KCRW's Bookworm

KCRW's Bookworm

United States

A must for the serious reader Bookworm showcases writers of fiction and poetry - the established new or emerging - all interviewed with insight and precision by the shows host and guiding spirit Michael Silverblatt.

Episodes

George Saunders: Lincoln in the Bardo (Part I)  

Lincoln in the Bardo dramatizes a grieving President Lincoln as he visits the grave of his beloved son Willie, who died at age eleven. In the novel, the buried dead believe they're not dead -- "they're sick and refer to their coffins as "sick boxes."

Emil Ferris: My Favorite Thing Is Monsters  

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Emil Ferris' debut graphic novel, is the diary of a ten-year-old girl obsessed with monsters who also believes she herself is a werewolf. 

Gary Groth on Fantagraphics and the art of the graphic novel  

Gary Groth, editor of Fantagraphics, publisher of some of the most notable graphic novels today, discusses the rise of comics, what makes a good graphic novel, and what his selection process is like.

Álvaro Enrigue: Sudden Death  

Álvaro Enrigue's Sudden Death is the wild tale of a tennis match between the poet Francisco de Quevedo and the artist Caravaggio that transcends time and involves other historically transformative, and often combative, figures. Enrigue, who calls his impulse to write "visceral and erratic," was angered into starting this book by the 2008 financial crisis.

Rachel Cusk: Transit  

Rachel Cusk's novel Transit is the second in a planned trilogy. Cusk believes that humans have an innate grasp of form, a gift that makes us story-tellers. But the stories we tell ourselves can become traps.

Steve Erickson: Shadowbahn  

In Erickson's intense, absorbing novel, the Twin Towers suddenly re-appear in the Dakota Badlands. This road novel is a trip through a phantom country where the American dream was never realized.

Michael Tolkin: NK3  

The North Koreans have tested a weapon called NK3, a weaponized nano-bacterium designed to confuse South Koreans. The test has spread around the world. As a result, the world has lost its memory. 

Ron Padgett: Collected Poems  

Padgett's poems stand in for the poems written by a bus driver in the Jim Jarmusch movie Paterson. Padgett experiences writing poetry as a natural activity, rather like brushing his teeth.

Ottessa Moshfegh: Homesick for Another World (Part II)  

In the second half of our conversation with Ottessa Moshfegh, the author discusses her discomfort in this world but admits that there is a touch of self-parody in the title of this collection of stories. 

Ottessa Moshfegh: Homesick for Another World  

In the first of two conversations with Ottessa Moshfegh, the author reveals that she doesn't feel comfortable in this world. Her characters long for another world, as does Moshfegh.

Lynne Tillman: The Complete Madame Realism and Other Stories  

Lynne Tillman's The Complete Madame Realism and Other Stories, is a unique blend of short fiction, essays, and philosophical musings that defy categorization. 

Patrick Ness: A Monster Calls  

Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls – about a boy facing tremendous conflict with a bully at school, well-meaning inattentive teachers, and a dying mother – was actually already a story begun by another writer, who died before finishing it.

Rabih Alameddine: The Angel of History  

Rabih Alameddine's The Angel of History takes place as much in the protagonist's head as it does in a psych ward where he checks himself in for a bit of rest while he battles the voices in his head.

Mitch Sisskind: Do Not Be a Gentleman When You say Goodnight  

Mitch Sisskind's Do Not Be a Gentleman When You Say Goodnight is a distillation of nearly fifty years of brilliant comic writing.  

Peter Orner: Am I Alone Here?  

When novelist Peter Orner's father died, he found himself unable to write. At the same time, his marriage fell apart. He consoled himself by reading and started to write responses to the literature that gave him comfort. 

TC Boyle: The Terranauts  

TC Boyle's The Terranauts centers around eight earth explorers who lock themselves up in E2, a biodome created to mimic earth and test the viability of a self-sustained environment. But what happens between the eight terranauts and their mission control has a bigger impact on sustainability than science had counted on.

Tessa Hadley: The Past  

Tessa Hadley's book, The Past, has at its center a summer vacation home, and the four middle-aged siblings who come together to decide whether to sell it or not. 

Ann Patchett: Commonwealth  

Ann Patchett's latest novel, Commonwealth, follows fifty-two years in the life of a large family. The idea of the book came to her because as a bookstore owner, she saw that what was missing from the shelves was the story of a big, modern family.

Jonathan Safran Foer: Here I Am  

The hero of Here I Am is a pun-loving television writer who is pummeled by the loss of everything he values.  This novel expands a family crisis into a global crisis which threatens the state of Israel.

Nicholson Baker: Substitute  

Nicholson Baker's Substitute: Going to School with a Thousand Kids was born of a desire to write a book articulating his theories about education – theories based on having had kids in school. Realizing his premise was weak, as he'd never been a teacher, he embarked on the adventure of a lifetime by becoming a substitute teacher. 

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