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

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. 

Nadja Spiegelman: I'm Supposed to Protect You from All This  

Since memory is not only malleable but unreliable, which version of the truth will prevail?

Jacqueline Woodson: Another Brooklyn  

Another Brooklyn, award-winning Young Adult novelist Jacqueline Woodson's first novel for adults in twenty years, tells the story of childhood friends as they grow into women. 

Marisa Silver: Little Nothing  

An ugly young dwarf girl transforms first into a beauty, then into a tall woman, then into a wolf. 

Affinity Konar: Mischling  

In Auschwitz, the infamous Dr. Mengele conducted horrifying physical and psychological experiments on concentration camp prisoners. Affinity Konar's Mischling (meaning mixed blood) is the story of twin sisters who find themselves imprisoned in Dr. Mengele's "zoo."

Colson Whitehead: The Underground Railroad  

Colson Whitehead's new great American novel depicts a real underground railroad that transports a fugitive slave to stops that defy time and history, highlighting the daily struggles of black people, past and present.

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