Back in March, we spoke with Vermont novelist David Blistein, about his latest book, David’s Inferno. The book is part memoir, part brain research, part rough guide to Dante’s Divine Comedy…and it’s also, surprisingly funny. David will read from the book and talk with the audience this evening, June 6, at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord. He spoke with us about the razor thin-line between creativity and mania, and how ricocheting between those extremes was how he thrived for many years career as an ad agency executive. Here is the earlier conversation withDavid Blistein, the novelist, essayist, and blogger.
At the time of his capture in 2011, James “Whitey” Bulger was wanted for 19 murders, extortion and loan sharking committed during his reign over Boston’s Irish mob between the 1970s and 1995. During 16 years on the lam, Whitey became the subject of myth; characterized alternately as a “good bad guy”, and, in Martin Scorsese’s 2006 film, The Departed, a venal sociopath.
Shelley Murphy and Kevin Cullen, a pair of Boston Globe journalists have drawn on 25 years of reporting to create a more complete and nuanced portrait of the restless boy from the Boston projects who became the most wanted fugitive of his generation. Tonight, Murphy and Cullen will be at the Red River Theatre for a screening of The Departed and at a pre-screening reception and talk.
Hemingway, Darwin, Joyce, Tesla and Picasso were all remarkably different in their temperament and creative output, but they had one thing in common: a successful routine. From Franklin’s solitary nude reading hour to Picasso’s silent lunch gatherings, the outstanding rituals and habits that created genius are as fascinating as they are unexpected. Combing through over 160 accounts of creative minds, Mason Currey’s new book “Daily Rituals: How Artists Work” uncovers the daily almanac of history’s most eccentric, troubled and genius figures. Mason’s writing has appeared in Slate, Print, and Metropolis, where he was an editor for six years.
It's been ten years since Augusten Burroughs' memoir Dry was published. In that decade, the author of Running With Scissors has gotten married, stayed sober, and written a self-help book, This is How: Surviving What You Think You Can't, now out in paperback.
Throughout her career the poet Sharon Olds has been asked if her poems were true or autobiographical. There are poems about mothering and domesticity and eroticism filled with personal details and described with remarkable directness and insight. Sharon Olds has rejected the auto-biographical characterization and resisted talking about her life while her children were young, and her parents were alive. She even kept the disillusion of her 32 year marriage from the public; waiting more than a decade to publish Stag's Leap, a collection of poems that is being praised as the best book of her career, and earlier this month won the Pullitzer Prize for poetry.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s most celebrated novel, in which Ms. Bennet discovers her true love in a man she first sees as an adversary. Pride and Prejudice has spurred countless adaptations, films, and even a zombie parody…but now Austen is getting new attention not for her romantic prose, but for her strategic thinking. Joining us is Jennifer Schuessler with the New York Times, who recently covered the publication of the book, Jane Austen, Game Theorist, written by UCLA political scientist Michael Chwe.
Tom Gauld's cartoon panels have been described as bleak, minimalist, sweet and funny. The London-based cartoonist and illustrator draws a weekly cartoon for The Guardian newspaper’s book review section, and has cracked the US market with comic strips in The New York Times Magazine. A new collection of those strips called, You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack, will be released in the US on April 30th.
Many of us have good intentions when it comes to reducing household waste – but too often those canvas totes get left in the closet, food scraps avoid the compost pile, and product packaging fills the trash-bag. One head of household has found the motivation and creativity needed to take home-waste reduction to a whole other level. Bea Johnson is the blogger behind Zero-Waste Home, and now author of a book by the same name. She and her family produce only one quart of garbage per year.
Shirley Falls, Maine is one of those New England towns with a strong memory of the way things used to be…before the mills closed, before the mall went up across the river…before so many residents moved away. It’s the fictional town left behind by a pair of brothers in The Burgess Boys, a new novel by Elizabeth Strout, who won the Pulitzer prize for fiction for Olive Kitteridge. The story centers on Jim and Bob Burgess, brothers whose lives are imprinted by a childhood tragedy in very different ways. Both pull up their stakes and secret miseries and move to New York City….and both are pulled back to their hometown by another family crisis. Elizabeth talks to Virginia about the book and it's connection to Maine.
Alex Kudera published Fight for Your Long Day, in 2010, but it’s still gaining traction because of its unflinching look at the swelling academic underclass that is adjunct faculty, recently getting notice from the chronicle of higher education. We spoke with him about the book and the perception of adjuncts in higher education today.
Last year we spoke to Jenny Lawson about her memoir Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir. Since then the book has enjoyed time on the NY Times best seller list and even garnered the number one spot in the first week it was out. Now that it’s out in paperback --once again on the NY Times best seller list, in the number 7 slot--and Jenny is touring the country to promote it, we thought it would be a great time to revisit Virginia’s conversation with her from April of 2012.
All of the pleasure, none of the guilt. Our Saturday show gets you caught up, in a convenient snack pack size. This week….A video game attempts to replicate the experience of autism; spying in space with the help of spectroscopy; a look back to when Peyton Place was in its heyday, almost 60 years ago; the delicious and sweet tradition of capturing maple syrup; making music by “playing” a tower; and a musician gives a private concert in Studio D, then talks about teenage inspiration and her love of pie.
An unnamed lake in Kettleborough, New Hampshire has an almost mythological pull on the characters in a new novel by Abi Maxwell. Bodies disappear into the ice, the shamed and broken hearted sometimes float…sometimes are swallowed in its depths. A young woman named Alice, abandoned as an infant, is found floating in a tethered canoe. Its mysteries are deep and startling, the inventions of a first-time novelist who is also the assistant librarian at the Gilford public library. Abi will read from her new book, Lake People tomorrow night at Gibson’s Books in Concord.