Other People with Brad Listi
Summary: Brad Listi is the author of a novel called ATTENTION. DEFICIT. DISORDER. and the founder of The Nervous Breakdown, an online culture magazine and literary community. He also runs TNB Books, an independent press specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. Here, he offers up in-depth, inappropriate interviews with today's leading authors.
Kate Christensen is today's guest. She's the author of six novels, the fourth of which, THE GREAT MAN, won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award. Her latest novel, THE ASTRAL, is now available in trade paperback from Anchor Books. The San Francisco Chronicle raves: "[Christensen’s] characters’ ruminations on how the forces of love and deception work in tandem within a relationship are both searing and concise. . . . [She] is a forceful writer whose talent is all over the page. Her prose is visceral and poetic, like being bludgeoned with an exquisitely painted sledgehammer. She is a portrait artist, drawing in miniature, capturing the light within." And The Miami Herald calls it "Spectacular. . . . The Astral, artfully composed and emotionally tender, is evidence of true literary genius." Topics of conversation include: Portland, Maine, food, Brooklyn, Green Point, moving, small towns, big cities, socializing, shut-ins, social media, Twitter, Facebook, advertisements for self, hypocrisy, parties, social anxiety, shyness, Iowa Writers Workshop, fearing other writers, gender, sexism, confidence, self-doubt, Frank Conroy, greatness, competition, floundering, teaching, bad jobs, Countess of Romanones, Nancy Reagan, Republican society women, painting, solitude, detachment from self, creativity, pain, nihilism, word counts, discipline, procrastination, sitting, health, dark chocolate, wine, dying like a squid, health trends, the death of love, grief, divorce, evolution, Tuscany, goth, Germany, past loves, Berkeley, Arizona, Black Panthers, nerdiness, split personality, social exhaustion, artistic genes, memoir, and food writing. Monologue topics: American kindness, Ray Dolin, hitchhiking, Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, publishing, desperation, self-sabotage, hoaxes, scandal. This episode of Other People is brought to you by the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, the largest open-enrollment creative writing and screenwriting program in the nation. For more info, please visit www.uclaextension.edu/writers.
Erik Larson is the guest. He's the author of IN THE GARDEN OF BEASTS: LOVE, TERROR, AND AN AMERICAN FAMILY IN HITLER'S BERLIN, which hit #1 on the NY Times bestseller list and remained on the list for 35 weeks. The book was published in Britain, France, Italy, Poland, Australia and a number of other countries and is now available in paperback in the U.S., from Broadway Books. The New York Times raves: "By far his best and most enthralling work of novelistic history….Powerful, poignant…a transportingly true story." And Newsweek calls it "A stunning work of history." Topics of conversation include: Christopher Isherwood, psychosis, unbelievable history, media, Obama, Adolf Hitler, William Dodd, Martha Dodd, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Berlin, Nazis, tragedy, delusions of grandeur, history, hidden narratives, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, the dark country of no ideas, research, Hermann Göring, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler, Richard Nixon, epiphanies, outsiders, willful ignorance, objectivity, The Rise and Fall of the Old South, disappointment, University of Chicago, Wall Street Journal, journalism, details, OCD, writing, organization, anal-retentiveness, digital cameras, Germany, chronology, police, crime reporting, murder books, story, travel, experiential research, The Devil in the White City, geography, atmosphere, Gestapo, terror, remembrance, denial, Reichstag, Tiergarten, archival photographs, archival video, YouTube, perspective, evil, insanity, appeasement, complexity, war, Great Britain, The Great Depression, assassination, thin-sliced history, antisemitism, State Department, Jews, The Holocaust, depression, detachment, bifurcation, Nazi pathology, Tom Hanks, George S. Messersmith, nuance, The Night of the Long Knives, fiction, nonfiction, mediocrity, temperament, human nature, stupidity, and learning from experience. Monologue topics: overeating, carbs, caffeine, heartrates, giving, inconveniencing, helping, mourning, practicing. Today's episode of Other People is brought to you by Audible.com. And here's a special offer: Right now, listeners of this program can get a FREE audiobook download and a free 30-day trial. To get your free audiobook, please visit www.audiblepodcast.com/otherpeople
Elizabeth Crane is the guest. She's the author of three story collections—WHEN THE MESSENGER IS HOT, ALL THIS HEAVENLY GLORY, and YOU MUST BE THIS HAPPY TO ENTER. Her debut novel, WE ONLY KNOW SO MUCH, is now available from Harper Perennial. Deb Olin Unferth raves: "At last a novel from Elizabeth Crane! With her expert humorist’s eye for detail, she gives us a playful, passionate story of longing, heartbreak, and of the gargantuan human will. You won’t be able to stop reading." Topics of conversation include: radio, television, unimpressive degrees, ambition, depression, happiness, acting, singing, commercials, loss, time, perspective, immediacy, memoirs, murder, New York City, Upper West Side, childhood, opera, George Washington University, music, stage fright, teaching, Macaulay Culkin, Scarlett Johansson, enjoyment, writing, loneliness, being an only child, Little Brown, David Foster Wallace, Lorrie Moore, sales, promotion, The Art of Fielding, Vanity Fair, short stories, digression, Calvert Morgan, screenwriting, Harper Perennial, editing, Donal Lardner Ward, Chicago, Brooklyn, caffeine, and espresso machines. Monologue topics: screaming children, swimming pools, self-control, emotional equilibrium, being an asshole, and passive-aggressive window shutting. This episode of Other People is brought to you by the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, the largest open-enrollment creative writing and screenwriting program in the nation. For more info, please visit www.uclaextension.edu/writers.
Miles Klee is the guest. He's the author of a debut novel called IVYLAND, now available from O/R Books. Publishers Weekly raves: "Delightfully manic and sharply intelligent … Klee is undoubtedly a formidable talent in the making—he can make sentences crackle with an intensity and humor not seen since David Foster Wallace." And this from The Wall Street Journal: "Mr. Klee depicts the chaos with verve—he reads like J.G. Ballard zapped with a thousand volts of electricity." Topics of conversation include: the New Jersey turnpike, getting lost, Being John Malkovich, New York City, high school, diversity, affluence, 9/11, protests, televisual phenomena, denial, braces, huge glasses, nerdiness, adolescence, being tortured, cynicism, theater, growth spurts, assholes, Stanislavski, method acting, Marlon Brando, Williams College, adderall, pharmaceutical industry, self-medication, contortions of logic, LSD, war, neurotoxins, Aldous Huxley, mescalin, sleep, MDMA, porn, geopolitics, critical function, mixed reviews, publication, persistence, and ultimate triumph. Monologue topics: marathon running, writing, the grind, creative suffering. This episode of Other People is brought to you by M.P. Publishing. Be sure to check out two new novels, available in the coming months. First, there's THE NOSTALGIST, by Griffin Hansbury, due out on September 11th. And then there's AMERICAN DECAMERON, by Mark Dunn, due out on October 16th. For more information, please be sure to visit www.mppublishingusa.com.
Ron Rash is the guest. He's the author of the bestselling novel SERENA, which is now being made into a major motion picture starring Jennifer Lawrence, and his latest novel, THE COVE, was published this past spring by Ecco. The Cove was the April 2012 selection for the TNB Book Club, the official book club of The Nervous Breakdown. For only $9.95 a month, you can get a brand new book delivered to your door every 30 days. To sign up, please visit www.thenervousbreakdown.com. Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'Empire Falls,' raves: "Ron Rash is a writer of both the darkly beautiful and the sadly true; his new novel, THE COVE, solidifies his reputation as one of our very finest novelists." And Colum McCann says: "Set during World War One, THE COVE is a novel that speaks intimately to today’s politics. Beautifully written, tough, raw, uncompromising, entirely new. Ron Rash is a writer’s writer who writes for others." Topics of conversation include: The South, Southern writers, Southern culture, William Faulkner, Flanner O'Connor, underestimation, Appalachia, Appalachian Studies, North Carolina, the woods, farm life, interiority, introversion, The Cat in the Hat, illiteracy, violence, murder, Katherine Anne Porter, running, obsessiveness, injury, discipline, intuition, images, success, confidence, film, Susanne Bier, Winter's Bone, the future, plans, aging, LA, and book tour. Monologue topics: feeling stretched, hyper-communication, The Beautiful Anthology. **Today's show is sponsored by Audible, which is offering a special deal to listeners of Other People. Right now, you can get a free audiobook, along with a free 30-day trial, by visiting audiblepodcast.com/otherpeople. Do that. Get your freebie. It helps the show.**
Esi Edugyan is the guest. She's a Canadian author whose novel, HALF-BLOOD BLUES, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2011. It won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and is now available from Picador here in the United States. The Toronto Star raves: "Destined to win a wide audience…Deftly paced in incident and tone, moving from scenes of snappy dialogue, in which band members squabble and banter humorously, to tense, atmospheric passages of description…Edugyan makes fresh tracks in this richly-imagined story…HALF-BLOOD BLUES itself represent a kind of flowering—that of a gifted storyteller." And The Times (London) says: "[HALF-BLOOD BLUES] shines with knowledge, emotional insight, and historical revisionism…Truly extraordinary in its evocation of time and place, its shimmering jazz vernacular, its pitch-perfect male banter and its period slang." Topics of conversation include: Victoria, Calgary, age, Canada, America, nationalism, patriotism, travel, first peoples, urban cycling, motorcycles, shyness, awkwardness, racism, retirees, hippies, Toronto, poetry, journalism, V.C. Andrews, Flowers in the Attic, Margaret Atwood, Mordecai Richler, residencies, grants, Stuttgart, Iceland, biography, research, Akademie Schloss Solitude, The Shining, Steven Price, Virginia, Baltimore, publishing, adversity, persistence, agents, sales, expectations, readings, and starting from scratch. Monologue topics: helicopters, nature, giant flying insects, the Giant Weta, carrots, viruses, recoveries, my daughter, and driving around Los Angeles in the middle of the night. This episode of Other People is brought to you by ZOMBIE, the new novel by J.R. Angelella, now available from SoHo Press in paperback and ebook formats. Garth Stein calls it "a crazy wicked knock-out" and Ned Vizzini calls it "a bracing tale of a fractured mind." To see the full list of reviews, and to get your copy of the novel, please visit www.sohopress.com.
Jerry Stahl is today's guest. He's the author of several books, including the memoir PERMANENT MIDNIGHT, which was adapted into a film starring Ben Stiller. Other titles include novels like I, FATTY and PAIN KILLERS. And most recently, he co-authored the screenplay for the feature film HEMINGWAY & GELLHORN, now playing on HBO. Topics of conversation include: Cannes Film Festival, Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Philip Kaufman, Ernest Hemingway, Martha Gellhorn, childbirth, fear, meconium, James Gandolfini, Pittsburgh, suicide, antisemitism, Sicily, hunting, butchers, cholesterol, drugs, hepatitis-C, Jews, 'Permanent Midnight,' Ben Stiller, St. Bart's, The Hill School, hippies, Nepal, Berkeley, Village Voice, gonzo, Hustler, Los Angeles, heroin, MacArthur Park, 'I, Fatty,' Johnny Depp, luck, the abyss, dope, fatherhood, 'Bad Sex on Speed,' Akashic, Johnny Temple, Paris, France, Jack Nicholson, Larry Charles, 'Pain Killers,' Austin, parent shame, the Liberty Bell, hamster teeth, hell, and Hubert Selby, Jr. Monologue topics: heavy shit, mortal fear, parenthood, children, febrile seizures, adrenaline, nosedives. This episode of Other People is brought to you by the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, the largest open-enrollment creative writing and screenwriting program in the nation. For more info, please visit www.uclaextension.edu/writers.
Jim Lynch is today's guest. He's the author of three novels, the most recent of which is TRUTH LIKE THE SUN, now available from Knopf. It was the May selection for the TNB Book Club. Janet Maslin of the New York Times raves: "Enveloping and propulsive....Lynch's twosome, a 30-ish newspaper reporter and the much older bon vivant who is known unofficially as "Mr. Seattle" are such fine creations that they can't be reduced thumbnail descriptions....There is much marveling to be done as TRUTH LIKE THE SUN unfolds. Lynch captures the excitement of a fair that proudly showed off the world of tomorrow but inadvertently revealed more than it should have." Topics of conversation include: journalism, Alaska, politics, Washington, Tom Foley, nonfiction vs. fiction, persistence, failure, resilience, discipline, Tom Robbins, Ken Kesey, Washington, pacing, intensity, frugality, momentum, access, detachment, buying elections, groups, group-think, investigative journalism, lone wolfism, the internet bubble, The Highest Tide, Olympia, sailing, World's Fair, Seattle, Microsoft, outlines, time, marination, stock options, Where the Red Fern Grows, oral tradition, Wilson Rawls, and getting unplugged. Monologue topics: fascinating, bleak, The Map and the Territory, Michel Houellebecq, and pity-spooning.
Elna Baker is the guest. She's the author of memoir THE NEW YORK REGIONAL MORMON SINGLES HALLOWEEN DANCE, now available from Penguin. She's also an accomplished performer, having appeared at The Moth, on This American Life, WTF, Studio 360, Radiolab, BBC Radio 4, at the Upright Citizens Brigade, The PIT, The Magnet, and at many other comedy clubs throughout New York City. Coming up tomorrow, May 28th, Elna will be appearing at The Nervous Breakdown Literary Experience in Brooklyn, at Public Assembly over in Williamsburg, alongside Edgar Oliver, Lenore Zion, and Chad Faries. Showtime is 7 p.m. Five bucks at the door. Co-sponsored by Emergency Press. Topics of conversation include: Mormonism, apostasy, the garment, confusion, seminary, rebellion, vodka, anger, Catholicism, internationalism, polygamy, soldiers, Moroni, Joseph Smith, sacrament, churning butter, sex, repression, hell, fear, guilt, caffeine, sexy clothes, Brigham Young, New York City, lesbians, swearing, prudes, ego, pressure, virginity, sex binges, rationality, identity, the unraveling, epiphanies, Utah, Prop 8, gays, conscience, memoir, self-consciousness, mistakes, experimentation, regrets, perspective, change, and adaptability. Monologue topics: Tennessee, Dollywood, chili dogs, sunshine, fried food, conflict, dynamite, and spats. This episode of Other People is brought to you by the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, the largest open-enrollment creative writing and screenwriting program in the nation. For more info, please visit www.uclaextension.edu/writers.
Edgar Oliver is the guest. He is an American stage and film actor, a poet, a performance artist, and a playwright. His poetry collections include THE MAN WHO LOVED PLANTS, and his plays include THE DROWNING PAGES. Onstage, he has performed a popular one-man show called EAST 10TH STREET: SELF-PORTRAIT WITH EMPTY HOUSE. And on television, he has appeared on the Discovery Channel's ODDITIES. He's also a regular performer for The Moth storytelling series. Topics of conversation include: Lower East Side, Kent Carlson, Mother, Helen, moving, New York City, Prospect Park, outdoor urination, writing, childhood, Savannah, Georgia, Helen & Edgar, paranoia, isolation, Paris, cruelty, letters, the closet, morphine, the silent treatment, Washington DC, running away, birds, friends, self-acceptance, homosexuality, London, art school, theater, acting, stage fright, monologues, Harvey, New Jersey, Long Island, George Washington University, Nadine, psychosis, death, and straightjackets. Monologue topics: traveling, varnishing, oddities, unusualness, and falling asleep with your mouth open on an airplane. This episode of Other People is brought to you by MP Publishing, publisher of the debut novel from Yuvi Zalkow. It's called A BRILLIANT NOVEL IN THE WORKS. It is available now for pre-order and will be in stores on August 14, 2012.
Ben Fountain is the guest. He is the author of the debut short story collection BRIEF ENCOUNTERS WITH CHE GUEVARA, which won him the PEN/Hemingway Award. And now he has published his first novel, entitled BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK. Both books are available from Ecco. Karl Marlantes, bestselling author of 'Matterhorn,' has this to say about BILLY LYNN: "[T]he Catch-22 of the Iraq War....Fountain applies the heat of his wicked sense of humor while you face the truth of who we have become. Live one day inside Billy Lynn’s head and you’ll never again see our soldiers or America in the same way." And the New York Times calls it "[An] inspired, blistering war novel…Though it covers only a few hours, the book is a gripping, eloquent provocation. Class, privilege, power, politics, sex, commerce and the life-or-death dynamics of battle all figure in Billy Lynn’s surreal game day experience." Topics of conversation include: North Carolina, Dallas, bigness, free market evangelicals, Don't Mess with Texas, American culture, Dallasification, consumerism, ethnocentrism, E.L. Doctorow, racism, outsiders, politics, conservatism, liberalism, outspokenness, conflict, bourgeoisie culture, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, the Civil War, monopolies, assassinations, history, cycles, segregation, poverty, white guilt, public school, Iraq, George W. Bush, disillusionment, depression, education, health care, law, house husbandry, late bloomers, Malcolm Gladwell, slow learners, approved infrastructures, fitting in, money, identity, selling your soul, security, persistence, failure, living off the reservation, rejection, Haiti, and The Texas Itch. Monologue topics: mail, David Rees, bullying, sociopaths, drinks, dreams, menacing forces, and my subconscious. This episode of Other People is brought to you by the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, the largest open-enrollment creative writing and screenwriting program in the nation. For more info, please visit www.uclaextension.edu/writers.
Emily St. John Mandel is the guest. Her latest novel is called THE LOLA QUARTET, and it is available now from Unbridled Books. Library Journal, in a starred review, raves: "In this transcendent third novel, Emily St. John Mandel combines her most compelling characters with a breath-taking, tension-filled story as she examines again questions of identity, the surprising pull of family, the difficulties of being the person one wants to be, guilt, and the unforeseen ways in which a small and innocent action can have disastrous consequences. THE LOLA QUARTET is a work that pays homage to literary noir and jazz, Django Reinhardt, economic collapse, love and loss, Florida’s exotic wildlife problem, crushing tropical heat, the leavening of the contemporary world, compulsive gambling, and the unreliability of memory." Topics of conversation include: British Columbia, citizenship, dual citizenship, Canada, Brooklyn, modern dance, Toronto, home schooling, Vancouver Island, Black Swan, steroids, Montreal, break-ups, auditions, octogenarian agents, New York City, Emily Jacobson, Curtis Brown, past lives, vintage fashion, fedoras, good manners, population density, formality, editing, publishing, perfectionism, discipline, part-time jobs, readings, self-promotion, gypsy jazz, Django Reinhardt, Florida, reptiles, Zone One, Colson Whitehead, The Sisters Brothers, Patrick DeWitt, and Last Night in Montreal. Monologue topics: airports, hunger, bad food, travel, fatigue.
Etgar Keret is the guest. He's the author of several books, the most recent of which is called SUDDENLY, A KNOCK ON THE DOOR, now available from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. Jonathan Safran Foer calls it "Keret’s greatest book yet—the most funny, dark, and poignant. It’s tempting to say these stories are his most Kafkaesque, but in fact they are his most Keretesque." And Ira Glass, host and producer of 'This American Life,' says: "Etgar Keret’s stories are funny, with tons of feeling, driving towards destinations you never see coming. They’re written in the most unpretentious, chatty voice possible, but they’re also weirdly poetic. They stick in your gut. You think about them for days." Topics of conversation include: stuff, materialism, grandfather clocks, Warsaw ghetto, Holocaust, books, Poland, bedtime stories, whores, drunks, the British, holes, Jews, Nazis, geniuses, adolescence, orthodox Judaism, religion, agnosticism, activism, truancy, the military, science, math, computers, philosophy, writing, not wanting to be a writer, asthma, guns, the Middle East, Israel, optimism, pessimism, government, Hamas, Arab Spring, fundamentalism, tyranny, opportunity, education, cinema, Jellyfish, Cannes, Camera d'Or, mango juice, work ethic, forcing oneself to make art, and the dangers of self-obsession. Monologue topics: road trips, punctuality, barfing, nuclear reactors, children, microorganisms, and the dark art of concealment. This episode of Other People is brought to you by the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, the largest open-enrollment creative writing and screenwriting program in the nation. For more info, please visit www.uclaextension.edu/writers.
David Rees is the guest. He's the author of HOW TO SHARPEN PENCILS, a practical and theoretical treatise on the artisanal craft of pencil sharpening, for writers, artists, contractors, flange turners, anglesmiths, and civil servants, with illustrations showing current practice, now available from Melville House. He is also the creator of the comic strip GET YOUR WAR ON, which has appeared in the pages of Rolling Stone magazine. Amy Sedaris on HOW TO SHARPEN PENCILS: "Of all the great artisanal crafts, hat blocking, cobbling, and trolloping, I think I was most disheartened to see pencil sharpening relegated to the dusty bin of history. That is why I am so thrilled David Rees is picking up the reins of the forgotten art of manual graphite-encased-in-wood point-crafting. I love my pencil!" Topics of conversation include: Hollywood Boulevard, Roosevelt Hotel, celebrity mummies, pitch meetings, Facebook, Scrabble, the visual beauty of phone numbers, Chapel Hill, Wisconsin, Manitowoc, cranes, America Club, Sheboygan, Porsche posters, Lamborghini Countach, bullying, Transformers 3, Michael Bay, American doom, Oberlin, Jesus and Mary Chain, physics class, pencils, social cohesion theory, learning your limits, feigning indifference, philosophy, Norman Care, Wittgenstein, how to live a good life, how to be a good person, how to honor the advantages you've been given by making sacrifices for the betterment of other people, losing religion, ethics, Kant, Minutemen, punk rock, Reagan, progressive Christianity, mastery, simplicity, complexity, Get Your War On, clip art, 9/11, George W. Bush, Soft Skull Press, the census, pencil sharpening, and the golden age of pencil use. Monologue topics: dreams, intruders, locking the door, bad sleep, prank calls, subconscious thought, and inescapable neurotic obsessions. This episode of the program is brought to you by LUMINARIUM, the critically acclaimed novel by Alex Shakar, now available from SoHo Press in hardcover, paperback, and ebook formats. Recently, the book was awarded the LA Times Book Prize for Fiction. Dave Eggers calls it "Dizzingly smart and provocative.... Shakar is committed throughout with trying, relentlessly, to flat-out explain the meaning of life." To see the full list of reviews, and to get your copy of the novel, please visit www.sohopress.com.
Chloe Caldwell is today's guest. She's the author of a debut essay collection called LEGS GET LED ASTRAY, now available from Future Tense Books. Raves Cheryl Strayed: "Chloe Caldwell’s LEGS GET LED ASTRAY is a scorching hot glitter box of youthful despair and dark delight. Tender and sharp, wide-eyed and searching, these essays have a reckless beauty that feels to me like magic." Topics of conversation include: living with your parents, music stores, bilingualism, voice lessons, Gwen Stefani, Shakira, George Michael, Hudson, marijuana, singing, dancing, fear of dancing, bongo lessons, memoir, New York City, distractions, alcohol, The Strand, writing workshops, secrets, perspective, productivity, assimilation, hippie culture, selling jewelry, Seattle, alienation, passivity, raising children in big cities, Cheryl Strayed, cat-sitting, writing for cash, keeping it enjoyable, the depression of publication, stunt memoirs, mediating one's experience, hiking, yoga, hangover recovery, Kripalu, moving to Portland, and the womb of goodness. Monologue topics: spankings, riding crops, Burning Man, the Santa Claus dominatrix, participation, pain, and mediating one's own experience. This episode of Other People is brought to you by the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, the largest open-enrollment creative writing and screenwriting program in the nation. For more info, please visit www.uclaextension.edu/writers.