Nonfiction Video Interviews


Michael Eric Dyson

author of THE BLACK PRESIDENCY

February 2, 2016
THE BLACK PRESIDENCY by Michael Eric Dyson In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >

Caren Zucker and John Donvan

authors of IN A DIFFERENT KEY

January 19, 2016
IN A DIFFERENT KEY by John Donvan Nearly 75 years ago, Donald Triplett of Forest, Mississippi became the first child diagnosed with autism. Beginning with his family’s odyssey, In a Different Key tells the extraordinary story of this often misunderstood condition, and of the civil rights battles waged by the families of those who have it. Unfolding over decades, this book is the history of ordinary people determined to secure a place in the world for those with autism—by liberating children from dank institutions, campaigning for their right to go to school, challenging expert opinion on what it means to have autism, and persuading society to accept those who are different. “An invaluable guide for those dealing with autism and an inspiring affirmation of every individual’s contribution to ‘the fabric of humanity,’ ” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >

Laura Lane and Angela Spera

authors of THIS IS WHY YOU'RE SINGLE

December 8, 2015
THIS IS WHY YOU'RE SINGLE by Laura Lane Whether you're falling for that man child for the fifty-seventh time or text messaging your way to stalker status, dating can make you want to find a nice roomy hermitage on Airbnb and live a solitary, monk-like life. Luckily, that frustration ends now. This Is Why You're Single by Laura Lane and Angela Spera breaks away from the typical dating guide by taking a page from Aesop's playbook with hilarious modern-day dating fables paired with advice, entertaining quizzes, graphs, and illustrations. Dating will feel a whole lot more doable, a little less weird, and, well, actually pretty fun. Lane and Spera are New York-based comedy writers who have performed their sketch show This Is Why You’re Singlein front of sold-out audiences since 2013 at the Peoples Improv Theater. View video >

Jason Gay

author of LITTLE VICTORIES

November 17, 2015
LITTLE VICTORIES by Jason Gay In the 1990s, copies of Richard Carlson’s Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (and its many sequels) were seemingly everywhere, giving readers either the confidence to prioritize their stresses or despondence over the slender volume’s not addressing their particular set of problems. While not the first book of its kind, it kicked open the door for an industry of self-help, worry-reduction advice guides. In his first book, Little Victories, Wall Street Journal sports columnist Gay takes less of a guru approach, though he has drawn an audience of readers appreciative of reportage that balances insights with a droll, self-deprecating outlook. He occasionally focuses his columns on “the Rules” (of Thanksgiving family touch football, the gym, the office holiday party, etc.), which started as a genial poke in the eye at the proliferation of self-help books and, over time, came to explore actual advice “both practical and ridiculous” and “neither perfect nor universal.” The author admirably combines those elements in every piece in the book. View video >

Rajiv Chandrasekaran

author of FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY

November 10, 2015
FOR LOVE OF COUNTRY by Howard Schultz In For Love of Country, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and National Book Award nominee Rajiv Chandrasekaran honor acts of uncommon valor in Iraq and Afghanistan, including an army sergeant who runs into a hail of gunfire to protect his comrades; two marines who chose to stand and defend their outpost from an oncoming truck bomb; and a 60-year-old doctor who joined the navy after his son was killed at war, saving dozens of lives during his service. We also see how veterans turn their leadership skills into community-building initiatives once they return home: former soldiers who aid residents in rebuilding after natural disasters; an infantry officer who trades in a Pentagon job to teach in an inner-city neighborhood; the spouse of a severely injured soldier assisting families in similar positions. These powerful, unforgettable stories demonstrate just how indebted we are to those who protect us and what they have to offer our nation when their military service is over. View video >

Illeana Douglas

author of I BLAME DENNIS HOPPER

November 3, 2015
I BLAME DENNIS HOPPER by Illeana Douglas In 1969, actor Illeana Douglas' parents saw the film Easy Rider and were transformed. Taking Dennis Hopper's words, “That's what it's all about, man” to heart, they abandoned their comfortable upper middle-class life and gave Illeana a childhood filled with hippies, goats, free spirits, and free love. Illeana writes, "Since it was all out of my control, I began to think of my life as a movie, with a Dennis Hopper-like father at the center of it." I Blame Dennis Hopper is Douglas’ memoir, a testament to the power of art and the tenacity of passion. It is a rollicking, funny, at times tender exploration of the way movies can change our lives. With crackling humor and a full heart, Douglas describes how a good Liza Minnelli impression helped her land her first gig and how Rudy Valley taught her the meaning of being a show biz trouper. I Blame Dennis Hopper is an irresistible love letter to movies and filmmaking. “The author’s warm portraits and disarming honesty infuse the memoir with an endearing sweetness and charm,” our reviewer writes. View video >

Adam Makos

author of DEVOTION

October 27, 2015
DEVOTION by Adam Makos Adam Makos’ new book Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviator duo: Lieutenant Tom Hudner, a white New Englander from the country-club scene, and Ensign Jesse Brown, an African American sharecropper’s son from Mississippi. Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighter planes for his country. Jesse became the navy’s first black carrier pilot to defend a nation that wouldn’t even serve him in a bar. Devotion brings us into the foxholes with U.S. Marines and soaring overhead with Tom and Jesse as they battle a North Korean invasion. “An account of a genuinely inspiring deed,” our reviewer writes. View video >

Sonia Manzano

author of BECOMING MARIA

September 22, 2015
BECOMING MARIA by Sonia Manzano Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx is the new memoir by Sonia Manzano, well-known as Maria on Sesame Street. Set in the 1950s, Becoming Maria is the story of a girl with a dream. Manzano plunges us into the daily lives of a Latino family that is loving but troubled. When readers meet young Sonia, she is a child living amidst the squalor of a boisterous home that is filled with noisy relatives and nosy neighbors. Each day she is glued to the TV screen that blots out the painful realities of her existence and also illuminates the possibilities that lie ahead. But—click!—when the TV goes off, Sonia is taken back to real life: the cramped, colorful world of her neighborhood and an alcoholic father. But it is Sonia’s dream of becoming an actress that keeps her afloat among the turbulence of her life and times. “In stark and heartbreaking contrast to her Sesame Street character, Manzano paints a poignant, startlingly honest picture of her youth,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >

Upcoming Kirkus Interviews

February 23, 2016
Bonnie McFarlane
March 8, 2016
Zach Anner