History
Icon-add-to-playlist Icon-download Icon-drawer-up
Share this ... ×
...
By ...
Embed:
Copy
Sycamore Bryn Chancellor
June 12, 2017 10:35 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of the Avid Reader. Today our guest is Bryn Chancellor author of Sycamore, her debut novel published in May by Harper. Bryn’s short story collection is When Are You Coming Home? and her short fiction has also appeared in Gulf Coast, Blackbird, The Colorado Review and other magazines and reviews.

Sycamore is a novel with a piece missing. The funny thing is, that missing piece drives the force of the entire narrative. In a little town, a town some would rather not even be in, the memories, the ghost of an event that happened years before haunts many of the residents who had a relationship with the missing girl, Jess who is the absent star of this novel.

What’s interesting and thought provoking is how important closure is when something like this happens. People ripple and Jess’ history and her personality ripple through the town and through the lives and shaped personalities of the people with whom she came in contact in her short relationship with them.

Sycamore is scary and thought provoking and forces the reader to place himself in a hypothetical similar position. “What would I do?” resonates throughout the book.

1Q1A Sycamore Bryn Chancellor
June 12, 2017 10:33 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of the Avid Reader. Today our guest is Bryn Chancellor author of Sycamore, her debut novel published in May by Harper. Bryn’s short story collection is When Are You Coming Home? and her short fiction has also appeared in Gulf Coast, Blackbird, The Colorado Review and other magazines and reviews.

Sycamore is a novel with a piece missing. The funny thing is, that missing piece drives the force of the entire narrative. In a little town, a town some would rather not even be in, the memories, the ghost of an event that happened years before haunts many of the residents who had a relationship with the missing girl, Jess who is the absent star of this novel.

What’s interesting and thought provoking is how important closure is when something like this happens. People ripple and Jess’ history and her personality ripple through the town and through the lives and shaped personalities of the people with whom she came in contact in her short relationship with them.

Sycamore is scary and thought provoking and forces the reader to place himself in a hypothetical similar position. “What would I do?” resonates throughout the book.

1Q1A Exile Osama Bin Laden
May 31, 2017 06:54 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Catherine Scott-Clark co-author with Adrian Levy of The Exiles: The Stunning Story of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda In Flight.

Catherine is an award winning investigative journalist who worked as a staff writer and foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times in London then joined The Guardian as senior correspondent. She and Adrian have published The Amber Room: The Fate of the World’s Greatest Lost Treasure and The Stone of Heaven: Unearthing the Secret of Imperial Green Jade.

For ten years Osama Bin Laden avoided capture by all of America’s combined might. Hunter killer squads, drones, Special Forces and all of our intelligence services.

The Exile fills in the gaps of the decade long lacuna. How. Through the voices of those who witnessed the events themselves. Bin Laden’s four wives, his many children, his deputies and military attaches, his religious gurus, the CIA, Pakistan’s ISI and lot of other well-documented sources.

Stunning? Why? Because the stories we were told, as is oft the case wasn’t exactly the case. The fact for example that the Bush White House knew the whereabouts of bin Laden’s family and Al Qaeda’s military and religious leaders, but simply refused the opportunity to capture them. Yes I find it hard to believe as well.

But the book is so copiously researched and convincing that your opinions of Osama, Bush, Seal Team Six and the entire Pakistan Military will be changed dramatically upon a careful reading of this thoroughly researched and well presented work of investigative reporting.

1Q1A Weike Wang Chemistry
May 31, 2017 06:51 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today we are pleased to have with us Weike Wang author of Chemistry, her first novel, published in May by Knopf.

Weike is a graduate of Harvard where she earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her doctorate in public health. She received her MFA from Boston University and her fiction has been published in Ploughshares, Glimmer Train and Redivider.

Chemistry is an academic novel of sorts. It’s a love story too and a life journey as well, but it is the academic side of it that I really like because it is really really funny.

I learned that a Chinese proverb dictates that a mastery of math, physics and chemistry leads to fearlessness anywhere in the world. I also learned that our unnamed narrator who tutors science students feels that they want the mastery of this knowledge delivered through a tube, uploaded by the tutor at their weekly sessions.

I learned that the triangle is the strongest of shapes. As Weike says, when you think geometry think triangles. What is so strange about this book and so enchanting is that that sentence is followed with a desire to design apartments that do not echo. A revocation of sound’s ability to echo in the first place. Strange. But cool.

Whether I am learning that there is a mineral 58 percent harder than diamonds. Lonsdaleite which can only be made by smashing meteorites together (kinda) or that there is something called an argon box that chemistry students use to do their experiments or when the experiments go wrong want to put their heads inside of, I was always learning.

The key to this book, is that each little factoid, aphorism or hint from Steven Hawking is also a hint at our narrator’s life situation. And it is a pretty gnarly one.

She has a great boyfriend, a pretty horrible academic career going on and a seeming inability to decide pretty much anything. She is also a bit of a drunk.

So the question is, as we learn and read, where is she going to end up. Which I can’t tell you and I don’t even know for sure where she does end up.

But the trip is lots of fun, and even though we feel for I’ll call her Samantha, we also are able to laugh out loud through the whole of this short but jam packed first novel.

Weike Wang Chemistry
May 31, 2017 06:49 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today we are pleased to have with us Weike Wang author of Chemistry, her first novel, published in May by Knopf.

Weike is a graduate of Harvard where she earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her doctorate in public health. She received her MFA from Boston University and her fiction has been published in Ploughshares, Glimmer Train and Redivider.

Chemistry is an academic novel of sorts. It’s a love story too and a life journey as well, but it is the academic side of it that I really like because it is really really funny.

I learned that a Chinese proverb dictates that a mastery of math, physics and chemistry leads to fearlessness anywhere in the world. I also learned that our unnamed narrator who tutors science students feels that they want the mastery of this knowledge delivered through a tube, uploaded by the tutor at their weekly sessions.

I learned that the triangle is the strongest of shapes. As Weike says, when you think geometry think triangles. What is so strange about this book and so enchanting is that that sentence is followed with a desire to design apartments that do not echo. A revocation of sound’s ability to echo in the first place. Strange. But cool.

Whether I am learning that there is a mineral 58 percent harder than diamonds. Lonsdaleite which can only be made by smashing meteorites together (kinda) or that there is something called an argon box that chemistry students use to do their experiments or when the experiments go wrong want to put their heads inside of, I was always learning.

The key to this book, is that each little factoid, aphorism or hint from Steven Hawking is also a hint at our narrator’s life situation. And it is a pretty gnarly one.

She has a great boyfriend, a pretty horrible academic career going on and a seeming inability to decide pretty much anything. She is also a bit of a drunk.

So the question is, as we learn and read, where is she going to end up. Which I can’t tell you and I don’t even know for sure where she does end up.

But the trip is lots of fun, and even though we feel for I’ll call her Samantha, we also are able to laugh out loud through the whole of this short but jam packed first novel.

Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark The Exile
May 28, 2017 09:28 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Catherine Scott-Clark co-author with Adrian Levy of The Exiles: The Stunning Story of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda In Flight.

Catherine is an award winning investigative journalist who worked as a staff writer and foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times in London then joined The Guardian as senior correspondent. She and Adrian have published The Amber Room: The Fate of the World’s Greatest Lost Treasure and The Stone of Heaven: Unearthing the Secret of Imperial Green Jade.

For ten years Osama Bin Laden avoided capture by all of America’s combined might. Hunter killer squads, drones, Special Forces and all of our intelligence services.

The Exile fills in the gaps of the decade long lacuna. How. Through the voices of those who witnessed the events themselves. Bin Laden’s four wives, his many children, his deputies and military attaches, his religious gurus, the CIA, Pakistan’s ISI and lot of other well-documented sources.

Stunning? Why? Because the stories we were told, as is oft the case wasn’t exactly the case. The fact for example that the Bush White House knew the whereabouts of bin Laden’s family and Al Qaeda’s military and religious leaders, but simply refused the opportunity to capture them. Yes I find it hard to believe as well.

But the book is so copiously researched and convincing that your opinions of Osama, Bush, Seal Team Six and the entire Pakistan Military will be changed dramatically upon a careful reading of this thoroughly researched and well presented work of investigative reporting.

Here I Am Jonathan Safran Foer
May 22, 2017 12:17 PM PDT
itunes pic

Good Afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Jonathan Safran Foer author of Here I Am, published last year but just being released in paperback tomorrow by Picador.

As most of you know Jonathan’s previous works include Everything is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Tree of Codes and his non-fiction work Eating Animals.

The title Here I Am ostensibly refers to Abraham’s response to God when the Lord calls out to him. The Lord tells Abraham--- He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Mariah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you."…

Now what does this have to do with a book about Jacob and Julia Bloch, their foundering marriage and their three sons Sam, Max and Benjy, grandfather (Irv) and great-grandfather (Isaac) as they face the possible destruction of Israel and an upcoming bar mitzvah.

It’s the way Abraham responds and it is a gnomon of the Jewish religion and culture. You don’t respond by saying “Hey”, or What’s up, or what do you need or I’ll be there in a minute.

It’s Here I am. For you. All of me. Whatever it is you ask.

It could also mean that Jonathan is telling the reader, and there is an autobiographical tint to the book. Jonathan could be saying, here I am guys. This is me. Not me like this is everything that happened in my life. But here are my brothers, here is my Mom and Dad. Here is my elementary school. Here is my synagogue.

The key is, and it runs through it is that in Judaism, the Judaism of Jonathan and the way I was brought up. There are certain things you don’t question. The unconditional love of a child, the obedience and loyalty to an ancestor, the belief in the preservation and defense of a homeland. And Primarily and you either have it or not, a rock solid, non-resonating core set of beliefs that might make you a bit irritating or humorous but gives you a piece of bedrock on which to stand.

1Q1A Here I Am Jonathan Safran Foer
May 22, 2017 12:16 PM PDT
itunes pic

Good Afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Jonathan Safran Foer author of Here I Am, published last year but just being released in paperback tomorrow by Picador.

As most of you know Jonathan’s previous works include Everything is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Tree of Codes and his non-fiction work Eating Animals.

The title Here I Am ostensibly refers to Abraham’s response to God when the Lord calls out to him. The Lord tells Abraham--- He said, "Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Mariah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you."…

Now what does this have to do with a book about Jacob and Julia Bloch, their foundering marriage and their three sons Sam, Max and Benjy, grandfather (Irv) and great-grandfather (Isaac) as they face the possible destruction of Israel and an upcoming bar mitzvah.

It’s the way Abraham responds and it is a gnomon of the Jewish religion and culture. You don’t respond by saying “Hey”, or What’s up, or what do you need or I’ll be there in a minute.

It’s Here I am. For you. All of me. Whatever it is you ask.

It could also mean that Jonathan is telling the reader, and there is an autobiographical tint to the book. Jonathan could be saying, here I am guys. This is me. Not me like this is everything that happened in my life. But here are my brothers, here is my Mom and Dad. Here is my elementary school. Here is my synagogue.

The key is, and it runs through it is that in Judaism, the Judaism of Jonathan and the way I was brought up. There are certain things you don’t question. The unconditional love of a child, the obedience and loyalty to an ancestor, the belief in the preservation and defense of a homeland. And Primarily and you either have it or not, a rock solid, non-resonating core set of beliefs that might make you a bit irritating or humorous but gives you a piece of bedrock on which to stand.

Joshua Ferris The Dinner Party
May 19, 2017 10:33 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of the Avid Reader. Today our guest is Joshua Ferris author of The Dinner Party and Other Stories, published this month by Little Brown and Company.

This is Joshua’s first collection of short stories. His debut novel was Then We Came To An End, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Next came The Unnamed in 2010 and Joshua’s third novel in 2014 is To Rise Again At A Decent Hour shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize.

The stories in The Dinner Party have been collected over a period of 10-12 years and represent a collection of work that while distinct and individual weaves together a set of themes that keeps the reader laughing, puzzled, wondering and in awe.

For example, if you have ever really had a bad day, read these stories and you’ll find out what it is to have a REALLY bad day? If you’ve ever been perplexed about why you made a certain dumb dumb decision, you know, the kind where you slam the heel of your hand against your forehead, wait till you see some of the decisions these guys make.

And I say guys, because Joshua is best when he is describing someone like me, a dumb guy, who’s put his foot in his mouth and rather than trying to get it out succeeds only in pushing in the ankle and then a portion of the tibia and fibula.

We all have moments when we realize, in retrospect, oh! That was the moment that my relationship with Susan began to unravel or the moment when you realize if I had just turned that doorknob or have smiled and said hello instead of putting my hands in my pockets or turning away, my life would have been so much different.

Having those moments is one thing. And I don’t really blame you or myself. Well yeah I do blame myself. Pretty much 24/7.

What Joshua does is crystallize those moments, or telegraph them in the opening lines of a story so that you read with bated breath knowing that what is coming is not going to be good but it’s going to resonate.

You find yourself either rooting for a character, hoping against hope that he doesn’t do the dumb-ass thing you think he will, or you resign yourself and say well this is just not going to be good.

What is fascinating about the process is you find yourself constantly either laughing or trying not to as these bumbling foolish guys, some good hearted, some not so much, meander through life not even knowing what they are getting themselves into.

Donald Trump would be a perfect fit as a character in the next collection of short stories that Joshua brings us.

1Q1A Joshua Ferris The Dinner Party
May 19, 2017 10:31 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of the Avid Reader. Today our guest is Joshua Ferris author of The Dinner Party and Other Stories, published this month by Little Brown and Company.

This is Joshua’s first collection of short stories. His debut novel was Then We Came To An End, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Next came The Unnamed in 2010 and Joshua’s third novel in 2014 is To Rise Again At A Decent Hour shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize.

The stories in The Dinner Party have been collected over a period of 10-12 years and represent a collection of work that while distinct and individual weaves together a set of themes that keeps the reader laughing, puzzled, wondering and in awe.

For example, if you have ever really had a bad day, read these stories and you’ll find out what it is to have a REALLY bad day? If you’ve ever been perplexed about why you made a certain dumb dumb decision, you know, the kind where you slam the heel of your hand against your forehead, wait till you see some of the decisions these guys make.

And I say guys, because Joshua is best when he is describing someone like me, a dumb guy, who’s put his foot in his mouth and rather than trying to get it out succeeds only in pushing in the ankle and then a portion of the tibia and fibula.

We all have moments when we realize, in retrospect, oh! That was the moment that my relationship with Susan began to unravel or the moment when you realize if I had just turned that doorknob or have smiled and said hello instead of putting my hands in my pockets or turning away, my life would have been so much different.

Having those moments is one thing. And I don’t really blame you or myself. Well yeah I do blame myself. Pretty much 24/7.

What Joshua does is crystallize those moments, or telegraph them in the opening lines of a story so that you read with bated breath knowing that what is coming is not going to be good but it’s going to resonate.

You find yourself either rooting for a character, hoping against hope that he doesn’t do the dumb-ass thing you think he will, or you resign yourself and say well this is just not going to be good.

What is fascinating about the process is you find yourself constantly either laughing or trying not to as these bumbling foolish guys, some good hearted, some not so much, meander through life not even knowing what they are getting themselves into.

Donald Trump would be a perfect fit as a character in the next collection of short stories that Joshua brings us.

Next Page