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Talking book(s)

As a postscript to the last post, I thought I might link a couple of the author interview archives I like to sift through while at my day job.

Wired for Books is a collection of interviews that radio host Don Swaim did ca. the 1980′s and early 1990′s.   His interviewees include such literary heavyweights as William Gass, Susan Sontag, Margaret Atwood, William Styron, T. C. Boyle, and Kurt Vonnegut, to barely scratch the surface.  Swaim isn’t a great interviewer – in one particularly wince-inducing instance, he spends nearly a fifth of his interview with Ann Beattie droning on about how she should trade in her typewriter for a Mac – but the interviewees usually manage to navigate his clumsiness, and on the whole the archive is, in my opinion, an invaluable resource.

Next in line is Bookworm, a wonderful program hosted by Michael Silverblatt on Santa Monica’s KCRW.  Silverblatt has a certain amount of renown within the writing world – he’s a reader’s reader, a very thoughtful soul, the sort of man that tends to impress guests with his depth of insight.  To me, he’s simply the ideal interviewer, routinely extracting far more from his guests and their texts than any listener would have a right to expect from a promotional interview.  My only problem with Bookworm – and it’s not even a problem with the show itself – is that so much of its online archive is sewn up in RealAudio, so little of it in mp3.

I also hoped to post a bunch of examples of writers reading their own writing, but the prep time outstripped my free time.  Maybe next post.

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