Jonathan Lethem joins Kate, Medaya, and Eric to discuss the publication of his first collection of essays, reviews, and commentaries "More Alive and Less Lonely;" which serves as a fine description of the free-ranging dialogue that ensues. The great subjects of life are tackled: how to contend with the impact of having children on your daily regimen of reading; New York v California; Fiction v Criticism; etc, et al. Also, Dana Spiotta returns to recommend Chanelle Benz's The Man Who Shot Out My Eye is Dead.
Author Deborah Nelson joins Kate, Medaya, and Eric to discuss her new book Tough Enough about a five iconic 20th century women writers, plus one photographer, and their stylistic affinity - a rejection of sentimentality that challenged gender stereotypes. A fascinating discussion about six fascinating figures in the American pantheon: Susan Sontag, Mary McCarthy, Diane Arbus, Joan Didion, and (the two expats) Hannah Arendt and Simone Weil. Also, Amelia Gray returns to recommend Kristen Iskandrian's novel Motherest.
Los Angeles Author Amelia Gray joins Kate, Medya, and Eric to discuss her new novel Isadora. The book focuses on two years in the life of Isadora Duncan, the legendary American Modern Dance pioneer. It begins when Isadora is the toast of Paris (her adopted hometown) in 1913, the year before the outbreak of World War One. Then, tragedy strikes, her two young children drown in the Seine. Isadora flees Paris, traveling across a Europe that is itself imploding. Author Amelia Gray talks about her approach to historical fiction, what attracted her to Isadora Duncan, and how we try to cope with soul shattering grief. Also, author Jess Arndt returns to recommend a novella, The Last Wolf, by Hungarian author Lazlo Krasznahorkai.
Los Angeles author Jess Arndt joins Kate and Medaya to talk about her first collection of stories Large Animals: Stories. Arndt is a stunningly original author; writing fluidly surrealistic tales where subjectivity is multiplicity; yet the proceedings are anchored by the bodies we navigate and inhabit. Also, Kate recommends Proxies: Essays Near Knowing, a book of philosophical poetry by Cal Arts Professor Brian Blanchfield.
Mary Gaitskill, one of the most distinctive and celebrated contemporary American writers, spoke with Tom Lutz and Laurie Winer at a special LARB event in Silver Lake last month. Mary opened the evening with a reading from her new collection of essays, Somebody with a Little Hammer. The conversation flowed through countless subjects from there: the psychology of Mary's most celebrated characters; drugs, alcohol, and writing; Linda Lovelace; the question of cultural appropriation; Mary's scathing take on Donald Trump, and more. Also, Janet Sarbanes author of The Protester Has Been Released returns to recommend two books: The Censors by Luisa Valenzuela; and a book of poetry The Wasp Queen by Claudia Cortese.