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Emma Straub is, according to Gothamist, "the belle of the Brooklyn indi-lit ball". Her debut story collection Other People We Married, was published in February to rave reviews. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published by Tin House, The Paris Review Daily, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Slate and many other journals.

Hailed as “the best thrill writer of the moment” (New York Times) and “the poster boy for American crime fiction” (Los Angeles Times), with more than 40 million copies of his novels in print worldwide featuring his now iconic creation—ex Army cop and all-around tough guy Jack Reacher—Lee Child is doing pretty good.

On Feb. 17, 1970, physician Jeffrey MacDonald called the police to his Fort Bragg, N.C., home. He told the responding officers that he had been assaulted by a group of "hippie" intruders, who had also bludgeoned and stabbed his wife and two young daughters — ages 2 and 5 — to death. MacDonald suffered a concussion and collapsed lung but survived.

We welcome Peter G. Pollak back to the show and speak with him about his new book, Making the Grade.

From the early months of the 2008 campaign and through the first two and a half years of the Obama administration, Arun Chaudhary had a unique perspective on the president of the United States. He was the first official White House videographer.

Bob Balaban

Sep 12, 2012

Bob Balaban is an Academy Award-nominated American actor, author and director. One of his earliest appearances was in 1969’s Midnight Cowboy. Other early roles in the 1970s were in Catch-22 and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In 1979 he received a Tony Award nomination for his role in The Inspector General. During the 1980s he appeared in films such as 2010, and directed the Randy Quaid picture, Parents.

In the new book Several Short Sentences About Writing , author and New York Times editorial board member Verlyn Klinkenborg does away with much of the traditional wisdom on writing and dissects the sentence — its structure, its intention, its semantic craftsmanship — to deliver a new, useful, and direct guide to the art of storytelling.

Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya’s heartbreaking and haunting novel, The Watch: A Novel , takes a timeless tragedy and hurls it into present-day Afghanistan. Taking its cues from the Antigone myth, Roy-Bhattacharya recreates the chaos, intensity, and immediacy of battle, and conveys the inevitable repercussions felt by the soldiers, their families, and by one sister.

As the 1960s ended, Herbie Hancock embarked on a grand creative experiment. Having just been dismissed from the celebrated Miles Davis Quintet, he set out on the road, playing with his first touring group as a leader until he eventually formed what would become a revolutionary band.

Adam Gopnick

Sep 11, 2012

Adam Gopnik is an essayist and commentator. He is best known as a staff writer for The New Yorker—to which he has contributed non-fiction, fiction, memoir and criticism. He'll participate in this weekend's Berkshire Wordfest at The Mount in Lenox, MA.

Michael Adams teaches English language and literature at Indiana University. He is the author of Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon and editor of From Elvish to Klingon.

Two years ago, Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges and award-winning cartoonist and journalist Joe Sacco set out to take a look at the sacrifice zones, those areas in America that have been offered up for exploitation in the name of profit, progress, and technological advancement. They wanted to show in words and drawings what life looks like in places where the marketplace rules without constraints, where human beings and the natural world are used and then discarded to maximize profit.

CSI NY star, Hill Harper, looks to guide us through tough times and offers advice for reaping the rewards of a truly happy life. With The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in Its Place, he does more than that: He presents a revolutionary new definition of wealth; motivating readers to not only build financial security but to achieve wealth in every aspect of their lives.

We welcome bestselling author and award-winning sports reporter, Joe Drape, and speak with him about his latest book, Soldiers First: Duty, Honor, Country, and Football at West Point.

D.T. Max sets out to chart David Foster Wallace’s tormented, anguished and often triumphant battle to succeed as a novelist as he fights off depression and addiction to emerge with his masterpiece, Infinite Jest, before his untimely death by suicide at the age of 46 in 2008.

Procrastinators have a reputation as loafers, laggards and lollygaggers. A bit harsh, believes University of California, Riverside philosopher John Perry, a self-described procrastinator who asserts that, unlike their reputation, most people who excel at postponing the inevitable actually lead productive lives by busying themselves with many tasks to avoid others deemed more onerous.

For the very first time, Mo Willems, who is a phenomenon in the world of children’s books, is retelling a fairytale as only he can. With a hilariously arch narrator, a sassy Goldilocks, clever visual jokes, and of course, dinosaurs, this telling feels completely fresh—but with a nod to the classics.

“Do not forget that ‘skill and integrity’ are the keys to success.” This was the last piece of advice on a list Will Thurmond gave his son Strom in 1923. The younger Thurmond would keep the words in mind throughout his long and colorful career as one of the South’s last race-baiting demagogues and as a a major figure in modern conservative politics.

New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny will read from and sign her new book The Beautiful Mystery on Friday at the Odyssey Bookstore event at Gamble Auditorium in the Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art.

When award-winning documentary film writer, Jane Barnes, was working on the PBS special series The Mormons, she was surprised to find herself inexplicably drawn to Joseph Smith and the Mormon religion.

Henry James has had many biographers, but Michael Gorra has taken an original approach to this great American novelist, combining elements of biography, criticism, and travelogue in re-creating the dramatic backstory of James’s masterpiece, Portrait of a Lady. Literary critic Michael Gorra joins us to discuss Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece.

We welcome Frank Delaney back to the program. He'll be at the Spencertown Festival of Books this coming weekend. His most recent book is The Last Storyteller: A Novel of Ireland.

Peter Steiner is a writer, artist and former New Yorker cartoonist. While he may be best known for his 1993 New Yorker cartoon, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog,” Peter Steiner has recently been making a name for himself as a writer of powerful thrillers. His most recent novel is The Resistance: A Thriller (Louis Morgon Thriller).

We welcome physician and New York Times-bestselling author, Tess Gerritsen, back to the program to speak with her about her latest Rizzoli and Isles Novel, Last to Die.

Jonathan Tropper’sThis is Where I Leave You, was a breakout book that was praised by critics and landed Tropper on the New York Times  Bestsellers List. Three years after publication, Tropper is back with his new novel: One Last Thing Before I Go.

We welcome Stuart Woods and speak with him about the re-issue of his first book, Blue Water, Green Skipper: A Memoir of Sailing Alone Across the Atlantic.

Award-winning journalist and author Peter Golden’s first novel is Comeback Love: A Novel .

Andrew Phelps/WBUR

David Rakoff, author humorous essay collections Fraud, Don’t Get Too Comfortable, and Half Empty - and frequent contributor to Public Radio International’s This American Life has died.

We welcome Dean Koontz back to the program and talk about his latest book, Odd Apocalypse: An Odd Thomas Novel.

A graduate of Yale, Gerald Elias has been a Boston Symphony violinist, Associate Concertmaster of the Utah Symphony, adjunct professor of music at the University of Utah, first violinist of the Abramyan String Quartet, and Music Director of the Vivaldi Candlelight concert series. He is also the author of Devil’s Trill and Danse Macabre.

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