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Xuan Juliana Wang Home Remedies
July 24, 2019 02:00 PM PDT
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Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to another addition of the avid reader. Today our guest is Xuan Juliana Wang, Author of Home Remedies - her first collection of short stories, published in May by Hogarth.
Xuan’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Plowshares, Pushcart, and The Best American Non-Required Reading Anthologies. She is a fiction editor at Fence.
She moved to Los Angeles around 7 years old and teaches at UCLA.
Home Remedies is a collection of stories that seem disparate but in many ways not, because they all tell Chinese stories, but because they are linked together in a way that I cant’t really articulate.
At first they may seen totally alien to our lives, our culture, but upon reflection, or a second reading, the parallels in thought, emotion, empathy, or lack thereof, and action become exceedly familiar.
Whether it’s abandoned children, Walnut, Pinetree and Lucy (see, alien at first) who may not really be abandoned
TO
Singers with Mohawks, rich kids who have nothing to do but cruise, do drugs, and pretend to make music videos (definitely not alien)

OR
Hucksters/maybe not, who long for awe, wonder, and acceptance, allow these characters, ofttimes unhappy or uncertain to have an arc of space and time that sometimes is measured in milliseconds, sometimes in years.

1Q1A Xuan Juliana Wang Home Remedies
July 24, 2019 01:52 PM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to another addition of the avid reader. Today our guest is Xuan Juliana Wang, Author of Home Remedies - her first collection of short stories, published in May by Hogarth.
Xuan’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Plowshares, Pushcart, and The Best American Non-Required Reading Anthologies. She is a fiction editor at Fence.
She moved to Los Angeles around 7 years old and teaches at UCLA.
Home Remedies is a collection of stories that seem disparate but in many ways not, because they all tell Chinese stories, but because they are linked together in a way that I cant’t really articulate.
At first they may seen totally alien to our lives, our culture, but upon reflection, or a second reading, the parallels in thought, emotion, empathy, or lack thereof, and action become exceedly familiar.
Whether it’s abandoned children, Walnut, Pinetree and Lucy (see, alien at first) who may not really be abandoned
TO
Singers with Mohawks, rich kids who have nothing to do but cruise, do drugs, and pretend to make music videos (definitely not alien)

OR
Hucksters/maybe not, who long for awe, wonder, and acceptance, allow these characters, ofttimes unhappy or uncertain to have an arc of space and time that sometimes is measured in milliseconds, sometimes in years.

Casey Cep Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and The Last Trial Of Harper Lee
July 24, 2019 01:50 PM PDT
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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.

Arkady Martine A Memory Called Empire
July 24, 2019 01:43 PM PDT
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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

Bottle Of Lies Katherine Eban
June 12, 2019 12:47 PM PDT
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Katherine Eban author of Bottle Of Lies, The Inside Story Of The Generic Drug Boom, published in May by Ecco.

Katherine’s resume is too long to recite here, but I’ll give it a go. Katherine is an investigative journalist, a Fortune Magazine contributor and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow as well as a Rhodes scholar. She has also written for Vanity Fair, the NYT, The Nation, the Observer and many other publications.

Her previous work, almost a preface to this one, and just as explosive was Dangerous Doses: A True Story of Cops, Counterfeiters, and the Contamination of America’s Drug Supply.

She lectures frequently on the topic of pharmaceutical integrity—if there is such a thing.

Bottle of Lies is a book that strikes at the heart of the generic drug industry, a behemoth that supplies us formulations that may or may not be equivalent to say Lipitor or Klonopin or Flomax. And these companies control about 90% of our drug supply. Almost all of these companies hail from China or India.

This book is especially poignant for me, because for all of my adult life, when a pharmacist asks me if I would like to buy the generic rather than the branded drug, I always ask for the generic. Why? Because it is a lot cheaper!!

What I didn’t know, and now sadly do, is that the generic pills I buy may be less effective than the ones made by Glaxo or Smith Kline, or weaker, or tainted or made with tiny slivers of metal inside.

One of the many, actually the most egregious of these failures in ethical and FDA standards is Ranbaxy, a company that has failed its customers, has been admonished and fined and still follows nefarious practices.

We learn about whistle blowers, inspections that are primarily useless…even learn about Rod Rosenstein..and more incredulously…Mahatma Ghandi!

This book will change your life and also scare the crap out of you.

Bunny Mona Awad
June 12, 2019 12:43 PM PDT
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Mona Awad author of Bunny, published June 11th by Viking.

Mona is also author of the acclaimed 13 Ways Of Looking At A Fat Girl. Her writing has appeared in Time, Vice, Electric Literature, McSweeney’s,The LA Times and other publications.

Bunny gives us the story of Samantha, a student at a prestigious University where she is a graduate seeking her MFA. From that point on things begin to go awry, to say the least. Samantha begins to abandon her closest friend as she is drawn magnetically to a group of fellow students named bunnies, bunnies because they call themselves that.

These bunnies have been described as “twee” by about a hundred publications. They are that—sugary sweet, treacly, fawning, and any other adjective you can come up which describes a bunch of women, who while adults, act like cliquey cheerleaders at a posh boarding school.

But behind their glittering and “My Little Pony exteriors”, lurks a horror that evolves in a real and perhaps, slightly less real, way that forces the reader, delightedly to read on, generally in one sitting.

Although I am a 67 year old white male that would probably sidle away from this work in my bookstore, I found myself as entranced as others will, notwithstanding the, sorry, chick lit title and premise of the book.

The climax and denouement of Bunny is something I can’t talk about here, but trust me, you will be aghast, delighted, perhaps a bit confused (in a good way) when you close the book hoping for more.

But dear reader, there will be more, as Bunny has been picked up by AMC as a TV series, in which Mona will be able to flesh out, as the screenwriter, some of the twists and turns of this remarkable work.

1Q1A Bunny Mona Awad
June 12, 2019 12:40 PM PDT
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Mona Awad author of Bunny, published June 11th by Viking.

Mona is also author of the acclaimed 13 Ways Of Looking At A Fat Girl. Her writing has appeared in Time, Vice, Electric Literature, McSweeney’s,The LA Times and other publications.

Bunny gives us the story of Samantha, a student at a prestigious University where she is a graduate seeking her MFA. From that point on things begin to go awry, to say the least. Samantha begins to abandon her closest friend as she is drawn magnetically to a group of fellow students named bunnies, bunnies because they call themselves that.

These bunnies have been described as “twee” by about a hundred publications. They are that—sugary sweet, treacly, fawning, and any other adjective you can come up which describes a bunch of women, who while adults, act like cliquey cheerleaders at a posh boarding school.

But behind their glittering and “My Little Pony exteriors”, lurks a horror that evolves in a real and perhaps, slightly less real, way that forces the reader, delightedly to read on, generally in one sitting.

Although I am a 67 year old white male that would probably sidle away from this work in my bookstore, I found myself as entranced as others will, notwithstanding the, sorry, chick lit title and premise of the book.

The climax and denouement of Bunny is something I can’t talk about here, but trust me, you will be aghast, delighted, perhaps a bit confused (in a good way) when you close the book hoping for more.

But dear reader, there will be more, as Bunny has been picked up by AMC as a TV series, in which Mona will be able to flesh out, as the screenwriter, some of the twists and turns of this remarkable work.

Flight Portfolio
June 12, 2019 12:38 PM PDT
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Julie Orringer. Her latest novel, if it is a novel, is The Flight Portfolio published on May 7th by Knopf.

Julie is the winner of many literary prizes to0 numerous to mention. Her stories have appeared in the Paris Review, McSweeneys, Ploughshare, the Pushcart Prize Anthology and tons others.

She’s has written the Invisible Bridge How to Breath Underwater. And now The Flight Portfolio.

The Flight Portfolio is a story that most of us may have never heard. Varian Fry, with 3000 dollars and 3 weeks with stretched to thirteen months and a list of Jewish writers and artists obtained amazing results in saving Jews form Nazis and the Vichy government, in marseilles.

He fought Cordell Hull, to an extent, Fullerton, the lackadaisical and anti-semitic American government as well as the French puppet government in obtaining visas, false and forged and surreptitiously spirited some of the best minds in Europe, to freedom.

The book gives us Varian Fry, as he was, and adds to his character, an inside look at what might have been, his psyche, his sexual orientation and his thoughts.

The book reminds us of what we must remember, and are rapidly losing.

1Q1A Flight Portfolio Julie Orringer
June 12, 2019 12:35 PM PDT
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Julie Orringer. Her latest novel, if it is a novel, is The Flight Portfolio published on May 7th by Knopf.

Julie is the winner of many literary prizes to0 numerous to mention. Her stories have appeared in the Paris Review, McSweeneys, Ploughshare, the Pushcart Prize Anthology and tons others.

She’s has written the Invisible Bridge How to Breath Underwater. And now The Flight Portfolio.

The Flight Portfolio is a story that most of us may have never heard. Varian Fry, with 3000 dollars and 3 weeks with stretched to thirteen months and a list of Jewish writers and artists obtained amazing results in saving Jews form Nazis and the Vichy government, in marseilles.

He fought Cordell Hull, to an extent, Fullerton, the lackadaisical and anti-semitic American government as well as the French puppet government in obtaining visas, false and forged and surreptitiously spirited some of the best minds in Europe, to freedom.

The book gives us Varian Fry, as he was, and adds to his character, an inside look at what might have been, his psyche, his sexual orientation and his thoughts.

The book reminds us of what we must remember, and are rapidly losing.

Anne Beattie A Wonderful Stroke Of Luck
June 12, 2019 12:33 PM PDT
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Good afternoon and welcome to another editor of the Avid Reader. Today our guest is Anne Beattie, author of A Wonderful Stroke of Luck, the next in her series of many novels and short story collections. Published in April by Viking.

Anne is incredibly prolific and after 40 years remains as relevant as she was in 1976. She’s had tons of short stories in The New Yorker, has won many awards including four O. Henrys, The PEN Malamud Award, been in Best American Short Stories and as I said, many others.

A Wonderful Stroke of Luck is set in a boarding school in New Hampshire where we meet Ben and the unique Pierre LaVerdere his teacher who teaches not only reason, but prevarication. Though his students leave him, he never really leaves his students. And even though Ben leaves boarding school as well, he still wonders, as do I from my own experiences what did that experience really mean. And his whole life in part remains shaped by a couple of years. And why. When you read the book that why will be answered.

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