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Powell’s Q&A: Josh Bazell

Describe your latest book:
Right now, I've got a bunch of different things going on, most of them having to do with the interface of science and literature. I'm developing a show for HBO called Emoticons about punctuation that can turn into robots, but at the same time I'm doing some neuroscience research. It's about chemicals that get released in the brains of runners that make it impossible for them to not constantly tell other people they're runners. I'm also working on a new crime series where the books come out in reverse order so there's less stress on the reader. In book 14, which will be the first one to come out, all the characters are healthy and in their 80s. And this summer, I've got a nonfiction manga coming out about why so few people my age are named Connie.

Or are you asking about my new novel, Wild Thing? Which is all those things combined, but available in February.

If someone were to write your biography, what would be the title and subtitle?
Ideally "One-Man Bachelorette Party: The Shockingly Long, Happy, Successful, Revenge-Laden, Sexualized, and Love-Strewn Life of Josh Bazell (and His Friends)." Somehow "Cranky Old Asshole" seems more likely, though.

What fictional character would you like to date, and why?
Nancy Drew. We could figure each other out.

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea: "She clung to that dress as you would cling to life if you loved it."

How do you relax?
Do I look relaxed?

Describe the best breakfast of your life.
I: "Dearest, I've brought food."
Nancy Drew: "Oh darling, I don't need any. I'm completely fulfilled. If you'd like, you can eat off my back."

Why do you write?
I was going to turn on the computer to check messages anyway.

Who's wilder on tour, rock bands or authors?
Authors. They're Oscar Wilder. Does anyone ever not give that answer?

Ten drastically underappreciated crime novels not written by me, in chronological order:
"An Outpost of Progress" (short story, really) by Joseph Conrad (1896)
Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household (1939)
The Girl Who Had to Die by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (1940)
The Judas Pair by Jonathan Gash (1977)
White Jazz by James Ellroy (1992)
The Ax by Donald Westlake (1997)
Deepwater by Matthew F. Jones (2000)
Come Closer by Sara Gran (2003)
Small Crimes by Dave Zeltserman (2008)
Strip by Thomas Perry (2010, tied with Pursuit by Thomas Perry 2008)

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Josh Bazell is the author of the national bestseller Beat the Reaper and holds a BA in writing from Brown University and an MD from Columbia. He lives in New York. His latest novel is Wild Thing.

Books mentioned in this post

2 Responses to "Powell’s Q&A: Josh Bazell"

    Bilbo February 15th, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Recently picked up "Beat the Reaper" again to get back in the flow for "Wild Thing" what a great pair of books. Could not recommend more highly. Definitely looking forward to the next installment.

    I think "Beat the Reaper" was even more poignant this time around (if by poignant we are talking something which causes one to shudder and highly sympathize) as I recently suffered an injury.

    "Wild Thing" was completely entertaining and thought provoking. Please write some more of this madness/goodness.

    April Henry February 15th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Can't wait to read this. Beat the Reaper was one of the best books I read in 2009.

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