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Powell's Q&A

Steve Almond

Describe your latest project.
The Evil BB Chow and Other Stories covers the following topics: alien abduction, brain trauma, romantic misbehavior, Michael Jackson's genitals, Abraham Lincoln's interracial homoerotic fetish, ocular copulation, racial sin, forgiveness, horse sex, and love-based grief. In other words: a freakfest. Relatively PG excerpts can be found at: www.bbchow.com.

  1. The Evil B.B. Chow and Other Stories
    $7.95 Used Hardcover add to wishlist
    "In this sexy, fast-paced second collection of stories, Almond...takes on love and loss around the turn of the millennium, showing how average people living in big cities and university towns tackle heartbreak with humor." Publishers Weekly
  2. Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America
    $4.95 Used Trade Paper add to wishlist
    "I got a real sugar rush and a cluster headache reading this bittersweet book by Steve Almond-joy, the sugar daddy himself. I won't sugar coat it — this book is one sweet treat." Amy Sedaris
  3. My Life in Heavy Metal: Stories
    $5.50 Used Trade Paper add to wishlist
    "Almond takes us to all the treacherous, deviant, and awe-inspiring places that love and lust help create in our 'human condition'....It's a vastly entertaining ride." Kevin Sampsell, Powells.com

What fictional character would you like to date, and why?
This is a trick question to get me to say Lolita.

Introduce one other author you think people should read, and suggest a good place to start.
Ryszard Kapuscinski: He's a Polish reporter who's covered, like, thirty different revolutions, mostly in Africa and Latin America. He writes about the trauma and chaos of the developing world in a way that is totally unsentimental and, for this reason, heartbreaking. His masterpiece is The Emperor which documents the last days of Haile Selassie's reign. I read it about twice a year.

Writers are better liars than other people: true or false. Why or why not?
False, I'm afraid. We're cowardly weenies, for the most part, and prone to physiological giveaways (excessive sweating, blinking, etc.) The good "in-person" liars go into law, politics, marketing, and so on.

How did the last good book you read end up in your hands, and why did you read it?
My pal Karl Iagnemma had been telling me about this book, I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company, for like six months. As generally happens when friends attempt to elevate the quality of my life, I ignored him. Last week I finally picked it up and it ROCKS. It's about the Lewis and Clark expedition. The author, Brian Hall, tells the story from multiple points of view and they're all totally gorgeous and true. I was blown away.

What makes your favorite pair of shoes better than the rest?
Stilleto heels.

Describe the best breakfast of your life.
Well, look, as a Jew I worship the pig, so I'm going to have to go with a breakfast I made last week: smoked bacon, thick cut, with an egg-tomato-basil-and-cheese frittata, cooked over a high heat, and Portuguese rolls from my local bakery, pan-fried in lots of butter. I realized, eating this meal, that I was going to die sooner than I needed to; that was totally fine with me.

What is your idea of absolute happiness?
Eating a well-engineered piece of chocolate, in bed, with my lady, naked, having written something of worth earlier in the day.

Why do you write?
Because I was too inhibited as a kid to make music.

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.
From John Williams's b-b-b-b-rilliant novel Stoner:

In his extreme youth Stoner had thought of love as an absolute state of being to which, if one were lucky, one might find access; in his maturity he had decided it was the heaven of a false religion, toward which one ought to gaze with an amused disbelief, a gently familiar contempt, and an embarrassed nostalgia. Now in his middle age he began to know that it was neither a state of grace nor an illusion, he saw it as a human act of becoming, a condition that was invented and modified moment by moment and day by day, by the will and the intelligence and the heart.

Share an interesting experience you've had with one of your readers.
In Seattle I had a guy give me a note, written on a napkin, in his own blood. Super hot.

Fahrenheit, Celsius, or Kelvin?
Kelvin. Kelvin is SO hot.

Who's wilder on tour, rock bands or authors?
C'mon, man. Authors TEAR SHIT UP.

What do you dislike most?
All the covert hate slogans: Family Values, Support the Troops, United We Stand. spacer

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