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The Need Helen Phillips
September 09, 2019 09:14 AM PDT
itunes pic

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.

With that welcome Helen and thanks so much for joining us today.

1Q1A The Need Helen Phillips
September 09, 2019 09:11 AM PDT
itunes pic

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.

With that welcome Helen and thanks so much for joining us today.

The Lager Queen Of Minnesota J. Ryan Stradal
September 09, 2019 09:01 AM PDT
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is J. Ryan Stradal, author of The Lager Queen Of Minnesota published by Pamela Dorman Books in July.

Ryan is the author of Kitchens Of The Great Midwest, which won numerous awards. He has written for the WSJ, Vanity Fair, McSweeney’s amongst many other publications.

The Lager Queen Of Minnesota is a novel about beer. I guess to a certain extent, beer is one of the protagonists of this story. But the heroine of the book is Edith Magnusson a mistress of pies, a hard worker, and a good person. But because bad things Do come to good people, she is widowed, underemployed and saddled (at first) with taking care of her teenaged granddaughter Beverly.

Edith’s sister is for most of the novel, the polar opposite of Edition. They are estranged because of an act that Helen chooses and Edith chooses to respond.

But once again and in closing this introduction, we learn a lot about beer, the good and bad of it, the making of it and how it can forge friendship, enmity and sometimes, love.

Welcome Ryan and thanks so much for joining us today.

1Q1A The Lager Queen Of Minnesota J. Ryan Stradal
September 09, 2019 08:58 AM PDT
itunes pic

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is J. Ryan Stradal, author of The Lager Queen Of Minnesota published by Pamela Dorman Books in July.

Ryan is the author of Kitchens Of The Great Midwest, which won numerous awards. He has written for the WSJ, Vanity Fair, McSweeney’s amongst many other publications.

The Lager Queen Of Minnesota is a novel about beer. I guess to a certain extent, beer is one of the protagonists of this story. But the heroine of the book is Edith Magnusson a mistress of pies, a hard worker, and a good person. But because bad things Do come to good people, she is widowed, underemployed and saddled (at first) with taking care of her teenaged granddaughter Beverly.

Edith’s sister is for most of the novel, the polar opposite of Edition. They are estranged because of an act that Helen chooses and Edith chooses to respond.

But once again and in closing this introduction, we learn a lot about beer, the good and bad of it, the making of it and how it can forge friendship, enmity and sometimes, love.

Welcome Ryan and thanks so much for joining us today.

1Q1A Lost And Found Orson Scott Card
September 09, 2019 08:47 AM PDT
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Good afternoon everyone and welcome to another edition of The Avid Reader. Today our guest is Orson Scott Card, whose latest novel is Lost And Found to be released tomorrow by Blackstone.

Mr. Card needs no introduction but as is my wont, I will give one anyway.

Nobody had won the Hugo and Nebula awards for two novels two years ago until Orson did. For Ender’s Game and Speaker For The Dead and the third of the Enders book Xenocide was just as good as the others and I read each the day that they were released.

And of course Ender didn’t end there.

And so many other books, including the Homecoming Saga and The Tales of Alvin Maker

Lost And Found is a bit of a departure, at least to me, from the other books that I have read by Orson. Ezekiel, (not Zeke) Bliss or Blast (as he prefers) is not a thief. But he finds any number of things and knows who belongs to those things.

His good friend (and good in many senses) is Beth, who as Ezekiel does—-has a micro power, and we all may have micro powers. He has friends who also have varied micro-powers. Not X-men powers, but powers that at first blush seem to be parodies of powers. As we read on, we realize that those tiny powers can make the earth move, can solve crimes, can bring people together.
The book appeals to kids and adults alike as do many of Orson’s work and I mean that as a high compliment.

This book has a great sense of humor, of imagination and intrigue. I loved it and it will be displayed in a special place in my bookstore.

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

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