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09-19-13 UPDATE: Podcast Update: Time to Read Episode 121: Jojo Moyes, 'The Girl You Left Behind'

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Here's the one hundred and twenty-first episode of my series of podcasts, which I'm calling Time to Read. Hitting the two-year mark, I'm going to make an effort to stay ahead, so that podcast listeners can get the same sort of "sneak preview" effect that radio listeners get each Friday morning.

The podcasts/radio broadcasts will be of books worth your valuable reading time. I'll try to keep the reports under four minutes, for a radio-friendly format. If you want to run them on your show or podcast, let me know.

My hope is that in under four minutes I can offer readers a concise review and an opportunity to hear the author read from or speak about the work. I'm hoping to offer a new one every week.

The one hundred and twenty-first episode is a look at Jojo Moyes and 'The Girl You Left Behind.'

Here's a link to the MP3 audio file of Time to Read, Episode 121: Jojo Moyes, 'The Girl You Left Behind'




09-19-13: A 2013 Interview with Ian Tregillis

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"Gretl actually knew everything I knew..."

—Ian Tregillis

With 'Bitter Seeds,' 'The Coldest War' and now 'Necessary Evil,' Ian Tregillis managed to set a new standard for speculative fiction. When I sat down to talk with him, I felt a bit in danger of coming unstuck in time. But Tregillis is the most grounded, down-to-earth physicist I have ever met.

The real problem with discussing The Milkweed Triptych is that having read it, one wants to keep it as much a mystery as possible for other readers, so that they can enjoy the machinations of the both the author and the characters. The power of these books is that the reader feels that the characters are enough their own men and women to have their own plans, independent of the whims of readers or author.

Apparently one does not achieve that effect by guesswork or improvisation. I spoke with Tregillis about the import and participation of the community of science fiction and fantasy in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives and works. Tregillis has a fascinating story in this regard. These books got some help from those he worked with in the writing world.

One of the aspects of the creation of these books that we could talk about without ruining the story was the research that he did to bring the books to life. Here, he has some really great stories about the real inspirations for his imaginary world. To my mind, some of them sound like something from his imaginary world.

I was also curious about Tregillis' day job as a physicist at the Los Alamos Lab. As the source of much power — and terror in this world, these Labs might have played a key role in the books, and Tregillis has a great take on this as well.

I suppose it comes as no surprise that Ian Tregillis is smart and well spoken. There an air of informality in our conversation that I really liked. I'm already looking forward to his next novel and set of novels — yes, he works that far in advance — a well as our next conversation. I'm just hoping that I'm still in the timeline when the books come out.

You can hear my conversation with Ian Tregillis in this timeline by following this link to the MP3 audio file.




09-17-13 UPDATE: Podcast Update: Time to Read Episode 120: Ian Tregillis, 'Necessary Evil'

Click image for audio link.
Here's the one-hundred twentieth episode of my series of podcasts, which I'm calling Time to Read. Hitting the one-year mark, I'm going to make an effort to stay ahead, so that podcast listeners can get the same sort of "sneak preview" effect that radio listeners get each Friday morning. This week, delays due to the fact that "this is how the world ends, not with a bang but a splinter," intervened. I am hoping to stay back up and running.

The podcasts/radio broadcasts will be of books worth your valuable reading time. I'll try to keep the reports under four minutes, for a radio-friendly format. If you want to run them on your show or podcast, let me know.

My hope is that in under four minutes I can offer readers a concise review and an opportunity to hear the author read from or speak about the work. I'm hoping to offer a new one every week.

The one-hundred twentieth episode is a look at Ian Tregillis and 'Necessary Evil.'

Here's a link to the MP3 audio file of Time to Read, Episode 120: Ian Tregillis, 'Necessary Evil'




09-16-13: A 2013 Interview with Margot Leitman

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"...the girl forever in the bottom half of a chicken-fight..."

— Margot Leitman

Margot Leitman's description of herself is in fact an alternate subtitle to 'Gawky: Tales of an Extra Long Awkward Phase.' It's amazing then, to see her and hear her speak in person. She's so much at ease with herself that were she to be eleven feet tall and have two green heads, you probably wouldn't notice anything odd at all. Until she made a joke about it.

Leitman is a regular on The Moth, and her storytelling ability shows as we talk about how she crafted 'Gawky' in the empty tower room of a San Francisco skyscraper that looks as if it would be the centerpiece of a cop-shootout movie. Listeners can groove to the smooth sounds of whatever the hell music they were playing the background. In retrospect, it's practically inaudible, but in the moment it sounded like I was sitting in front of a loud rock band.

Nothing got in the way of Leitman's easy wit, however. She's really a smart writer for both spoken word live shows and for the printed page. Her incredible skill is evident in that there does not seem to be any daylight between the two experienced versions of the stories. She manages to convey her own easy-going, sort-of hyper tone in print. The book is just a hoot to read.

One of the things we came around to discuss was the audience for the book. I am probably about as far from the target audience as you might imagine, but I enjoyed the hell of out 'Gawky.' The shock to me was that this book is not being aimed like a cruise missile deep into the heart of American girl culture. This seems like an absolutely perfect book for that group.

One of the most interesting aspect of this book is the contrast between how "ring of truth" and natural it feels and how actually written it is. Leitman had to do a lot of work to make this all seem so seamless.

You can hear a lite pop backdrop and my conversation with Margot Leitman by following this link to the MP3 audio file.



New to the Agony Column

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Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Alastair Reynolds : "...the first book was going to contain about a hundred years of implicit future history..."

07-11-14: Commentary : Roz Chast Asks 'Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?' : NO

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Roz Chast : "...I had no idea of how it worked because we had never talked about it."

07-08-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 170: Roz Chast : Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

06-30-14: Commentary : Alan Furst Passes 'Midnight in Europe : Wrong Side of War

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Alan Furst : "...certain periods are echoic..."

06-29-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 169: Alan Furst : Midnight in Europe

06-27-14: Commentary : Sarah Lotz Counts 'The Three' : The Uses of Fear

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Sarah Lotz : "...people need answers..."

06-25-14:Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 168: Sarah Lotz : The Three

06-21-14: Commentary : Steven Galloway Conjures 'The Confabulist' : Creating Harry Houdini

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Steven Galloway : "...so much has been written about Harry Houdini..."

06-18-14: Commentary : Raymond B. Russell Heralds 'The Dark Return of Time' : An Atmosphere of Crime

Agony Column Podcast News Report : Thomas Frank on Parlor Tricks : "Off With Their Heads!"

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 167: Steven Galloway : The Confabulist

06-16-14: Commentary : Geoff Dyer Has 'Another Great Day at Sea' : The Steel Beach Party

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Geoff Dyer : "..but it was as nothing compared to the noise of planes landing..."

06-15-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 166: Geoff Dyer : Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush

06-09-14: Commentary : Colson Whitehead Does 'The Noble Hustle' : Incandescent Memories of the Future

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Colson Whitehead : "...I won five dollars, and from then on..."

06-08-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 165: Colson Whitehead : The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky and Deaths

06-02-14: Commentary : Kaui Hart Hemmings Explores 'The Possibilities' : Framing Life

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Kaui Hart Hemmings : "I burned that copy and started fresh."

05-31-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 164: Kaui Hart Hemmings : The Possibilities

05-26-14: Commentary : Kent A. Kiehl Heeds 'The Psychopath Whisperer' : Prison of the Mind

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Kent A. Kiehl : "How do you measure the cost of those sixteen homicides?"

05-21-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 163: Kent A. Kiehl, PhD : The Psychopath Whisperer: The Science of Those Without Conscience

05-19-14: Commentary : Justin Go Clocks 'The Steady Running of the Hour' : Time-Crossed Lovers and Wars

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Justin Go : "... there was always something that had to happen ..."

05-15-14: Commentary : Jeff VanderMeer Grants 'Authority' : The Parallax Views

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Jeff VanderMeer : "...the land people don't talk to the sky people don't talk to the water people..."

05-13-14: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 162: Justin Go : The Steady Running of the Hour

05-12-14: Commentary : Matt Taibbi Views 'The Divide' : Zero-Sum Economic Morality

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Matt Taibbi : "... the biggest bank robbery in the history of the world ..."

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