Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Josh Ritter

Ep. 7
This week’s guest is Josh Ritter, novelist, musician, all around highly intelligent gentleman.  In 2006, he was named one of the "100 Greatest Living Songwriters" by Paste magazine and his music has won numerous accolades. His albums The Animal Years and So Runs the World Away are both extremely important to me. But of course we’re here to talk books, including his own. His first novel, Brights Passage, came out in 2011, and then earlier this autumn, his second novel was published. It’s called THE GREAT GLORIOUS GODDAMM OF IT ALL, and its both a coming-of-age novel and a memory novel set during the last age of the lumberjacks. The protagonist is ninety-nine year old Weldon Applegate, and he’s looking back at his life among larger-than-life characters that populated the Pacific Northwest around the turn of the twentieth century. Ritter is from Moscow, Idaho, and the novel captures that part of the world in vivid detail. He writes in poetic, playful prose that is consistent with what we have seen in his songs for more than two decades now. As the book’s jacket says, it’s a novel that is “Braided with haunting saloon tunes and just the right dose of magic,” and “is a novel bursting with heart, humor and an utterly transporting adventure that is sure to sweep you away into the beauty of the tall snowy mountain timber.” Ritter joined the show recently to discuss the books that have inspired him and the differences he sees in songwriting and fiction writing. 
Friday, November 26, 2021

Jess Walter

Ep. 6
Walter is the author of seven novels, one book of short stories and one nonfiction book. His work has been selected three times for Best American Short Stories as well as the Pushcart Prize and Best American Nonrequired Reading. He’s been published in, Harper's, Esquire, McSweeney's, Tin House, Ploughshares, the New York Times, the Washington Post and many others.He began his writing career in 1987 as a reporter for his hometown newspaper, The Spokesman-Review where he was a finalist for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize as part of a team covering the shootout and standoff at Ruby Ridge, in Northern Idaho. Eventually he wrote about this in his first book, Every Knee Shall Bow, in 1995. He has also worked as a screenwriter and has taught graduate creative writing at the University of Iowa, Pacific University, Eastern Washington and Pacific Lutheran.Walter has twice won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award (for The Zero and We Live in Water), the Washington State Book Award (The Cold Millions) and was a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize (The Zero) and the PEN/USA Award in both fiction (The Zero) and nonfiction (Every Knee Shall Bow). His novel Beautiful Ruins was a #1 New York Times bestseller and spent more than a year on the bestseller list. It was also Esquire's Book of the Year and NPR Fresh Air's Novel of the Year. The Financial Lives of the Poets was Time Magazine's#2 novel of the year and Walter's story collection, We Live in Water, was longlisted for the Story Prize and the Frank O'Connor Short Story Award. Walter's latest novel is the national bestseller, The Cold Millions, A BOOK OF HISTROICAL FICTION “Featuring an unforgettable cast of cops and tramps, suffragists and socialists, madams and murderers, The Cold Millions is a tour de force from a “writer who has planted himself firmly in the first rank of American authors” (Boston Globe).