Alexis Smith : Glaciers

Screen shot 2023-09-22 at 3.06.26 PMPortland author, Alexis Smith,  talks with host David Naimon about Glaciers, her debut novel from Tin House books. Glaciers follows Isabel through a day in her life in which work with damaged books in the basement of a library, unrequited love for the former soldier who fixes her computer, and dreams of the perfect vintage dress move over a backdrop of deteriorating urban architecture and the imminent loss of the glaciers she knew as a young girl in Alaska.  Glaciers was a Publishers Weekly pick of the week,  received its coveted starred review, and was selected by Indie Booksellers for the January 2012 Indie Next List.

“An Alaska childhood and dreams of faraway cities such as Amsterdam inform Alexis M. Smith’s Glaciers, a delicate debut novel set in Portland, Oregon—“a slick fog of a city…drenched in itself”—that reveals in short, memory-soaked postcards of prose a day in the life of twentysomething library worker Isabel.”—Lisa Shea, ELLE Magazine

Jess Walter : Beautiful Ruins

Screen shot 2023-09-22 at 3.07.47 PMHost David Naimon talks with Jess Walter about his sixth novel, Beautiful Ruins, a deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives.  “…a blockbuster, with romance, majesty, comedy, smarts, and a cast of thousands. There’s lights, there’s camera, there’s action. If you want anything more from a novel than Jess Walter gives you in Beautiful Ruins, you’re getting thrown out of the theater.” (Daniel Handler, author of Why We Broke Up and creator of Lemony Snicket )

Walter is also the author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets, the National Book Award finalist The Zero, the Edgar Award-winning Citizen VinceLand of the Blind, and the New York Times Notable Book Over Tumbled Graves. He lives in Spokane, Washington, with his family.

Junot Diaz : This Is How You Lose Her

Screen shot 2023-09-22 at 3.12.08 PMHost David Naimon speaks with Junot Diaz, a writer The New Yorker calls one of the top 20 writers for the 21st century. He’s the Pulitzer Prize winning author of the novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a creative writing professor at MIT, the fiction editor at The Boston Review, and a founding member of Voices of Our Nations Arts Writing Workshop, which focuses on writers of color. In 2010 he was the first Latino to be appointed to the board of jurors for the Pulitzer Prize. Junot Diaz is here today to talk about his new short story collection This is How you Lose her, a much-anticipated work, sixteen years in the making.

Sheila Heti : How Should A Person Be?

Screen shot 2023-09-22 at 3.23.02 PMIs How Should a Person Be? a novel, a memoir, a self-help manual, or a book of philosophy? It is all of these things and more.  Host David Naimon talks with Sheila Heti about her new book, “a raw, startling, genre-defying novel of friends, sex, and love in the new millennium-a compulsive read that’s like ‘spending a day with your new best friend.’ (Bookforum).

Canadian writer, Sheila Heti is the author of five books, all very different in form and style. She has written a collection of modern fables entitled The Middle Stories, a historical novella calledTicknor and an illustrated book for children, We Need a Horse. Recently she ventured into nonfiction with her book of “conversational philosophy,” The Chairs Are Where the People Go, written with Misha Glouberman, which the New Yorker chose as one of the best books of 2011. Sheila Heti also works as Interviews Editor at The Believer magazine.

Karen Thompson Walker : The Age of Miracles

Screen shot 2023-09-22 at 3.49.36 PMOn a seemingly ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the rotation of the earth has suddenly begun to slow.The days and nights grow longer and longer, gravity is affected, the environment is thrown into disarray. Yet as she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia is also coping with the normal disasters of everyday life—the fissures in her parents’ marriage, the loss of old friends, the hopeful anguish of first love, the bizarre behavior of her grandfather who, convinced of a government conspiracy, spends his days obsessively cataloging his possessions. As Julia adjusts to the new normal, the slowing inexorably continues. This is the world of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.  Host David Naimon talks with Karen about her debut novel which has taken the literary world by storm.

Vanessa Veselka : Zazen

Screen shot 2023-09-22 at 3.52.31 PMA war has either started or is about to. Bombs are going off in the city. But people seem strangely disengaged. Della’s activist friends seem more concerned about the next sex party or the finer points of vegan ideology, and customers at the vegan café where she works, talk of leaving the country for a life of escape and eco-tourism. But Della feels compelled to stay as the bombs inch closer. Even though she isn’t quite sure how to engage, and what exactly to fight for. This is the world of Zazen.

Today’s guest is Portland writer and debut novelist Vanessa Veselka. Vanessa’s work has appeared in Tin House, The Atlantic, BUST, Bitch Magazine, and Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll, among others. She’s also a musician and a writing instructor at The Attic. She talks today with host David Naimon about her first book, Zazen, a finalist for the Oregon Book Awards, published by Red Lemonade Press.

Adam Levin : Hot Pink

Screen shot 2023-09-22 at 3.54.16 PMAdam Levin’s debut novel, The Instructions, published by McSweeney’s in 2010, arrived with a lot of buzz. An inventive, experimental book of over one thousand pages, its protagonist was Gurion ben-Judah Maccabee, a 10 year old genius from Chicago, who may or may not be the Jewish Messiah. Levin’s short stories have appeared in Tin House, McSweeney’s and Esquire. He was the winner of the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award and the 2004 Joyce Carol Oates Fiction Prize among others. He lives in Chicago where he teaches Creative Writing at the School of the Art Institute and talks today, with host David Naimon, about his much anticipated follow-up to The Instructions, his short story collection, Hot Pink. “From walls that ooze unnameable, unidentifiable gel, through makers of children’s dolls designed to mimic the stages of digestive health, to old widowers in retirement looking back over their marriages, Levin manages to find the pathos and humor in living an ‘ordinary’ existence. Enter his world if you dare!”—The Jewish Times