James Howard Kunstler Reading from an Unpublished Novel

March 20, 2013 by  
Filed under AuthorsVoices

225px-Jim_w_mustacheGenetically and biologically, we humans must still be heavily pre-literate, so the oral transmission of ideas, art and culture is powerful for us; we listen and concentrate on the words differently than we are used to doing when we consume written texts.  I have always enjoyed hearing writers read their work.  The author’s voice carries intonation and meaning that adds to the impact of the work and makes me feel closer to the writing.

So it’s a great pleasure to feature one of my favorite writers, James Howard Kunstler, in the AuthorsVoices series here at Writerscast.  Kunstler is the author of a long list of really interesting books.  He started out as a novelist, publishing novels on a variety of topics and settings through the nineties, when he switched to publishing nonfiction books about social and geographical issues, focusing on the suburbanization of America for the most part.  The in 2005, Grove Atlantic published his The Long Emergency, a brilliant and troubling book about climate change and the ”converging catastrophes of the 21st Century.”

In February, 2011, I interviewed Jim about the post-apocalyptic World Made by Hand series of novels that are his imaginings of what life will be like in the world after the collapse he predicted in The Long Emergency.  At that time, he had written and published two books in the series, World Made by Hand and The Witch of Hebron.  That interview can be found here. The third book in the series is still in progress, and it is from that novel that Jim is reading in this recording.

Kunstler’s excellent and active website is here.  He blogs weekly and always has something interesting to say.  You can read about his newest book, Too Much Magic, here; this book tells us how and why the long emergency is already upon us.  The world in the novels he imagines may get here sooner than we think.TooMuchMagicJacket72dpi

Corinne Demas reading from “The Writing Circle”

January 19, 2011 by  
Filed under AuthorsVoices

978-1401341145 – Hardcover – Hyperion – $23.99 (e-book edition available $11.99)

Writerscast is proud to present the fourth in a series of authors reading from their work, called AuthorsVoices.   I hope you will agree that hearing these works read aloud by the original authors adds to your experience of the writing.

I definitely enjoyed reading this novel quite a bit.  Corinne Demas is a very fine writer.  I think the word that comes to mind for me is “deft.”  There are a number of characters here, all of whom are important, and the way the story is told reminded me of an ever tightening spiral, as we start from the seeming mundane outside and move ever closer into the lives of these people around a series of events that provides the structure of the book.  This is a very well put together novel.

Corinne Demas is a talented and accomplished writer – she’s written adult novels, short stories, children’s picture books and chapter books, a play and she writes poetry as well.  In addition, she teaches full time at Mt. Holyoke.

This selection from The Writing Circle should give listeners a good sense of the writing of a book I’ve been enthusiastic about recommending to readers.  My recent interview with Corinne is here at Writerscast.  And Corinne’s own website will tell you much more about her and her excellent body of work.

Gayle Brandeis reading from “Delta Girls”

August 15, 2010 by  
Filed under AuthorsVoices

978-0345492623 – Ballantine – Paperback – $15.00 (also available as an e-book at $9.99)

Writerscast is proud to present the third in a series of authors reading from their work, called AuthorsVoices.   I hope you will agree that hearing these works read aloud by the original authors adds to your experience of the writing.

I love getting a sense of the author’s distinct sense of her or his own words. With writers touring in support of their books less frequently now, these podcasts should provide readers with an opportunity to hear some of our best contemporary authors reading from, and sometimes performing their own works.

Gayle Brandeis’ Delta Girls was a great discovery for me.  I loved her writing, her characters, and the pace and flow of the novel.  I particularly enjoyed the way Gayle set up the alternating stories of the two women, Izzy and Karen and of course brought them together with what was for me a very surprising climax to the story.  In this reading from the novel, Gayle reads the opening two chapters, where the two characters are introduced and their ultimately intertwining stories begin.

Gayle has a terrific website where you can learn more about her and her work.  Her’s her brief bio as a writer:
Gayle Brandeis grew up in the Chicago area and has been writing poems and stories since she was four years old. She is the author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write (HarperOne), Dictionary Poems (Pudding House Publications), the novels The Book of Dead Birds (HarperCollins), which won Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize for Fiction in Support of a Literature of Social Change, Self Storage (Ballantine) and Delta Girls (Ballantine), and her first novel for young readers, My Life with the Lincolns (Holt).  It’s great hearing her own voice here speaking the words she has written.

Tatjana Soli reading from “The Lotus Eaters”

June 16, 2010 by  
Filed under AuthorsVoices

978-0312611576 – St. Martin’s Press – Hardcover – $24.99 (also available as an e-book)

Writerscast is proud to present the third in a series of authors reading from their work, called AuthorsVoices.   I hope you will agree that hearing these works read aloud by the original authors adds to your experience of the writing.

I love getting a sense of the author’s distinct sense of her or his own words. With writers touring in support of their books less frequently now, these podcasts should provide readers with an opportunity to hear some of our best contemporary authors reading from, and sometimes performing their own works.

Tatjana Soli’s The Lotus Eaters is one of my favorite out of a pretty long list of some really great books I have read recently.  Her book tells the story of Helen, a photographer who goes to Vietnam early in the war to try to understand how her brother died.  She ends up staying for many reasons.  There are a couple of different love stories entwined around her, and Soli captures brilliantly the intensity of Southeast Asia at war, the various cultures involved, and some incredibly powerful and vivid characters.  Tom O’Brien, who wrote another great Vietnam novel, The Things They Carried, praised Tatjana’s “spare, lucid prose” that “helps us to see and hear and feel the terrible human costs of that conflagration.”  He’s right about the book.  But there is also incredible beauty, and much love in this book.

Soli reads from the opening chapter of The Lotus Eaters in this terrific reading.  It’s captivating.

Kelli Stanley reading from City of Dragons

May 26, 2010 by  
Filed under AuthorsVoices

978-0312-60360-1 – Hardcover – Minotaur – $24.99 (also available as an e-book at $11.99)

Writerscast is proud to present the second in our series of authors reading from their work called AuthorsVoices.   I hope you will agree that hearing these works read aloud, especially by the original authors, will add greatly to the experience of the writing and the authors’ distinct sense of their own words. With writers touring for books less frequently now, these podcasts should provide readers with an opportunity to hear some of our best contemporary authors reading  from, and sometimes performing their own works.

Kelli Stanley’s City of Dragons is a great noir mystery novel with a great woman detective main character.  The novel is set in Stanley’s meticulously recreated 1940′s era San Francisco that she plainly deeply loves.  I read this book a few months ago, thought it was terrific, and interviewed Kelli (here).  For AuthorsVoices Kelli provides an introduction to the book and does a terrific reading of Chapter 1 of her novel in full.  Note to listeners: language in this piece does include some words not allowed on broadcast radio or television.

Matthew Aaron Goodman reading from Hold Love Strong

February 2, 2010 by  
Filed under AuthorsVoices, Fiction

goodman978-141-656203-0 – Hardcover  – Simon & Schuster Touchstone – $24.99

Writerscast is proud to inaugurate a new series of authors reading from their work we are calling AuthorsVoices.   I hope you will agree that hearing these works read aloud, especially by the original authors, will add greatly to one’s experience of the writing and the authors’ distinct sense of their own words. With writers touring for books less frequently now, these podcasts should provide readers with an opportunity to hear some of our best contemporary authors reading  from, and sometimes performing their own works.

Matthew Aaron Goodman’s first novel is called Hold Love Strong; in my opinion, it is a particularly powerful work of fiction (my interview with him is below).  This is a terrific book, with powerful language and vivid imagery.  Matthew gives his words their full due with this excellent reading from his book.141656203601_sx140_sy225_sclzzzzzzz_