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.
Behind the Scenes with Pat Walsh
By Georgie August 23, 2005
Self-proclaimed failed novelist and founding editor of MacAdam Cage, Pat Walsh, draws on his expertise from both sides of the publishing fence. His advice to budding writers in 78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might, is a wake-up call to navel-gazers everywhere, as well as an immensely entertaining read. Walsh spoke to Powells.com about vanity presses, championship poker, and the nature of hubris among other things.
In Elizabeth Kostova's Carrel
By Dave July 25, 2005
Feeding off Cold War tensions, epistolary intrigue, the supernatural, and a pair of budding romances besides, Elizabeth Kostova's debut sprawls across Europe, from Amsterdam to Istanbul. Laura Miller assured Salon.com readers, "This year, the publishing business finally delivers on its promises: The Historian is a hypnotic yarn, saturated in authentic history and eerie intrigue."
Same Old, Brand New Michael Cunningham
By Dave July 11, 2005
In The Hours (winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulker Award), Michael Cunningham channeled Virginia Woolf as both collaborator and subject; in Specimen Days, he summons Walt Whitman as witness and specter. The two novels are as different as the writers that inspired them. What they share, however, present in all of Cunningham's work, is a network of underlying connections, a powerful urge toward community, in body and in spirit.
Nick Hornby's Funny Folk-Pop
By Dave June 26, 2005
"It seems to me there's probably nothing you can't do in a funny book that a heartbreaking book is doing," Nick Hornby explains. "You can write about exactly the same stuff. You just try not to deny people hope and enjoyment at the same time." The author of three bestselling novels since High Fidelity discusses his latest, A Long Way Down, as well as his monthly column for the Believer, Arsenal football, his favorite new music, and more.
Connecting with David McCullough
By Dave June 13, 2005
Mining personal correspondence and archival records to draw George Washington and his ragged army of volunteers, in 1776 David McCullough turns from John Adams's legislative and domestic affairs to the perseverance and uncanny good fortune of America's fighting force. "A classic," raves the Philadelphia Inquirer, "brilliantly written, scrupulously researched, tremendously informative and endlessly entertaining."
The Incredible, Entertaining Sarah Vowell
By Dave May 31, 2005
A frequent contributor to This American Life and the voice of teenage superhero Violet Parr Sarah Vowell is "the history teacher we all wanted in school," raves Ariel Gonzalez of the Miami Herald. Powell's own Tessa swears, "Obsessive, edifying, and, of course, witty, Assassination Vacation is unlike any other historical tourism or travel writing book you'll ever read."