Authors In Real Life

Amelia Gray’s New Novel, Isadora, Takes Readers Deep into the Madness of Loss

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Before she was known as the mother of modern dance, Isadora Duncan was a single mother of two young children, balancing her creative life with family life in Paris. In 1913, both children died in a freak accident, and Duncan’s world split forever into before and after. Her deep grief, mental unraveling, and struggle to regain her sanity are the basis for Amelia Gray’s new historical novel, Isadora. Read the rest of this entry »

Chuck Klosterman, The (Sort of) Reformed Multi-Tasker

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Chuck Klosterman is the bestselling author of seven books of nonfiction (make that eight now) and two novels. He solved moral dilemmas for The New York Times Magazine’s Ethicist column for three years, co-founded the website Grantland, and once appeared in a documentary. He has also contributed regularly to The Washington Post, GQ, Esquire, Spin, The Guardian, The Believer, Billboard, The A.V. Club, and ESPN. Over the last couple of decades, he has not only analyzed popular opinion on entertainment, sports, music, and philosophy; he has helped define it. Read the rest of this entry »

Grownup Conversation: Jami Attenberg Talks with Katy Simpson Smith

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When author Jami Attenberg moved from Brooklyn to New Orleans recently, she got to spend more time with writer-pal Katy Simpson Smith (author of Free Men, a Parnassus First Editions Club pick of 2016) — which worked out perfectly for us, because it gave Smith plenty of access to interview Attenberg about her new novel, All Grown Up. Read the rest of this entry »

Authors in Real Life: Michael Farris Smith

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“I love gritty — and this is the ultimate grit,” says Parnassus Book Clubs manager Kathy Schultenover. If you’ve been in the store when Kathy’s on duty lately, you’ve likely heard her pitch for Desperation Road, the new novel by Michael Farris Smith. She compares it to fiction by Tom Franklin, Ron Rash, William Gay, and Larry Brown — and says fans of True Detective would love it. Read the rest of this entry »

Mercy & Magic: An Evening with Mary Gauthier and Wally Lamb

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Ah, celebrity pals: Oprah and Gayle. George and Brad. Tina and Amy. Mary and Wally.

You know, Mary Gauthier and Wally Lamb. Read the rest of this entry »

Notes from Ann: Turning the Tables

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(On location at Parnassus for A Word on Words. This new episode premieres Sunday, February 19, at 10:26 a.m. on Nashville Public Television.)

Mary Laura Philpott, the author of Penguins with People Problems, is often interviewing people, and whether she’s doing it on A Word on Wordsthe television series that discusses books, or right here on Musing, Parnassus’s online literary magazine (which, by the way, she created), she’s awfully good at it. So good at it, in fact, that she won an Emmy a couple of weeks ago. When one of your employees wins an Emmy, it’s best to call them into the office to have a little discussion, see what’s going on. For the record, Mary Laura strenuously objected to this interview. That’s because she always likes to be in control. But I still own half this bookstore, so I have some authority. I told her to just sit down and answer questions. – Ann Read the rest of this entry »

“Looking the beast in the face” — George Saunders on Life, Death, and Losing Control

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In February 1862, nearly a year into the bloody battles of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s 11-year-old son, Willie, dies of typhoid fever. Newspapers report that the grief-stricken President returns to the Georgetown cemetery by night to visit Willie’s body. That much is true. This much is fiction: One night, the President’s visit to the graveyard becomes a conversation with a colorful cast of ghostly characters, spirits stuck in a state of purgatory called the bardo, all of whom have a story to tell. Read the rest of this entry »