Michael Farris Smith and James figured out pretty early on in the conversation that they were cut from the same cloth. Michael is the author of THE HANDS OF STRANGERS, RIVERS, and his latest novel, DESPERATION ROAD, is out now. He and James discuss following the story, not thinking too hard, realizing something is boring, and how the rise and fall of music can serve as a model for fiction. Then, Steve Iwanski, manager of Turnrow Book Co., talks about his store and recommends books.

Michael Farris Smith:

https://michaelfarrissmith.com/

Michael and James discuss:

THE MAID’S VERSION by Daniel Woodrell

The Southern Festival of the Book

Square Books

Lemuria Books

Ann Patchett

Newtonville Books

Brookline Booksmith

Porter Square Books

Mississippi Book Festival

Somerset Review

CLMP

Manhattan Public Library

The Pushcart Prize

The Center for Writers at Ole Miss

Publisher’s Weekly

Carolina Wren Press

Hannah Tinti

One Story

Frederick Barthelme

Steven Barthelme

The New Yorker

Jason Isbell

“Fire Away” by Chris Stapleton

Steve Earle

“Breaker’s Roar” by Sturgill Simpson

“You Want it Darker” by Leonard Cohen

Turnrow Book Co: http://turnrowbooks.com/

James and Steve Discuss:

COMMONWEALTH by Ann Patchett

Lady Gaga

Jamie Kornegay

FURIOUS COOL: RICHARD PRYOR AND THE WORLD THAT MADE HIM by David Henry and Joe Henry

The Alabama Booksmith

Wiley Cash

William Faulkner

Eudora Welty

THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH by Richard Flanagan

The Greenwood Shakespeare Project

DESPERATION ROAD by Michael Farris Smith

THE STRAYS by Emily Bitto

THE HISTORY OF WOLVES by Emily Fridlund

THE MIDNIGHT COOL by Lydia Peele

Ketch Secor

Old Crow Medicine Show

THE WORLD UNDONE by GJ Meyer

THE LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD by Douglas Preston

THE LOST CITY OF Z by David Grann

ICE GHOSTS by Paul Watson

THE WORLD TO COME by Jim Shepard

LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders

SALVAGE THE BONES by Jesmyn Ward

MEN WE REAPED by Jesmyn Ward

SING, UNBURIED, SING by Jesmyn Ward

In her harrowing novel, OUR HEARTS WILL BURN US DOWN, Anne Valente creates a portrait of trauma and the grief that follows. She and James discuss depicting violence, point of view, why drawer novels should never be published, the moments when they wondered if they should pursue something other than writing, and how music tastes may reveal more about characters than anything else. Plus, Emily Nemens talks about her work as co-editor and prose editor at THE SOUTHERN REVIEW.

Anne Valente

Anne and James Discuss:

Aimee Bender

Haruki Murakami

The Dzanc Books Prize for Fiction

Dan Wickett

DARK SHADOWS dir by Tim Burton

Jamie Quatro

AND THEN WE CAME TO THE END by Joshua Ferris

Steve Bartman

Nine Inch Nails

The Pixies

The Cure

KILL BILL, VOL. 1

The Dave Matthews Band

Blues Traveler

The Clash

Widespread Panic

The Southern Review 

Emily and James discuss:

Bret Lott

Jeanne Leiby

The Center For Architecture

Cara Blue Adams

Jill McCorkle

James Lee Burke

“Solee” by Crystal Hana Kim

PEN AMERICA BEST DEBUT SHORT STORIES 2017

In part 2 of their conversation, James and Mike Scalise, author of the memoir THE BRAND NEW CATASTROPHE, discuss an old wound, social media, and how winning the Center for Fiction’s Christopher Doheny Award let to the incredible sequence of events surrounding the sale of Mike’s book. Then, Sarabande Director of Marketing and Publicity/ Mike’s editor/ excellent writer Ariel Lewiton joins James to discuss her many roles and how she got to where she is.

 

Mike Scalise: http://mikescalise.tumblr.com/bnc

Mike and James Discuss:

THREE FEET HIGH AND RISING by De La Soul

Laura van den Berg

Urban Waite

The Dzanc Prize

“The Root” by Kim Deal

Grub Street

Christopher Castellani

Janet Silver

Zachary Shuster Harmsworth

WILD by Cheryl Strayed

Emerson College

Book Court

Paul Dano

Rachel Cantor

Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Center for Fiction Christopher Doheny Award

Franz Kafka

Housing Works Brooklyn

David Tomas Martinez

Sarabande Books

Ariel Lewiton

Paul Yoon

Ariel Lewiton: http://www.ariellewiton.com/new-page/ 

Ariel and James discuss:

Sarah Gorham

ON IMAGINATION by Mary Ruefle

Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction

Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry

The Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature

Kristen Radtke

McGraw-Hill Education

CHINA DAILY

The University of Iowa

GUERNICA

HIM, ME, MUHAMMAD ALI by Randa Jarrar

BUZZFEED

BLUETS by Maggie Nelson

THE ARGONAUTS by Maggie Nelson

AUDIBLE

IN FULL VELVET by Jenny Johnson

ANIMALS STRIKE CURIOUS POSES by Elena Passarello

In part one of the TK One Year Anniversary Jubilee, Mike Scalise discusses his phenomenal memoir, BRAND NEW CATASTROPHE. He talks with James about being diagnosed with the hormonal disorder acromegaly, the difficulties he encountered writing about it, the blind spots of memoir, what it’s like to be a public representative of a rare condition, and the complexities of ordering middle grade Bobby “The Brain” Heenan bios through university inter-library loan. Will they discuss Mike’s beloved Steelers? (Spoiler: No)

Mike and James Discuss: 

Sarabande Books

THE TWO KINDS OF DECAY by Sarah Manguso

Eddie Carmel

Rondo Hatton

Andre the Giant

Tony Robbins

Agni

Yaddo

Ninth Letter

George Mason University

Bucknell University

Susan Orlean

Michael Paterniti

SEEK: REPORTS FROM THE EDGES OF AMERICA & BEYOND by Denis Johnson

American Short Fiction

One Story

BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS

ANDRE THE GIANT: LIFE AND LEGEND by Box Brown

AS YOU WISH: INCONCEIVABLE TALES FROM THE MAKING OF THE PRINCESS BRIDE by Cary Elwes

Philip Roth

Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Rick Flair

The Fabulous Moolah

Porochista Khakpour

G.C. Waldrep

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A FACE by Lucy Grealy

HAPPY: A MEMOIR by Alex Lemon

PATRIMONY: A TRUE STORY by Philip Roth

STOP-TIME: A MEMOIR by Frank Conroy

SPEAK, MEMORY: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY REVISITED by Vladimir Nabokov

Laura van den Berg

Jim Shepard

HALF A LIFE: A MEMOIR by Darin Strauss

Screenwriter and BILLIONS co-creator Brian Koppelman arranged a life surrounded by writers before he realized he wanted to become one. He and James talk about his career, what it’s like writing with a partner, how characters live on the page and screen, his love of ‘insular worlds with their own language’, and Dylan. Then, H. Perry Horton discusses the five scripts he thinks someone should read to get started writing for film.

 

Brian and James Discuss:

SAMARKAND by Amin Maalouf

Kurt Vonnegut

Joseph Heller

Gary Gulman

Amy Koppelman (TK guest ep 22)

THE USUAL SUSPECTS (d)irected by Bryan Singer (s)cript by Christopher McQuarrie

ROUNDERS d John Dahl s Brian Koppelman & David Levien

David Levien

Quentin Tarantino

Scott Rosenberg

Callie Khouri

KNOCKAROUND GUYS d,s Koppelman & Levien

OCEAN’S THIRTEEN d Steven Soderbergh s Koppelman & Levien

Bill Buckner

Ken Norton

Duane Bobick

David Mamet

Barry Levinson

Coen brothers

Spike Lee

DINER d,s Levinson

SOLITARY MAN d Koppelman & Levien s Koppelman

Michael Douglas

BILLIONS

Paul Giamatti

Damian Lewis

Maggie Siff

HEAT d s Michael Mann

Robert DeNiro

Al Pacino

Bob Dylan

“Highlands” from TIME OUT OF MIND by Bob Dylan

“My Heart’s in the Highlands” by Robert Burns

Neil Young

Haruki Murakami

Perry and James Discuss: 

CHINATOWN d Roman Polanski s Robert Towne

TAXI DRIVER d Martin Scorsese s Paul Schrader

GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS d James Foley s David Mamet

PULP FICTION d Quentin Tarantino s Tarantino & Roger Avary

SE7EN d David Fincher s Andrew Kevin Walker

THE SOPRANOS

BREAKING BAD

Daniel Craig as JAMES BOND

SHORT CUTS d Robert Altman s Altman & Frank Barhydt based on the short stories of Raymond Carver

MAGNOLIA d s Paul Thomas Anderson

SOLACE d Afonso Poyart s Sean Bailey & Ted Griffin

ALIENS3 d Fincher s David Giler, Walter Hill, & Larry Ferguson

“Express Yourself” “Vogue” by Madonna, videos d Fincher

“Janie’s Got a Gun” by Aerosmith, video d Fincher

JUNO d Jason Reitman s Diablo Cody

LITTLE WOMEN d Gillian Armstrong s Robin Swicord

Kathryn Bigelow

Jeff Nichols

Steven Spielberg

MUD d s Nichols

TAKE SHELTER d s Nichols

Terrence Malick

DAYS OF HEAVEN d s Malick

CONTROL d Anton Corbijn s Matt Greenhalgh book by Deborah Curtis

David Lynch

After embracing her desire to write in her thirties and putting herself on a steep learning curve, Rachel Cantor found her voice with two lively and funny novels, A HIGHLY UNLIKELY SCENARIO and GOOD ON PAPER. She and James debate whether it’s harder to make people laugh or bring them to tears, and she details the difficulties of translation and the Arnold Schwarzenegger approach to novel writing. Plus, Meredith Scott describes the great work of the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) and, finally, her daughter, Zoey Irwin, talks about her book club and why reading is important for kids.

 

 

Rachel and James Discuss:

James Joyce

T.S. Eliot

Agatha Christie

Tim Burton (film director)

WAR AND PEACE by Leo Tolstoy

Ross Macdonald

THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron

WHAT IF? WRITING EXERCISES FOR FICTION WRITERS by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter

Leslie Epstein

Theo Epstein

CASABLANCA (film)

REDIVIDER

ONE STORY

Matthew Salesses

Melville House

Italo Calvino

Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA)

EILEEN by Ottessa Moshfegh

HOMESICK FOR ANOTHER WORLD: STORIES by Ottessa Moshfegh

Katie Kitamura

WE, THE DROWNED by Carsten Jensen

The Bronte siblings

Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

Meredith and James discuss:

We Need Diverse Books

First Book

The Eric Carle Museum

Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems

Everybody Wins

 

Zoey and James discuss:

The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling

THE LAND OF STORIES by Chris Colfer

SHILOH by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

 

As he prepares to follow up his novels A LAND MORE KIND THAN HOME and THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY, Wiley Cash tells James how touring, independent booksellers, and sales reps worked together to make him a success. They talk about Southern fiction, writing about place, and the subject of his next book, due out Fall 2017. Then, past guests give recommendations for 2016.

 

Wiley and James discuss:

The Odyssey Bookshop

BEAUTIFUL RUINS by Jess Walter

BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK by Ben Fountain

BRIEF ENCOUNTERS WITH CHE GUEVARA by Ben Fountain

Thomas Wolfe

Charles Chesnutt

Nat Sobel (agent)

CRAB ORCHARD REVIEW

ELLEN FOSTER by Kaye Gibbons

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee

I AM ONE OF YOU FOREVER by Fred Chappell

Ernest Gaines

Clyde Edgerton

Jill McCorkle

Woody Guthrie

Ella May Wiggins

Pete Seeger

James Fenimore Cooper

Frank Norris

The sometimes brutal nature of her books has forced Amy Koppelman to decide between an easier path or being true to her characters, and she has chosen truth every time. She and James talk about dealing with rejection, trying to enjoy happiness, and The Zoloft Ball. Afterwards, past guests give recommendations on art they enjoyed in 2016.

Amy and James Discuss:

Gordon Lish

“The Bath” by Raymond Carver

“A Small Good Thing” by Raymond Carver

Vladimir Nabokov

“A Good Man is Hard To Find” by Flannery O’Connor

“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates

“It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” by Bob Dylan

Sam Hinkie

A WORLD OF YESTERDAY by Stefan Zweig

MacAdam/Cage Publishing

Two Dollar Radio

Eric Obenauf

Vincent Van Gogh

Kay Redfield Jamison

 

Pauls Recommends:

BARKSKINS by Annie Proulx

WAR AND TURPENTINE by Stefan Hertmans

 

Jung Recommends:

THE NIX by Nathan Hill

THE ASSOCIATION OF SMALL BOMBS by Karan Mahajan

WE LOVE YOU, CHARLIE FREEMAN by Kaitlyn Greenidge

RICH AND PRETTY by Rumaan Alam

GIRL THROUGH GLASS by Sari Wilson

 

Mark recommends:

THE LONELY CITY by Olivia Laing

BEING A BEAST by Charles Foster

BLOOD, BONE, & MARROW: A BIOGRAPHY OF HARRY CREWS by Ted Geltner

THE VEGETARIAN by Han Kang

ALL THAT MAN IS by David Szalay

 

Chris recommends:

INTIMATIONS by Alexandra Kleeman

A GAMBLER’S ANATOMY by Jonathan Lethem

22, A MILLION by Bon Iver (album)

ARRIVAL (film)

 

Wil Recommends:

SALVADOR

MIAMI

THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING

BLUE NIGHTS

all by Joan Didion

 

Julianna recommends:

NAMELESS BOY by Douglas Goetsch

THE BIG BOOK OF SCIENCE FICTION ed by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer

THE MAN WHO MISTOOK HIS WIFE FOR A HAT by Oliver Sacks

HALLUCINATIONS by Oliver Sacks

DIVORCE (tv)

CATASTROPHE (tv) both Sharon Horgan

 

Urban recommends:

THE BIG SKY by A.B. Guthrie, Jr.

BILLY RAY’S FARM by Larry Brown

 

Paula recommends:

NEVERMIND by Patrick Melrose

STILL POINTS NORTH by Leigh Newman

Mondo Cosmo (band)

In 1999, Margot Livesey sat down next to James at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and changed his life forever. Margot talks about her incredible career, the role of art in the current political climate, which of her books she loves best, and her wonderful new novel, MERCURY. Then, social scientist and Associate Professor in the Department of Government at Harvard University, Ryan Enos, recommends books to understand the 2016 presidential election.

THE GUINEVERES began as a short story, but when the characters wouldn’t leave Sarah Domet alone, she saw them through an entire (fantastic) novel. Sarah tells James about her reluctance to admit she wanted to be a writer, what it was like to read from her debut novel at the high school that partially inspired it, and how she juggles writing and parenting. Plus, agent Michelle Brower of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth discusses what an agent does from signing an author to publication to promotion.

 

Sarah and James discuss: 

Amy Einhorn

Michelle Brower

Sewanee Writers’ Conference

Brock Clarke

Hannah Tinti

ONE STORY

John Milton

George Saunders

Aimee Bender

Judy Budnitz

Kelly Link

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Italo Calvino

Jorge Luis Borges

THE WOMAN WHO CUT OFF HER LEG AT THE MAIDSTONE CLUB AND OTHER STORIES by Julia Slavin

CARNIVORE DIET by Julia Slavin

THE PARTICULAR SADNESS OF LEMON CAKE by Aimee Bender

LINCOLN AT THE BARDO by George Saunders

Kurt Vonnegut

IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT A TRAVELER by Italo Calvino

LIVES OF THE SAINTS

THE STORY OF AVIS by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward

“Walking Out” by David Quammen

A FAN’S NOTES by Frederick Exley

THE VIRGIN SUICIDES by Jeffrey Eugenides

THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE by Muriel Spark

THE BOYS OF MY YOUTH by Jo Ann Beard

IN ZANESVILLE by Jo Ann Beard

Cormac McCarthy

 

Michelle & James Discuss: 

ORPHAN TRAIN by Christina Baker Kline

A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Yanagihara

GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn

WE SHOW WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED by Clare Beams

THE GUINEVERES by Sarah Domet

Alexander Chee