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.
Janet Reitman is the guest. She is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone magazine and the author of the bestselling INSIDE SCIENTOLOGY: THE STORY OF AMERICA'S MOST SECRETIVE RELIGION, recently named by the New York Times as one of its 100 Notable Books of 2011. Inside Scientology originated as a story in Rolling Stone, and it was nominated for a National Magazine Award. Topics of conversation include: Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, science fiction, military service, hucksterism, religion, David Miscavige, Gold Base, yachts, hot pants, blowing, Rolling Stone, investigative reporting, Iraq, Tom Cruise, Jann S. Wenner, and collective shrugs.
The guest is Adam Novy, author of the debut novel THE AVIAN GOSPELS, available now from Short Flight / Long Drive Books, an independent press run by the good people over at Hobart. Topics of conversation include: birds, birding, reviews, science fiction, false summits, agents, independent presses, Brooklyn, religion, Chicago, the Bible, 9/11, dislocation, South Pasadena, bad teachers, weddings, Jewishness, Medusa, privilege, war, semantics, Hamlet, gods, the process of un-fucking a manuscript, and the fear of getting squashed by the universe.
The guest is Elissa Schappell, author of the story collections USE ME (William Morrow), which was nominated for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the brand new BLUEPRINTS FOR BUILDING BETTER GIRLS, available now from Simon & Schuster. A former senior editor at The Paris Review, Elissa is a contributing editor and the Hot Type book columnist at Vanity Fair. She is also the co-founder and editor-at-large of Tin House magazine. Topics of conversation include: feathers, taxidermy, pigeons, Mike Tyson, Tin House, face tattoos, Delaware, Joe Biden, social identity, elegant segues, the Lower East Side, talking in circles, chameleons, empathy, manners, social graces, George Plimpton, The Paris Review, New York City, temporal lobe epilepsy, Berlin, Portugal, Spy magazine, Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter, and the abundance of good writers in the world.
Today's guest: Katie Arnoldi, the bestselling author of three novels: CHEMICAL PINK, THE WENTWORTHS, and POINT DUME. Topics of conversation include: marijuana, Mexican drug cartels, surfing, surf Nazis, art, discipline, lighting one's hair on fire while making a quesadilla, southeast Utah, road trips, books on tape, experiential learning, Blackhawk helicopters, wanderlust, field research, sharks, kids, Tasers, camping, the Venice Biennale, the artist Paul McCarthy, and getting out of one's own way creatively.
Joshua Mohr is the guest. He's the author of three novels: SOME THINGS THAT MEANT THE WORLD TO ME, TERMITE PARADE, and, most recently, DAMASCUS. All are available from Two Dollar Radio, one of America's finest independent presses. Topics of conversation include: teaching, San Francisco, the benefits of insomnia, Hubert Selby Jr., coffee, punk rock, gentrification, creatively permissive cities, Arizona, Kurt Vonnegut, kids, monkishness, priorities, readerships, addiction, The Big Lebowski, fairy tales, reality television, and poets who live in their cars.
Gina Frangello is the guest. She is the critically acclaimed author of the novel MY SISTER'S CONTINENT (Chiasmus Press), the story collection SLUT LULLABIES (Emergency Press), and the forthcoming novel A LIFE IN MEN (Algonquin). She is also the esteemed fiction editor over at The Nervous Breakdown. Topics of conversation include: Chicago, Other Voices Books, growing up Italian-American, how her parents met, jazz, alcohol, poverty, Madison, drug abuse, California, the dirt-poor writer who lived in her parents' garage, high school, dance clubs, neighborhood violence, parenthood, jogging yuppies, Avignon, keg parties, editing, London, whirlwind romance, psychology, Italy, New Hampshire, Arles, prison, battered women, the MFA, and the institution of marriage.
The guest is Jillian Lauren, bestselling author of the new novel PRETTY, now available from Plume Books, as well the memoir SOME GIRLS: MY LIFE IN A HAREM. Topics of conversation include: youth, addiction, fearlessness, the difference between dull experience and dull writing, sex work, billionaire psychology, New Jersey, Vietnam, the Prince of Brunei, rehab, therapy, parenthood, beauty college, the Big Apple, LA, transcendental meditation, Weezer, discipline, sobriety, compulsive documentation, Instagram, the vibration of a publicity cycle, bowling, versatility, and acting.
The guest is Shann Ray, author of the critically acclaimed story collection AMERICAN MASCULINE, now available from Graywolf Press. A very impressive guy. A college basketball star. A doctorate in psychology. A professor of leadership studies (with an emphasis on forgiveness). And now, the author of a story collection that won the 2010 Bakeless Prize for Fiction. Topics of conversation include: Spokane, the medical-industrial complex, Montana, hunting, hunting knives, field-dressing an antelope, taxidermy, the Finca Vigía, mountain lions, crossbows, dogs, basketball, Jack Kerouac, John Edgar Wideman, Pepperdine, Hank Gathers, leadership, Rwanda, forgiveness, John Wooden, Bobby Knight, discipline, vertical leap, cowboys, horses, spirituality, addiction and recovery, family, and what it was like to go to high school on an Indian reservation.
Megan Boyle is the guest. She is the author of SELECTED UNPUBLISHED BLOG POSTS OF A MEXICAN PANDA EXPRESS EMPLOYEE, an unorthodox debut poetry collection from Muumuu House. At the time of this interview, she had been up for 36 hours and was staying at her dad's place in Baltimore. Topics of conversation include: Baltimore, Applebee's, Tao Lin, Las Vegas, Beanie Babies, Brooklyn, Chicago, green juice, juicing, meditative activities, seclusion, Orion's belt, aliens, acting, awkwardness, relationships, shyness, Internet literature, MDMA, MDMA films, LSD, Bebe Zeva, Jordan Castro, Noah Cicero, Twitter, blogging, iMovie, Brandon Gorrell, Carles, AOL chat rooms, documentary film, birds, social anxiety, adderall, sleeplessness, and accidental books.
A great conversation with Diana Spechler, author of the novels WHO BY FIRE and SKINNY, both from Harper Perennial. Topics of conversation include: tequila, book tour, cocktail waitressing, pizza delivery, horrible bosses, getting fired, the fact that your friendly waitress is not hitting on you, nudity, dancing, weight loss, Boulder, weight loss camps, body image, Wyoming, the obesity epidemic, frisbee, smoking, water aerobics, journaling, typewriters, car accidents, public transportation, moth infestations, Texas, and Missoula.
Adam Levin is the guest. He is the author of THE INSTRUCTIONS, a 1,030-page novel published by McSweeneys in late 2010 to great critical acclaim. Topics of conversation include: page counts, cigarettes, discipline, work schedules, exotic fowl, McSweeney's, readings, paranoia over readings, Facebook, Dave Eggers, Flannery O'Connor, the sound of writing, whispering birds, psychotic muttering, sentient beings, day jobs, teaching, Chicago, metalheads, punk rockers, George Saunders, bad posture, back pain, Hemingway, Nabokov, caffeine, hemorrhoids, Mary Gaitskill, fear of doctors, pedophiles, thyroglossal duct cysts, and more.
Alexander Maksik is the guest. One of the original writers at The Nervous Breakdown, and a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop, where he was a Truman Capote Fellow. He's now the author of YOU DESERVE NOTHING, one of the most buzzed-about novels of the fall season. It's available from Tonga Books, an imprint of Europa Editions. Topics of conversation include: book tour, wayward youth, Australia, lost cause love affairs, Andy Warhol, Lycra biking shorts, method acting, teaching, Brooklyn, pizza delivery, body waxing, Bill Paxton, Planet Hollywood, Paris, Hemingway, A Moveable Feast, exhaustion resulting from the complete dismantling of a fantasy, Craig's List, Alice Sebold, Spain, luck, persistence, Iowa, Top Gun, Ketchum, the future, and more.
Steve Almond is the guest. He's the bestselling author of books like CANDYFREAK, MY LIFE IN HEAVY METAL, and ROCK AND ROLL WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE. And now he has a new story collection out from Lookout Books called GOD BLESS AMERICA, which Lorrie Moore calls "funny and beguiling and completely original." Topics of conversation include: communes, Jennifer Egan, too much television, nauseating self-doubt, anxiousness over books one hasn't read, the absurdity of continuing to write even though writing is often miserable, high class problems, the scarcity of attention, Charles Dickens, hamsters eating carrots, the god-awful guilt one feels when one realizes that one is complaining about the difficulty of writing in a world where most people don't have access to potable water, the phrase "God Bless America," Kurt Vonnegut, Don DeLillo, and more.
Victoria Patterson is the guest. She's the author of the story collection DRIFT, a finalist for the Story Prize, as well as the novel THIS VACANT PARADISE, which was greeted with major critical acclaim. Both books are published by Counterpoint, and both are set in the privileged confines of Newport Beach, California. Tory herself spent part of her youth in Newport, and she writes about the Orange County experience with uncommon depth and lyricism. The conversation here covers a lot of territory, including the difficulties Patterson faced as an adolescent in The OC, her struggles with substance abuse and eventual transcendence, her books, her writing life, and more.
Blake Butler is the guest. He's the author of NOTHING: A PORTRAIT OF INSOMNIA, from Harper Perennial. Other books include the novels SCORCH ATLAS (Featherproof) and THERE IS NO YEAR (also from Harper Perennial). Butler is the founder of the popular literary blog HTML GIANT, and the editor of two literary journals, LAMINATION COLONY and NO COLONY. The show covers a lotta ground. Topics of conversation include sleep, lack of sleep, dreams, nightmares, fear, obesity, serotonin, David Foster Wallace, television, jogging, Don DeLillo, Tao Lin, the Internet, abstract Tweeting, Twitter anxiety, Twitter obsession, perspiration, dementia, writing rituals, and more. Probably something to which you should listen.