out of Germany to the island of Cuba. But that ship ended up being for most of its passengers a circuitous death sentence. Forbidden to land in Cuba except for a few, like our protagonists, it was then ignored in the United States with President Roosevelt infamously failing to answer a cable asking for mercy.

It then wandered until returning to Europe, not to Germany, but dropping its passengers, those who remained alive, at places like Paris, London, The Netherlands and Belgium. Most, those who did to return to London died in concentration camps.

Armando traces the journey of The St. Louis, through the eyes of the young German Girl Hannah and her Mother and Father as well as her “boyfriend” Leo and other passengers, some few of which were as lucky or unlucky as she.

There is also an equally compelling tale of Anna, Hannah’s great niece and a reunion in Cuba, after generations in which we discover much that was hidden and live through Hannah’s eyes the past reawakened and from Anna’s voice revelations about her father AND her mother.

Welcome Armando and thanks for joining us today.

1Q1A Liz Moore-The Unseen World
October 19, 2016 05:41 AM PDT
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Liz Moore. Liz has been here before to discuss her second book, Heft after which she did a reading and signing at our store, Wellington Square Bookshop, and she’ll be appearing again to read and sign from her latest work and the one we will be discussing today, The Unseen World, published in July by Norton. (She will be here on Friday October 28th at 7 o’clock)

Liz’ first novel was The Words of Every Song, way back in 2007, and Heft in 2012 and now right as clockwork we have The Unseen World.

Liz received her MFA in fiction from Hunter and lives in Philly and is an assistant professor of Writing at Holy Family University

Her work has appeared in Tin House, The New York Times and Narrative.

She spent most of 2014-2015 in Rome (which must have been fun) writing this book.

Which,

First of all has a great cover and three of the best epigraphs ever. Which would be enough for me right there.

So, The Unseen World, seen, kinda, through the eyes of Ada, the precocious and painfully shy (at times) protagonist is a work of mystery, science and the thought of an intelligence, not ours, which may reach beyond what we now consider the limits of a computer’s abilities.

In other words A.I. A computer that passes the Turing Test.

Ada’s father is an enigma, a riddle, and one, which unravels slowly but deftly. He is at once, a didactic teacher, a, at least in the beginning, the be all and end all of Ada’s young life (she’s 12, when the story begins) although we travel from the twenties to the (almost) present, with various stops along the way.

Our second and most unusual protagonist, perhaps our most important, is ELIXIR a constantly evolving computer intelligence, which in many ways drives the plot and the conclusion of The Unseen World (which by the way is much more than just a title!

David, Ava’s dad, is winding down cause of Alzheimer’s, while ELIXIR is winding up, and Ada is growing up. And something that David can no longer articulate is passed from him to Ada, and others which is a key to another story, an unseen story and one which answers lots of questions but in so doing asks another more profound one.

Madeleine Thien-Do Not Say We Have Nothing
October 19, 2016 05:22 AM PDT
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Good Afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader.

Today our guest is Madeleine Thien, Author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing, her third novel published this month by Norton and currently shortlisted for the Man Booker Award.

Madeline was born in Vancouver. Her story collection is Simple Recipes, and she has also written Certainty and Dogs at the Perimeter.

Since 2010 she has been part of the international faculty at the MFA program at City University of Hong Kong.

So.

Do Not Say we Have Nothing. First and usually somewhat daunting to me, there is a family tree. Which sometimes elicits a bit of a shudder. But this family tree is seamless and informative from the outset. A few flipping back and forths and you have a pretty good idea of the cast of characters. In brief summary:

There is Big Mother Knife, a boisterous and matriarchal leader of a frequently fractured and torn asunder family. Her husband Ba Lute is equally boisterous and full of strength but in at least superficially, different ways. Swirl, Big Mama’s sister is a lovely woman, whose life is torn apart, as are many in the book and millions in real life by Mao’s cultural revolution.

Her husband is Wen the Dreamer, who brings love, romance and the Book of Records, an unfinished series of notebooks around which much of the novel flows.

Swirl’s previous life before Wen, is tragic in many ways.

Big Mama and Ba Lute have three kids, Da Shan and Flying Bear, both again boisterous and good at heart.

Their third son forms a part of one of the two groupings in the book. This is Sparrow an accomplished composer. His cousin Zhuli is a virtuoso violinist whose true heart is her music and she doesn’t waver from that. And his best friend is Jiang Kai, another gifted musician, a pianist whose path is somewhat different.

Sparrow’s daughter Ai-Ming and Jiang Kai’s daughter Marie, together work to piece together the past and try to make sense of tragedy, heroism and a society torn asunder by the efforts of one man and the cult of his personality, that led to a conflagration of epic proportions.

Maybe that is a mouthful, but it all slides together and forms, through the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, a seamless whole that as we do our work creates a picture of a world that is gone but must be remembered.

1Q1A Madeleine Thien-Do Not Say We Have Nothing
October 19, 2016 05:19 AM PDT
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Good Afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader.

Today our guest is Madeleine Thien, Author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing, her third novel published this month by Norton and currently shortlisted for the Man Booker Award.

Madeline was born in Vancouver. Her story collection is Simple Recipes, and she has also written Certainty and Dogs at the Perimeter.

Since 2010 she has been part of the international faculty at the MFA program at City University of Hong Kong.

So.

Do Not Say we Have Nothing. First and usually somewhat daunting to me, there is a family tree. Which sometimes elicits a bit of a shudder. But this family tree is seamless and informative from the outset. A few flipping back and forths and you have a pretty good idea of the cast of characters. In brief summary:

There is Big Mother Knife, a boisterous and matriarchal leader of a frequently fractured and torn asunder family. Her husband Ba Lute is equally boisterous and full of strength but in at least superficially, different ways. Swirl, Big Mama’s sister is a lovely woman, whose life is torn apart, as are many in the book and millions in real life by Mao’s cultural revolution.

Her husband is Wen the Dreamer, who brings love, romance and the Book of Records, an unfinished series of notebooks around which much of the novel flows.

Swirl’s previous life before Wen, is tragic in many ways.

Big Mama and Ba Lute have three kids, Da Shan and Flying Bear, both again boisterous and good at heart.

Their third son forms a part of one of the two groupings in the book. This is Sparrow an accomplished composer. His cousin Zhuli is a virtuoso violinist whose true heart is her music and she doesn’t waver from that. And his best friend is Jiang Kai, another gifted musician, a pianist whose path is somewhat different.

Sparrow’s daughter Ai-Ming and Jiang Kai’s daughter Marie, together work to piece together the past and try to make sense of tragedy, heroism and a society torn asunder by the efforts of one man and the cult of his personality, that led to a conflagration of epic proportions.

Maybe that is a mouthful, but it all slides together and forms, through the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, a seamless whole that as we do our work creates a picture of a world that is gone but must be remembered.

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