Interviews that range from sparklers to Roman candles to skyrockets and beyond.




A co-founder and editor in chief of Bomb, the quarterly devoted to artists and writers, offers a wide-ranging selection of interviews—author on author—that spans the history of the journal.

There are some celebrated names in this unusual and very engaging collection, among them Martin Amis, Francine Prose, Jonathan Lethem, Jonathan Franzen, Steven Millhauser, Paula Fox, Tobias Wolff and Charles Simic. But there are many more names probably unfamiliar to casual readers. The format is generally uniform: One writer asks questions; another answers; a colloquy ensues—though the focus remains on the work, usually the recent work, of the interviewee. In some cases, there is the delight in hearing from writers before they became household names. Franzen, for example, talked with Donald Antrim in 2001, the year The Corrections appeared—but before the novel took off, before the Oprah kerfuffle—and they discussed Franzen’s two earlier novels. Sometimes the writers are loquacious (both Rachel Kushner and Hari Kunzru have plenty to say), but this is occasionally due to the format of the exchange. Some are via email; others, edited versions of live conversations. The media affect the messages. We learn about writers’ habits (Kimiko Hahn once wrote a lot in coffee shops; Ben Marcus had to adjust to a new baby in the house; John Edgar Wideman confesses that revision sometimes comes easily). The diction ranges from nearly pretentious to appealingly humble. In the latter category, Justin Taylor and Ben Mirov end their interview with a playful word-association game. But at the center of virtually every exchange are significant discussions of writing and art in general. Lydia Davis learned early from Dick and Jane the rhythms of sentences, and Junot Díaz says, “I don’t write with any regularity or joy. I fear that it might take me another 11 years to write another book.”

Interviews that range from sparklers to Roman candles to skyrockets and beyond.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1616953799

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Soho

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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