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Video: Questions for Jonathan Franzen

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Novelist Jonathan Franzen shares a few of his favorite science fiction books from his high-school days.

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The Twenty-Seventh City, by Jonathan Franzen

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Jonathan Franzen has been called one of the most important living fiction writers in America. His 2001 novel The Corrections won the National Book Award and Freedom was named as one the best books of 2010 by Time, the New York Times Book Review, and Publishers Weekly, among publications. We’re going back to his very first novel, The Twenty-Seventh City, written in 1988 and set in his home town, St. Louis. In the novel, St. Louis is a quietly dying city until it hires a charismatic young woman from Bombay, India, as its new police chief. The story predicts a number of shifts that were to come decades later in American life: suburban malaise, surveillance culture, domestic terrorism, and paranoia.

Leave your questions for Jonathan Franzen below!

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Questions for Peter Carey

Monday, October 21, 2013

What are your favorite books/who are your favorite authors?

     The library is too big for favorites. Recently I have enjoyed Donna Tartt's new novel, John Ralston Saul's Voltaire's Bastards, David Graeber's Debt, Chris Adrian's The Children's Hospital.

 

What authors or works do you think are underappreciated or overlooked?

     The Great Australian writer Helen Garney. Go out and buy The Spare Room now.

 

Do you have any writing rituals or habits? Where, when, and how do you write?

     Clean teeth. Put on shoes. Make coffee. Write with my nose.

 

Do you have favorite or least favorite words? What are they and why?

     MBA words of any sort—incentivise for instance. Ultilitarian, ugly words like "de-glove."

 

Are there certain kinds of characters or stories you’re drawn to in your own work?

     Obsessive people, angry people, anyone with dangerous levels of energy.

 

What's the last great thing you read/saw/listened to?

     Rachel Kusher's The Flame Throwers.

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October's Book: Oscar and Lucinda, by Peter Carey

Monday, October 21, 2013

Oscar and Lucinda is Peter Carey's Booker Prize-winning 1988 novel, that tells the story of an unusual romance in 19th-century Australia. Oscar is a nervous Anglican minister, and Lucinda is an heiress who impulsively buys a glass factory, and the two share a guilty passion for gambling. The story culminates in a crazy expedition to transport a glass church across the Outback.

Buy, borrow, or download the book today and start reading now so you can join the conversation with Peter Carey! You can leave your thoughts and questions about the book as a comment, below.

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September's Book: Everything You Know, by Zoë Heller

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Leonard Lopate Show Book Club’s September selection is Zoë Heller’s first novel, Everything You Know. It’s a cynical dark comedy about a hack writer and accused murderer who becomes engrossed in his estranged daughter’s diaries after she commits suicide. They lead him to confront his failings as a father and in life. The New York Times called it “an acerbic, sneakily touching novel about the rehabilitation of a monster.”

Do you have a question for the author—leave it as a comment!

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Looking for Something to Read?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The season for beach reading might be drawing to a close, but if you're looking for a good book to read, here are some recommendations from producers and contributors of the Lopate Show.

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Video: Questions for Junot Diaz

Monday, August 19, 2013

Junot Diaz stopped by August 16 to talk about The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao for the Lopate Show Book Club. Watch him talk about why Watership Down made such a big impression on him, writing advice, and reading while walking.

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Book Club: Junot Diaz on The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Pulitzer Prize-winning novel tells the story of Oscar, a sweet but extremely overweight "ghetto nerd" from New Jersey who dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, above all, finding love.

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Video: Questions for Ayad Akhtar

Friday, July 26, 2013

What are your favorite books/who are your favorite authors?

      More than favorite authors, I have favorite works. And I’m not sure I would distinguish between films and books in that category: The Death of Ivan Ilych. Seize the Day. Annie Hall. GoodFellas. The Human Stain. The Invisible Man. Bringing Up Baby. Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson. A Bend in the River.

What are your favorite plays and why?

     I think all of my favorite plays share the same qualities of dramatic impact, social commentary, and an almost classical purity of form: "Hedda Gabler." "Look Back in Anger." "Glen Garry Glen Ross." "All My Sons."

What authors or works do you think are underappreciated or overlooked?

      Harold Brodkey. One of the finest writers of our American language. And likely the greatest long short fiction writer we’ve had.

Do you have any writing rituals or habits? Where, when, and how do you write?

      9 to 2 every day. In my office. I tend to work in intense spurts followed by short periods of relaxation. When I’m working on a play, having an upcoming reading is helpful, and I love to write in the midst of workshops, while I have the chance to hear actors work with the new material. As a novelist, the deadlines are more internal, and the work obviously much more solitary.

Do you have favorite or least favorite words? What are they and why?

      I’ve always adored the French word, oiseau. Which means bird. I love that it uses every vowel. And I love that you add an “x” for the plural:  oiseaux.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

     Persistence. It can take a very long time to get anywhere, artistically, professionally. Be open to criticism, and continue to do it. Persist.

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Join the Leonard Lopate Book Club - July's Book: American Dervish

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ayad Akhtar’s novel American Dervish is our pick for the July Leonard Lopate Show Book Club! It’s a coming-of-age novel about Muslims in America that follows a young man named Hayat who has a romantic and spiritual awakening as he’s growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ayad Akhtar won the Pulitzer Prize this year for his play “Disgraced,” and American Dervish is his debut novel. We hope you've been reading the book along with us. Leave your comments and questions!

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Video: Questions for Lydia Davis

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Writer and translator Lydia Davis was awarded the Man Booker International Prize in May. Here she talks about her favorite books, the challenges of translating Madame Bovary, and why she likes the often overlooked city of Dijon, France. Listen to her discussing Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary for the Leonard Lopate Show Book Club.

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June's Book: Bring Up the Bodies, by Hilary Mantel

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hilary Mantel joins us for the next Leonard Lopate Show Book Club to talk about Bring Up the Bodies, which won the 2012 Man Booker Prize.

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May's Book: F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

Monday, May 06, 2013

We're broadcasting a discussion recorded in the Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in March. The Leonard Lopate Show Book Club joined the BBC World Book Club for a conversation about The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, with writer Jay McInerney and literature professor Anne Margaret Daniel. They answer questions from around the world about what makes The Great Gatsby one of the great classics of 20th-century American literature.

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April's Book: Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Translated by Lydia Davis

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Madame Bovary, one of the most celebrated novels ever written, defined the novel as an art form when it was published in 1875. Lydia Davis’s landmark translation of Flaubert’s work breathes new life into it. When it was first published, Madame Bovary was embraced by bourgeois women who felt it illuminated the frustrations of their lives. It tells the story of Emma Rouault, whose dreams of a passionate life crumble when she marries a dull, provincial doctor Charles Bovary. She struggles to escape the tedium of her days as a wife and mother. She has a series of disappointing affairs and spends money getting into debt, with tragic consequences for her husband and daughter.

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February’s Book: The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Our habits—good and bad—shape our lives, and understanding how habits work is key to losing weight, being more productive, exercising regularly, and achieving success.

More Leonard Lopate Show book club

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December-January's Book: The Gravedigger's Daughter, by Joyce Carol Oates

Monday, January 07, 2013

Joyce Carol Oates has been called one of the most quintessentially American writers. She’s also one of the most prolific, with more than 70 books to her name. The Leonard Lopate Show has selected her 2007 novel "The Gravedigger’s Daughter" for the next Book Club read.

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Video: Questions for Tom Wolfe

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The author of The Bonfire of the Vanities and the new novel Back to Blood sings a little, praises Michael Lewis, and cringes at the word issues.

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November's Book: The Bonfire of the Vanities, by Tom Wolfe

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tom Wolfe’s bestselling novel The Bonfire of the Vanities is a portrait of New York in the late 1980s—a city seething with racial tension in Harlem and the Bronx while traders were raking in huge profits on Wall Street. Wolfe’s sharp observations skewer New York society’s greed and arrogance, and highlight the simmering resentment between the haves and have nots. The New York Times Book Review called it “A big, bitter, funny, craftily plotted book that grabs you by the lapels and won’t let go.” Read it now and get your lapels grabbed!  

 

Get the conversation started now by leaving your comments and questions about the book!

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Video: Questions for David Mitchell

Friday, October 19, 2012

The author of Cloud Atlas (and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, Black Swan Green, among others) talked about his favorite words and a few of his favorite authors.

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