A new podcast for me this year, and for everyone, is Pod Save America, the podcast created by former speechwriters in President Obama’s administration. It acts as a tonic or a resistance in the Trump era. It seems to be a successful rallying cry so far for people who are disillusioned at the current government. It is one of the most popular podcasts now. They are even taking the show on the road. It is released twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, which is a little too much for me. I enjoy the Monday ones the best, probably because the hosts are Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor, in addition to Jon Favreau, who I think do a better job than for the Thursday show when it is just Favreau and Dan Pfieffer. Favreau is usually in the role of setting things up, kind of the straight man, so it is stronger when there are two people playing off him instead of one (and Pfeiffer does have a hesitating way of speaking that isn’t great for audio). Also, as the show develops further, they have to find a way of better integrating the guest interviews with the introductory news punditry round-up: too often they steal the thunder from their guests, and so why listen to their guests?
You can find the podcast here: https://crooked.com/podcast-series/pod-save-america/
Continue reading “2017 Year in Review in Podcasts”
On paper, it sounds like something magnificent: master short-story writer George Saunders’s very first novel! An examination of a moment in the life of America’s greatest president!
As Penguin Random House says:
George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.
And then there’s the audiobook: 166 characters! 166 voices!
“The first truly blockbuster audiobook? … it’s going to be incredible”
Continue reading “Lincoln in the Bardo and the impossible audiobook”
Fifty-six blog posts published so far this year
Number one, most-read blog post: Review of Justin Cronin’s “City of Mirrors”
Number one, most-watched videos: Sun Yuan and Peng Yu’s “Can’t Help Myself” from the Guggenheim Museum
Two poems published: “That Day in Assisi” and “For Your Own Safety”
One short story published: “Auntie Lovely Says Goodbye”
Two countries visited: Guatemala, South Korea
Twenty-four books read
Twenty-one seconds: Best completion time of the NYTimes mini puzzle
Participation Award: La Tortilla Cooking School, Antigua, Guatemala
What is the future of science fiction?
It could be in the pages of Up and Coming: Stories by the 2016 Campbell Eligible Authors.
You can download the book here: http://www.badmenagerie.com/
Hurry up, though, the download will only be available until March 31, 2016.
What is a “Campbell Eligible Author” you may ask? These are writers who are new to the science fiction and fantasy field with their first professionally paid publications. The John W. Campbell Award is presented at the World Science Fiction Convention (this year, it will be held in Kansas City, Mo., in August). More info on the awards is available here: http://www.writertopia.com/awards/campbell
I was happy to see lots of writers that are familiar to me from my reading of shot stories and/or SFF-related blogs, including:
- Nicolette Barischoff
- S.B. Divya
- David J́on Fuller
- Jaymee Goh
- LS Johnson
- Alyssa Wong
- Jeff Xilon
- Isabel Yap
So you could consider this list of writers as a point of entry into this tome. You may find plenty of your gems in it, though.
Let me know what you find and recommend.
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Originally written and published in the Times Union in August 2001.
“Clean white teeth are not always wise,” says an elderly British veteran in Zadie Smith’s stunning debut novel, “White Teeth,” setting up one of the major ideas of her book, which has been recently released in paperback (Vintage; 464 pages; $14). “When I was in the Congo, the only way I could identify the nigger was by the whiteness of his teeth … See a flash of white and bang!”
This brief passage contains everything Smith is writing against: stereotypical depictions of people with dark skins, most often natives of lands colonized by whites who are reduced to nothing more than targets of violence.
What makes this novel great, though, is that Smith uses a sharp wit, sensitive insights, humorous and sometimes uncomfortable situations and a rich cast of quirky, believable characters who struggle with their hopes and disappointments in North London. As opposed to the plot, which turns overly melodramatic at the end, Smith’s characters are where her true talents shine. Continue reading “#tbt Review: Zadie Smith’s debut novel White Teeth”