Category Archives: Books

Author Wally Lamb

Halli Casser Jayne talks to bestselling author Wally Lamb, author of such novels as She’s Come Undone and I know This Much Is True, as well as his newest, We Are Water.

Lamb calls the new book “an examination of an American family at this moment in time,” taking inspirations from the changing world around him: when he started work on the book,  “President Obama had just moved into the White House, and gay marriage had just been legalized in Connecticut, where I live.”

Listen to the full episode here,

Bestselling fantasy author Terry Brooks

NorthWest Prime talks to Terry Brooks, bestselling fantasy author.

Brooks talks about the face of fantasy fiction today, saying that “the divisions between what boys read and what boys read was very well-defined” when he was younger, but that now “women are now perhaps predominant in the field of fantasy… this in turn encourages girls to read.” He says that it’s his “mission in life” to challenge the traditional gender roles of his readership, and that fantasy is “a wonderful field, and there are so many interesting stories being written.”

Listen to the full episode here.

Author Richard Kadrey

America’s Most Haunted talks to supernatural fiction author Richard Kadrey, whose works include Dead Set and the Sandman Slim series.

The book “came out of that sort of central image of Zoe, the young protagonist, in the record shop discovering the secret room… with LPs that aren’t labeled like regular ones… they have just strange symbols on them.” Zoe eventually finds a record with “veins and arteries and what appears to be a beating heart.” The image “came out of nowhere” to Kadrey before the story itself, and he “really wanted to find out who that girl is.”

Listen to the full episode here.

The inside story of Twitter

Smart Companies Radio talks to Nick Bilton, New York Times columnist and technology writer as well as author of Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship and Betrayal. The book details the founding of Twitter, focusing on the conflicts between its founders.

Bilton talks about his idea for the book, saying that he was intrigued by “a much deeper story of four guys who came together to build a technology… in the process they ended up tearing their friendship apart.” He says that in writing it he took a “murder mystery” approach, looking to tell a story that was “not the story everyone has been told.”

Listen to the full episode here.

Michael Jackson biographer Joseph Vogel

King Jordan talks to Joseph Vogel, Michael Jackson historian and biographer. Vogel is the author of 2011’s acclaimed Jackson biography Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson. Vogel also appeared in Spike Lee’s Jackson documentary Bad 25.

Vogel talks about his work in the documentary, saying that he first came in contact with Lee when Lee invited him to guest-lecture his graduate-level film studies class. Lee then later asked Vogel for help with researching for the film and to be interviewed on camera for it.  Vogel was ten years old when Jackson’s album Dangerous came out, which he says made him a fan.

Listen to the full episode here.

The Troubled Production History of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark

Milling About talks to Glen Berger, author of the new book Song of Spider-Man. The book follows the troubled production of the Julie Taymor-directed and U2-orchestrated Broadway show Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, which was plagued from the beginning by technical difficulties. Berger was the co-writer of the play, and talks about how he got the job.

Berger says that he impressed the show’s producers by writing what he calls a “treatus” on Julie Taymor’s career, landing him an interview. He also talks about one of the scenes that he wrote, a confrontation between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin that he says was inspired by anger toward George W. Bush.

Listen to the full episode here.

Anne Lamott, author of Stitches


Anne Lamott, novelist and author of the seminal writer’s guide Bird By Bird, talks with Tavis Smiley about her new book Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair. The book is about loss and tragedy and the importance of carrying on, if not necessarily overcoming it.

Lamott talks about the genesis of the book, looking for a way to explain tragedy to her children after the Newtown shooting. She also discusses the importance of thinking positively of oneself, as well as how to find meaning and hope in difficult places. She sees the book as “a conversation” that encourages readers to find healing.

Listen to the full episode here.

M. Night Shyamalan on the education gap


M. Night Shyamalan is the director of The Sixth SenseSigns, and the recent After Earth, among other films. He also recently wrote I Got Schooled, a book offering his thoughts on America’s educational system. He talks with Tavis Smiley about his ideas for solving the education gap.

Shyamalan uses the term “educational apartheid,” saying that poor education is an “affliction for low-income African-American and Hispanic kids.” He believes that apathetic teachers are a significant part of the problem, saying that “three good teachers can’t overcome one terrible teacher.” He also recommends that schools share data and extra information on student performance with teachers.

Listen to the full episode here.