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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday, April 30 - Ryan Ridge

Tonight on Bibliocracy Radio, 8 PM on KPFK in Southern California:  RYAN RIDGE
My guest tonight writes in the language of American idiomatic self-awareness, collective self-disregard, wry and hilarious and mean jokery and yet a genuinely innovative reimagining of language as a possibility for showing off  (!) all kinds of intended and unintended moments and scenes of reflection.  His writing is short, and yet deep, fragmented but evoking so much of the merciless critique of our wacky, maudlin republic.  Ryan Ridge reminds this reader of Donald Barthelme in his wit and line, and of Terry Southern in his premise and social critique.  Ridge has been published widely in literary magazines and is the author of a previous chapbook with the perfectly deadpan title, Hey, It’s America and a new collection called 22nd Century Man as well as an earlier book of short stories together with a novella called Hunters and Gamblers.  I reviewed it, or rather celebrated it, over at OC Bookly, if you need more convincing.  Ryan Ridge is a graduate of the UC Irvine MFA in Creative Writing and has a new novel forthcoming from the University of Michigan Press.  See his excellent website for more:
Thanks, always, for listening on the radio or online, or as a free download from the station’s audio archives.  Special thanks to engineer Stan Misraje and UC Irvine History Department manager Marcus Kanda.  And to you, for supporting KPFK during the upcoming fund drive.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Wednesday, April 9 - Festival of Books preview

Tonight on Bibliocracy, 8 PM on KPFK:  DAVID ULIN and Los Angeles Times Festival of Books preview.  It’s springtime, and the line-up of literary events is a full one, not the least of them being the annual Festival of Books sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 12 & 13 on the campus of the University of Southern California.  KPFK will be there, broadcasting this show live at 10 a.m., and followed by onsite live broadcasts by Ian Masters (“Background Briefing”) and Maria Armoudian (“The Scholars’ Circle”).  The KPFK booth is number 210 so come by to watch live radio, buy books and station-related items or just to say hello to staff, programmers and volunteers in between visiting hundreds of other exhibitors and, best of all, attending panels and talks all weekend long.  Our Bibliocracy guide to all things Festival of Books is a friend of this program and a friend of readers and writers, and a terrific reviewer and writer himself, books editor for  the LA Times David Ulin.  He’ll talk with me tonight about the festival, the annual book prize nominations and his own work, too.  Ulin is the author of The Myth of Solid Ground: Earthquakes, Prediction, and the Fault Line Between Reason and Faith, a book knocked off bookstore shelves after our most recent earthquake, and the editor of Another City: Writing from Los Angeles and Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology, and also a long meditative book-length essay called The Lost Art of Reading, which begins with the startling confession from a professional bibliofella:  “Sometime late last year --- I don’t remember when, exactly --- I noticed I was having trouble sitting down to read.” Then Ulin takes apart the many challenges to the interior life as against the virtual assault, and comes out swinging for books and reading and civic literacy.  Tonight he does the same, as in his smart reviews for the paper, and we preview this weekend’s books festival.  KPFK is a media sponsor of the festival, about which you can get information at

Thanks for listening, and see you at the Festival of Books.   

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wednesday, April 2 - Susan Minot

Tonight on Bibliocracy Radio, 8 PM PST on KPFK 90.7 FM and online at www.kpfk.orgSUSAN MINOT.  I’m so pleased to host a writer tonight whose work and writing life I --- as so many of her fans --- have followed since publication of her gorgeously fragmented novel-in-stories Monkeys introduced Susan Minot ("mine-it") to readers.  She has since then published short stories, novels and screenplays including her acclaimed 1997 novel Evening.  In a new book, Thirty Girls, Susan Minot applies her delicately, ecstatically poetic narrative touch to an almost impossibly cruelly quotidian story of the kidnapping of, yes, thirty Ugandan schoolgirls by the crazy cult called the Lord's Resistance Army, famously led by one Joseph Kony.  Over many years his sadistic guerilla disciples stole 60,000 or more children from their families as sex slaves and child soldiers, killing many.  Many Americans learned about Kony in a documentary film that went viral two years ago.  Minot's fictionalized telling of that singular episode of the larger story --- which first garnered international attention in 1996 --- includes the life and journey of the teller, an American journalist named Jane Wood --- heartbroken, widowed, lost but always introspective and self-conscious. Susan Minot’s nonfiction has been published widely, and a story about kidnapped child soldiers in Uganda was published in McSweeney’s and included in the Best American Travel Writing 2001. She is an elegant, sensual, urgently engaged writer of beautiful sentences, here taking on an almost impossibly difficult crime and making of it art and insight.  Thanks for listening, on the radio or online live, or whenever you like at the KPFK audio archives, as a free download.  See you at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on the weekend of April 12 & 13, USC campus, where Bibliocracy Radio will broadcast live 10-11 on Sunday morning.