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The Papaya King
September 09, 2019 08:43 AM PDT
itunes pic

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. None of which have anything to do with writing nor the fact that Adam has about 7 unpublished novels sitting in the bottom drawer of his dresser at home.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.

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 Adam Pelzman
September 09, 2019 08:40 AM PDT
itunes pic

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. 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.
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.

A Door In The Earth Amy Waldman
September 09, 2019 08:31 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Amy Waldman, whose new novel A Door In The Earth was released by Little Brown in August of this year.

Amy is a national correspondent for Atlantic Monthly. She, at the NYT collaborated on the Pulitzer Prize winning series Portraits Of Grief, which chronicled the lives of every victim of 9/11.

Her novel, Submission (a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award) was published in 2001.

A Door In The Earth explores a country and a people that we as Americans are slightly aware of but only from skimming an article or watching a sound bite on CNN or listening to a politician spout some words about withdrawal or military victory.

And although, as most of you know I blame pretty much everything on Trump from solar eclipses to hurricanes in Alabama, in this case I have to make an exception

Beyond that superficial level I just mentioned we really know nothing (myself included) about the nation and its citizenry (and I don’t even know if those are the right terms).

But in A Door In The Earth, through the eyes of Pareen (a first generation American, born to Afghan parents) and her ears because she can speak Dari, she can converse with the villagers she meets, as she follows the trail of her idol Gideon Crane along a convoluted path of truth and lies, a tenuous peace and an orchestrated war, until she reaches a resolution of sorts, but key to all of these is she leads us along, so that in the end, the “through a glass darkly” that we all glance through is cleared a good bit and we leave with lots of questions and some answers.

1Q 1A A Door In The Earth Amy Waldman
September 09, 2019 08:27 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Amy Waldman, whose new novel A Door In The Earth was released by Little Brown in August of this year.

Amy is a national correspondent for Atlantic Monthly. She, at the NYT collaborated on the Pulitzer Prize winning series Portraits Of Grief, which chronicled the lives of every victim of 9/11.

Her novel, Submission (a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award) was published in 2001.

A Door In The Earth explores a country and a people that we as Americans are slightly aware of but only from skimming an article or watching a sound bite on CNN or listening to a politician spout some words about withdrawal or military victory.

And although, as most of you know I blame pretty much everything on Trump from solar eclipses to hurricanes in Alabama, in this case I have to make an exception

Beyond that superficial level I just mentioned we really know nothing (myself included) about the nation and its citizenry (and I don’t even know if those are the right terms).

But in A Door In The Earth, through the eyes of Pareen (a first generation American, born to Afghan parents) and her ears because she can speak Dari, she can converse with the villagers she meets, as she follows the trail of her idol Gideon Crane along a convoluted path of truth and lies, a tenuous peace and an orchestrated war, until she reaches a resolution of sorts, but key to all of these is she leads us along, so that in the end, the “through a glass darkly” that we all glance through is cleared a good bit and we leave with lots of questions and some answers.

The Outlaw Ocean Ian Urbina
September 06, 2019 10:17 AM PDT
itunes pic

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.

Furious Hours Casey Cep
September 06, 2019 09:35 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 The Outlaw Ocean Ian Urbina
September 06, 2019 08:30 AM PDT
itunes pic

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.

The Most Fun We Ever Had Claire Lombardo
September 06, 2019 08:28 AM PDT
itunes pic

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.

The Most Fun We Ever Had Claire Lombardo
September 06, 2019 08:24 AM PDT
itunes pic

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
itunes pic

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. I. 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.

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.

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