Sunday, December 30, 2007
iPod therefore I am, Part II
Since some of you out there unwrapped iPods on Christmas or Hanukkah, I thought I'd continue to write about my favorite podcasts. I covered films earlier. Here are some book-related ones that I like. After reading a good book, I often poke around on the Internet searching for interviews with the author, and these are good places to start.
But first, before you start uploading your iPod with your favorie tunes and podcasts, iLounge is a great reference source for reviews of iPod accessories, including that all-important case with a screen protector to keep your baby looking shiny and new.
Barnes & Noble Meet the Writers: These are short podcasts, usually running from 10 to 15 minutes, but the authors provide some interesting insight into the writing process. Recent guests have included Washington Post senior Pentagon correspondent Thomas Ricks talking about "Fiasco," his bestseller about the war in Iraq, humorist David Sedaris, Chris Van Allsburg, prize-winning author and illustrator of children's books, and Vince Flynn, writer of political thrillers, who discusses struggle with dyslexia and how he got started as an author. The Web site also has links to video interviews, including a nice one with "Wicked" author Gregory Maguire.
BBC's World Book Club: The BBC's Harriet Gilbert has a half-hour monthly program that offers World Service listeners a chance to send in their questions. Recent episodes have included a fifth-anniversary interview with Michael Ondaatje, who discusses his novel "The English Patient," a talk with "Tales of the City" author Armistead Maupin, and crime writer Sara Paretsky. January's program will feature J.G. Ballard, talking about "Empire of the Sun." You can submit a question here.
Fresh Air with Terry Gross from WHYY in Philadelphia and On Point with Tom Ashbrook from WBUR in Boston: While these programs cover more than books, they often have authors as guests. Each show is about 45 minutes, long enough for some in-depth, thought-provoking questions. I've especially enjoyed Terry Gross' interviews with novelist Philip Roth and playwright Tony Kushner. Tom Ashbrook's recent shows have included a look at Jane Austen mania and an interview with "Little Children" author Tom Perrotta.
NPR Books: Like it does for music and movies, National Public Radio collects the best segments on books from all of its shows each week and puts them in one tidy podcast package ranging from 15 to 45 minutes. The books podcast includes author interviews, reviews and feature stories. Recent segments have looked at taking British novelist Ian McEwan's "Atonement" from page to screen, remembering author Norman Mailer, and a discussion of "The Dirt on Clean," Katherine Ashenburg's new book on the history of cleanliness. You can find a complete list of NPR podcasts here.
Slate's Audio Book Club: Slate.com assembles a roundtable of panelists who discuss a single title. There's no set schedule, they seem to do it once every few months. Each program runs about an hour. The choices have included fiction and nonfiction, newly published books and classics, ranging from Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking" to Toni Morrison's "Beloved," to Philip Roth's "Everyman" to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's "The Audacity of Hope."
Washington Post Book World: Book World editors Marie Arana and Ron Charles interview two authors in the half-hour show. Recent guests have included the very funny Christopher Buckley, author of "Thank you for Smoking," talking about his new book "Boomsday," and former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw, who's moved on from the Greatest Generation to chronicling the 1960s.