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."
Miss Fortune's Proud Parent, Wesley Stace
By Dave May 17, 2005
Perhaps you know him as the musical artist John Wesley Harding, or maybe you missed those fourteen albums. Possibly Misfortune, his acclaimed literary debut, will be your introduction. In either case, here's your chance to catch up with the "out-of-the-box, truly original storyteller" (Seattle Times) on subjects ranging from pop music and nineteenth century literature to Peter Sellers's brief ukulele career and the elegance of ankles and wrists.
Geraldine Brooks, All over the Map
By Dave March 22, 2005
Winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
Using America's Civil War as her frame, Geraldine Brooks plants a famous (but mysterious) literary figure at the center of March: the absent father in Little Women, Mr. March. The result is a wholly original novel, a rich re-imagining of the nation's military and literary foundations, and arguably the bestselling author's finest work to date.
Pam Houston's Backstreets
By Dave February 22, 2005
After three best-selling collections, in the progress of things, Pam Houston says, it was time to write about a few good men. If one of those men happens to be an Irish wolfhound, who among Houston's devoted readers would call it a surprise? On dogs, Bruce Springsteen, Colorado sports fans, and her new novel, Sight Hound, Pam Houston opens up.
A Few Thin Slices of Malcolm Gladwell
By Dave February 8, 2005
In The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell set out to describe how ideas, products, messages, and behaviors travel through culture. In Blink, he considers how effective decisions are made. "Gladwell writes about subtle yet crucial behavioral phenomena with lucidity and contagious enthusiasm," Booklist raves. "[Blink] is enlightening, provocative, and great fun to read."