Thursday, September 24, 2009

A New Discovery

Oprah: she can be a dividing force - some people love her, some people hate her. Me? I'm on the fence. I'm certainly not an avid follower, but I'm on her e-mail list and sometimes I find cool stuff on her website. And, of course, I hope that one day she will select one of my books for her book club and make me a millionaire so I can quit my day job and focus on my writing. But I digress.

Thanks to her daily newsletter, I discovered something fantastic today - and I'm so excited, I just can't hide it!

On her website is an article from the most recent issue of O magazine, about Michael Silverblatt and his weekly public radio show Bookworm on KCRW out of Los Angeles. Bookworm isn't syndicated by NPR, so if you live outside the L.A. area you won't be able to listen to it over the airways ... but the Bookworm online archive has podcasts of nearly 1,000 interviews with various authors. That's what I said: almost 1,000 half-hour interviews! I can't wait to get home and start downloading!

(I told you I was excited!)

Anyway, for your reading pleasure, here's an excerpt from the article I thought was great and speaks to the reader and writer in all of us:

From his book-lined apartment (no kidding, even in the kitchen cupboards—and all alphabetized), Michael tells me: "I believe in the elaborate taking care of others. And we live in a culture where 'I'm not my brother's keeper,' 'That's your responsibility,' 'Get a life' have become bywords, code phrases, anthems for elaborate indifference, selfishness, greediness, and the failure of empathetic acceptance. In the same way that we need to repair the economy, we need to repair the effects of an economy of selfishness. And that isn't just the filling in of the big bucks that have fallen out of the system. The rescue that we need is emotional rescue, communicative, large-hearted. I've always dreamed that people listening to the show would hear that readers and writers are expanders of feeling centers, of the global ability to imagine other lives. And I want people listening to the show, yes, of course, to grasp its intelligence, but to also hear that it wants to show the feeling that reading and imagination inspire in writers and readers. We want to share those things with listeners. There are all sorts of other things that you get on radio and television, but I wanted listeners of Bookworm to hear words, ideas, but particularly emotions that don't get discussed in public if at all elsewhere. That is to say, for one reason or another, the show is a crusade that's much larger than the subject of books."

To read the full article, please visit The article also includes audio links for several of Silverblatt's interviews wtih some big name writers, like Salman Rushdie.

If you could interview any writer (living or dead), who would you choose, and why? What would you ask?

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