Nonfiction Video Interviews

Jason Gay


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


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


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


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 >

Cat Cora


September 16, 2015
COOKING AS FAST AS I CAN by Cat Cora Cooking As Fast As I Can is renowned chef Cat Cora’s no-holds-barred memoir on Southern life, Greek heritage, same sex marriage, and the meals that have shaped her memories. Before she became a celebrated chef, Cathy Cora was a girl from Jackson, Mississippi, where days were slow and every meal was made from scratch. Her passion for the kitchen started in her home, where she spent her days internalizing the dishes that would form the cornerstone of her cooking philosophy incorporating her Greek heritage and Southern upbringing—from crispy fried chicken and honey-drenched biscuits to spanakopita. But outside the kitchen, Cora’s life was volatile. Cooking As Fast As I Can chronicles the difficulties and triumphs Cora experienced on the path to becoming a chef. She writes movingly about how she found courage and redemption in the dark truths of her past and about how she found solace in the kitchen and work, how her passion for cooking helped her to overcome hardships and ultimately find happiness at home and became a wife and a mother to four boys. “A disarmingly candid look at the highs, lows, and true grit of a culinary star,” our reviewer writes. View video >

Cara Nicoletti

author of VORACIOUS

August 18, 2015
VORACIOUS by Cara Nicoletti As a young bookworm reading in her grandfather's butcher shop, Cara Nicoletti saw how books and food bring people to life. Now a butcher, cook, and talented writer, Nicoletti serves up stories and recipes inspired by beloved books and the food that gives their characters depth and personality in Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books. From the breakfast sausage in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods to chocolate cupcakes with peppermint buttercream from Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, these books and the tasty treats in them put her on the road to happiness. “All in all, a pleasure for hungry readers,” our reviewer writes. We talk to Nicoletti this week on Kirkus TV. View video >

John Fox

author of THE BALL

April 7, 2015
THE BALL by John Fox During SXSW, we talked to the writer and director of Bounce. Check out the interview on Kirkus TV. View video >

Upcoming Kirkus Interviews

December 8, 2015
Laura Lane and Angela Spera