522 episodes

Interviews with Writers about their New Books

New Books in Literature New Books Network

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    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Interviews with Writers about their New Books

    David Adjmi, "Lot Six" (Harper, 2020)

    David Adjmi, "Lot Six" (Harper, 2020)

    Lot Six (Harper 2020) is a moving and hilarious memoir from playwright David Adjmi. The book traces Adjmi’s search for his identity, during which he becomes an observant yeshiva student, a club kid, a fashionista, a film nerd, a teenage Nietzschean, and finally a playwright. It is a memoir about feeling like the world is against you, yet simultaneously yearning to fit in. Adjmi’s memoir also traces his evolving relationship with his family and his community, from whom he desires to escape even as he finds himself drawn continually back to them.
    Andy Boyd is a playwright based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a graduate of the playwriting MFA program at Columbia University, Harvard University, and the Arizona School for the Arts. His plays have been produced, developed, or presented at IRT, Pipeline Theatre Company, The Gingold Group, Dixon Place, Roundabout Theatre, Epic Theatre Company, Out Loud Theatre, Naked Theatre Company, Contemporary Theatre of Rhode Island, and The Trunk Space. He is currently working on a series of 50 plays about the 50 U.S. states. His website is AndyJBoyd.com, and he can be reached at andyjamesboyd@gmail.com.
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    • 1 hr
    Tom Rastrelli, "Confessions of a Gay Priest: A Memoir of Sex, Love, Abuse, and Scandal in the Catholic Seminary" (U Iowa Press, 2020)

    Tom Rastrelli, "Confessions of a Gay Priest: A Memoir of Sex, Love, Abuse, and Scandal in the Catholic Seminary" (U Iowa Press, 2020)

    Tom Rastrelli is a survivor of clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse who then became a priest in the early days of the Catholic Church’s ongoing scandals. Confessions of a Gay Priest: A Memoir of Sex, Love, Abuse, and Scandal in the Catholic Seminary (University of Iowa Press, 2020) divulges the clandes­tine inner workings of the seminary, providing an intimate and unapologetic look into the psychosexual and spiritual dynamics of celibacy and lays bare the “formation” system that perpetuates the cycle of abuse and cover-up that continues today.
    Under the guidance of a charismatic college campus minister, Rastrelli sought to reconcile his homosexuality and childhood sexual abuse. When he felt called to the priesthood, Rastrelli be­gan the process of “priestly discernment.” Priests welcomed him into a confusing clerical culture where public displays of piety, celibacy, and homophobia masked a closeted underworld in which elder priests preyed upon young recruits.
    From there he ventured deeper into the seminary system seeking healing, hoping to help others, and striving not to live a double life. Trained to treat sexuality like an addiction, he and his brother seminarians lived in a world of cliques, competition, self-loathing, alcohol, hidden crushes, and closeted sex. Ultimately, the “for­mation” intended to make Rastrelli a compliant priest helped to liberate him.
    Tom Rastrelli is director of digital communications at Willamette University. He lives in Salem, Oregon.
    John Marszalek III is author of Coming Out of the Magnolia Closet: Same-Sex Couples in Mississippi (2020, University Press of Mississippi). He is clinical faculty of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program at Southern New Hampshire University. Website: Johnmarszalek3.com. Twitter: @marsjf3
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    Harvey Araton, "Our Last Season: A Writer, a Fan, a Friendship" (Penguin, 2020)

    Harvey Araton, "Our Last Season: A Writer, a Fan, a Friendship" (Penguin, 2020)

    Harvey Araton’s new book Our Last Season: A Writer, a Fan, a Friendship (Penguin, 2020), reads like a mix between Tuesdays with Morrie and a sequel to his book When the Garden was Eden (which chronicled the New York Knicks’ early-70s title teams). It’s a book about friendship, aging and of course, basketball.
    Harvey Araton is one of New York's--and the nation's--best-known sports journalists, having covered thousands of Knicks games over the course of a long and distinguished career. But the person at the heart of Our Last Season, Michelle Musler, is largely anonymous--except, that is, to the players, coaches, and writers who have passed through Madison Square Garden, where she held season tickets behind the Knicks bench for 45 years. In that time, as she juggled a successful career as a corporate executive and single parenthood of five children, she missed only a handful of home games. The Garden was her second home--and the place where an extraordinary friendship between fan and sportswriter was forged.
    That relationship soon grew into something much bigger than basketball, with Michelle serving as a cherished mentor and friend to Harvey as he weathered life's inevitable storms: illness, aging, and professional challenges and transitions. During the 2017-18 NBA season, as Michelle faces serious illness that prevents her from attending more than a few Knicks games, Harvey finally has the chance to give back to Michelle everything she has given him: reminders of all she's accomplished, the blessings she's enjoyed, and the devoted friend she has been to him.
    Paul Knepper was born and raised in New York and currently resides in Austin. His first book, The Knicks of the Nineties: Ewing, Oakley, Starks and the Brawlers Who Almost Won It All, is available on Amazon and other sites. You can reach Paul at paulknepper@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @paulieknep.
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    • 50 min
    Alix E. Harrow, "The Once and Future Witches" (Redhook, 2020)

    Alix E. Harrow, "The Once and Future Witches" (Redhook, 2020)

    Alix E. Harrow’s The Once and Future Witches (Redhook, 2020) begins with the familiar phrase “Once upon a time” but the novel is anything but a traditional fairytale. Yes, there are witches. But there are also suffragists. Yes, there are spells. But there are also women who fall in love with each other.
    While Harrow loves fairytales “because they give us this shared language,” she hates them for the limits they impose. Through her main characters, the Eastwood sisters, she turns the familiar archetypes of Maiden, Mother, and Crone on their heads. “The Maiden-Mother-Crone triptych is something that I have always hated. It's pretty gross to define a woman's existence by her reproductive state at that moment,” Harrow says. “I wanted to be embodying and subverting it at the same time.”
    As the story unfolds, women’s demands to rediscover and use magic parallel their demands for political power and social freedom. In the guise of a fairytale, The Once and Future Witches explores the long afterlife of family trauma, the evils of demagoguery, and the blind spots of the American suffragists when it came to overcoming divisions of race and class.
    Harrow’s debut novel, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, was a finalist for the 2020 Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy awards. The Once and Future Witches is her second novel.
    Rob Wolf is the host of New Books in Science Fiction and the author of The Alternate Universe and The Escape.
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    • 36 min
    Farzana Doctor, "Seven" (Dundurn Press, 2020)

    Farzana Doctor, "Seven" (Dundurn Press, 2020)

    Sharifa and her husband Murtuza are spending his sabbatical year in Mumbai with their seven-year-old daughter, Zeenat. While Murtuza teaches, Shari is planning to homeschool Zee, reconnect with her family, and research her great-great grandfather with hopes of creating a family history. But Sharifa’s cousins, with whom she was once close, are at odds. Fatema is involved in a campaign to ban the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) while Zainab sees it as a time-honored tradition that must be respected. Sharifa thinks it’s a cruel and harmful injustice, but isn’t at all sure it is still practiced in the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim sect they all belong to – and if it is, she wonders who is insisting on such an outdated practice?
    Today I talked to writer, activist, and psychotherapist Farzana Doctor, author of Seven (Dundurn Press, 2020). She was born in Zambia to Indian parents, lived there for five years and then in 1971, immigrated with her family to Canada. As a teenager, Doctor because interested in community organizing around issues of gender violence, gender rights, and environmental protection. She currently volunteers with WeSpeakOut, a global group that is working to ban female genital cutting in her Dawoodi Bohra community. Her first novel was Stealing Nasreen 2007, and her second, Six Metres of Pavement 2012, won a Lambda Literary Award and was short-listed for the 2012 Toronto Book Award. Her third novel, All Inclusive, was a Kobo 2015 and National Post Best Book of the Year. Named one of CBC Books’ “100 Writers in Canada You Need To Know Now,” she has also recently published a poetry collection. In her spare time, Farzana Doctor poses Maggie, her dog, with books she loves under the hashtag #MaggieWithBooks. And in previous times, she loved going to restaurants and travelling.
    G.P. Gottlieb is the author of the Whipped and Sipped Mystery Series and a prolific baker of healthful breads and pastries. Please contact her through her website (GPGottlieb.com) if you wish to recommend an author (of a beautifully-written new novel) to interview, to listen to her previous podcast interviews, to read her mystery book reviews, or to check out some of her awesome recipes.
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    • 32 min
    Finishing Your Book When Life Is A Disaster

    Finishing Your Book When Life Is A Disaster

    Welcome to The Academic Life. You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island, and neither are we. So we reached across our mentor network to bring you podcasts on everything from how to finish that project, to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Wish we’d bring in an expert about something? Email us at cgessler@gmail.com or dr.danamalone@gmail.com. Find us on Twitter : The Academic Life @AcademicLifeNBN.
    In this episode you’ll hear: disaster stories, finishing a book project, poetry, and what resilience is and isn’t.
    Our guest is: Jennifer Strube, a writer, educator, and licensed therapist who loves chronicling life's stories. After three master's degrees and a decade of teaching, she relocated west from New York City in search of open sky. An avid believer in the wild places, her work highlights the spaces that wake one up—the byroads of travel, the subtlety of everyday grace, and that impetuous ache called love. She is the author of the poetry book Wild Everything, discussed in this episode.
    Your host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian of women and gender. She specializes in decoding diaries written by rural women in the 19th century. She credits her ability to read nearly-illegible things to a childhood spent trying read her dad’s handwriting. She reinterprets traditional narratives through her blogs, podcasts, essays, photography, and poetry. She met Jen at a community supper c.2014 and they’ve been friends ever since. Their county has faced three disasters—the Thomas Fire, a deadly debris flow, and the Covid-19 outbreak—in the last three years. Somehow, Jen and Christina are both still here. Christina supports her resilience by taking photos in nature, which you can find here.
    Listeners to this episode might be interested in:

    Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger


    Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott


    The Blessing of a B-Minus by Dr. Wendy Mogel


    Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver


    Wild Everything by Jennifer Strube


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    • 47 min

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