Friday, October 24, 2008

In Praise of Interviews...

Remember in Catcher in the Rye when Holden said a really good book made you wish that as soon as you had finished it that you could call up the author and chat with them? Well, that's sort of what authors interviews are like except generally you aren't the one asking the questions or having that charge of personal connection. Still, there's always the chance of feeling that muted charge of indirect connection upon recognizing yourself in an author as they talk about their loves and hates and general feelings concerning the world and how best to live in it.

Several options exist on the internet for your Q&A needs, you have your print kind, your podcast kind, your video kind, and your overheard at an event kind, which can be sometimes read, listened to, and/or watched.

Falling in the overheard category, over at Elegant Variation, they've posted the highlights of Marilynne Robinson's appearance at the Los Angeles Public Library's ALOUD program. The author of Housekeeping (that would be the book, not the magazine), Gilead, and Home, talks about her love of sermons and her lesser love for plots and James Joyce.

Meanwhile Hannah Tinti talks with Maud Newton about her new book, The Good Thief, and her appreciation for plot and things happening in stories, and Kelly Link, resident of Northampton, MA, talks with the New England journal, Meeting Houses, about her book, Pretty Monsters, and having faith that one day you'll discover your superpower. The topic of burial grounds come up in both.

If you like your interviews of a more auditory nature, check out the Bat Segundo show and their archives of podcast interviews with authors from all over the literary map, from Andre Dubus III to Thomas Disch. Their most recent interview just happens to be with Marilynne Robinson. Other cool places to go for podcastic interviews: Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing, for, well, you can probably guess, or listen to the amazing archive of Don Swaim interviews at Wired for Books, which aren't really podcasts, but they are of the listenable sort.

For video interviews, there's the Google, and their Authors@Google series featuring presidential candidates, neurologists, and rocket scientists alongside Salman Rushdies, Elizabeth Gilberts, and Leslie Changs. If Google's not your style, there's bookwrapcentral, and their own rather staggering list of present and past interviews to watch and awe at.

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