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Claire Lombardo The Most Fun We Ever Had
August 15, 2019 11:43 AM PDT

Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had, Published in June by Doubleday.

This is Claire’s first novel and debuted on The NYT best seller list.

Her short fiction has appeared in Barrelhouse, Little Fiction and Longform amongst others.

She is not a woodwind musician. But then again, either am I.

She is working on her second novel.

So the cover is Gingko leaves and there are four of them.Wendy, Violet, Liza, Grace.

1Q1A Claire Lombardo The Most Fun We Ever Had
August 15, 2019 11:41 AM PDT

Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Claire Lombardo, author of The Most Fun We Ever Had, Published in June by Doubleday.

This is Claire’s first novel and debuted on The NYT best seller list.

Her short fiction has appeared in Barrelhouse, Little Fiction and Longform amongst others.

She is not a woodwind musician. But then again, either am I.

She is working on her second novel.

So the cover is Gingko leaves and there are four of them.Wendy, Violet, Liza, Grace.

Adam Pelzman The Papaya King
August 15, 2019 11:38 AM PDT

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Adam Pelzman, an old friend of the show and of our bookshop. We last spoke after the publication of his last novel Troika after which he came to Philly and read and signed at the shop. All in all it’s been a pleasure working with Adam.
He is a lawyer, as am I, and has worked in the financial and private equity world for many years. Now he is Managing Director at CAI. None of which have anything to do with writing nor the fact that Adam has about 7 unpublished novels sitting in the bottom drawer of his dresser at home. That might not be quite accurate.

So, now we get to chat about his latest work, The Papaya King, published in July by Jackson Heights Press.

Don’t get me wrong here. Troika was a great book and we all loved it. But this one is incredible. It cannot be read in more than one sitting. And it deals with a subject so arcane, so zany, so weird and so germane that I doubt we will see its like again. The closest I can come is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, my brother’s and my favorite book. Which is why he now has a copy of this one. Also a little bit of Martin Short as Ed Grimley. But that diminishes the book entirely.

It is really a throwback in time to when decency and civility existed, kind of like the way Mark Helprin would like it to exist, although not in as a Republican a way (but don’t get me started on that).

Robert Walser is a conundrum, an enigma wrapped in a riddle. We respect him for his gravitas, his demeanor, his sartorial attention, his devotion as Dante to his Beatrice, as Kafka (in a way) to his Felice, Florentino and Fermina in Love In The Time Of Cholera. OK. I’ll stop there before I go off on one of my many tangled tangents.

But Robert is also a fop, a dilettante, a coward of sorts and a fool.

So basically, he is a little like most of us.

So why are we so attracted to him? Because of that similarity? Or is it because it harkens again back to Helprin and Winters Tale another favorite and one as in love with NYC as this book.

All of those things and before I start to explain them myself in an inherently incoherent fashion, let me introduce my friend, entrepreneur and author of tales of love, intrigue and imagination.

1Q1A The Papaya King
August 15, 2019 11:37 AM PDT

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Adam Pelzman, an old friend of the show and of our bookshop. We last spoke after the publication of his last novel Troika after which he came to Philly and read and signed at the shop. All in all it’s been a pleasure working with Adam.
He is a lawyer, as am I, and has worked in the financial and private equity world for many years. Now he is Managing Director at CAI. None of which have anything to do with writing nor the fact that Adam has about 7 unpublished novels sitting in the bottom drawer of his dresser at home. That might not be quite accurate.

So, now we get to chat about his latest work, The Papaya King, published in July by Jackson Heights Press.

Don’t get me wrong here. Troika was a great book and we all loved it. But this one is incredible. It cannot be read in more than one sitting. And it deals with a subject so arcane, so zany, so weird and so germane that I doubt we will see its like again. The closest I can come is A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole, my brother’s and my favorite book. Which is why he now has a copy of this one. Also a little bit of Martin Short as Ed Grimley. But that diminishes the book entirely.

It is really a throwback in time to when decency and civility existed, kind of like the way Mark Helprin would like it to exist, although not in as a Republican a way (but don’t get me started on that).

Robert Walser is a conundrum, an enigma wrapped in a riddle. We respect him for his gravitas, his demeanor, his sartorial attention, his devotion as Dante to his Beatrice, as Kafka (in a way) to his Felice, Florentino and Fermina in Love In The Time Of Cholera. OK. I’ll stop there before I go off on one of my many tangled tangents.

But Robert is also a fop, a dilettante, a coward of sorts and a fool.

So basically, he is a little like most of us.

So why are we so attracted to him? Because of that similarity? Or is it because it harkens again back to Helprin and Winters Tale another favorite and one as in love with NYC as this book.

All of those things and before I start to explain them myself in an inherently incoherent fashion, let me introduce my friend, entrepreneur and author of tales of love, intrigue and imagination.

Ian Urbina The Outlaw Ocean
August 15, 2019 11:34 AM PDT

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Ian Urbina, author of The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across The Last Untamed Frontier, published this month by Knopf.

Ian is an investigative reporter who usually writes for the NYT and is also a contributing editor for The Atlantic and contributes to The National Geographic as well He has received the Pulitzer Prize.

Most of us ignore the ocean. Either we live “inland” so to speak, or our only experience with this resource that covers two-thirds of our planet, is when we go to the beach with our umbrellas and lounge chairs, building sandcastles. Or when we sail comfortably on Norwegian or Royal Caribbean cruise ships to the Bahamas

Ian takes us to a different place, a place where vast spaces are covered with water thousands of feet deep, are crisscrossed with vessels of all types. Illegal fisherman in old rusty ships, stowaways on all kinds of craft, illegal abortions performed at sea and repo men cruising the globe to “steal” or take back ships that have wandered astray or are financial treasures whose ownership is in question.

This view of our oceans, provider of 90% of our goods, much of our oxygen, and of course a good portion of our food supply, changes the outlook we have and helps us to recognize the beauty, the danger, the opportunities and also the fact that time is running out for all of us in so many ways.

1Q1A Ian Urbina The Outlaw Ocean
August 15, 2019 11:33 AM PDT

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Ian Urbina, author of The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across The Last Untamed Frontier, published this month by Knopf.

Ian is an investigative reporter who usually writes for the NYT and is also a contributing editor for The Atlantic and contributes to The National Geographic as well He has received the Pulitzer Prize.

Most of us ignore the ocean. Either we live “inland” so to speak, or our only experience with this resource that covers two-thirds of our planet, is when we go to the beach with our umbrellas and lounge chairs, building sandcastles. Or when we sail comfortably on Norwegian or Royal Caribbean cruise ships to the Bahamas

Ian takes us to a different place, a place where vast spaces are covered with water thousands of feet deep, are crisscrossed with vessels of all types. Illegal fisherman in old rusty ships, stowaways on all kinds of craft, illegal abortions performed at sea and repo men cruising the globe to “steal” or take back ships that have wandered astray or are financial treasures whose ownership is in question.

This view of our oceans, provider of 90% of our goods, much of our oxygen, and of course a good portion of our food supply, changes the outlook we have and helps us to recognize the beauty, the danger, the opportunities and also the fact that time is running out for all of us in so many ways.

Helen Philips The Need
August 15, 2019 11:31 AM PDT

Good afternoon and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Helen Phillips author of The Need published in July by Simon and Schuster.

The Need is Helen’s fifth book, preceded by her children’s book Here Where The Sunbeams are Green, And Yet They Were Happy, The Beautiful Bureaucrat and Some Possible Solutions

Each of which have received various awards. She has also received and it is my favorite award ever—-The Italo Calvino Prize in Fabulist Fiction. On my fabulist bucket list.

Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, NYT, Tin House and many other publications.

The Need is a scary book. It is a funny book, it is a sad book, a tragic book, an heroic book and a book that is really hard to put down.

Do we have an unreliable narrator? I don’t know. Do we have a parallel universe? Beats me. Do we have two matching pennies? I can’t say. Do we like someone or another? But when a book asks you these questions and you can’t answer them, you know someone is on to something.

The Need starts out being something then morphs into something else. funnels, tunnels and as it does our questions begin to rise as do the protagonists.

And our protagonists are two sides of the same coin.

It is a book I will not soon forget maybe with a beatific dream every once in a while with the odd, and I mean odd, nightmare thrown in for good measure.

1Q1A Helen Philips The Need
August 15, 2019 11:14 AM PDT

Good afternoon and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Helen Phillips author of The Need published in July by Simon and Schuster.

The Need is Helen’s fifth book, preceded by her children’s book Here Where The Sunbeams are Green, And Yet They Were Happy, The Beautiful Bureaucrat and Some Possible Solutions

Each of which have received various awards. She has also received and it is my favorite award ever—-The Italo Calvino Prize in Fabulist Fiction. On my fabulist bucket list.

Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, NYT, Tin House and many other publications.

The Need is a scary book. It is a funny book, it is a sad book, a tragic book, an heroic book and a book that is really hard to put down.

Do we have an unreliable narrator? I don’t know. Do we have a parallel universe? Beats me. Do we have two matching pennies? I can’t say. Do we like someone or another? But when a book asks you these questions and you can’t answer them, you know someone is on to something.

The Need starts out being something then morphs into something else. funnels, tunnels and as it does our questions begin to rise as do the protagonists.

And our protagonists are two sides of the same coin.

It is a book I will not soon forget maybe with a beatific dream every once in a while with the odd, and I mean odd, nightmare thrown in for good measure.

1Q1A Casey Cep Furious Hours
July 26, 2019 08:49 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Casey Cep author of Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee, published by Knopf in May, her first book.

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a man who loved life insurance. He loved it so much that in the 70s he took out, I guess, scores of policies inuring him to the benefits of the payouts, and then meticulously murdered and I guess allegedly, murdered five of his family members in order to collect on those policies.

Miraculously with the help of an amazing lawyer he escaped conviction for all and his life of largesse only ended when he was shot dead at the funeral of his last victim. I don’t know who collected on HIS policy.

Weirdly and incredibly, the same lawyer who defended Willie successfully obtained an acquital for the murderer of Willie.

Strange justice system we have.

But the crux of this book is really not about Willie. It is about Harper Lee, the author of one of the most beloved books in modern American literature.

She was going to write a book about Willie, even sat in the audience at Willie’s trial, but then, and we learn why, that never happened.

So in addition to being a fascinating look at a fascinating story, we also obtain a wealth of information and understanding of this elusive woman, Harper Lee.

1Q1A Arkady Marine Memory Called Empire
July 26, 2019 08:46 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Arkady Martine, a speculative fiction writer and in her secret identity as Dr. Anna Linden Weller, she is an historian of the Byzantine Empire and a city planner. She writes about border politics, rhetoric, propaganda and the edges of the world, and coincidentally all of this is wrapped into her first novel, A Memory Called Empire, published in March by Tor. A great publishing house for SF for the past gazillion years.

A Memory Called Empire takes us on a journey in time and space to a place that is so far alien to our world (what should be worlds) and yet is also so familiar.

Politics, betrayal, trust and culture bind together this work in such a way, that we marvel at the labyrinthine texture of an empire that mirrors those that Arkady studies and even names the characters, many unpronounceable by me, in the same manner (or mirror) as ancient cultures on Earth.

The book opens doors to the reader that we didn’t even know existed but also draws on the legacies given us by so many other writers of the last two centuries

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