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Dan Chaon Ill Will
March 22, 2017 11:28 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Dan Chain SHAWN, author of Ill Will, published in March by Ballantine.

Dan’s other works include the short story collection Stay Awake, the best seller Await Your Reply and Among The Missing a finalist for the National Book Award. Dan’s work has appeared in Best American Short Stories and the O. Henry Prize Stories. Dan teaches at Oberlin.

Ill Will is a book that if you go by all the reviews will scare the hell out of you. And after having read it, I would agree with a minor caveat. I didn’t feel like locking the doors, or worry that the creak on the tread was an intruder come to abduct and do terrible things to me. No I was more nervous about myself. What was I going to to? The book forces you to question some of your own preconceptions about the construct that you find yourself in. You know, the personality that you created for yourself a long time ago. If you don’t watch out the book can create slight chinks in the armor that you have hammered to make your live more livable, more normal. And these are things that are really scary. Because you can lock your doors, you can fight off an intruder or call the police but you can’t tell your self to change real quick or to ignore warnings that may have at once been on the horizon but are now approaching in a storm, sails billowing and flags flying.

In Ill Will, our protagonist is Dustin Tillman. He’s been through a lot but he has handled it with less than aplomb. Maybe he could have done things differently. He’s consumed with grief, uncertain of his place in the universe, estranged from his sons, caught in a web of murder and possible deceit and looking for a way to make things make sense (when that is what he is supposed to be doing for others) all while his universe emits this cosmic afterglow of ill will.

Writing this introduction has even made me a little nervous. So with that welcome Dan and thanks so much for joining us today.

1Q1A Dan Chaon Ill Will
March 22, 2017 11:27 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Dan Chain SHAWN, author of Ill Will, published in March by Ballantine.

Dan’s other works include the short story collection Stay Awake, the best seller Await Your Reply and Among The Missing a finalist for the National Book Award. Dan’s work has appeared in Best American Short Stories and the O. Henry Prize Stories. Dan teaches at Oberlin.

Ill Will is a book that if you go by all the reviews will scare the hell out of you. And after having read it, I would agree with a minor caveat. I didn’t feel like locking the doors, or worry that the creak on the tread was an intruder come to abduct and do terrible things to me. No I was more nervous about myself. What was I going to to? The book forces you to question some of your own preconceptions about the construct that you find yourself in. You know, the personality that you created for yourself a long time ago. If you don’t watch out the book can create slight chinks in the armor that you have hammered to make your live more livable, more normal. And these are things that are really scary. Because you can lock your doors, you can fight off an intruder or call the police but you can’t tell your self to change real quick or to ignore warnings that may have at once been on the horizon but are now approaching in a storm, sails billowing and flags flying.

In Ill Will, our protagonist is Dustin Tillman. He’s been through a lot but he has handled it with less than aplomb. Maybe he could have done things differently. He’s consumed with grief, uncertain of his place in the universe, estranged from his sons, caught in a web of murder and possible deceit and looking for a way to make things make sense (when that is what he is supposed to be doing for others) all while his universe emits this cosmic afterglow of ill will.

Writing this introduction has even made me a little nervous. So with that welcome Dan and thanks so much for joining us today.

Running Cara Hoffman
March 22, 2017 11:25 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Cara Hoffman, author of Running, published in February by Simon and Shuster.

Cara is the author of the previous novels So Much Pretty, and Be Safe I Love you. She writes for the NYT, The Paris Review, Salon and NPR among others. She’s the winner of a Sundance Filmmaking Award and a MacDowell Fellowship. She received her MFA from Goddard and currently teaches at the University of Southern Maine.

Running is the story of three protagonists. I like to think of Bridey primarily and then Milo and Jasper.

Each is a runner. Running from or to what is what concerns the book to a certain degree, but it’s also comforting, at least for me, who never really wants to be in any one destination that running is a perfectly good lifestyle by itself.

Bridey is a young girl in Athens who befriends Jasper and then Milo and the three of them forge a relationship built from love, trust and a certain disbelief in the escapability of our planet.

The book weaves in and out of the past as well as Athens and New York City, where Milo, now grown and a successful poet, can’t shake off the ghosts of the years in which he found the most in life.

With Jasper and Bridey gone, he yearns for one and seeks the other while trying to establish a stable life for himself, still unwilling to admit to himself that there is a regular world out there, with shoes and socks and iPhones and rain ponchos.

In all, running gives us a chance, especially if we ever lived that life to reminisce about what we may have lost (or not) and if we didn’t live that life then to visualize it in living color, for perhaps the first time.

Welcome Cara and thanks for joining us today

1Q1A Cara Hoffman Running
March 22, 2017 11:23 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Cara Hoffman, author of Running, published in February by Simon and Shuster.

Cara is the author of the previous novels So Much Pretty, and Be Safe I Love you. She writes for the NYT, The Paris Review, Salon and NPR among others. She’s the winner of a Sundance Filmmaking Award and a MacDowell Fellowship. She received her MFA from Goddard and currently teaches at the University of Southern Maine.

Running is the story of three protagonists. I like to think of Bridey primarily and then Milo and Jasper.

Each is a runner. Running from or to what is what concerns the book to a certain degree, but it’s also comforting, at least for me, who never really wants to be in any one destination that running is a perfectly good lifestyle by itself.

Bridey is a young girl in Athens who befriends Jasper and then Milo and the three of them forge a relationship built from love, trust and a certain disbelief in the escapability of our planet.

The book weaves in and out of the past as well as Athens and New York City, where Milo, now grown and a successful poet, can’t shake off the ghosts of the years in which he found the most in life.

With Jasper and Bridey gone, he yearns for one and seeks the other while trying to establish a stable life for himself, still unwilling to admit to himself that there is a regular world out there, with shoes and socks and iPhones and rain ponchos.

In all, running gives us a chance, especially if we ever lived that life to reminisce about what we may have lost (or not) and if we didn’t live that life then to visualize it in living color, for perhaps the first time.

Welcome Cara and thanks for joining us today

The Stress Test Ian Robertson
March 07, 2017 08:20 AM PST
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of the Avid Reader. Today our guest is Ian Robertson, author of The Stress Test: How Pressure Can Make You Stronger and Sharper. Published in January by Bloomsbury USA.

Ian is the Professor of Psychology at Trinity College, Dublin and the Founding Director of Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. He has published in Nature, Brain, Journal of Neuroscience the Times and many others. He’s published over 250 articles.

His popular mind science books include The Winner Effect: How Power Affects Your Brain, Mind Sculpture: Unleashing Your Brain’s Potential, The Mind’s Eye: The Essential Guide to Boosting your Mental, Emotional and Physical Powers.

The Stress Test confronts one of our biggest stressors, stress itself and gives us, those who fret and worry, confidence that what is bothering us, making us nervous, panicky, scared, is really just our brain telling us that something exciting is going on. No need to fear or fret. We can turn that fear into excitement. Harness the stress for peaceful purposes and to help enhance our performance. A classic example that Dr. Robertson uses: You’re set to give an important presentation before a sophisticated group of peers and superiors. You’re biting your nails, you’re sweating, you’re pacing back and forth you wonder whether this is it, your job your career. But you know your topic; you’re good at this. Turn that overwhelming sense of dread into a feeling of excitement. “Here is my chance, my opportunity. This adrenaline rush, this “fight or flight” feeling can be used as energy, as fuel, to present myself as best I can.”

Sounds like a difficult and daunting task. But when the whole system is deconstructed as Ian does in this great book, it gives us the ability to understand the processes that are going on and what the brain and what our mind are accomplishing and what they can accomplish together.

1Q1A The Stress Test Ian Robertson
March 07, 2017 08:19 AM PST
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of the Avid Reader. Today our guest is Ian Robertson, author of The Stress Test: How Pressure Can Make You Stronger and Sharper. Published in January by Bloomsbury USA.

Ian is the Professor of Psychology at Trinity College, Dublin and the Founding Director of Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. He has published in Nature, Brain, Journal of Neuroscience the Times and many others. He’s published over 250 articles.

His popular mind science books include The Winner Effect: How Power Affects Your Brain, Mind Sculpture: Unleashing Your Brain’s Potential, The Mind’s Eye: The Essential Guide to Boosting your Mental, Emotional and Physical Powers.

The Stress Test confronts one of our biggest stressors, stress itself and gives us, those who fret and worry, confidence that what is bothering us, making us nervous, panicky, scared, is really just our brain telling us that something exciting is going on. No need to fear or fret. We can turn that fear into excitement. Harness the stress for peaceful purposes and to help enhance our performance. A classic example that Dr. Robertson uses: You’re set to give an important presentation before a sophisticated group of peers and superiors. You’re biting your nails, you’re sweating, you’re pacing back and forth you wonder whether this is it, your job your career. But you know your topic; you’re good at this. Turn that overwhelming sense of dread into a feeling of excitement. “Here is my chance, my opportunity. This adrenaline rush, this “fight or flight” feeling can be used as energy, as fuel, to present myself as best I can.”

Sounds like a difficult and daunting task. But when the whole system is deconstructed as Ian does in this great book, it gives us the ability to understand the processes that are going on and what the brain and what our mind are accomplishing and what they can accomplish together.

Jami Attenberg All Grown Up
March 07, 2017 08:12 AM PST
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Jami Attenberg, author of All Grown Up, published just yesterday by Houghton Mifflin.

Jami’s debut collection of stories, Instant Love was published in 2006 followed by her novels The Kept Man and The Melting Season. Her best seller The Middlesteins appeared in 2012 and her latest work before All Grown up is Saint Mazie

She’s written for the NYT Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian among others.

All Grown Up tells us the continuing saga of Andrea, 40, single, childfree. Also a frequent (sometime itinerant) drug user and alcohol abuser.

Problem is, amongst others is she is not grown up, no engagement, no husband, baby, house. So it’s up to her and her poor therapist to try to figure out exactly what is going on.

The upshot is that the book resonates, as does Andrea’s situation. It evokes the same feeling in me now, as it would have done 40 years ago. What do I want to be when I grow up?

Part of us wants to kick Andrea in the ass and tell her to just get over it and move on and the other part wants to say, come on take it easy it will all work out just enjoy what you have and look forward to the future.

It’s a situation as I say that we have all found ourselves in.

The book, because it is so good, helps either relive, and you or less fortunately, us to remember get a lump in your stomach and realizes you are right there now.

1Q1A Jami Attenberg All Grown Up
March 07, 2017 08:09 AM PST
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Jami Attenberg, author of All Grown Up, published just yesterday by Houghton Mifflin.

Jami’s debut collection of stories, Instant Love was published in 2006 followed by her novels The Kept Man and The Melting Season. Her best seller The Middlesteins appeared in 2012 and her latest work before All Grown up is Saint Mazie

She’s written for the NYT Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian among others.

All Grown Up tells us the continuing saga of Andrea, 40, single, childfree. Also a frequent (sometime itinerant) drug user and alcohol abuser.

Problem is, amongst others is she is not grown up, no engagement, no husband, baby, house. So it’s up to her and her poor therapist to try to figure out exactly what is going on.

The upshot is that the book resonates, as does Andrea’s situation. It evokes the same feeling in me now, as it would have done 40 years ago. What do I want to be when I grow up?

Part of us wants to kick Andrea in the ass and tell her to just get over it and move on and the other part wants to say, come on take it easy it will all work out just enjoy what you have and look forward to the future.

It’s a situation as I say that we have all found ourselves in.

The book, because it is so good, helps either relive, and you or less fortunately, us to remember get a lump in your stomach and realizes you are right there now.

Steve Ericsson Shadowbahn
February 10, 2017 08:41 AM PST
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Steve Erickson author of Shadowbahn, just published last week by Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin.

Steve is the author of ten novels, including (some of my favorites) Days Between Stations, Tours of the Black Clock, Arc d’X, Amnesiascope and Zeroville.

He’s written for everyone---Esquire, Rolling Stone, Salon, NYT Magazine. He’s received a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation and a grant from the NEA.

I used to think that Steve’s books dealt with an alternative universe that somehow ran parallel to my own waking day-to-day reality. Given the recent troubles, I now feel that Steve’s new novel presents a more logical version of reality than the one I currently find myself in. I find it more likely that the twin towers reappear in the South Dakota badlands along with Elvis’ stillborn brother than I do that Steve Bannon is our new Cromwell and Sean Spicer spins the world weekly news, and the (Betsy Devoss) Tupperware queen is distributing the royal jelly of our educational resources to our youngsters.

Nonetheless it is true. The novel begins with the towers reappearing 20 years after their felling and in the upper floors (the 93rd to be exact) Jesse Presley finds himself alive, a life that had previously gone unrealized.

He doesn’t quite live up to certain standards however and due to that in part, the music we should have grown up on is not what it should be.

Not often that you read a book that references:

The Dead, The Doors, Hendrix, The Flatlanders, The Velvet Underground, Missy Elliot, The White Stripes, Aretha and Fredi Washington, to name (really!!) but a few.

To steal Steve’s (and Ralph Ellison’s) epigraph we can either live with music or die with noise and I sure as hell would rather spend my last years with a soundtrack.

Shadowbahn posits one of a myriad of futures, a future in which a divided America lives out a timescape in which the names Kennedy, Lennon and Presley carry different connotations and the most amazing thing about the book as I alluded to earlier, is that you feel you can hitch the caboose of the novel to another car that is the train that plummets down the track of this new and really really scary America.

1Q1A Steve Erickson Shadowbahn
February 10, 2017 08:40 AM PST
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Steve Erickson author of Shadowbahn, just published last week by Blue Rider Press, an imprint of Penguin.

Steve is the author of ten novels, including (some of my favorites) Days Between Stations, Tours of the Black Clock, Arc d’X, Amnesiascope and Zeroville.

He’s written for everyone---Esquire, Rolling Stone, Salon, NYT Magazine. He’s received a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation and a grant from the NEA.

I used to think that Steve’s books dealt with an alternative universe that somehow ran parallel to my own waking day-to-day reality. Given the recent troubles, I now feel that Steve’s new novel presents a more logical version of reality than the one I currently find myself in. I find it more likely that the twin towers reappear in the South Dakota badlands along with Elvis’ stillborn brother than I do that Steve Bannon is our new Cromwell and Sean Spicer spins the world weekly news, and the (Betsy Devoss) Tupperware queen is distributing the royal jelly of our educational resources to our youngsters.

Nonetheless it is true. The novel begins with the towers reappearing 20 years after their felling and in the upper floors (the 93rd to be exact) Jesse Presley finds himself alive, a life that had previously gone unrealized.

He doesn’t quite live up to certain standards however and due to that in part, the music we should have grown up on is not what it should be.

Not often that you read a book that references:

The Dead, The Doors, Hendrix, The Flatlanders, The Velvet Underground, Missy Elliot, The White Stripes, Aretha and Fredi Washington, to name (really!!) but a few.

To steal Steve’s (and Ralph Ellison’s) epigraph we can either live with music or die with noise and I sure as hell would rather spend my last years with a soundtrack.

Shadowbahn posits one of a myriad of futures, a future in which a divided America lives out a timescape in which the names Kennedy, Lennon and Presley carry different connotations and the most amazing thing about the book as I alluded to earlier, is that you feel you can hitch the caboose of the novel to another car that is the train that plummets down the track of this new and really really scary America.

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