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Intellectual, accessible, and provocative literary conversations.


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Michelle Huneven: ?Search?

Los Angeles-based author Michelle Huneven joins Evan Kleiman to discuss her latest book, ?Search.? In this engaging and funny literary fiction novel, main character Dana Potowski writes a memoir that describes the steps of her Unitarian Universalist Church congregation?s year-long search for its new minister and the challenges they encounter.

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Natalia Molina: ?A Place at the Nayarit: How a Mexican Restaurant Nourished a Community?

Natalia Molina tells the story of Nayarit, her grandmother?s Mexican restaurant, a space that became a cherished hub for immigrants and the LGBTQ community in Echo Park. 

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Emily Skillings and John Yau: John Ashbery?s ?Parallel Movement of the Hands: Five Unfinished Longer Works? (Re-air)

Editor/poet Emily Skillings and poet/critic John Yau speak about an iconic poet of the 21st century, John Ashbery, and his posthumous book, ?Parallel Movement of the Hands: Five Unfinished Longer Works.?

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Rita Dove: ?Playlist for the Apocalypse? (Re-air)

Rita Dove?s new book of poetry, ?Playlist for the Apocalypse,? goes in many different historical and personal directions.

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Robert Jones, Jr.: ?The Prophets? (Re-air)

The debut novel of Robert Jones, Jr., ?The Prophets,? is lyrical prose about the dimensionality and interiority of people.

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Paul Tran?s wildly impressive debut poetry book, ?All the Flowers Kneeling?

Paul Tran says that poetry can live on a page. This show discusses the abundant life in their debut poetry book, ?All the Flowers Kneeling.? Tran joins guest host Shawn Sullivan to explore the book?s four sections as well as its notes.

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Tobias Wolff on Harry Crews? ?A Childhood: The Biography of a Place?

Writer Tobias Wolff speaks about a dark book that remains loving, Harry Crews 1978 classic ?A Childhood: The Biography of a Place.? Wolff wrote the foreword to its Penguin Classics re-release, which joins a number of Crews? works in the series. 

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Tao Lin?s ?Leave Society? shifts the author?s perspective to love and kindness

Acclaimed novelist, poet, and essayist Tao Lin (?Taipei,? ?Shoplifting from American Apparel?) speaks about growing as a writer, and growing his idea of himself in a book, including his latest, ?Leave Society,? about the blurred lines between life and fiction. 

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Zac Smith?s ?Everything is Totally Fine,? the book that reopened Tao Lin?s Muumuu House

Author Zac Smith speaks about the extreme juxtaposition of the very short, dense, and clipped stories in his new book, ?Everything is Totally Fine.? He says that by removing a lot of exposition, he was able to create intense emotions in a small space. His energetic and thoughtful stories of absurdity and minutiae are things that could not be said any other way, and usually don?t get said. Plus, special guest Tao Lin explains why ?Everything is Totally Fine? inspired him to reopen his Muumuu House imprint after it was closed for more than ten years.

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Brit Bennett: The Vanishing Half

Brit Bennett pushes questions of race and color to their extremes in her new novel, The Vanishing Half.
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Sarah Manguso?s ?Very Cold People? and life?s overwhelming small moments

A distinguished writer of books in various forms ? poetry, essay, memoir ? Sarah Manguso embarks on her first novel with ?Very Cold People,? a striking work about what it means to be human. She discusses how she came to be the person and writer she seems to be now, and why it was necessary to write fiction to make the kind of book about Massachusetts she wanted to make. This deeply moving novel portrays being overwhelmed by the small moments of life, and documents the experience of being a criticized child.

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Sheila Heti: ?Pure Colour?

At the beginning of Sheila Heti?s new book, ?Pure Colour,? God looks at a first-draft world he should get around to changing. The reader meets protagonist Mira, who bonds with a woman named Annie. Then Mira?s father dies, and his soul enters her; astonishingly, their combined selves become a leaf on a tree. Annie longs to bring Mira out of leaf form. Annie is what Mira calls a fixer. ?Pure Colour? is a singular book that needs to be accepted rather than interpreted. Sheila Heti speaks about how she couldn?t think or write in the same way she did before the death of her own father.


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Tom Bissell: ?Creative Types: and Other Stories?

Journalist and author Tom Bissell?s new short fiction collection, ?Creative Types: and Other Stories,? is about people trying to solve the problem of being themselves. Seven short stories describe the kinds of lives lived in Los Angeles with thoroughness, audacity, and complexity. 

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Tessa Hadley: ?Free Love?

Tessa Hadley?s new book, ?Free Love? (Harper), is set in 1967 London at the beginning of the counterculture movement that swept the world. The protagonist, Phyllis, steps out of one sense of herself into another. She is a conservative mother of two until she crosses paths with the younger Nicky. 

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Antoine Wilson: ?Mouth to Mouth?

Canadian-American author Antoine Wilson discusses the work he put into writing entertaining pages for his new short book, ?Mouth to Mouth? (Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster), and the propulsive story is not finished until the very last sentence. 

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John Keene: ?Punks: New & Selected Poems? (The Song Cave)

?Punks: New & Selected Poems? is expansive poetry from John Keene, one of our time?s most notable writers. Seven sections offer different perspectives on what poetry can be: queer and Black, and much more than that. He joins Bookworm to discuss the difference between his prose and poetry.

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In Memory of Joan Didion: 'Blue Nights'

After the deaths of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, and her daughter, Quintana, Joan Didion wrote "Blue Nights," the most personal and poetic book of her career. From 2011, she talks about aging, death, and the act of complete surrender that this devastating book required.

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Honoree Fanonne Jeffers: ?The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois? (Part 2)

Honoree Fanonne Jeffers discusses writing about the full range of a community, its sexuality and gender, in her first fiction novel, ?The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois.?

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Honoree Fanonne Jeffers: ?The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois? (Part 1)

Master poet Honoree Fanonne Jeffers discusses her fiction debut, ?The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois.?

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Stephen Sondheim: Finishing the Hat

Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-1981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes (Knopf)

A collection of lyrics from the first half of Stephen Sondheim's career, along with insights into the art of songwriting for the theater. In this 2010 conversation, he explains why a song that may be "perfect" can be wrong for its dramatic moment in a show. This famous perfectionist reveals how much can go wrong.
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Dave Eggers: ?The Every? (Part 2)

Dave Eggers further discusses his new book, ?The Every.?

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Dave Eggers: ?The Every? (Part 1)

?The Every? is the new book by Dave Eggers, a follow-up to his book ?The Circle.?

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Louise Erdrich: ?The Sentence?

Every bookstore is haunted, and Louise Erdrich?s new book, ?The Sentence,? is about one.

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Sandra Cisneros: ?Martita, I Remember You/Martita, te recuerdo?

?Martita, I Remember You/Martita, te recuerdo? is a bilingual new book by Sandra Cisneros.

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Diane Williams: ?How High? ? That High?

Idiosyncratic short story writer Diane Williams discusses her new book, ?How High? ? That High.?

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