The Epistolary Marilynne Robinson
By Jill Owens January 24, 2006
Marilynne Robinson's first novel, Housekeeping, was immediately described as a modern classic and nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Twenty-four years later, her second novel, Gilead, won both the Pulitzer and the National Book Critics' Circle Award, and has received almost universal praise. Ron Charles of the Christian Science Monitor marvels, "There are passages here of such profound, hard-won wisdom and spiritual insight that they make your own life seem richer....Gilead [is] a quiet, deep celebration of life that you must not miss."
Staying after School with Frank McCourt
By Dave January 10, 2006
"People everywhere brag and whimper about the woes of their early years, but nothing can compare with the Irish version," Frank McCourt famously noted in his debut. The follow-up, 'Tis, picks up where Angela's Ashes left off, and stands as one of the great immigrant stories of our times. "After it was published," however, as McCourt explains, "I had the nagging feeling I'd given teaching short shrift." Now, in Teacher Man, he focuses on his thirty years in the classroom.
Reading Along to the Paul Beatty Shuffle
By Dave December 13, 2005
Editor Paul Beatty describes Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor as "a mix-tape narrative...a sampler of underground classics, rare grooves, and timeless summer jams." The California-born author's own poetry and prose—satirical, dark, gymnastic, and very funny throughout—surely qualifies him for the gig. Indeed, Publishers Weekly confirms, "The volume's general tenor is wild, winking and explosive....A Norton anthology this is not."
From Florence to Pluto with Dava Sobel
By Dave November 29, 2005
In 1995, when Dava Sobel published Longitude, science geeks and neophytes alike devoured the story of John Harrison's assault on one of the greatest scientific problems of modern times. Four years later, she returned with Galileo's Daughter, an equally engrossing but altogether different kind of history. Now, in The Planets, Sobel serves up something of a love letter to the solar system, a lyrical portrait of the human race, century after century, gazing into nighttime skies.
A Kinder, Gentler Carl Hiaasen, Still Pissing People Off
By Dave November 15, 2005
The author of ten gut-busting, page-turning mysteries, two collections of fiery newspaper columns, an indictment of the Disney empire, and now two acclaimed books for young readers, Hoot and Flush, Carl Hiaasen stopped by Powells.com to talk about his writing, Florida, movie adaptations, discovering Christopher Paolini, and more.
Perhaps Soon Zadie Smith Will Know What She's Doing (and then Just You Watch Out)
By Dave October 18, 2005
Has it really been more than five years since White Teeth thrust Zadie Smith to the head of her literary class? In 2002, The Autograph Man prompted Salon.com's Laura Miller to ask, "What did we do to deserve a young novelist this brilliant, this generous, this alive?" Here to introduce her third novel, On Beauty ("masterly on almost any level," says the Washington Post), Smith discussed mad families, politics, old movie memorabilia, and more.
Clowning with Salman Rushdie
By Dave October 4, 2005
In September of 2002, Salman Rushdie spent an hour at Powells.com reflecting on the arc of his career, from the early, attention-grabbing novels to the nonfiction collected in Step Across this Line. Three years later, he returned to discuss Shalimar the Clown, Shakespeare's gift to English-language writers, tightrope walkers, and the book on his bedside table.
Undercover with Barbara Ehrenreich
By Jill Owens October 4, 2005
The Washington Post calls Bait and Switch "[A] worthy companion to Nickel and Dimed....[A] cautionary tale about the disposability of all American working people—not just those whose parents couldn't send them to the right schools." Before her reading for Powell's at the Bagdad Theater, Barbara Ehrenreich stopped by to discuss going back undercover, universal health insurance, and the absurdity of the job-transition industry.
Bret Easton Ellis Does an Awfully Good Impression of Himself
By Dave September 20, 2005
Lunar Park is "remarkable in scope and plot," Georgie Lewis applauds, "an almost masochistic metafiction in which the author plays himself as a suburban dad paying gruesome penance for being Bret Easton Ellis." The author explains, "I wanted to write something fun...a haunted house story... a book that took me back to the enjoyment I got as a kid reading genre fiction."
Aimee Bender's Cabinet of Wonder
By Dave September 6, 2005
In 1998, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt introduced a voice of uncommon invention and feeling—"visionary," as Jonathan Lethem aptly described it, "but close to home." Seven years (and one celebrated novel) later, Aimee Bender returns with Willful Creatures, fifteen more stories displaying the author's unfettered imagination side-by-side with an elemental, heartrending compassion for her characters.