"The First Bad Man" is not your normal romance, or your normal first novel for that matter. But then again, Miranda July is not your average first-time novelist. July's myriad successes range from filmmaking (her first feature film, "Me and You and Everyone We Know" won the Camera d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival and a Special Jury Prize at Sundance) to sculpting (creator of Eleven Heavy Things, a sculpture garden created for the 2009 Venice Biennale) to, of course, writing (her first book, of short stories, won the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award) with performance art and mobile app development thrown in for good measure.
In this interview, we learn how and why July continues to create in such diverse arenas; how she came to writing; and where she goes from here. "The First Bad Man" has won praise from cultural icons Lena Dunham ("Miranda July's ability to pervert norms while embracing what makes us normal is astounding") and Dave Eggers ("this novel is almost impossible to put down.") I can affrim that it is also impossible to forget.
Alert: This book contains adult content.
What a fun book and inspiring author we have in store for you this week on Writers' Voices.
Danny Gregory says "I spent most of my life not believing I had the right to consider myself an artist in any way. But then I started drawing...it led me to travel, to meet people, to get books published, but most of all it transformed... how I experience every day."
Gregory's books are in the style of illustrated journals. In "Art Before Breakfast" he teaches readers how to carve out time for art, and shows how even just ten minutes a day can lead to a richer life. These mini-art projects sure inspired us!
Gregory is also the co-founder of Sketchbook Skool, a video-based art school designed to inspire creative storytelling through illustrated journaling.
"Art Before Breakfast" is published by Chronicle Books, one of the most innovative publishers today and makers of beautiful books.
Fairfield author Stepahnie Rivera will be joining Monica and Caroline in the studio this week to talk about her spiritual memoir, "In Pursuit of Enlightenment (On a Shoestring Budget)."
Stephanie's story begins with the lives of her parents. Her father was the son of immigrant Russian-Jewish parents, and her mother was of Yankee stock. They led an unusual life, which took them to California, Texas and eventually Boston, as her Jewish father became a minister, first with the Religious Science organization and later as a Unitarian. With this background, it was not a great stretch for Stephanie, her mother and her siblings to learn TM, after their father's death.
More than simply a spiritual autobiography, this memoir is a revealing glimpse into a loving, if unusual, American family.
This week on Writers' Voices, Monica and Caroline speak with poet Salvatore Marici, who splits his time beween the Quad Cities and Florida. Marici is the author of two poetry books from Ice Cube Press, of North Liberty, Iowa, a chapbook titled "Mortals, Nature and their Spirits" and the wildly sensual "Swish, Swirl & Sniff."
Travel with us through these poems to Salvatore's memories of the Amazon, Guatemala, Sicily and the Midwest.
Marici's work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including "Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland." He was the 2010 Midwest Writing Center's poet-in-residence in Davenport, Iowa.
This week's guest on Writers' Voices, Sharon Draper, was a middle and high school English teacher for 25 years. In fact, she was named National Teacher of the Year in 1997. Her first book for young adults, "Tears of a Tiger" was published in 1995 and named one of the top 100 books for young adults for the millenium.
Writers' Voices host Caroline Kilbourn, herself a former high school English teacher, says "Stella By Starlight" should be required reading for all school children. Inspired by the childhoold journal of Draper's grandmother Estelle, who had to quit school in the fifth grade to work on the family farm but continued to write late at night, "Stella by Starlight" is set in 1932 in the fictional town of Bumblebee, NC. Like many of Draper's books, it deals with difficult subjects; the Depression, segregation, the Ku Klux Klan, and voting rights, but told in a way that readers don't even realize they are learning history.
Join us this week on Writers' Voices to learn how this book came to be and why it is so important, why Draper writes for young adults and middle readers, and how she got her first book published.
This is an unusual book. Is it an art book? A history book? A book of great stories? Yes!
In "The Who, The What and the When: 65 Artists Illustrate the Secret Sidekicks of History," collaborators Julia Rothman, Jenny Volvovski and Matt Lamothe, present the stories of 65 little-known sidekicks of famous people throughout history, written by dozens of writers, and each one illustrated in a unique way.
Here we find the stories of Muhammad Ali's Coach, Marilyn Monroe's photographer, and the Wright Brothers' mentor, plus many more.
Our guest on Writers' Voices this week, Julia Rothman, also founded the popular blog, book-by-its-cover.com. She and her coauthors previously published "The Where, the Why, and the How: 75 Artists Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of Science" and "The Exquisite Book: 100 Artists Play a Collaborative Game."
Join us on Writers' Voices this week as we learn the story behind these fabulous books.
Let's start the New Year off with a trip to the past with this rebroadcast of one of our favorite books from 2014. If you have been listening to Writers' Voices awhile, you probably know that co-host Caroline Kilbourn is single-handedly attempting to keep alive the lost art of letter-writing. You know, the kind written on paper (often by hand, with a pen), and actdually mailed? with a stamp? Well, perhaps not single-handedly, since the people she writes to often write back!
And there's also Shaun Usher, whose belief in "the importance and unrivalled charm of old-fashioned correspondence" led him to start a website in 2009 called lettersofnote.com
. There are currently over 900 "letters, postcards,telegrams, faxes and memos" featured on the site, written by people both famous and ordinary. From this intriguing archive, Usher selected more than 125 letters to feature in this beautifully designed anthology. As one critic wrote, this books is "the literary equivalent of a box of chocolates - bite-sized and pure addictive pleasure."
Join us this week on Writers' Voices to learn how Usher finds the letters, how he chose which ones to include in the book, and the process of creating such a beautiful work of literary history.
MIT Media Lab instructor, inventor, entrepreneur, and now author - David Rose specializes in digital information interfaces with the physical environment. Or as he likes to call them - "Enchanted Objects."
Rose envisions a world where the ubiquitous black screen of our computers, TV's, smartphones, etc. is - well, maybe not replaced, but definitely enhanced - by technology built intoeveryday objects, making them more useful and more pleasing to use. Umbrellas that chirp when rain is forecast. Pill bottles that track when you take your medication. Programmable Legos. Actually, all of these already exist. "In Enchanted Objects: Design, Human Desire and the Internet of Things," Rose explores the why and the how behind these products and many more, and peers into his crystal ball to show us the everyday magic of the future.
Join Monica and Caroline on Writers' Voices this week for this fascinating look at the technology of tomorrow, and a book that is enchanting to read.
Assaf Gavron is the author of seven books, and his fiction has been translated into ten languages. In the Israeli best seller, "The Hilltop," Gavron grapples with one of the most controversial issues in the world today: the settlements in the West Bank, but not in an entirely serious manner.
Khaled Hosseini, author of "The Kite Runner" writes that in "The Hilltop" Gavron "treads the line between the serious and the absurd, the tragic and the comical, the sincere and the satirical, and creates a sweeping, complex story that raises more questions than it provides answers."
If you've ever wondered what the difference is between a kibbutz and a settlement; why someone would choose to live in the West Bank; or what daily life is like there, please tune in to Writers' Voices this week to learn all that and more.
"The Hilltop" is the winner of the Bernstein Prize.
When my kids were small, I ordered a personalized book for them. It had their names in the story, and the names of their pets, but it was a cheaply made paperback and the story wasn't memorable. Still, they liked seeing their names in print.
Today, print-on-demand technology has changed the publishing world in many ways; not the least in the availability of high-quality, hard cover children's books from companess like ISeeMe.com. This week on Writers' Voices, we welcome Maia Haag, President of I See Me! We will be talking with her about how the business was started, and the technology behind it; how they work with authors and illustrators, and the impact these lovely books have on children.
In the second half of this Christmas special, Caroline will share some of her favorite Christmas stories collected over the past almost 80 years!
Join us for another Writers' Voices Christmas!