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

Though it’s long since faded, James confesses his grad school-era jealousy of Matt. Once they clear that up, they discuss how Matt arrived at his voice and how he learned to write his marvelous sentences. They celebrate writing as work and the spaces in their lives that stories occupy. Then, Stephanie Appell from Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, discusses the history of YA books and makes some recommendations.

Matt and James Discuss: 

Aimee Bender

Kurt Vonnegut

Amy Hempel

Raymond Carver

JESUS’ SON by Denis Johnson

REEL by Tobias Carroll

“The Sentence is a Lonely Place” by Gary Lutz

“The Geography of Sentences” by Emily Brisse

ARTFUL SENTENCES: SYNTAX AS STYLE by Virginia Tufte

Gordon Lish

Sam Lipsyte

Christine Schutt

Brian Evenson

Michael Kimball

Diane Williams

“Human Behavior” by Bjork, dir by Michel Gondry

Kate Bernheimer

Joyelle McSweeney

Laird Hunt

FENCE

“Where’s Iago?” by Susan Neville

Laura van den Berg

 

Stephanie and James Discuss:  

LITTLE WOMEN by Louisa May Alcott

THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK dir by Ron Howard

THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton

Horatio Alger

PREP by Curtis Sittenfeld

THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak

James Patterson

SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson

I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson

THE ASTONISHING TALE OF OCTAVIAN NOTHING by M.T. Anderson

A NORTHERN LIGHT by Jennifer Donnelly

Marcus Sedgwick

Nova Ren Suma

Ashley Herring Blake

SEX AND VIOLENCE by Carrie Mesrobian

Siobban Vivian

THE RAVEN CYCLE series by Maggie Stiefvater

Julianna Baggott can write anything, from literary fiction for adults to books for children and everything in between. She tells James about what fuels her writing, how she writes so much, her love of the reader, and how she really only wants to be Cal Ripken. Then Julianna’s daughter, the artist Phoebe Scott, joins the show to talk about her work and being raised by a writer.

Julianna and James Discuss:

Andre Dubus

Wendy Wasserstein

Arthur Miller

Moss Hart

John Keats

THE HOURS by Michael Cunningham

Oliver Sacks

John le Carre

Raymond Carver

Graham Greene

Carol Reed (director)

100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

George Saunders

Aimee Bender

Oliver Wendell Holmes

LINCOLN IN THE BARDO by George Saunders

Javier tells James about his journey to the United States at the age of 9. They discuss the power of teachers, the Undocupoets Campaign, transcendent readings, struggling to find an ending, and his collection of poems, UNACCOMPANIED (fall 2017). Then, Jennifer De Leon talks about opportunities for teen writers, #WeNeedDiverseBooks, and her experiences teaching in the YAWP program at Grub Street in Boston.

 

Javier and James Discuss:

Yusef Komunyakaa

Sharon Olds

Alejandro Zambra

Valeria Luiselli

Dick Scanlan

Roberto Bolano

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Jorge Luis Borges

ONE STORY

Yaddo

MacDowell Colony

Pablo Neruda

Rebecca Faust

Squaw Valley Writers’ Workshops

Napa Valley Writers’ Conference

Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

Alberto Rios

BIG FISH by Daniel Wallace

UC- Berkeley

NYU

Olive B. O’Connor

Peter Balakian

Carolyn Forche

Wallace Stegner Fellowship

Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship

UndocuPoets Campaign

Sibling Rivalry Press

Wil S. Hylton

Matthew Salesses

Monica Sok

 

Jennifer and James Discuss:

YAWP (Young Adult Writers Program)

Grub Street

Val Wang

Celeste Ng

Teen Ink

826

WriteBoston

New England Young Writers’ Conference

Champlain College Young Writers’ Conference

Iowa Young Writers’ Studio

Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference

Reggie Gibson

Junot Diaz

ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY by Mildred D. Taylor

#WeNeedDiverseBooks

VONA (Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation)

Set in Spain in the late 70s, Gabrielle’s debut novel, THE SLEEPING WORLD, represents something deeply personal to her. She tells James about writing through grief, how the novel grew from a short story inspired by a song, as well as world building, dirt, and ‘the spaghetti mind.’ Plus Janet Geddis, the owner of Avid Bookshop in Athens, GA, shares exciting news and she and James geek out over upcoming fall titles.

James and Gabrielle Discuss: 

Keith Waldrop

LADY AND THE TRAMP

Jamaica Kincaid

“Runaway”, THE NATIONAL

SOY CUBA dir by Mikhail Kalatozov

PEPI, LUCI, BOM AND OTHER GIRLS LIKE MOM dir. by Pedro Almodovar

Alberto Garcia-Alix (photographer)

NADA by Carmen Laforet

Elena Ferrante

RAY OF THE STAR by Laird Hunt

Toni Morrison

Audre Lorde

Alice Walker

WHAT BELONGS TO YOU by Garth Greenwell

 

James and Janet Discuss:

Deirdre Sugiuchi

Al Dixon

WE SHOW WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED by Clare Beams (10/25)*

THE MORTIFICATIONS by Derek Palacio (10/4)#

HOW TO SHAKE THE OTHER MAN by Derek Palacio

Nouvella Books

COMMONWEALTH by Ann Patchett (9/13)*

LITTLE NOTHING by Marisa Silver (9/13)#

THE REACTIVES by Masande Ntshanga*

MERCURY by Margot Livesey (9/27)#

BOWIE by Simon Critchley (9/13)#

REPUTATIONS by Juan Gabriel Vasquez (9/20)#

THE SOUND OF THINGS FALLING by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

A FAMILY IS A FAMILY IS A FAMILY written by Sara O’Leary, ill. by Qin Leng*

THE SLEEPING WORLD by Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes*#

*Janet Recommends

#James Recommends

The interconnected stories in YOU MAY SEE A STRANGER took Paula Whyman over a decade to compile. She gives James some advice for writing sex scenes and explains how she writes with such honesty. Then, Daniel Menaker tells James about deciding to represent Paula’s book, editing Alice Munro’s stories, his career at Random House, and what made his time at The New Yorker so special. And somewhere a dog barks. Quite frequently.

 

Paula and James discuss:

Yaddo

THE BREAST by Philip Roth

PLOUGHSHARES

THE HUDSON REVIEW

American University

VIRGIN FICTION (anthology)

WORLD VIEW

Porter Square Books

Joanna Rakoff

Philip Roth

T.C. Boyle

Martin Amis

Jamie Quatro

Alyssa Nutting

OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout

McSWEENEY’S

Jane Austen

Oliver Sacks

Daniel Menaker

Sewanee Writers’ Conference

Mike Levine

ONE STORY

Hannah Tinti

Marie-Helene Bertino

Maribeth Batcha

Billy Goldstein

 

James and Daniel discuss: 

The New Yorker

Paula Whyman

Alice Munro

“Royal Beatings” by Alice Munro

Richard Avedon

Michael Chabon

LIVES OF MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS by Sheila Munro

Daniel Halpern

Tim Duggan

Roger Angell

Charles McGrath

William Maxwell

MY MISTAKE by Daniel Menaker

Matthew Klam

SUNY Stonybrook

Tina Brown

Harold Evans

Bill Buford

Robert Gottlieb

William Shawn

Michael Cunningham

Susan Minot

David Foster Wallace

Antonya Nelson

David Remnick

Alberto Vitale

“Wenlock Edge” by Alice Munro

After some negative pre-publication reviews, Jamie Quatro feared the worst. Then, critic James Wood and the NYTBR (among others) hailed her collection, I WANT TO SHOW YOU MORE, as a classic. Jamie and James talk about conflating writer and subject matter, depicting the female gaze and female sexuality, and writing novels vs short stories. Then, the agent Anna Stein joins the show to go over what an agent does, how to find one, and mistakes writers make along the way.

Jamie and James Discuss: 

David Gates
Amy Hempel
Bennington College Low Residency MFA
Princeton University
Pepperdine University
Sheila Kohler
E.M. Forster
Franz Kafka
Flannery O’Connor
Margot Livesey
Andre Dubus (II)
PROXIES: ESSAYS NEAR KNOWING by Brian Blanchfield
Sewanee Writers’ Conference
RUNNER’S WORLD
INFINITE JEST by David Foster Wallace
QUACK THIS WAY by David Foster Wallace
BRIEF INTERVIEWS WITH HIDEOUS MEN by David Foster Wallace
BLUETS by Maggie Nelson
Tin House Summer Writer’s Workshop
THE FUN STUFF: AND OTHER ESSAYS by James Wood
Claire Messud
Wyatt Prunty
Ann Patchett
Urban Waite
Lincoln Michel
George Saunders
Lydia Davis
Alice Munro
INTERPRETER OF MALADIES by Jhumpa Lahiri
OLIVE KITTERIDGE by Elizabeth Strout
P.J. Mark
Barry Hannah
Steven Milhauser
A VERY OLD MAN WITH ENORMOUS WINGS by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN by Adam Ross
Yaddo
Sylvia Plath
Ted Hughes
Zadie Smith
The Old Testament
THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
Grove Atlantic
Anna and James Discuss: 
Hanya Yanagihara
Ben Lerner
Garth Greenwell
Maria Semple
NEVERHOME by Laird Hunt
THE MOTHER-IN-LAW CURE by Katherine Wilson
THE EVENING ROAD by Laird Hunt
THE STORY OF A BRIEF MARRIAGE by Anuk Aradpragasam
THE CLANCYS OF QUEENS by Tara Clancy
TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT by Maria Semple
THE PARIS REVIEW
Sewanee Writers’ Conference
A LITTLE LIFE by Hanya Hanagihara
WHAT BELONGS TO YOU by Garth Greenwell

Jesse Donaldson tells James about the Oxycodone scourge, the effect it has had on his home state of Kentucky, and how it informed his debut novel, THE MORE THEY DISAPPEAR. He also recommends writing while gardening, and recalls the time he drove to New York with a tape-playing robot. Plus Lauren Cerand joins the show to discuss book publicity.