Jennifer Weiner (BSS #14)

Author: Jennifer Weiner

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Concerned with time and elusive apocalypses.

Subjects Discussed: Mysteries, Susan Isaacs, Zoe Heller, the specific details of murder, inexplicable shame and guilt among the Marina crowd, diapers vs. cloth, whether Matt Lauer should be peed on, the inversion of tough-guy dialogue, first-person voice, observational novels, chicklit, dismissive husbands, the “Free to Be You and Me” generation, feminism, the Young, Roving Correspondent (and other men) perplexed by pink covers, attracting male audiences to chicklit, perspective, the New York Times, Margaret Atwood, Uglydolls, Ann Coulter, Caitlin Flanagan, nannies and motherhood, plotting, Stephen King, the ideal motorized vehicle to be run over by, hands shaking, wedgies, pink book covers, Anne Rice, editorial battles over human moments, Jonathan Franzen, penises, the In Her Shoes film adaptation, Toni Collette, the inexplicable science of film advertising, on writing books that offer consistent messages of happiness, responding to criticism about the People hot tub photo shoot, the next book, closeness to narrative voices, Tony Danza, the dense talk show bookers, Book TV, Jezebel Bright and the influence of manga.

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Categories: Fiction

Lizzie Skurnick & Wendy Lesser (BSS #13)

Authors: Lizzie Skurnick and Wendy Lesser

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Slightly hoarse but nostalgic for trains.

Subjects Discussed: The mania of poets, poetic meters, the prejudice against Spenserian stanza, the difficulties of getting a poetry collection published, writing while driving, husband poems, masturbation, clandestine encounters, educating a native Californian about Tyringham, Mass., Horace, the use of first-person voice (both singular and royal), Aimee Bender, the personality of numbers and letters, the dubiously romantic appeal of rocks (from Marlowe on), names, pronunciation, online identities, blogs oriented around eavesdropping, Paul Auster’s film adaptations, the ethics of writing about people, the title of The Pagoda in the Garden, Coim Toibin’s The Master, novella collections as novels, Michael Cunningham, the importance of fiction, anonymous protagonists, basing fiction on real experience, Henry James, Edith Wharton, Harry Thomas as editor, U.S. Presidents as reference points, historical cycles in fiction, Philip Klass’s 1975 statement on freedoms, women’s freedoms, profanity, Samizdat, love, an unexpected answering machine message, playing with perspective, Gilbert Sorrentino, the influence of literary criticism on writing fiction, postmodernism vs. traditionalism, mysteries, and plotting.

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Categories: Fiction, People

Lydia Millet (BSS #12)

Author: Lydia Millet

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Repentant, perpelxed and adjusting to a sudden change.

Subjects Discussed: Beer at 11:30 AM, Richard Rhodes, Wold Newton, American Prometheus, getting biographical details wrong, the influence of fiction vs. nonfiction, the displacement of major historical figures, narrative juggling acts, freakishness in literature, Lynda Barry, obstacles in being a woman writing dark humor, the gender divide in the publishing industry, outlining novels, finding humor in Hiroshima, humorless book reviewers, lip service in government, ignorance, literature which reassures, fiction that reaches a mass audience, Richard Nash as publisher, the I Am Charlotte Simmons paperback, Richard Nash as editor, how characters are named, meterologists, cigarettes, Lydia Millet’s father, the various pronunciations of “missile,” Leo Szilard, Eminem, blindness, compassionate satire, John P. Marquand, Kirby Gann’s Our Napoleon in Rags, Ignatius Reilly, porn culture, working at Hustler, Jonathan Ames, imaginary figures in literature, on whether Dave Eggers deserves to be punched, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, substance in fiction, authenticity, the endless McSweeney’s lists, irony and cynicism.

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Categories: Fiction