Calling all book worms and bibliophiles! Listen to the latest book news, reviews and author interviews aired from leading talk radio shows and premium podcasts.
HarperCollins Acquires Rights to Yo-Yo Ma Book 'Playing at the Border'
"Harpercollins. Acquired world rights to playing at the border. A story of Yo. Yo Ma by Joanna Jojo illustrated by Teresa Martinez the picture books centers cellist. Yo-yo Ma using his music to build bridges instead of walls a testament to music humanity and what unites us. Publication is set for fall. Twenty twenty one most probably the first person I ever saw like on TV. Asian person you know like he's like one figures you know like like that's really unexpected. I mean back in the day like there weren't that many on on Connie Chung Michael Chang annual ma since my family like half half of my mom's side of the family are musicians are classical music musicians. Like I've heard of Yo Mamma but like to me it was like. Oh there's so many Asian classical musicians so I I didn't really see the big deal Around Yoyo Ma until much later when I got into new American community you know. Heard about the impact of your Moss. Work so yeah picture book. That's great
Curtis Sittenfeld's New Novel Brings Her From Prep to Politics
"I guess. Today is the author of the Sunday Times Bestseller American wife in which she painted a picture of an ordinary American girl a thinly disguised Laura Bush who found herself married to a president. It was long listed for the Orange Prize. As was her debut novel. Prep her other books. Include the man of my dreams sustained eligible and the acclaimed short story collection. You think it I'll say it. Her stories of appeared in the New Yorker Esquire Oprah magazine and The New York Times magazine her latest collection of stories to be published in the UK is help yourself. She's also the guest editor for the Twenty Twenty Best American short stories anthology. She lives with her family in the American Midwest. A brand new novel is rotten. And it's been described as bombshell while I couldn't agree more. This is a book that will demand. Attention Curtis Sitton fell. Welcome to meet the rices. Thank you for having me. You'll novel begins in one thousand nine hundred thousand nine. Is Hillary Rodham Graduates College? And it brings us right up-to-date in Contemporary America. But I'd like to go back to Cincinnati in one thousand nine hundred seventy five when when you were can you tell us about the second stance surrounding you alive? Oh my goodness it's funny. I'm so much in the habit of of talking about Hillary's lay right now. You'll warm familiar with that than with my own will. I'm the second of four children. I have a sister. Who's less than two years older than I am. And I would say a have not led a very personally dramatic life which might be why I'm a fiction writer instead of a memoir rest but yeah I grew up in Cincinnati. My parents are both retired but still live in Cincinnati and I have two sisters one brother my brother is actually holds elected office in Cincinnati. He's the he's a member of the city council in his third term. So so I guess. Different members of my family are interested in in politics in in different ways but I was very lucky to go to excellent schools in Cincinnati elsewhere. And I would say my family Sort of obsessive readers like we didn't it's not like we. All six sat around each of US feverishly reading a book of our own but there were lots of books in the House. We did sometimes read is a family. My mother was a librarian for a long time for you know middle school or junior high students so ages twelve and thirteen and fourteen and that strong feminist streak. That comes to your writing that being influenced by her. That's an interesting question. My parents have almost opposite personalities. From each other where. My father is very great Gary in very opinionated and my mother is you know I think she has strong opinions and viewpoints. But she's. She's not a very assertive per cent. And she's not she's not she's a very private person even even by saying this should not be. I think she'd rather that like I never talk about her. Other than you know maybe acknowledging that she exists described as relatively progressive. But you know I think there are some families where the children grow up going to protest rallies in that was not my family You'll schooling was obviously a hugely influential. In fact your first book prep which is I. Think long list for the Orange Prize loosely based on that. Would you say so? I went to a boarding school in Massachusetts. When I was I had just turned fourteen and it was sort of strange given you know the area of the country where I grew up. Which is the mid west and it was a little bit unusual to go to a sort of fancier elite boarding school on the east coast just in the sense that a lot of students who go to that school are more from that region and also the other thing is that. I was the only one of my siblings who went which I think sometimes makes people think that I must have been the most academically talented in fact. I was the least academically and by my siblings. Were all you know much more. Well rounded students like. I did well in English but I definitely struggled with other subjects so those a little bit. I feel like I certainly. It was privileged but it was also a little bit random or arbitrary that I went to boarding school and talking about coming from a different at least geographical background from the rest of the students. The story is sort of more than coming of age. It's it's more perhaps one could say it was about a study of of social class. Was that something that you found was very apparent there that it did feel different. This whole kind of I mean I think the thing that we all have this horror of being a teenager comes across in dairy well a particular field and that you didn't fit in that. I think I felt at times that I didn't fit in. Certainly I mean I would say that. It wasn't the main character in prep. Leave your experiences going to boarding school as more of a sort of class shock than I would say I did. And you know class is sort of the air. We all breathe. It's maybe especially obvious. Una Boarding School campus. But you know I think it's it's obvious everywhere you know. You can have a sort of exchange with a person like delivering a package to your house and the two of you could probably like assess each other's voices are accents and no things about each other's class or like defied that one of you is in a house receiving a package one of US delivering. The package also says things about class in our society. You know doesn't necessarily say very good things but I think the To like one yet like I was aware of class. And I don't think I was quite as much of a fish out of water as my protagonist. Although certainly I'm like erotic person was even more neurotic as a teenage you write about teenagehood again in in your next book. And I think we'll come back to that because it will say impacts on on the subject matter of Rodham but you went off to Stanford then and you studied creative writing night. You wrote the College newspaper. You registered magazine. What's being a writer? Always the the obvious career choice. Well I think writing was always really important to me and it was like from a very young age for about six or seven. I spent a lot of time reading and writing because I wanted to. I think it helped me make sense of the world and it held my attention and there weren't as many options on net. Netflix back. Then so entertain yourself a little more so definitely writing always played a huge role in my life. I don't think I grew up with the expectation that I would be a full time novelist. I think sometimes I thought I won't be a lawyer or as I got older. I thought you know maybe a social worker or an English teacher or something. I always the closer my adulthood. I think the more it seems like I would do something writing adjacent. But I just don't think anyone can count on being a fulltime writer as you know how they pay their mortgage and I mean going to someone as you did to study at the Iowa. Writer's workshop is no guarantee of coming out. The other end is a fully-fledged writer. But that does give you a better chance than most doesn't it's a huge success rate. It's a it's a wonderful program and I like I loved being there. I learned a ton but the the thing that people don't necessarily realize is not only. Can you go to an excellent writing program the Iraqis and after that you know not have a stable writing career you can be a writer who has had multiple books published in that. Still not the way. You're supporting yourself. And in fact new writing is my full time job. But that's that's an incredible privilege and it's not. It's not something I take for granted. It's very I know that it's very unusual on special. I feel
Victoria Chang: Love, Love
"What is the age group of this Book Victoria? I think it's around maybe eight years old to thirteen years old so it's middle grade but they called middle grade yes. The book is called Love Love and of course. I was excited because it's a novel written entirely in Poetic Lines and at the same time again. The fear of poetry that might enter is completely abolished by the clarity and directness with which it's written now. You had written a picture book before this. That was times. Notable Book of the Year Victoria. This is new for you. Yes yes yes yeah. I two children and there's thirteen eleven now and as they've grown I've had to sort of read books or learn more about what books available to children in because I write adult poetry and Emma writer occasionally. I'll have these ideas where I wanna try that too. And and so these books. The children's books are result of love. Lov excited me particularly as I read to learn that it's title has as much to do with the opening score of tennis as it does to do with the Gulf between two sisters they have been drawn apart by an experienced. One sister at first seems to be getting more attention than the other at school. The other one is shy overweight but then the first the preferred sister her hair starts. Falling out. Is the way it's presented. One can find her hair between the pages of her books. In particular at the exciting sections of the Nancy drew books that both sisters love to read and the younger sister Francis practically has to steal from her older sister and read it night with flashlight because her older sister is not a sharer is not generous. In that way. In fact that is the subject of this book. What will get these children to share? How will they share their inner worlds with one another now? You're a poet and people are used to poets being. What would you say profound and matic difficult? And you've written a hoke entirely in poetry and for children for children to understand directly. What was that like? It was incredibly fun because so much of Howard is about really sometimes difficult metaphor which is really a leap. A metaphor is is a big jump. Even similarities are a jump And so I think that writing children's was just another challenged or writing to children or for children and really thinking about the things that they can understand and then trying to figure out how to write them and challenge them in images stick poetic literary ways emotional ways philosophical ways but yet still make it easy enough and legible enough so that they can have a really good experience and not be too stuck and so finding that balance was really hard but I. I really thought it was a fun experience for me because I had never written a verse novel before and Written For Children in this age group and so the challenge was what appealed to me move. The book is dedicated to my human children tenny and Winnie and to my wiener dog children mustard and catch up and you Tell in this dedication to all the bullied kids in the world. I see you to all the kids who suffer icy you and the important thing is to be seen. It's a rarity it's a very rich experience. Hell did your children respond to the book. They haven't read it and I know now they don't they don't really. I don't know I think that they just I hear them talk. Sometimes they talk to their friends and once in a while like just last night. I heard them heard one of them. Say Oh yes. She's she's an author she. She's a poet. She writes books so I think they talk about me but I'm not sure they know exactly what it is that that I do so I'll give you know my children. Copies of my books and sign them even and they. I know they don't read them and I'll ask them why sometimes and they say oh it's they they don't have a good explanation but they'll say oh. I think it'll be too sad or they try and say something that would make me feel better when in reality I just don't think they're interested I imagined that maybe reading them when I when I'm dead to be morbid like a it can be that they'll then they'll be more interested in kind of everything about my mind and how it works in how I saw the world in the same way that I miss I i. I'm curious about how my mother thought about things you know who Who passed in two thousand fifteen so I do think that that my hope is. I'll leave things for them and they can read them or not. You know when they're ready. I discovered your work recently. But it seems as if you've led many lives and in particular you seem to have been involved in hedge funds and stocks and the Business World Song. Oh Yeah I do have a an MBA from Stanford. And so I did get a business degree and I have an investment bank at a management consulting firm. I worked at lots of different places And Yeah I I. I was just sort of doing what other people were doing. If that makes sense I followed a group of people that I had met at Harvard where I was for graduate school and they just told me. Oh you should do this or do that so you know I was. I think more impressionable when I was younger in. Just because you're good at something doesn't mean you should do it So I think it's just sort of finding your own. Voice is the process in my life that I'm still finding trying to find and and now I'm more comfortable sort of figuring out what is exactly. Do you like to do versus. What can you do Where are you capable of and so I think that time of my life was more about just not knowing what I was really interested in or not really understanding that you could be a writer because my parents weren't born here so it's not like they knew there was such a thing you know and so? I didn't really know there is such a thing so took me a wild to to figure out that you could be a writer in some ways And use any ladders also have other jobs and things but they're still a possibility that one could lead a very rich creative inner worlds The writing and pushing it out word through books and things like that that I just really didn't know existed. You know we didn't have a lot of books in our house. They were books. There were like encyclopedias or Chinese books and Our Library to started to accumulate as children based on the books that we read not the books that my parents read because you know they spoke Chinese at home so those are all sorts of things that I had to figure out more. Maybe more gradually than someone who might have had a you know parents that were born in this
Carmen Maria Machado's Queer Horror Stories
"So. We are super excited to talk to author Harmon. Maria Machado when we first admitted Carmen on the show we wanted to talk about her memoir. That came out a couple months ago in the drain house. The bug is about her experience in an abusive relationship and plays with John Rouse like fantasy and horror. It is such an amazing book. And we're still going to chat with her about it but right before we were scheduled to interview her. The pandemic took hold and we were all told to social distance and this whole experience with the corona virus pandemic really reminded us up two stories and comments. First Book. A book of short stories called her body and other parties. These two stories are literally about pandemics and they are eerily similar to. What's happening today so we had to ask her about them. Okay so Carmen. Your first book came out in twenty seventeen. It's called her body and other parties in in it they're not one but two stories about pandemics. One is called Real. Women have bodies and the other's called inventory so my first question for you is. Did you know that this was going to happen? You know part of what you're good at. If you're a good writer as you pay attention and I feel like when stuff like this happens like obviously. I didn't know it was going to happen. But I think just generally being like an observer of human behavior an observer of society observer of just sort of. What's going on in sort of drawing from that and the idea of like what happens if you're a person who like you know sort of runs on like human contact like so many people immense suddenly. You're not able to have that contact. I mean I've done a lot of reading in the band played on the AIDS crisis in like. I think I was thinking about that when I was reading inventory. So that story inventory. It's about a mysterious pandemic that sweeping the world and and killing people and the story is sort of written like a journal. Like you get these brief entries written by the main character and what she's doing is recounting every sexual partner. She's ever had And what we found really interesting. Is that by telling each of these stories chronologically you get these little details about what's going on with the pandemic around her. I'm wondering how did you come up with that form and format for the stories? I wrote the story at a workshop that I went to end. It was a few weeks in an early on in the workshop. Another student had workshop to story which was can handle sexual content and was also very sexist and during the critique I sort of commented on the sexism of the story and later he sort of made a comment about how obviously I hated the story because I was prudish or that I didn't like sex in fiction. Challenge accepted exactly so then. I like you know I'm GonNa read a story. That's entirely sex scenes like I'M GONNA use the sexiness a unit of measurement for for this next story and so I sat down and I began thinking about. How would you serve? Release a little dribbles of information were like know. The reader is sort of getting sick. Little pieces of A story that's like much bigger League alongside the big stuff. There's always the small stuff you're always doing things like having sex while something really bad happens in the world around you look. It's always true Guinea. You're always making noodles while somebody's being blown apart in another country. Internet me or in your country like that tension always exists. You're living your life in the small ways always alongside huge huge large scale tragedy war and death and loss so the stories were shifts focused between what's happening in the background but like this young woman's sort of like sexual journey in sexual weakening the lens through which the The sorts of materials being examined and eventually collides in this thematic way. Because it's about like touching human contact and there was like a part where she sleeps with this like former CDC employee whose like if people would just stay apart we would not have this virus a hand right right. People won't do it and so he continues Sort of like you know the world is falling apart and yet like your junk is still going to be your junk like. You're still dealing with being a person exactly that your justice. So you're chunk no instrument I mean inventory and also like my other pandemic story For women have bodies like I feel like both sort of address. Those like it's like what does it mean to like? Have A job. All that's going on or to Lake beat nursing a crush on somebody or certain date. Someone WORD WHATEVER
Author 'Rodham' imagines a different `Hillary'
"A young Hillary Rodham madly in love with the man she met at Yale Law School abandons her own path and heads to Arkansas slowly she starts to uncover bill Clinton's many infidelities and makes a choice what would have happened if Hillary Rodham had never married Bill Clinton a new novel by Curtis Sittenfeld imagines it just that and she joins me now to talk about it hello hello your book starts out in a familiar way but then your book takes a very different attacks from the historical timeline what what happens so in real life Bill Clinton proposed to Hillary Rodham twice and she said no both times and then he proposed a third time and she said yes and in my version she says no the third time two and she goes her own way then she initially becomes a law professor and Chicago at northwestern and then she kind of goes on from there and the book follows her over the next forty years I want to ask you before we go much further in this you know so much has been said about Hillary Clinton why did you want to write speculative fiction about her doesn't everyone is in a totally natural impulse and possibly so actually it's funny because I agree with you that so much has been written about Hillary and it was sort of in reaction to that that I think I wrote this book so in the lead up to the two thousand sixteen election I was invited to write essays about Hillary and I would decline because I felt like every possible thing there was to say about Hillary had been said she had been analyzed from every angle and then an editor at esquire magazine invited me to write a short story from Hillary's perspective and I accepted and writing that story was this kind of strange exercise where I realize that the question was not what to the American people think of Hillary Clinton but what does Hillary Clinton think of the American people and it turned out that that I had four hundred pages worth of thought to say on that so it was actually trying to sort of slipped the narrative and and instead of making her the one who's scrutinize lake giving her voice which of course is totally fictionalized voice likes she did not write this book I wrote this book and so she says no to Bill Clinton she becomes as you mention a law professor she then becomes a politician was it inevitable that she'd become a politician how did you come up with this path for her I think that in real life if she had not married Bill Clinton I'm not sure she would have led the life that I created for her in the novel and I think with a novel like this you know that the reader is bringing some opinions or expectations and I as the writer I'm kind of toying with those expectations and sometimes for filling them and sometimes defying them and I felt like it was the most interesting version and to have her enter politics but you know have no pulp click association with Bill Clinton yes except to quite a few meetings along the way I want to ask you about writing Bill Clinton the character because like the real life Bill Clinton your fictionalized bill also has a swirl of sexual misconduct allegations around him and he's also accused of sexual assault so one of the reasons that I love fiction is that I feel like getting knowledge is that people are very complex and that the same person can have very appealing qualities and very troubling qualities and I think that the plan is like the embodiment of that where I would never pretend that I can't understand his his appeal I would never you know sort of say that I can look at him with admiration and you know without feeling any sense of sort of discomfort and so and I think that a novel allows for knowledge in that like this is in an essay that's trying to either celebrate him or take him down they're both the very intertwined in our consciousness are you trying to suggest that we might consider them differently if we had to think of them as individuals yes so actually I think that one of the reasons I wrote this book is that around the time even after the two thousand and sixteen election I had this realization that school children who knew Hillary was running for president often literally didn't know that Bill Clinton existed and that kind of blew my mind where I thought you know what is what if adults saw Hillary as completely separate from dell the way that kids do and you think that that would change fundamentally the way that she's you yes I do I think I mean I'm not I'm not saying that it would sort of solve all the problems of sexism but I think it would make her have an identity much more like that of Elizabeth Warren or any clothes are I wonder if it isn't insulting to suggest that a man held Hillary Clinton back maybe this story and their story is one of a hugely successful partnership that is arguably one of the most successful in American political history it's totally possible that you're right like I'm not even sure it's either or I think it may be though Clinton held her back in some ways and probably helped her and others and the same for I think maybe she held him back in some ways or maybe didn't always do things that were in is personal or professional best interest and then in other ways she was hugely helpful like I don't I don't think it's an either or it's sort of situation for for either of them did your opinion of either bill or Hillary Clinton change after giving them the fictional treatment you know being intimately involved in sort of creating this alternate narrative for them so I was already an admirer of Hilary before I began working on the book if anything I definitely have more admiration for her in terms of toughness her perseverance her hard work there's also there's all these stories I think they are sort of in the public but they don't get that much attention about what a loyal thoughtful friend she is like often over many decades or you know like she's she's very funny which is not really part of her public image so I am fully pro
One Young Mother and the Homelessness Crisis
"Lauren Sandler joins us now from Brooklyn. Her new book is called. This is all I got a new mother search for Home Lauren. Thanks for being here thank you. I'm so happy to be here so this book got a stellar review and our pages this week from Alex. Kotla wits is very exciting and it's similar issues to the ones that he explores. This book is about a homeless mother. Did you get started on the project? Well I knew I wanted to write about homelessness I've been writing about inequality and specifically gender inequality for a long time but living in New York the feeling of inequality all around us has been inescapable for so long and I was really aware that it was an issue that had been getting less attention and not more when I moved to New York in Nineteen Ninety two there were twenty thousand people sleeping and city shelters and it was considered to be a real human rights crisis there were between one and two stories and the Times every day about homelessness and now there are seventy thousand homeless people in New York in pre pandemic numbers and it was like the issue it just sort of disappeared from at least the literary consciousness if not a daily one and I just felt it in my heart so I wanted to find a shelter that would give me access and see if I could do that sort of old school immersion writing to give people a narrative that would rip them and bring them into an experience. They wouldn't forget it's interesting. You mentioned that time period from Nineteen ninety-two until roughly prepaid endemic. Because for many New Yorkers now they think about homelessness in terms of homelessness under Bloomberg in which it seemed to disappear from the streets and then homelessness under Blasi. Oh where suddenly it seemed to become once again a problem but I'm sure that's a huge over-simplification and mischaracterization in many ways of the issue to what extent did homelessness get better at all during that period or was it always there and we just weren't seeing it. Well it was always there and it was being criminalised so you know. Giuliani was quite famous for getting the homeless off the street. But it wasn't like he was getting them into housing he was getting them pushed farther and farther out away from an Hatton. He was getting them into lock up. But the big thing that I think really happened. Was this surge in housing prices. It was hard to rent an apartment in New York but it was possible. It was before rezoning under Bloomberg it was before the luxury housing boom before gentrification as we know it and price-gouging not just in New York but nationally around housing became such an issue as wages. Were certainly not going up. That it's become someone impossible and you know de Blasio ran on a platform of changing this. He's touted a lot of affordable housing but that housing has been affordable for no one who's poor and so it's been a real crisis for people like the protagonist of my book and millions of people like her and now millions more to come. Let's talk about that woman. Camilla who is she? She is a woman who when I meet. Her is twenty two and pregnant. She's from Corona which is now known as the epicenter of the virus in Queens. And when I met her you know. She told me that she had a story to tell. And we had instant chemistry. There's a real alchemy between us. I like to talk about how in nonfiction. There's always this notion. I think that reporters documentarian choose their protagonist but in fact. It's really a mutual choosing. It's like any relationship and she and I found each other but amongst all the women at the shelter where I was reporting. She not just really connected with me as a as a personal connection but also as an idea which is that. She was so organized so disciplined stunning legally minded. I mean she's someone who sued her parents for child. Support is a teenager and one that kind of way of really really understanding this system of someone who knows how to advocate for herself beyond anything that almost any of her case workers or professors had ever seen and so it really felt like if this is a woman who can not succeed in the system so she won't need to be in it anymore. Who can't make the paperwork work and administrative burden work so that she can be free of this place that she was born into. It seemed to me that no one could and I wanted to see if she could and how she could. So is that part of the reason you chose hurt us to kind of show that here's someone who has tremendous internal resources if if no external resources are systemic ways to to help that. Even this person might not be able to succeed exactly and I don't want to detract from what it means to not have the sort of mind that gets you admitted into John J. For Criminal Justice. Which is her story. There are certainly plenty of people. Probably the majority of people who are not in the system with such an apparatus to get out internally. But I did want to see what would happen. In the best case. Scenario and that best case scenario is still a worse case scenario for anyone.
Victoria Chang: Obit (Part One)
"I rent her for the first time. After I read a review of her new book in The Los Angeles Review of books the book is called Albeit. It's published by the Wonderful Poetry Press Copper Canyon and I have been living in the wake of my parents death for some time and been living in an amalgam of grief and sorrow and memory loss and this book obe. It is remarkable book about the death of the poets parents written in the form of orbits of obituaries brief obits eventually as the book proceeds golfed is lost is language dies. The death of the parent is the death of much of what we value in life. If we allow ourselves to feel it now as I understand it this book had a burst of Creation. That led to your writing poem after poem after poem. What was that like? It was exhausting actually but necessary My mom died in in August of Twenty fifteen and it was so incredibly depressing in so many ways and the typical things that happen to people. You know you just feel so so bad worse than you've ever felt and could imagine that you could ever feel and I've always written as a way to sort of navigate the world but I didn't want to write traditional allergies for all sorts of reasons and so I just read a lot in those may be six to eight months when I wasn't writing anything in I read a lot of nonfiction. Actually so books about grief. Joan diddy in Meghan. O'rourke really wonderful writers. I I read them all and Sometime in maybe February or March I was sitting in a car and listening to NPR and Heard a piece on a documentary called obits in the documentary is all about obituary writers. And so there's just something about the way that that word just hung in my ears with that long and short t- that I went home in started just writing these obituaries. Pichu Aries for everything that we lose when someone dies and that's sort of what happened with this process. It was two weeks I hardly slept. Hardly ate ice just sort of kept on going and it was this really Cathartic Less Azeri process for my own grieving. Had that ever happened to you before a period of inspiration. That didn't let up. Yeah I after I had my children. I just didn't have any time left for any so I'm sure lots of people of your listeners can relate to that and Yes so I ended up writing. Starting maybe with my third book the boss which Mix Sweeney's did and I just you know right in pockets so any pocket that I can find if I'm feeling that I in that sort of how Britain since that book is in you know in cars in waiting for them to finish things and That kind of inspiration kind of hits me now in ways it. It never used it before. And I don't know if that's a function of just getting older or just not having time or a combination of all those things and feeling a lot more passion and deep nece and Emotions that I hadn't felt before when I was younger. This tawdry book bit by my Guest Victoria. Jiang was that rare thing for poetry books. It was useful. It was giving me instruction on because among the obituaries there are several that Vittoria rights for herself. The self who knew her parents who lived with her parents. You become aware really. That part of your grief is for the person you knew before who took it. As a matter of course that your parents might be elderly. They might be ill but they were always there and suddenly a language that you're used to speaking that you don't really necessarily regard is particularly consulting. That language is gone and you need. It's consolation anyone. Who's how'd anyone died? Hardly feels all of these things But I had never experienced that before and you know my father is actually still alive but he died twelve years ago in my mind because he lost all of his ability to communicate to me in ways that we used to talk In my mother you know used to have a very sort of our own language in many ways and it sounds so cliche but every single person I feel like we know where we need and we know well. We have our own special way of communicating with that person and special looks. You know little little ways of not saying things or just words that only use with each other and when they die. You don't really think about this when they're alive because you take them for granted but they take it all away with them.
Monocle Reads: Warriors, Witches, Women
"Let's let's talk about this new book of yours which is is fascinating and your goddess has come from really diverse cultures. Tell us about them. Because you've got one from the Shinto religion of Japan you've got got us from Bikini Fussier you've got ancient Greece. Of course tell us a little bit about some of those are tried costner as widely as possible because I think We generally know about the goddess of Ancient Greece and Roman as classic. Go says is but I tried to go with other big little bit deeper went to Mexico and Egypt and Australia and China and kind of eastern Europe I wanted to. I wanted to take in more and more stories. Make more colorful more diverse. I also tried to kind find goddesses who wouldn't necessarily straight wouldn't necessarily even female they'll kind of gender fluid ones in that to Your favorites to write about. I think my absolute favorite who was kind of a new one to me Mami Wata his an African go she's water originally Pantheon of water goddess and. I was really interesting fussy because look she looks fantastic. She's she's half woman. Half Fish is a mermaid character. She loves herself. She's in love with her own reflection. She's beautiful money she brings people money. She's she's kind of happy joyous Goethe's also already. I loved to story in how evolved so she started off as an Oscar award good as but then her story taken through Africa and codified by traders from Europe and then when the slave trade started and thousands and thousands of Africans were taken to America makes it the terrible terrible conditions in the Americas and they took her with them and they worship her made a really specific way of worshipping her through an intense dumps and go them through the tough days in America and in the Americas and gradually she became criticized and became Pau voodoo religion. And it's just that story of. Her story tells the story of people to And how all of this mutates through time it's particularly pertinent telling it from a feminist perspective at this post metoo time. How long is the book been in the works? I mean was me to something that spoke to as you were writing it absolutely. Yeah the informed it that beautiful kind of me to inform the also kind of rising in witchcraft. Catch on the news. That'd be these little groups of young women who were who went to Heck Donald trump not really kind of inspired me and just to this is. It's a new take old stories. These old archetypes for something very modern new and and me too as well. I think a lot of things. That's the story of Cassandra. Who is kind of illustrates the maitre movement beautifully? She was a great Prophet. Who was after? She refused to have sex with somebody and so she was cursed. Older prophecies were true but none of them believed and that really Kinda resonates within me too movement. I mean it's interesting. Isn't it because as women we can be revered as God says or absolutely reviled as witches? Yeah absolutely and I think sometimes some of these stores in one person would be revered as a God s and you know within sentras or even decades. They've been vilified literally demonized and turned into this figure of height because they symbolized an older religion or they symbolize something that historians or writers coming despised so so that their stories are kind of turned around and they yeah they they were even one person could be could represent both of those than yeah. Yeah I'm interested in Shinto. Tell me about your Japanese goddess. Love my Japanese go to. It's I know it was you may. So she was a some nothing good s she's a good of stumps of dawn. Mirth and revelry and she. She's just fun. Some party go almost she but she saved the country because the goddess. I'm Tera it's going into hiding in a cave. And the son of summer had disappeared from the country it needed to be brought back again so I may know. Zoom went outside the cave. She got MIRA and she did dumps and she took clothes off she wasn't wearing any underwear antidepressants on the drum. And and the some good a curious about this she came out the case and then they wrote about the start of the case and she was she was out again in the summer shining again. And I just. I love the kind of lightness that story and the fun. And she's not this serious munificence with with long has his cut flights about the. She's a real person that really resonates. I think absolutely who doesn't want to dance in the sun with no nicotine. Yes exactly that. Wouldn't she really party and an I love the fact that still today kind of drumming groups named for her she. She's inspired the drums in Shinto ceremonies. And I love that. I love her. She's alive three music today. A wonderful
Stop Worrying About Your Preschooler's Education (with Teacher Tom)
"Had a wonderful post. That thousands of people shared it's called. There are plenty of things to worry about right now. You're preschoolers education isn't one of them. And you shared this wonderful insight about your work actually and what you and other preschool teachers do. Which is you are researchers of children. Well that's what you do to right. That's the right to me. That's the piece I think people don't understand about what we do is that we're not there to instruct the children. Were not there to tell them what to do. What are we what were there is is to study them and understand them really to kind of figure out who this human being is. Were with it when you do that. You find out just how incredibly competent they are. I've already had parent say to be things like my kids. Five and they can fry eggs and of course they can. They can do all kinds of things if the sages just we haven't given them the opportunity and now they're getting the chance the other way I think about it is that it's about listening so listening. Not just with ears but with your whole soul your whole be because first of all you demonstrate the judge connected to them that you're there for them and you give them security but the other piece is. That's the only way you're really really really gonNA learn about them. Rather than just fall back on your preconceived notions absolutely and my mentor. Magda Gerber and her mentor. Pediatrician Emmy pickler. They talked a lot about sensitive observation. And it's a core aspect of the approach that I teach and actually in the classes that we do which are parent child. Classes start from three months old babies than we actually recommend doing these things before the baby's three months but that's as young as they be taken out into a class sensitive observation teaches us everything we need to know about our child and there needs to be affirming how to support them in their learning. All these wonderful things. So I loved that you were recommending for parents. If this hasn't been your approach now is the perfect time. Yeah to focus in on that and I love how you said. Let go of this thing where we have to say good job and try to shape what they're doing and kind of mold it the way we think it should go by encouraging them to do this over that or whatever this misperception that kids will do anything without is constantly either scolding number cajoling them or encouraging them. I mean you just hear that mantra all the time right you hear that good job thing going on over and over again it some people can't I mean honestly they're trying they can't stop it's become so ingrained for most of us. Say That all of this what we're talking about right now as far as observing and being researchers and this works with adult relationships as well because listening. I mean that's what Mr Rogers always talked about. There's almost no way to distinguish between listening in love. And when you're listening to people you learn so much about them. That's one of the things that I'm having a really hard time. You know I come from you. Know being fifty eight years old and and having grown up in the cultural men on used to being the one doing all the talking like I'm doing right now advance planning everything and I've really learned a great deal of power and just sitting back and listening to people Howard in the most positive way I remember when my children each of them got to the age where they weren't talking to their toys than having this conversations in front of me anymore. I couldn't observe them in that kind of play when a little more private or they didn't say it out loud so much and they didn't put it out there and and I remember just how much I missed that. What I love about working with young children is that they put everything out there. They show you what kind of therapy they're do with themselves. Why I became a teacher by daughter. Well you know I was the stay at home parent with my girl. And when she got to be five or six it started going to kindergarten. I I didn't know what to do with my time and so I decided to become a teacher so I can hang out with those kids. I love that I love your story. And you've of course been able to see how capable and competent children are and how they problem solve how they are able to develop their own motor skills without really any assistance at all and their creativity. I think tell the story a lot I say you know. What would you think any parent anybody out there? You Watch somebody hovering over their two month old baby. You know drilling Amman. Bowel sounds you would think they were crazy right. Kids learn how to talk. We would think they were crazy. If they had the five month old out there and they were trying to teach them how to walk in any doctor who recommended we call him a quack and I'm convinced the only reason that we believe. We need schools to teach children how to read is because we've been using schools that teach them how to read for a long time. There's incredible amount of evidence out there. That reading is a really natural human thing to do so the the older the children get the much more competent than we tend to think and we actually had really infantilized. Young children even infants. We've infantilized of yeah. We've underestimated them. That's the only way to know really what they're doing is to research to me that research of such a key part because everything children are doing on you and when they are choosing their own activity. I should say so. That was what kind of the fundamental definition of play for. Me Is a self selected activity and when children have chosen. There's always behind everything they do. There's a question they have a question. They're trying to get answered. We might not know what the question is. They might not even know what the question is but they are engaged in a scientific pursuit trying to get some kind of answer to something it might just be. Can I do
Always Be Marketing
"They stiffly always be marketing. Run the worst things about being a writer and artist in general is that we can't just be behind keyboard creating we also need actually be out putting up one day. We're alive and we've got something really called coming. And Hey while check this out you know issues. Rip Always Eating Marketing. There's a lottery witness. There's a lot of things to keep in mind but the bottom line is that we need to establish and maintains a presence in the real world or the Internet role. However you want to look at it I mean pretty much anymore but here's that you do have to maintain some sort of present. I don't care if you haven't been doing a tweet. Every human remains that helps if he initially your tweet or even facebook cost element. Hey rate you know. Run A podcast. Run something on Youtube. Whenever Union to have some the they basically says you're alive and this doesn't mean necessarily apply. Just your own efforts. I mean sure. You can advertise post every day so and so forth but sometimes you simply isn't enough with this also need. Be Out there on the occasional podcast or a newspaper under kill or free information knowing for yourself more place. You actually advertised better. And I'm GonNa podcast especially obviously I've a passionate interest in there but you're gonna find the going on podcast every so often isn't all that hard straight up alone. Podcasters will be looking for people interview all the time commander of UCLA. Hey I really liked show us we we talk about me being on it and you're to find the army jumped more. It's not an showing me killer necessarily could use a famous person. But you have somebody that has a perspective that well isn't there are interview. Shows that are basically geared towards center hewing writers. And that's one thing straight up if he can figure out a way to get out there and maintain it your golden and you're gonNA find your money your time marketing yourself if you already who you are so if you're serious about says you we
Kevin Noble Maillard Discusses Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story''
"You already work as a journalist and a law professor. What made you decide to try writing a picture book? Did you have extra time on your hands or I have a lot of different ideas that I like to share with people. I started off as academic Focusing a lot on native issues on identity on mixed racial and cultural identity and then after being a professor for a while I started to branch out into journalism I started writing for The New York Times which I still do now still writing on all the same issues but for a larger audience. 'cause the people that I wanNA reach usually are not reading academic journals and then also with children's books it's the same topic but just a different audience and I like to think it's just like just an audience of short people write children. Parents bad are paying attention to these different ideas that I have Now this book seems perfectly suited to the timer. All living in right now. It's about food. It's about family and he sat identity. What's the story you're telling in? Fry Bread this wonderful food. That comes from a very dark place. In Native Culture and native families lives so fiber would have started out with the DA people the Navajos in the southwest of the United States. Who had their land taken away from them and then they're displaced and they're forced to live in new places ride so all of their land was stolen. People were killed. Families were changed. There was so much darkness behind all of this and not a lot of people that are reading things like Freiberg break for the first time. No about this native families would know about this. Native children would be beginning to learn about what happened in previous generations and fiber. It is a great way to introduce this talk about. What does expropriation mean? What are these lands? And where are the lands where people used to live and why were they taken away so then when people were moved to new places they had to make do with what little they add so old foods that they would have known before like the kind of things that they would hunt The fruits the vegetables that they would eat are all different now so you could take like the seminole people who started off in Florida that had been ancestral lands. Four hundreds thousands of years and that's in Florida Florida's tropical so after the seminole wars removal occurred to Oklahoma so all these people were forced to walk from Florida. All the way to Oklahoma and Oklahoma is a completely different climates than Florida. So imagine you have to you know. Move to the moon. And what are you going to eat while you're on the Moon Right? They don't have whole foods on the moon didn't have supermarkets there. They don't have the same kind of soil air so then. The government gave people commodities. And so what are these commodities that people are given flower fat sugar other kinds of things that are you know that don't expire so fry? Bread was born from the story of survival of resilience of existence continued existence and now when we eat bread. I like to think of it as a communion of sorts. Right when you if you're a Christian and you have communion or maybe even if you are Jewish and you celebrate Passover you are doing these rituals and it reminds you of something that happened previous in time and it's also a way for people to get together. It's all about community so when people eat fry bread because you always have to cook it for like forty people. You can't just make a single serving of FRY bread. It's impossible so it's coming together of loved ones friends new friends. And you're all sharing in this bread together so it's like breaking bread as a unit of people coming together and it's always fun it smells really great and then in a way it reminds us whenever we eat this where we came from and also attest to the fact that we as native people are still here and we haven't gone anywhere.
Lydia Millet talks about “A Children’s Bible”
"A little bit about the story. You're telling in a children's Bible so this is Tale of a group of children mostly teenagers who are being forced by their parents to spend their summer vacation together in a rented robber. Baron kind of mansion in the country and to strongly resent and disliked their parents and in the midst of this storm comes kind of ethics storm and with it. A great flood and chaos descends on the House that they're living in and the children's sort of rebel against their parents. Okay so if you weren't clued in by the great flood you might be clued in by the name of the narrator. Ev Or eve think is about fifteen that you are doing something allegorical here with the Bible of the title. What function does the Bible have in the story? The stories that used to be often made into Bible stories for children the parts of the Bible that were translated in especially the forties fifties and sixties for children to read are selected parts of the Bible for example the book of revelation the revelation to John is typically left out of children's bibles. It's not left out of my children's Bible but it was deemed too harsh and dark and bloody I think for children to to read and so in in Children's Bible stories that that used to proliferate aren't aren't as common now often illustrated you would have you know the the Noah's Ark Story and various more child friendly pieces of the Old Testament and the new and so I've used to structure the plot kind of some of the events from those Bible stories and and then also there is a little boy in the book. The baby brother of of Av who narrates it. Who's given a children's Bible? They come from a secular family in New York and he's given a Bible by one of the mothers that they're sequestered with in this big summer house and so he starts to read it and he doesn't really understand it. His favourite books are frog toad. George as they should be as they should be so he sort of interprets it in his own little boy little secular boy way in so. There's a sort of also a parallel there so it's his Bible the Children's Bible. It's also it's also sort of the framework for for the plot of the novel. It's interesting when you talk about child friendly as defining what ends up in a children's Bible because the stories of course are still fairly terrifying. I remember getting up to Cain and Abel in in my own children's Bible and then being like all right. I think I'm done here with this year. Book of Tales. There's a lot of brutality. There's there's not sort of prophetic Apocalyptic Gore of of the book of revelation. But yeah of course. Even the you know. The Noah's Ark story is extraordinary and apocalyptic in its own way. Of course it's sort of has a happy ending if you want to read it that way where animals get saved and the good people get to live on after the flood. Talk a little bit about the children of title because as you said. They're they're not quite children. I mean they're they're mostly teenagers and they seem very sophisticated right. So I'm never too interested in developmental. Vera similitude with characters like they are sort of hybrid child's adults as teenagers really are but the kids in this book. They use a lot of swears you know they're harsher language in judge mental but at the same time they're prater naturally articulate to a certain degree and I think because in a sense I wanted to respect their voices I wanted to make them authoritative in sort of straight guys in the book against the chaotic collective of the parents who are who are objectified generally for I hope humorous effect but they're they're sort of unable to manage their families in their lives and the teenagers and a couple of young children who make up sort of band of roving humans at the center of the story they armature in you know in certain ways essentially. This is a book envisioned for adults to read. And I don't I don't feel like I need to sort of talk down to to either children and teenagers or to those who are reading the book by by Infanta. Leising these because you know. We all know how resilient teenagers can be. And how selectively brilliant they can be whilst also having these blind
Benjamin Moser: Sontag: Her Life and Work
"A biography of Susan's son tag her life and work which has been A controversial book as if a biography could be controversial but nevertheless this is the way it seems. Now do you think of the controversy that seems to have surrounded this book? Well I think a book about Susan Sontag. That wasn't controversial. Would NOT BE A book about Susan? Contact? I think she's somebody who elicited very heavy very visceral and sometimes violent opinions all through her life and I don't really see controversial this book. I see it more as just I hope something. Starting a conversation about an author that I think is more essential than ever man. Santiago was always associated with fashion. She was associated with With photography she was associated with being on the cover of Vanity Fair and the only possible American intellectual who have been on the cover of Vanity Fair. I think the real writers we actually care about are the ones who go on after their deaths. And who have these chances to be reevaluated? I can remember the first time I read. Susan Sonntags First Book. Which was against interpretation? Can you remember the first time you read against interpretation? Yes yeah I can't because I actually hadn't read it until I started working on this book really. I know I had read the photography stuff mainly and then I had read essays from against interpretation. I think I hadn't read the whole book. I'd read notes on camp. I'd read the title essay. Read some of the film essays but what was really exciting about going back to read. It now is that you see a world you see this time which is quite again. It feels contemporary. But it's almost sixty years old against interpretation but you get this whole Panorama of culture and of ideas. That feels very exciting to me. I have to tell you it was the first of her books that I read. I was astonished by it because of the enormity of range of what she's read I mean just when she makes a list of the books that she thinks of you think Oh i. you'd already read that in the early sixties. She was only in her early thirties to show thirty when that book came out before it became fashionable to event. Artaud Susan cared about our Dole. And in fact you know. She seems to know that the time she's living in as opposed to the time she died in was a time when people new things. I- slivered out some quotes from Susan. Let's hear Susan people want to be moved? Is a writer. Want to move people. I was very moved cried. Even a couple of passages that that I was riding this one line that made me laugh. Grimly where I WANNA say I say but I don't feel it's me I feel. It's the book says It it was a time when knowledge was fashionable. Philistinism was unfashionable. And I wrote that line with a great deal of Glee and grimness because the time we live in as a time in which knowledge is unfashionable and Philistine as it was very fashionable. I'm talking to Benjamin Moser. Sonntags biographer. That what you just heard was the very first time I sat face to face was. Susan was from our first conversation and you consider deeply the subject of knowledge and Philistinism and Susan's almost desire to attack the Philistines. Can you talk to me though? I think it's really funny. I think it's one of the great American questions. I think we're living in a time when Philistinism seems triumphant We don't have to name names. But I think we all know who I'm talking about and I think that there's a kind of feeling that we're always being engulfed by the gold escalator and that all the things that in her lifetime worse symbolic of middle-brow Ism whether it was life magazine in the book of the month club or elevator music. All these kind of things. Santi always stood for the opposite of all that crap. Now you you seem to think she becomes as she lives longer and longer harder and harder on the people around her. Tell me what you mean. Tell me what that use a lot of. It might have had to do with the fact that she was physically. Ill a lot of her life when she was forty two. She got stage four breast cancer and almost killed her and she was subjected to this. Very gruesome and horrifying treatment did end up saving her life. And that's in nineteen seventy five to seventy eight. So she's in her mid forties by then and it seemed to me that something did change in her where she got more impatient. She got more Intolerant of certain people. But I think that it's something that's interesting to try to understand what happens but then not dwell on it too much because what I'm really interested in Santiago and what I think makes her relevant is her writing and her ideas. I think that what we're talking about is the person who wrote in the introduction to against interpretation that we need an erotics of art not a Herman Excite Lard and she writes about her fondness for the supremes. Which at that time you take someone go take number of someone's whether it's Irving Howe or saul bellow listening to the supremes. They find it to be quite a surprise that a highly thought of intellectual is talking about the supremes by the end of her life. She's not talking about the supreme sending more and she's not talking about neurotic sue criticism. No well I think it's very important again to think about how old a lot of this is. This is again. It's almost. It's more than fifty years ago in that time in that me. That was really shocking. And it's absolutely hilarious to see the reactions that she got 'cause the thing about the supreme. It's not like she wrote about this frame. She says something about how she likes. The supreme one line nobody. It followed her her whole life. You Point Down Very well and intelligently and correctly in this book that cultural conservatism is has very little to do with political conservatism.
Lawrence Wright on Researching a (Fictional) Pandemic
"Last book was God Save Texas Nonfiction. I believe there was a play in between and now this just curious how you go from one project to the next and and forgive me if I skipped a project that may have been in between as well years ago. I made a resolution that I would only do things that were important or fun. Was you know the state of confusion about what I wanted to do with my life and I thought I as a journalist I like to be on the important stories of the day but I also realized that it didn't want to give up things that really joyful and so those are the polls stars of my career and I think is sort of understandable that I would now be working on a musical but you know if you take those as your pulse stars in. I think you can have a pretty interesting career. Are they ever important and fun? Yes this book was. I know it sounds you know is is is a rather bleak book but I really had a wonderful time researching it and going into the world of of public health in all these swashbuckling intellectuals I just admire them so much so I I really had a good time working on this book. All right I'm going to cut to the chase and let everyone know who doesn't know already that the end of October is a fictional story of a pandemic so before we get into more about it and want to go back again to the origin stories. You've said that the director Ridley Scott Asks you a question after Reading Cormac. Mccarthy's the road and that that was your inspiration. What was the question? And when did he ask this? When were you sitting around with Ridley Scott talking about this? This was a decade ago and he is questioned was what happened because Cormac didn't say anything. About what event or of nature had brought civilization to heal? So I started thinking about what could do that and of course I thought about nuclear war but I was a young reporter covering diseases out of the Center for Disease Control in one thousand nine hundred ninety six. There's a swine flu outbreak in the legionnaires disease and I had become enchanted with that world and the courage and ingenuity of the people that I found there and so I thought it'd be an interesting place to find a hero because I felt that those people that I met were really heroic and that disease had been underestimated as a problem for our society in modern times. So Ridley Scott ask you this question about a decade ago and you had been thinking about it because you had reported on disease over the years. When did you actually start working on? This novel really never made the movie. So like Mr Destiny of so many projects in Hollywood and about in two thousand seventeen. I've been thinking about this story. Still is in my mind so I decided I would go back and work on work on. It is a knock and this time I would dive into the research even more deeply and let the story emerged more naturally rather than cinematic -ly so that's that's how the novel got started. You are such a master your master of many forms but I love your nonfiction so much. There's so much research material in this. Did you think maybe there should be nonfiction? I DID CONSIDER WRITING ABOUT MORE DISEASES. But you know it already had an imaginary character and a world which it was said. I got attracted to the idea of tempting it as a novel. It seemed a challenge for me and I wanted to see if I could do it. Who WAS THAT IMAGINARY CHARACTER? Will the name of my heroes? Henry Parsons in the late. Nineteenth Century in England. There was another influence of outbreak and a young epidemiologist named Henry. Parsons was the first to prove that it was caused by contagion and not by my asthma's in the environment you know. He's totally forgotten figure. But I decided to tip my hat to him and name my character. Henry Parsons he is a man whose life has been touched rather savagely by disease and works out of the Center for Disease. Control where I had done by early reporting. And he's an epidemiologist who's confronted many diseases in the past but has always known that there was one awaiting him. There was going to be the big challenge so the CDC is in Atlanta Georgia and the United States. But this novel the breakout begins elsewhere. You have it really kind of take hold in Mecca. Why did you choose to do that? We'll after nine eleven when I was working on my book looming tower. The Saudis wouldn't let me in as a reporter so I got a job. I was mentoring young reporters at the Saudi Gazette in Jeddah which had bin Laden's hometown and one of my very first jobs was to supervise their coverage of the Hodge and I was was not allowed to go to Mecca myself but I was in communication every day with my reporters and I was very struck at the time about the hazard of gathering of people in one place from all over the world and having every year some disease arises sometimes more than one and there's an epidemic in Mecca and then people get on airplanes and they fly home. Well you know what if it was something really dangerous suppose it was like the nineteen eighteen flu. That was in my gosh even when I was living in Saudi Arabia enter the CA-. Golly flew right. This is her fictional virus. Tell us about that sickness. And how did you come to describe what this flu would be like? Why a flu even influence is unconquered. It's the great killer it every year. We lose maybe you know fifty thousand people to influence a very dangerous disease. Clever in a way in that has always mutating. And you never know what's going to show up the next year. I mean the the fluid self that comes every year is sort of a descendant of that nineteen eighteen original Spanish flu right. That's correct Pamela. We're right now. The seasonal flu is H. One IN ONE. Which is the strain that killed between fifty and one hundred million people in nineteen eighteen? And I said as a young reporter I had done stories out of the Center for Disease Control but one of them in nineteen seventy six was a sudden outbreak of h one in one which is what public health officials had been dreading their entire careers. And it was a young man of recruit in Army Base Fort Dix in New Jersey. David Lewis suddenly after a Long March. Came back to the barracks in died. They examined the tissues discovered. It was h one n one Tremendous panic took place in. I win all over talking to people in Fort Dix and enter the members of David Lewis is family and so on the big mystery was he was the only one who died and yet you know there was this in national vaccine program and it became kind of catastrophe for Gerald Ford because people got sick from the vaccine. It was just a total mess but hanging over this was peculiar FAC fifty. Two hundred million people died you know a century ago and then only one and then in two thousand nine to the H. One in one came back as a pandemic and it was more like seasonal flu in his still with us but the the question I had was what would happen if something like the nineteen eighteen flu brand new novel virus came into our culture. How would we handle? It will be better prepared than our ancestors were in one thousand nine hundred eighteen and so the the flu that I create Congolese is really modeled on that. Old Virus one that came out in nineteen eighteen. It was also a hemorrhagic fever. You know there was no resistance to it in the population. I actually created a template that is based on the progress of the flu in Nineteen Eighteen. So in the novel the fluid advances across the globe. It pretty much mirrors. What was going on in nineteen eighteen?
Kristen Roupenian Reads Shirley Jackson
"Kristen a so you knew when we first talked about doing the podcast that you wanted to read a story by Shirley Jackson. Why was that mean? Shirley Jackson is an has been for years. One of my absolutely favorite writers came into my mind as soon as you asked and I also knew that she published a lot in the New Yorker and that there was a wider range of stories there then maybe people would not I and so. I just wish sure that the chance to diamonds the archive and find a story by her. That would be wonderful and all the ways. She's always wonderful. But maybe a little bit unexpected right. Both of my children read the lottery in sixth grade. I'm wondering how you first encountered Shirley Jackson. I was thinking about that and in fact the somewhat sideways way that I read a story by her when I was very young. Probably eight or nine In it wasn't it wasn't fiction. It wasn't excerpt from life among the savages in a humor collection that I just had bookshelf Story About One of her children who comes home from school with the story about a very bad misbehaving child in the class who spoiler alert turns out to be imaginary and then I got older into high school. Later Collagen Reggie Jackson. It took a long time before I put together that that story that I had read many many times when I was a kid also was actually also by a this woman who's Adult horror. I really love right and we do. Kind of think of Shirley Jackson as as a writer of horror mystery stories This particular story afternoon in linen. Do you think it falls into that category. I do although not on the surface right anything. It's unsettling and maybe once we get into it. I can tell you the exact word that I think makes it a horror story but like everything that she writes. I think it's very funny and it's also very scary And I think this one in particular kind of the more you look at it. The scarier becomes an horror. Something that you're interested in in in your own work. Yeah absolutely And also that line between the scary and the funny the kind of I would say sort of discomfort that surrounds writing about dark or Tabu or unsettling subjects I love exploring not sort of my favorite And interestingly the story like the nonfiction when he brought up it it explores Darkness through the eyes of children. Exactly I think that's probably a big part of why it resonated with me because it hearkens back to that first day of read by her. Yeah we'll we'll talk some more after the story and now here's Kristen. Re Pension reading afternoon in linen by Shirley Jackson afternoon in linen long cool room comfortably furnished and happily-placed with hydrangea bushes outside the large windows on their pleasant shadows on the floor. Everyone in it was wearing linen. The little girl and the pink linen dress with a wide Blue Belt Mrs Cater Anna Brown linen suit and Galileo linen hat. Mrs Lennon. Who was the little girl's grandmother in a white linen dress and Mrs Caters Little Howard in a blue linen shirt and shorts like an alice through the looking glass? The little girl thought looking at her grandmother like gentlemen all dressed in white paper. I`Ma Gentlemen all dressed in pink paper. She thought although Mrs Lenin and Mrs Cater lived on the same block each other every day. This was a formal Paul and so they were drinking tea. Howard sitting at the piano at one end of the long room in front of the biggest window. He was playing humor. Ask In careful unhurried tempo. I played that last year. The little girl thought it's g Mrs Lennon Mrs Cater were still holding their teacups listening to Howard looking at him and now and then looking at each other and smiling. I still play that if I wanted to. The little girl thought when Howard had finished playing humor ask. He slid off the piano bench and came over and gravely sat down beside the little girl waiting for his mother to tell him whether to play again or not. He's bigger than I am. She thought but I'm older. I'm ten if they asked me to play the piano for them. Now I'll say no. I think you play very nicely. Howard the little girl's grandmother said there were a few moments of leaden silence. Then Mrs Cater said Howard. Mrs Lennon's spoke to you Howard murmured and looked at his hands on his knees. I think he's coming along very well. Mrs Cater said to Mrs Lennon. He doesn't like to practice but I think he's coming along. Well Harry loves to practice. The little girl's grandmother said she sits at the piano for hours making little tunes and singing. She probably has a real talent for music. Mrs Cater said I often wonder whether Howard is getting as much out of his music as he should? Harriet Mrs Lennon said to the little girl. Won't you play for Mrs Cater? Pre One of your own little tunes. I don't know any the little girl said. Of course you do hear her. Grandmother said I'd like very much to hear a tune. You made up yourself. Harriet Mrs Cater said. I don't know any the little girl said Mrs Lennon looked at Mrs Cater and shrugged. Mrs Cater nodded mouthing By and turn to look proudly at Howard. The little girl's grandmother set her lips firmly in a tight sweet smile. Harriet dear. She said even if we don't want to play our little tunes I think we ought to tell Mrs Cater that music is not our forte. I think we ought to show her a really fine achievements in another line. Harriet she continued. Turning to Mississauga has written some poems. I'm going to ask her to recite them to you because I feel even though I may be prejudiced. She laughed modestly even though I probably am prejudiced that they show real merit well. For Heaven's sake Mrs. Gator said. She looked at Harriet pleased. Why dear I didn't know you could do anything like that. I'd really love to hear them. Recite one of your poems from Mrs Cater. Harriet the little girl looked at her grandmother at the sweet smile and it misses cater leaning forward at Howard sitting with his mouth open and a great delight growing in his eyes. Don't know any. She said Harriet. Her Grandmother said even. If you don't remember any of your poems you have some written down. I'm sure Mrs Cater will mind if you read them to her the huge merriment that had been gradually taking hold of Howard suddenly overwhelmed him poems. He said doubling up with laughter on the couch. Harriet writes poems. He'll tell all the kids on the block. The little girl thought I do believe Howard's Jealous Mrs Cater said. Aw Howard said I would write a poem that you can make me. Write a poem if you tried.
Daniel Kehlmann: Tyll
"Every once in awhile I come upon a writer who excites me so much that even more than usual. My enthusiasm is entire. That is the case with the book this week. Till by the writer. Daniel Kellerman K. E. H. L. M. A. N. N. and I'm spelling till is Spelt T. Y. L. L. The book is named for the folkloric. Famous gesture kill even Spiegel. Who is the King of Pranksters? He is sometimes like a Shakespearean for but sometimes function is to provoke violence and disparate disagreement among his audiences. Is this the role that you hope to fill Daniel You mean that I want to fill as a writer. You mean that I was hoping for till two to fill in the book both I think. Yes both definitely. There's old trope. That literature is something that's enlightening and makes people better and makes people better human beings and teach them things and that's all true but it's also there is also the other side of literature that it can be something Dark and frightening and confusing and a good way and I think till stints for that and I think as a writer you should not lose touch to that initial original darkness of the literary art form. This book is set during the Thirty Years War in the seventeenth century till as a traveling entertainer but he is also a singer and dancer and in learning to walk the tightrope. He does what I think you do as a writer living just a step ahead of the inevitable for failure dogs till and he learns to walk the tightrope step by step ahead of the failure of falling in this book and in the one that precedes. By the way you should have left. You are giving the reader a chance to experience healthy and exciting bafflement intil. It's caused between the chapters. There are jumps in time that force us to understand that. We've fallen that. The political circumstances during the thirty years war have changed and here we are in a new chapter and the smell in the battlefield of ordure and all of the soldiers excrement greets us at the beginning of chapter and we are told also prior that around a castle. All of the excrement that's been tossed from its windows. Provide a motive NYC substance. Now Tell me how did this book become this exploration of living in excrement what you find out when you look into life in that period called early Bader not and in in in the seventeenth century you just find out Hygiene really was something that only came into being in the eighteenth century as one of the products of enlightenment and before that we had a world without hygiene and then of course. That's what you do as a writer. You do not only research you also have to liberty to imagine what does that actually mean and So I of course I couldn't help myself sending my imagination into also that part of life. What does it mean when you have an army of one hundred thousand people? What would that be in terms of hygiene and I? I can't say that was the most enjoyable part of writing but also I felt like it's an important part of truth. It's very hard to. Yes right about smell but I felt like I needed right smell into the book a lot.
How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World
"What are social norms? So this is a great question and as a cross cultural psychologists. I tried to understand this really puzzling. Phenomena of culture culture is one of these puzzles because it's omnipresent. It's all around us but it's invisible like we tend to ignore it all the time and it's like the story of two fish. Were there swimming along? And they pass another fish. Who says how's the water boys and they swim on and wants US the other? What the Hell is water and for fish? This invisible thing is waterboy for humans. It's culture and a big part of culture is social norms or these unwritten standards for behavior that sometimes become more formalized in laws and rules but nevertheless we follow social norms all the time endlessly without even realizing it and we have to really understand their impact on social behavior. And that's why I wrote the book. That's so cool. Well thank you for writing it and for shyness late on this. But certainly there's individual differences in them like dark triad people. You know people who score high on the dark triad Scales and Machiavelli's and narcissism psychopathy. They they don't like social norms. They are versed. Do it. Well you know I've right in the book about sort of individual differences in people who like or dislike social norms rulemakers rube acres. You can think about the analogy of the chaos quarter. Muppets exactly like think about sesame. Street like the chaos. Muppets are like you know. Cookie Monster and you know and animal who loved to just create chaos. And don't follow rules by Ernie and Bert actually and Kermit the frog who love rules and I actually have tight-loose mindset quiz on my website where you can find out. Where do you veer in terms of mindsets people who like tightness really notice rules? They have a lot of impulse control. And they like structure. People who beer lose tend to ignore rules more often. They're more impulsive. But they're more creative and more open minded book. I talk about the advantages and disadvantages of this construct across levels from nations to neurons from states to organization. So it's something that I think about as a fractional pattern which is repeated pattern of phenomenon across different levels and I tried illuminate why titans differences evolve in the first place at Cross levels and what what consequence love the link that to creativity. Some people have. I wonder how that relates to some people. Argue that Asian cultures are less creative? You know then. Do you think that some of that can be explained by sort of the laser looseness titan of the culture itself? Yes so in our first analysis tight. Lucy was across thirty something nations where we were able to classify nations as veering Erg loose. Even knowing that all nations have tightened elements and some countries like Japan and Singapore China. Beer tighter than places like Brazil and New Zealand and the Netherlands Brazil anything goes indicators of Titus was the accuracy of clocks and how coordinated crops are city streets tight cultures the quad city streets. Pretty much say the same thing but in loose cultures like Brazil or Greece entirely. Sure what time it is because the clocks around you say a lot of different things and that speaks to something. That really is about the tight lose. Tradeoff tight cultures have a lot of order and loose cultures a lot of openness and that means that both have strengths and liabilities. Depending on your vantage point so your question about creativity. We have found that across nations across states. 'cause organizations that are tight. They tend to have less novelty idea generation than loose cultures by. What's interesting and we're finding this recently. Is that each. Has its own strengths. In terms of innovation. So who's cultures can create a lot of ideas but tight cultures can implement that much better so in fact both again have strengths that can be brought to bear on a common issue like innovation. Oh great have you read Richard Florida's work at all and the credit? Yeah the creativity class and yeah and at the city level. Also I think he's really staying. That's right because this also differs state by state within America rate. Do you think like is there a south difference versus? I don't know I don't WanNa grossly stereotype things without you. Actually telling me what the data says so in one of the chapter in the book. I talk about how we can move beyond red vs blue right right. In fact we have a paper in the Journal. Precedes National Academy that rank orders the fifty states into the tight and loose and often? You're saying that the South tends to actually of your tight. They have more strict rules. They have more order to some extent they have less creativity. They're also more polite so the route estates are the loosest states which tend to be on the coasts but those states had to have more creativity like like you surmised and so what got me does that we can kind of look at different different states now through a new Lens. One of the more important things that I talk about in the book is why these differences evolve in the first place and what we find across nation states etc is that groups. That have a lot of threat. Whether it's from Mother Nature like chronic disasters are famine or other human types of threats pathogens or population density or invasions tend to veer tighter. And the logic's pretty simple when groups have a lot of threat. They need rules to coordinate to survive and norm provide that they help people to actually control themselves in difficult situations and the titus states in the US tend to have more threat. They have more pathogens have more disasters and so forth and so there's some kind of logic to why groups evolved to be tighter loose. I mean with that sad and we could talk about it later. Threats now are whether perceived or real tend to produce the same psychology and. That's something nowadays that we're dealing with more. And more in terms of how tight who's manifesting itself in politics and in other contexts where threat is less objective and more
Terry McMillan: I Love My Characters
"Terry. Mcmillan has been a friend of mine for years and talk is just like you'd expect she's fun and vibrant and a reverend and just keeps it real and says whatever she wants. She brought all that energy to this conversation about writing where she gets really deep about her process where she surrenders to her characters and really lets them come alive on the page until her who they are and what they WANNA do. This really inspired me as a writer. Maybe think about really wanting to focus on character on a deeper level Terry writes these deep indepth character profiles before she even starting let those inform the characters. She talks all about that stuff here. Look whether or not you love. Terry's work a lot of people do and she's got a lot that she can teach you about writing. Check out her new novel. It's all downhill from here. It's in stores everywhere already. And of course this is the Patriots era of Toray. Show so if you want to hear the whole episode with knee and Terry could a patron dot com slash. Toray show and support are growing team. There you get the full Wednesday episodes and Friday patriotic exclusives already. There's episodes there with people like Malcolm. Glad well Zizi Packer Morris. Day Little Yadi Neil degrasse Tyson and more for now. It's Terry McMillan on Toray. Show how are you? I'm trying to keep hope alive for lack of a better cliche. How is corona affecting you? Are you stuck in the house? What's going on no? I'm not stuck in the house I live in a sort of a condo on the sixth floor and in Pasadena. That'S A HIGH-RISE MOM. But fortunately one side of where I live. I can see the parking lot to my really high end garage grocery store so I know when all of the stuff is being delivered and I'm friends with the guy in there so I get to get it. I get paper towels and toilet paper and all that stuff put aside but I'm just I look out the window what I see trees. I'm fortunate that I feel like I can exterior at least walk. I'm glad I'm not in New York. I feel sorry for people in New York will sorry for your in California and there's a lot going on in California. Are you scared. I'm scared not just I'm not scared for me But I did just you know. Do my hands again. I live and breathe for anti bacterial products gloves. I do my door handle if somebody wants to deliver something. Don't touch my door handle It's you know people are being very very nice to each other That's what I really really appreciate and am grateful for but am I scared hell. Yeah I'm scared we're scared of. I'm scared I don't I don't trust strangers. I know the most insidious thing we can't trust our friends. My neighbor came up as she wants to know if she can have some coffee and I said Wash your hands but she was already starting to turn the water on. And I've got antibacterial everything everything all over this house and I've gotten to the point. I wash my hands by accident thinking. It was my antibacterial stuff they were lens cleaning white sperm eyeglasses. I'm I'm concerned about the bug right. Because in New York we're looking at potentially fifty to sixty to seventy percent of the city getting it some concerned about the bug getting into you know me or one of the members of my family. My Kids my wife who you all know but yeah I am more. I am perhaps even more concerned with the mass economic impact of the iceberg. That is happening. That is coming that is going to affect a gigantic portion of us and thus have an impact on almost all of us. Do you think about that part of it all. Of course you know. I'm I'm on a list all the places you can donate to during this time. I mean I just keep thank God for pay pal. I'm just I worry about people. No I worry about people who can't feed their kids who can't pay their rent. Who aren't going to get too stupid check from Donald and senators In time I just I mean I can't even imagine what it must be like and I I can't even I can't fathom it and you know I'm just I'm really scared and I'm also very pissed off. I'm very pissed off because this really shouldn't even have been necessary if Donald Trump and done what he was supposed to do and not using his instincts which obviously is Has none not to mention brains and thing that we have called Empathy if he had something remotely close to that where he could think about something other than himself and his properties in Wall Street. Maybe we wouldn't be disposition. No we wouldn't be in this position. Will I mean yes? I think there was a constant thought. Of what do I need to do to get reelected? And if I downplay the situation and make everybody think it's no big deal nothing to see here while the House is burning down It'll go away and they believe that Shit. They still do that stuff they do. His base believed it. Wait till they get sick. I'm one waiting so you got a new book coming out trying to skip the subject. No but I mean like I'm talking to me worked up I mean no but I was WanNa talk to you about your book. I mean okay. It's kind of exciting. It's it's it's kind of an event for a lot of people knew Terry McMillan book. It's a big deal Holland say all that I mean. Don't you see that in the world that there is? There is a large class of people who are Terry McMillan fans and they get very excited when new Terry McMillan novel comes out. Well I'm grateful. I'll put it that way. I'm quite grateful. I mean there's a lot of excitement more than I imagined. I just got something today from publishers. Weekly the top six books to read. I'm like what I didn't even think they liked me. When you're writing and you're alone. Writing conceiving the book do you hear the masses? Do you feel a pressure because you know. A large class of people. Critics editors readers are going to read the book. Just because your name is on the cover of like I don't know what it would be like to the be writing knowing all these people are going to be watching. Imagine that might be sort of paralyzing. Now I'm not thinking about my audience when I'm writing a book you can Chinese know first of all they are Emma House. They aren't in. My Life Depict characters that I'm writing about. That's who I care about. That's who I mean. I surrender to these people and I'm I'm more worried about what my character is feeling and thinking how he or she is going to act as a result of something that I basically created For them to have to deal with and I don't know the answers to it I put myself in their shoes and I just I'm hypnotized. I'd I do what they would do. Not what I would want them to do but I do. I do character profile. So I sorta no my characters personalities but I don't know everything that they will do at any given moment but I'm not let me just say this but first of all if I'm on page twenty six or three hundred twenty six I am not thinking. Gee What are the folks going to think when a read this?
Must Read: Stillness Is The Key by Ryan Holiday
"A lot of people here. The title stillness is sticky. And you think that your some sort of you know Buddhist monk that has no emotion that's not really Producing modern things in the world. Maybe a little bit old fashioned. No stillness is a sense of calm intercom that we often experience when we're in the zone. I remember when I was playing basketball competitively when I was younger. There's a sense of stillness. When things are just going right the game almost slows down for you. It's like everything becomes a little bit easier and I'm running up and down the court so it's not like I'm not moving. My body armor not being active. It's an inner stillness. It's a sense of common sense of confidence that you have. You can be an extreme action taker and still possessed stillness. That Ryan talks about now. If you're listening to this podcast you're like you know what Omar I'll have tried to meditate. I try to really habit. Stillness it's just not for me. This book is not about meditation. It goes way beyond that. It's more about how to make an informed decision. Whenever you're not a high stakes game situation. He gives countless examples. The one I remember off the top of my head is President Kennedy making really tough decisions during the Cuban missile crisis and how he exercise inner stillness to make sure he made the right decision and saved a lot of lives. He also gives examples from Steve Jobs and other modern day entrepreneurs so normally at the end of this kind of episode St Episode. Until you read this book because Xyz. I'M GONNA get in front of a renowned. Say The reason why you need to read. This book is because as an entrepreneur. You're constantly making decisions on a daily basis job as the leader of a company and you want to make sure that you're making more right decisions that wrong decisions and we often make wrong decisions when we're flustered when we don't have that peace of mind when we have that anxiety when we have that sense of imbalance we WANNA make sure that we're constant making clear headed decisions with a bigger small because they all have some sort of domino effect in our business. This is the main reason why this book is Worth Reading. Because of that fact alone you make decisions on the daily right always if your state of mind is not in the right place. It's GonNa Affect those decisions now. The second big reason why you need to read this book as an entrepreneur is business is stressful and you need to learn how to manage that. Stress can't get rid of the stress as long as you're in business you're going to have stress. But how do we manage it? How do I make sure it doesn't affect our personal health if we don't take care of our personal health and manage stress? No-one will okay. And if you're in bad shape your businesses in shape. You are the captain of the ship and the ship goes down when you do so understanding how to manage that stress especially in that moment when you're in that stressful moment is important in this book gives you incredible insights but thirdly this book is more about wisdom than actual you know having some sort of zen attitude. How do you become a wise person? Somebody who really has a ritual a routine of really gathering the facts and making the right decisions and make the right judgments about what's going to happen in the future and I feel. This book really covers all three now. I want to tell you this book is a how to guide is not like a common stillness and wisdom for dummies. You know it's not a ABCD now you're wise. No and if it was that way everybody would be wise. Be So simple. It asks you to ask them two questions of yourself to reflect absorb the information. This is not like a book you can zoom through you read. You think you ponder it takes some time to get through a chapter because forces you to think about how does supply in my own life. Am I doing these things? One of my caught in these traps that type of stuff. I found it very helpful to read this book before bed puts me in a great state of mind kind of good a bed with a little bit more wisdom a little bit more communists and I wake up the next morning. Ready to take on and implement the stuff. I just read last night. One of the big takeaways early on his book. Is this idea of having an empty mind and living in the moment The best parallel abyss example. Gibson's book is like when you were child when you were a kid and used to play outside. You didn't think about tomorrow. You didn't think about yesterday. You just thought about that moment. You just enjoyed the moment. You lived that moment whether you're playing tag or playing baseball with your friends or whatever it was when I was a kid I used to love to draw on the color and I remember clearly when I was doing those activities. I was just really interested in seeing that drawing. Come together or coloring in coloring book or that page in the coloring book now I was just enjoying it in the moment and just seeing it all happen. I didn't think about. What did I draw yesterday? I didn't think about what am I gonNA do tomorrow. And that whole worry mind was never there. And he's encouraging US and giving us some techniques to get back to that because that's when you're really living when you're enjoying the present moment a lot of us entrepreneurs we always are looking to the future always looking to what's going to happen next week next month. This quarter rig ahead or goals or targets all that. Kinda stuff right. We can't help but do that. We're we're goal driven and I'm not saying to stop it completely but I'm going to say that don't always do that. Give yourself time to enjoy the moment. The moment that you're in right now building your business for me. The moment right now is recording. This podcast episode. You know I have the privilege of having the ability to get up and do a podcast and have been doing it for six years of growth an audience and it's great to share what I've learned and and Hopefully help other people and most of us. We don't really take the time to think about that and really enjoy every day. Every moment that we're doing our thing in our business building our business making calls writing emails getting on webinars creating sales pages whatever. It is really appreciating that most of us are thinking. When is this going to be done? What's next what's the next thing to do? In my opinion it has to be a balance. You have to think of the things you have to do in the future otherwise. You're not going to get anything done. You HAVE A to do list. But when you're doing the to do's be president at to be president a moment realizing the moment. Hey I'm privileged to be able to start a business. This is not feasible for some people in the world. You'd be able to do this to have the finances to have the time to have the ability to have the opportunities that we don't realize is if you know the English language and I'm assuming you do because you're listening to this podcast you are privy and you are made available to so much knowledge on the Internet books that are published in English or Sony. Books that are not translated in other languages Especially the things that just get published brand new books on a subject and you get that edge. That's a blessing. It's incredible so by doing that by living in the moment you tend to have more gratitude and that's why generally children or more happy okay. Now of course that's not the case for all children but if you look back on your kid you were generally happier because you weren't worrying about the future or dwelling about the past you're like hey things are all right. You know. I'm eating my Peter Murphy Jelly Sandwich and watching some cartoons and You know and you just were happy in the moment and this is a really important point. I know I'm I'm harping on a lot. But because a lot of entrepreneurs were building rebuilding or grow or try and make more money. We're trying to build our revenue and all that kind of stuff is great but we enjoy. The journey happens is at ten twenty thirty years ago by and we say hey the best years of my life I spent doing. What did I enjoy that? I actually appreciate it. Did I recognize that? Those are the prime years of my life. Time flies by okay so let's make sure that we live in that moment.
The Great Alaska Quake of 1964
"This book. This is chance is a book about a seismic event like our current pandemic except that it was an actual seismic event. Tell us about the earthquake that hit Alaska on March twenty seventh nineteen sixty four. It was Good Friday evening and this was the largest quake that's ever been recorded in. North America is still the second largest one in the world I think even more disturbingly and almost with more experience it lasted for four and a half minutes so is incredibly destructive quake but it was also there. Was this kind of psychic disorientation. That came along with it. Especially in the city of Anchorage which was really Alaska's biggest city by far at that time of just seeing this community that people were still very much in the process of building and inventing just kind of being turned literally upside down in some spots. Was the epicenter in Anchorage proper? No the was. It was close anchorage. It was just east of Anchorage under the sea and so there were a lot of communities that were affected around Alaska. I chose to focus the book on Anchorage because you know like I said it was really a place that was just beginning to get on. Its feet that sort of represented the promise of what Alaska could be felt great pride and itself but also real insecurity. Quake came in a very precarious moment for the community. When it was really just starting to feel like it had something to offer the rest of America and to be struck like this in such a seemingly random and very cruel way I think really affected the self image of the community. I mean Alaska is still kind of a mystery to many of US lower continental Americans. What was it like at the time? The Greater Anchorage area was. It was the city of one hundred thousand people in nineteen sixty four which is almost half of the state's population and really the only community that outside probably would have deigned to even call a city and it had a fourteen storey hotel but that was by far the biggest building. It had kind of an a new upscale neighborhood of kind of modernist homes it had JC PENNEY BUILDING. Which was a really really big deal that some big national American retailer would come build an Alaska and so again it was just really kind of finding its way you know straining to make itself a real place when this earthquake happened and it was it was feeling very insecure about its future because it didn't quite know that after this boom of statehood that it had found any way to sustain itself. It was still this feeling that this place that they were building this arm of society. They decided to build way up. In the corner of the world might be an experiment that just might not work out and then the ground literally shakes underneath them getting at those very fragile new foundations. I mean you. You chose in your book to focus really on the impact that the quake had on the people of Alaska. Why did you decide to approach the story? In that way. The way that I came into the story was through the story of this radio broadcaster. Genie chance who is sort of a part time radio reporter and working mother in Anchorage and who by a quirk of luck but also her own persistence? Wind up being this voice on the air and the three days after the quake that was really able to help the city co here in in a very disorienting dislocating moment bypassing information over the air passing personal messages from people looking for their family members. And once you find a like that. Who's really this node for? People coming together after an event like this. You start to see how all these individual stories of the earthquake. All of these people who are tossed around separately were really kind of joined in a shared experience. You use the Thornton Wilder. Play our town as a kind of framework. Can you explain how you did not why you made that decision? A big threat of the story. Is this Community Theater Group in Anchorage she was doing? Our town was interrupted by the quake that weekend. Think I'd probably read the play in in high school and and you know not proud to admit it but just you know didn't really take it seriously. I just started. Had this impression of it as this hokey simplistic ed piece of Americana. And when I started reading the play again I realized that in some ways it's it's themes are the themes of the story of earthquake to this idea that you know we don't recognize the preciousness or the fragility of our daily lives until we're thrown outside of it till we get some other perspective on it and the other weird thing that happened was is that you know there's this character in the play the stage manager who is standing on stage with the characters and telling you basically how they all die. The future and I realized that because I was spending so much time. Trying to recount the story of these three days but I was doing it from more than half a century later. I had that same kind of omniscience about these characters and it was very painful to watch people in the course of these three days struggling with these issues of life and death knowing that you know in one case month later this fellow would die in a plane crash or this guy was going to have a stroke and you know he was expecting to retire but he but he'd be dead six weeks later more and more. The book became kind of mimicking the structure and the way that our town is narrated which I think took it to some kind of unconventional places. But it really did seem like the way that this story should be told and you the author then become the stage manager. Yeah in a way. It's not you know we don't walk around and daily life knowing the future right but in a weird way this project put me in that position and the stage manager was really the only other person that I'd seen have that same experience. So yeah you know for the most part the book is this sort of intimate retailing about people in the in the real time of those three days after the quake but I do come in in the middle of the book as as a character. Who's just in a in a basement with all of genie? Chances Forty some odd boxes of her life just digging through trying to piece together that that map of her life.
Upstream w/ Dan Heath
"In the book you get into these details a little bit more mechanically Specifically talking about you know uniting people and What are the changes? Actually that you need make to assist them. How do you determine some of those things Finding Leverage One thing I'd like to talk about specifically is how do you know when this is succeeding in the point of no when we're talking about the The children that are that are drowning. It might make sense that if you had a rate of children drowning when every five minutes in that drops to one every twenty four hours then that might make a good measurement but it's not always that easy right. No it's not and I think the reality is. We live in a world where in the fictitious parable world. I mean my guess is that enormous corporate America. What people would be a measured on is? Is the speed of Rescue You know it and in fact. There's there's an example in the book. I think illustrates this. Well it's about expedia the online travel site and back in two thousand twelve. This guy named Ryan O'Neal is studying some data about the call center at Expedia. So if you book a flight or hotel or something in something goes wrong with your reservation you call one eight hundred number. What he found made his jaw drop. He found that for every hundred customers. Who booked a transaction? Fifty eight of them ended up calling the call center for help. Which which would pretty much seem to nullify the whole point of having an online self service travel site and so he starts digging into figure out why are so many people calling us in the number one reason people are calling. I mean to the tune of twenty million calls in two thousand twelve was to get a copy of their itinerary was twenty million calls. Can I get a copy of my tannery? And so he and his boss. Just they're like this is madness. We've got to do something about this. And they make the case to the CEO to create a special team to work on this and they do and The technical solutions as you might expect are pretty simple. They changed the way they send. It's not like they forgot to send the itineraries. They were always sending them. It's just they would end up in spam or customers would delete them thinking they were ads or the sort of thing so the change their strategy and emailing they added a self service tools on the VR and online and so forth and they basically took twenty million calls and whittled them down to zero so from from a technical perspective. This is a trivial problem. But I think what's interesting about? This story is is why this problem got to this level like you would think that there would be an alarm bell. That would go off somewhere. Once you reached like your your three million call for hi Tenora like people would start to take this seriously but but the deal is that expedia like like virtually every other company has to organize itself or chooses to organize itself in in silos. And so you got a marketing team whose job it is to to attract customers to expedia versus. Kayak or someone else. And then you've got a product team whose job it is to make the site so smooth and intuitive that the customers are funneled toward a transaction. Then then you've got the tech team that makes the plumbing run and keeps up time high. And you've got the call center that's trying to minimize you. Know the the response. Time to fueled a customer issue and to keep them happy via net promoter score or something like that and from a silo perspective like all of those goals make sense but but the problem is when you ask a very basic question. Like whose job is it to keep customers from needing to call us. The answer was nobody. Yeah Yeah and it was even worse than that like none of those silos even stood to benefit if the number of calls went down and so. That's something I think that that's really interesting. About upstream problems is that it's often very easy to find owners for downstream problems like your house catches on fire. It's the fire departments problem at that point. Like It may not be an easy problem. But it's an easy problem to define an owner for verses if you flip things around and you say whose job is to keep customers from calling or whose job is to keep your house from catching on fire will. That's a very different
Rob Doyle: Threshold
"Start out rob among other things the threshold of what? I think you're right that it's a book of many duality many dichotomies and I would troas just a few of them. I would say it's the threshold between the known and the unknown the threshold between indeed the generic threshold between fiction and non fiction between narrative and essay but it's also the threshold of consciousness and it's very. It's an intrepid kind of book you know. This is a book with so much travel in it and so much kind of adventurism of various kinds. The it you know kind of chemical pharmacological or sexually than or literary intellectual so threshold suggests the beginning of some kind of Voyage some kind of journey you know this is a novel. That's very nakedly. Very explicitly autobiographical. You know it very much easy. Let's say a persona of myself as he drifts through the world You know falling prey to or indulging numerous obsessions infested nations and It involves a fair amount of them extremism of sensation. I noticed that your first novel Hero. The young men is about a narrator in his twenties and this is a narrator robbed oil in his thirties. He's it seemed to me at the threshold of the rest of his life. That he's not going to go back to the extravagances that defined his earlier years. He mourns them but like all of us who passed the age of thirty. We start having responsibilities that we don't like that we wish were not part of our lives and in addition he seems to be at the threshold of the end of the world. Yes and it's being my third book. Now I would say to. Most of my stuff has always had kind of apocalyptic vibe gone through it in the background. It it's a park wetter. It took me maybe three or four years to write it and as his well known. These have been very dramatic events in the external world to put it lightly. You need to call one of his books. I think it was a human to human A monument to a crisis and this book in a sense was also a monument to a personal crisis. It's funny because it's a very sunny humorous kind of book you know there's lots of them sly humor and laughter in it. But it's also one which is very much about this kind of reckoning with maybe the nihilism of youth catching up on a
Know The Law
"Today snow the law. You need you realize that you're building a bit. I mean straight out. Here she is. You're building a business. And because you can relate a lot of laws apply to that yet. It might be self proprietorships. You don't have to worry about all the limited liability corporation issue hand so on and so forth but you still keep in mind that you're going to be dealing with copyright usually going to be dealing with trademark. He was woken licensing sometimes. Sometimes you don't sometimes you need it all depends on your luxury and how exactly you're defining business. Yes you're still going to have to be dealing with libel slander issue straight up. You're going to be a lot of weirdness that you as a comic book are going to be dealing and on top of that. You're also GONNA be dealing with merchandisers. Well which means you increase Kerley different realms of areas. You probably weren't thinking of the else you're going to have to figure out tax law at least good enough to be exactly what you're doing and what deductibles apply and yeah as he's small businesses there is going to be a lot of deductibles are going to apply necessarily thinking bout for example depreciation value of your laptop or for that matter getting a new software or spending time doing weird stuff or how much you're spending on your website all of that all the sudden becomes a business deduction investment. A cool is going to help your taxes later on. The key here is unique to realize that as a small business owner. Which is what you are you. Do you have a loss? You have to learn how to follow. You're going to actually have to seek legal advice at some point in having a lawyer on retainer isn't necessarily incredibly bad idea especially you're planning on Scaling Up at some point definitely having accountant at least access to we're not just talking about going into H. R. N. saw your taxes. We're talking. You actually have access to natural talent. Somebody was an actual. Cpa issue straight up. There's a lot of weirdness to it and you need to realize that if you're not following a lot you can actually be guild on it in a lot of weird way and we're not just talking about basic season desist to if you're serious about your
Samantha Irby Talks About Wow, No Thank You
"I think of it night as selling a book but as supporting the booksellers and publishers and other authors who are out there and also helping readers because readers are are desperate right now. I want to read. Actually something that Carl Siegel our critic wrote in her review of your book. I hope you're not one of those people that avoids reading reviews of Your Book. I am but I know that this was positive because everyone told me it was positive. So I'm braced for it and it's cool okay. All right ready. She wrote instead of a rule. Then a recommendation. For this moment if the grips of the pandemic your ability to interpret an exponential graph has increased well exponentially while your patients for narrative has plummeted. Tries Samantha. Irby so she's heartily recommending. You as something to read right now in order to give listeners a taste of why that is. Would you read a little bit from your new collection? Wow No thank you. Yes so. This is from Piece called hung up and it is about my love of cellular phones. I was late to the technology game. I'm staring down the barrel of my fortieth year and I bought my computer six or seven years ago. I didn't get my first iphone until they'd been around for years partially because I thought who needs that. I prefer to live in the real world mostly. I was skeptical because the idea of walking around with a five hundred dollar computer in my pocket seemed ridiculous and dangerous to me and the idea that I can somehow scraped together the money to purchase said pocket computer while also maintaining a roof over my head. I E partying all the time and paying for basic cable was hilarious and unrealistic. I was the last dinosaur at the club sending multi tap texts on an analog Nokia e fifty one with no camera when I finally upgraded to a smartphone. Several years after unsolicited selfish had taken hold of the nation. My exhausted psalms cracked and bleeding from a decade of repeatedly jamming down the two key to make a letter see. I didn't get what all the fuss was about. Okay sure this glowing rectangle in my bag can tell me the weather anywhere in the world at this exact moment but who cares but wait. It could also figure out precisely what wrong street. I'm turning down and steer me back in the right direction and it can count. How many steps? I took today while saving for me all the passwords I can never remember. Please excuse me while I build a shrine to the new most important thing in my life. I've read on my phone that we as a nation as a species have a problem with cellphones. Insert facts about the harms of cell phone usage. That I'm never going to research because I do not enjoy feeling like an underachiever. But do we really. Is there actually a problem with rescuing our brains from the doldrums of sitting at a red light or from the Malays caused by having even even a single second to sit alone with one terrible thoughts? I don't have children. Therefore I don't have any opinions on whether electronic devices are a bad influence on the mental growth and development of a child. If you tell me they are than I believe you. I'm sure there's scientific evidence prove it and I'm positive. There are doctors and licensed professionals. Who would attest to the DILATOT? Serious effect modern technology has on the brains and interpersonal skills of adults. But hear me out. Maybe it's worth it. That was great. What about you Samantha? Have you been able to read for fun during this time? I'm not ever so distracted that I can't pick up a book which I feel is good so I have been reading a lot of fiction and like nothing about disease or being locked in a room. But you're a huge thriller Fan Right. Is there s recommendations like good escape reading either thrillers or Wa which I know you also love yes so I am like pretty obsessed with this writer Louisa. Luna there are two books in this series so far. I don't think the series has the name. It's like an Alice Vega novel I think is maybe like the subtitle but the first one is called two girls down and her second book in the series is called the Janes and I just reread both of those and they are so good she so good thrillers are my thing and she is a master and I just reread Mary. H K choice books emergency contact and permanent record and they're both Y. A. They make me feel totally uncool because she has mastered the way. Young people talk. And I'm like man I kind of don't know what they're saying but I do love this a lot. She is a super cool writer. So this is your third book of essays. The first one meaty than we are never meeting in real life now. Wow No thank you. I'm curious how like in your mind or they categorized as different periods of Your Life. Different themes different topics. How do they stand apart for you? Well meaning to me feels most like. Here's an overview of my past. Here's a here's how we got here kind of and then we're never meeting in real life is kind of a mix of. Here's how we got here. Here's where we're going because I'd met my partner at that point. But she wasn't my wife yet and I hadn't moved from Chicago to Michigan yet. And then while no thank you is like where I am right now. It's a Kalamazoo Essay collection. It's me in Kalamazoo in our raggedy farmhouse with the cats. Like this is where I'm
April 2020 Book News
"Our April Twenty Twenty Book Club pick again is Mimi. Lee gets a clue by Jennifer Jay Chow which I actually finished last night so the wall. Maybe there's the benefits isolation I is. I have more time to you. Know do stuff But Yeah I love how is it how is it far? I enjoyed it. It's It's an interesting take on detective fiction I won't say more until discussion at the end of the month. But it's It's a pretty cute story of it. Did I. Deliver on on a happier book? Flew to deliver a light read. This is like a book that is is not particularly challenging But has a lot of great moments and is just overall. I really fun read and definitely a good break from all the you know All the existential Despair that we're faced with every day in real life. So thank you for for doing that. Are you not entertaining them? And speaking of thanking re-re. I wanted to also thank you for compiling all the Book News. We actually have a ton of news episode which is which is A contrast to the last few we've kind of had to dig for for as American League News. Yeah that's the strange thing about publishing you know like book deal comes out but the deal was being made like maybe two years ago. All of the all of the books that were being written like two years ago. Now they're coming out No our first book deal. Marvin can you take the lead? Sure Penguin team. Canada acquired two books in a why Douala by debut author Sheron Jae Jao pitched as Pacific Rim meets the handmaid's tale the first book iron widow is setting a world with a Patriarchal Military System. Where male pilots of giant magical? Mecca are treated like celebrities and female pilots. Must serve as their concubines. The novel's heroine is eighteen year. Old Wounds again. Who embarks on a journey to avenge her sister's murder? Publication is slated for fall. Twenty twenty one for the first title and the Second Book is slated for fall. Twenty twenty two. This sounds amazing I don't know if you know but was not an is a legendary figure in Chinese history. She that she is a real life. Empress of China like she started her own dynasty in imperial China and the story is like she started as a concubine for the emperor of the previous dynasty and pretty much arranged for her to succeed him. I think I've seen a documentary on her. I never remember the names of of like of like important historical figures it's been entire for struggle dramas and movies based on her life in China. Well it sure on book sounds pretty bad ass considering that there's like like Mecca robot young and I am all for that as a as a gundem fan not just make up a magical So like ESCO Floyd type thing you know Escalona. It's been so long watch that show and I don't know if you follow on twitter. But she made a post recently about announcing this book deal and following up on twitter. Promise that if she ever got a publishing deal she would Do you her author picture in her. Because I guess he's a Avid cost player as well and so she did the photo shoot with her wearing a calcium which is pretty amazing. So check that out. That's that is the promised to make as as an author that is you know. That's quite the dedication of right so our next book deal is bought an island with you. A why a debut by Malani Moreno set in Contemporary Hawaii. This own voices novel features. Two boys struggling with identity and loss in their community. After other boys in their town go missing. Publication is planned for Spring. Twenty twenty one between the trend of awesome own voices. Books is this like. Is this a niche of of like like Hawaiian Crime novels? 'cause I feel like kind of common to have like a deaths or like a missing persons case in quote Unquote Paradise. Like I feel like that that has to be a