Book Book Book Book
Commentary Commentary RSS Reviews Podcasts_Audio Podcasts RSS Blog Links Archives Indexes

11-07-13 UPDATE: Podcast Update: Time to Read Episode 132: Dan Simmons, 'The Abominable'

Click image for audio link.
Here's the one-hundred thirty-second 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. This week, I seem to be on top opf the game, but who knows what the hell might happen. I am hoping to stay back up and stumbling.

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 thirty-second episode is a look at Dan Simmons and 'The Abominable.'

Here's a link to the MP3 audio file of Time to Read, Episode 132: Dan Simmons, 'The Abominable'




11-04-13: A 2013 Interview with Bill Bryson

Click image for audio link.

"It was the most amazingly eventful and magical summer..."
—Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson is a big deal; he's booked at Bookshop Santa Cruz, but they are holding the event at Santa Cruz High, where he'll discuss his new book, 'One Summer: America, 1927.' He's even got a minder from the publisher, Jenn Ramage, a fabulously talented interviewer who has worked with me at KUSP. The man himself is as personable as your favorite college professor.

My original hour setup has been twice truncated, and I'm on a timeline, which I respect and don't want to overstep. Plus there's a lot of material to talk about here, and not just in terms of the content, which is compelling and filled with the sort of wonderful details that make reading fun. I'm also interested in how Bryson creates these books.

To that end, I have a sort of theory; I think that Bryson is much like a scientist, whose medium is prose, not column of facts. The books are experiments, and his process to me seems like it must be scientific. Gather the facts, let them incubate in his mind, then grow the in the agar of prose. To me this all seems quite obvious, and I'm sure he's heard it a million times from interviewers. This proves not to be the case.

I did ask some questions about the stories he tells; of Lindbergh and his competitors. I was also curious about the déja vu factor, as there were many portions of the book whose problems seemed to be playing out in parallel at this moment. Bryson never pushes that in the book, and that's a very interesting effect. He must know that readers will have these thoughts, and each perception will be based on readers' experiences and opinions about what's going on in the present. It's almost as if he's erecting a prose canvas for us to paint our own fears and annoyances on, and it works so well because he leaves it deliberately, entirely blank.

Interviewing in a constrained allocation of time sharpens the mind, so to speak. I found myself skipping lightly through the book as we spoke about Bryon' fascinating vision of a young America that has not, as yet grown old. We're just as boisterous and stupid as we ever were. We're not doomed to repeat history. We love repeating history. There's money in nostalgia. To hear an audio repeat of recent history, just follow this link to the MP3 audio file on my conversation with Bill Bryson, which, did, after all, finished just a few minutes before his minder knocked on the door.



New to the Agony Column

03-01-15: Commentary : William Ury on Getting to Yes with Yourself: And Other Worthy Opponents : To the BATNA, Robin!

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with William Ury : ...he proceeded to shout at me for approximately 30 minutes..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 198: William Ury : Getting to Yes with Yourself: And Other Worthy Opponents

02-22-15: Commentary : Jennifer Senior Experiences 'All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood' : Reading Fun for the Whole Fambly!

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Jennifer Senior : "...it becomes a source of enormous tension once a baby comes along..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 197: Jennifer Senior : All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood

02-09-15: Commentary : Stewart O'Nan Looks 'West of Sunset' : Twilight of the Great

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Stewart O'Nan : "...we see him as a tragedian because is life is a tragedy..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 196: Stewart O'Nan : West of Sunset

02-04-15: Commentary : Armistead Maupin Maps 'The Days of Anna Madrigal' : Swiftly Flow the Years

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Armistead Maupin : "I could see what silliness was going on while it was happening..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 195: Armistead Maupin : The Days of Anna Madrigal

01-31-15: Commentary : Christine Carter's Path to 'The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work' : Neurohabits

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Christine Carter, Ph.D. : "...a real tipping point..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 194: Christine Carter, Ph.D. : The Sweet Spot: How to Find Your Groove at Home and Work

01-23-15: Commentary : Jake Halpern Pushes 'Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld' : Non-Fiction 21st Century Noir

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with Jake Halpern : "...he goes to Las Vegas to this debt-buyers' convention..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 193: Jake Halpern : Bad Paper: Chasing Debt from Wall Street to the Underworld

01-19-15: Commentary : David Shields and Caleb Powell Assert 'I Think You're Totally Wrong' : The Power to Bicker

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2015 Interview with David Shields and Caleb Powell : "I read no book reviews any more; the level of discussion is really pedestrian." David Shields "I'm just saying it's a conflict of interest!" Caleb Powell

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 192: David Shields and Caleb Powell : I Think You're Totally Wrong

01-17-15: Commentary : Charles Todd Expects 'A Fine Summer's Day' : We Interrupt This Program...

Commentary : Charles Todd Engages In 'A Test of Wills' : The Politics of Passion and Policing

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Charles and Caroline Todd : "...let them be themselves and sort it out..." Caroline Todd "...it's more on a personal level..." Charles Todd

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 191: Charles Todd : A Fine Summer's Day

01-13-15: Commentary : Rosalie Parker Unearths 'The Old Knowledge' : The New Old World

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Ray Russell and Rosalie Parker : "I thought I'd write something for fun.." Ray Russell "..there was a side of me of that was interested in the strangeness..." Ros Parker

01-12-15: Commentary : Richard Ford 'Let Me Be Frank with You' : The Default Years

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Richard Ford : "...most of our politicians are morons..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 190: Richard Ford : Let Me Be Frank with You

01-06-15: Commentary : Bessel van der Kolk 'The Body Keeps the Score' : Human Trauma

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2014 Interview with Bessel van der Kolk : "...being able to see what happens in the brain really helps us to understand certain things..."

Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 189: Bessel van der Kolk : The Body Keeps the Score

Commentary & Podcast Archive

Archives Indexes How to use the Agony Column Contact Us About Us