Viagra est utilisé après consultation avec votre médecin, mais vous pouvez acheter Viagra en ligne, et le prix de Viagra est abordable.

Archive by Author

Local Folk: Reading with Owen Egerton

20 Jun

Owen Egerton, longtime friend of American Short Fiction, is on a crazy book tour. (Crazy awesome!) How so? He’s touring via train with his whole family. He’s in San Francisco tonight (June 20), presenting his Best of God show at the Balboa Theater. Go show him some love, Bay Area. He will make you laugh. More details on his tour on his website.

We conducted this interview right before the conductor shouted “all aboard!” Or whatever it is that they shout these days.

* * *

ASF: Let’s talk about The Book of Harold, just out in paperback from the wonderful Soft Skull Press. You first published this novel two years ago—how do you feel about it now? Are you feeling reinvigorated as you prepare for the second go-round of press? Excited about the book tour?

Owen: Thrilled! I’ve loved jumping back into the chapters for readings, once again engaging the issues and themes of the novel. It’s interesting returning to a book some years after writing it. It’s a window I opened then but can look through now. If I were so inclined to rewrite Harold now, it would be a different book. I’m a different writer, different person. It would not necessarily be a better book.

I take a while to write a novel, over six years on the short end. So every novel ends up being a collaboration between the man who started the work and the man who finishes it. Both me, but years apart.

The tour should be a blast. My wife, Jodi, and I are taking our two kids and taking the train from city to city up the West Coast. I get to take my family from bookstore to bookstore traveling by train? How could I not be excited? And Soft Skull is such a fun press. They’re putting the novel in front of so many new readers.

ASF:  In the book, Harold and his followers are making a holy pilgrimage to Austin. Why did you choose Austin in particular, and what role does this city play in the novel? What was it like writing about the place you live in and know so well?

Owen: When I was younger, I did my best to avoid writing about Austin. I thought it would be more creative to describe a world other than my own. But again and again, Austin crept into my books and stories, or my characters crept into Austin. I don’t subscribe to the old adage “write what you know.” But I do believe you should write about what you love. And I love Austin. Love its waterholes, coffee shops, live oaks. Love the hippies, hipsters, and hicks all waiting in the same line for barbecue. Love the front yard art and backyard concerts. Love how we keep making films, plays, songs, books. . . even if we’re hardly making a dime. I love that you can still afford to do that here. Love the lifestyle tinkerers, the food mystics, the grow-your-owns. Love the not-yet-blended-but-getting-there combination of cultures. I love what we’ve been, who we are and all is to come.I really dig this town.

ASF:  Tell us about a favorite book or short story, or something great you read recently. What impressed you or stuck with you about the work or author?

Owen: I’m reading Run with the Hunted, a Charles Bukowski Reader. The editor has arranged his stories and poems in the chronological order of his life so that the book reads as a kind of autobiography. He takes you close to some nasty scenes and grabs some true gut beauty. He describes the horrific with such simple elegance, such unassuming sentences, that the work has an electric honesty. An honestly of emotion. And his wit is hard to beat.

ASF:  What do you look for when you read a piece of fiction? What makes something resonate with you, or inspire your own writing?

Owen: The fiction that attracts me most is the product of a writer reaching past her knowledge, striving to touch something beyond herself. There are plenty of clever craftsmen writing today, and I respect them. But often those books read like well stacked piles of wood. I like the ones set ablaze. A book that burns is harder to keep in the lines, harder to summarize. I don’t need a book that has a “message” I can take away in my pocket. Save that for inspirational and political Twitters. I want a book discovering itself. A book that’s a little out of control.

ASF: Where is your favorite spot in Austin to delve into a great work of fiction?

Owen: Is there a bad spot? So many! The south shores of Barton Springs, the counter at Bouldin Creek Coffee House, the stacks at the Twin Pine Library. . . but here’s my current favorite spot both for writing and reading. The far south-east corner of the Once Over coffee shop’s back patio. I’ve spent many an hour under a sprawling oak with Bouldin Creek to my side, a near perfect coffee before me and a used paperback in my hand.

That’s the ingredients for a good day.

ASF: What are you up to around Austin these days? Tell me about what you do at the Drafthouse—Master Pancake, your “Best Of” compilations—etc. How long have you been performing stand-up?

Owen: I saw that Soft Skull described me as a stand-up. I don’t really do too much actual stand-up. But I do stand in front of people and occasionally they snicker. I’ve been doing comedy since college. Comedy has been very kind to me. it paid the bills before writing could. While working on first novel, I was living in a VW van and performing random comedy gigs to buys groceries and gas.

The “Best Of” series has been a blast. I’ll actually be doing a number of those shows in the same cities I’ll be visiting for my book tour. We take a theme–sex ed, drugs, God– and put together a slew of outrageous clips from 1930s onward. Then we invite Austin notables, experts, and celebrities to discuss the theme. Plus a local musician like Southpaw Jones to write a song for the night. It’s kind of the bastard love child of comedy, music, interviews, encyclopedic explorations, and frenetic channel surfing. I’ll be on book tour for June and July, but we’ll be doing more “Best Of”‘s starting in August.

Master Pancake is always a blast. I’ve been mocking movies with John Erler for twelve years now. I’m sure I’ll be joining him again come fall.

Local Folk: Reading with Elizabeth Crane

24 May

One of our favorite local writers, Elizabeth Crane, is about to break new ground. With her distinctive experimental style and quirky, charming voice, Crane has authored three remarkable collections of short stories—When the Messenger is Hot, All This Heavenly Glory, and You Must Be This Happy to Enter. Now, she’s excited to publish her first novel We Only Know So Much (Harper Perennial) and kick off her national book tour next month. We can’t wait to see what Crane does in long form, but she says the transition wasn’t intentional. “At first I didn’t know I was writing a novel,” she told us. “It started as a short story that just sort of grew.” We Only Know So Much follows the dysfunctional Copeland family and is replete with eccentric characters and Crane’s off-beat humor. Unfortunately, we all have to wait until June to get our hands on it, so we asked Crane to recommend a good book to tide us over in the meantime.

ASF: Tell us about a favorite book or short story.

Elizabeth: I’m a big fan of Steven Millhauser. Dangerous Laughter knocked my socks off. Or maybe I should say Dangerous Laughter knocked me out and then my dog pulled my socks off. He likes to do that.

The first story “Cat ‘n’ Mouse” is definitely a favorite. It’s written as a narrative version of a cat and mouse cartoon—but what amazes me about this story is not its humor or mere cleverness in the way he captures every last detail of that type of cartoon, but in the way it ultimately transcends that genre and becomes a really beautiful, kind of haunted story about, well, an existential sort of loneliness. “The Dome” was another standout for me, and if you can find it online (I couldn’t), Alec Baldwin read it on Selected Shorts, which I highly recommend giving a listen to.

ASF: What do you look for when you read a piece of fiction? What makes something resonate and stick with you?

Elizabeth:  Hm, good question. I really like work that takes risks, whatever that might mean. Sometimes it’s a stylistic risk, or other times it’s maybe emotionally risky. And of course, if a piece of well-written, smart fiction is also funny and heartbreaking, then I’m always going to be excited. And I think I always want to read something that feels really true, even if it’s surreal in some way. Those are the things that inspire me most as a writer, the books that make me feel like they’ve captured some truth about who people are and put it there in a way that makes it feel fresh.

ASF: Where is your favorite spot in Austin to delve into a great work of fiction?

Elizabeth:  You know, my favorite reading spot is the same anywhere I live—my bed!  But I can occasionally be found reading in the hammock in the backyard too.

ASF: We heard a rumor you might be leaving us and moving to New York.

Elizabeth:  This rumor is true. I am very sad to be leaving the good friends I’ve made here. Austin has been very kind to me; as you know, the literary community is very supportive here. I’ll miss BookPeople for sure. And I’ll miss a few favorite restaurants: Counter Cafe and Eastside Cafe, and I was going to miss the Alamo Drafthouse but apparently they’re opening one in NY! My dog will miss Redbud and his neighbor dog friends.

Local Folk: Reading with Kester Smith

2 May

Craving a great spring read, but don’t have anything specific in mind? Can’t stop thinking about that book you read last year, but don’t remember the title? You shamefully SparkNoted your way through your high school reading curriculum, and now you deeply regret it? For all these problems and more, Kester Smith is your guy.

Kester is a devoted book reader and bookseller at Austin’s beloved independent literary hub, BookPeople. “I love books, and I love people,” says Kester. “I am clearly working in the right place.” Kester hosts the New & Noteworthy book club, where people who love to talk about the latest fiction get together and do just that. He also hosts The Required Reading Revisited book club, where folks can reread the books they begrudgingly skimmed for homework. Both clubs meet once a month at BookPeople. We applaud Kester’s dedication to Austin’s book-loving community, and asked him to divulge some of his personal favorites.

ASF: Tell us about a favorite book or short story.

Kester: You begin with one of the hardest questions posed to an avid reader and bookseller. It’s impossible to answer. Some of my favorite books that I’ve discovered while working at BookPeople include Colson Whitehead’s The Intuitionist and Michael Crummey’s Galore. Some of my favorites read in book club include Colum McCann’s Let The Great World Spin and John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Pulphead. And my top five works of fiction of all-time are The Brothers KaramazovThe Brothers KGileadInfinite Jest, and The Complete Short Stories of Flannery O’Connor.

ASF: What do you look for when you read a piece of fiction? What makes something resonate and stick with you?

Kester: When I read a piece of fiction, I’m looking for a story that helps get to the heart of things. What’s happening? What’s the point? Who are we and why are we here? What are we about? I like the big questions and I look for stories that ask them; though a good story is only required to ask, not to answer. I want characters that are themselves and not well placed plot drivers. I want dialogue that doesn’t feel scripted. I want a story that helps me understand my own story and the stories of those around me, that helps me understand the world I’m living in and the people in it. I’m looking for timely and timeless, engaging and engaged.

It’s a tall order, I know. Each of those top five have all the qualities that I look for in a story. When I’m looking for something to read, I’m looking for what I found at the heart of each of them.

Café and reading area at BookPeople on North Lamar

ASF: Where is your favorite spot in Austin to delve into a great work of fiction?

Kester: I can read a book just about anywhere and often do. I don’t go anywhere without taking a book along. I’ll read standing in line at the DMV. Ideally though, I’m looking for a comfortable chair (I have back problems) near a nice breeze and a cold beer. I’m tempted to say that I prefer reading spots where I won’t be interrupted, except that those interruptions are often about the book I’m reading, and I like talking books just about as much as I like reading them. If you know a place with comfortable seating, cheap drinks, and folks that like to talk books, send me an address.

Local Folk: Reading with Barbara Galletly

25 Apr

Barbara Galletly is new to the Austin literary scene. Coming to us from Los Angeles and New York, where she worked for a nonprofit bookstore and a literary agency respectively, Barbara is now pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Texas. When she stumbled into Domy Books on East Cesar Chavez, she was impressed by the communal vibe and the unique selection of books, zines, and art. So she decided to get involved. “I love book clubs and bookstores, but I’d never done a book club at a bookstore,” Barbara told us. To combine two of her greatest loves, she teamed up with Domy curator and manager Russell Etchen to organize the Book Lover’s Reading Club. The next meeting will discuss Amelia Gray’s novel Threats, and the author herself will be in attendance. Be sure to check it out tomorrow, April 26, 7 pm at Domy Books!

ASF: Tell us about a favorite book or short story.

Barbara: One of the best readings I’ve attended was Rachel B. Glaser’s. She started with “The Magic Umbrella” from her collection Pee on Water (Publishing Genius Press, 2010). I still think about it, even though this was a couple of years ago. This was at Word Books in Brooklyn, one of my absolute favorite readings venues. I should add that Rachel followed Blake Butler, and that was a tough act to follow. She began and I just thought, this woman is incredibly nuts and I don’t understand what is happening, and by the end she totally had me. She’s awesome, and she designed the cover of the book.

For something new, I have to tell you about one of my absolute favorite publishers of fiction, Archipelago Books. They publish literature in translation, both contemporary and classic, and have a book coming out in May that I highly recommend.  My Struggle, Book One by Karl Ove Knausgaard was translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett—it’s a masterful novel. To sell it, here’s just the first line: “For the heart, life is simple: it beats for as long as it can.” I simply can’t wait for Book Two.

ASF: What do you look for when you read a piece of fiction? What makes something resonate and stick with you?

Barbara: I tend to trust certain publishers, particularly ones that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Archipelago, Dalkey Archive Press, Open Letter Press, New York Review of Books, Feminist Press, Farrar Straus & Giroux. I’m leaving tons out, which I’m sorry about.

And then, I’m sort of a weirdo.

I love books that are difficult. I am a big over-thinker when it comes to fiction, and I find perspective to be the key to a good novel, and to a good story. An interesting or challenging narrator goes a long way. For something immediate, I’m thinking about the opening scene in Forrest Gander’s As A Friend.
I really like fiction that makes me lose track of any sense of reality, that blurs the meaning of what’s true or untrue, right and wrong. A story can change the way I think, or teach me something new. To me, the best at this is W.G. Sebald. Maybe this is also why I think that translations into English are so exciting. You really do need to think about what you’re reading on multiple levels.

ASF: Where is your favorite spot in Austin to delve into a great work of fiction?

Barbara: I love to read just about anywhere, but I think my bedroom is probably the most comfortable spot. No heavy bags required.