Currently showing posts tagged This Podcast Will Change Your Life

  • This Book Will Change Your Life - The Place You're Supposed To Laugh by the Jenn Stroud Rossmann.

    So, straight-up, we had this idea about what The Place You're Supposed To Laugh by the Jenn Stroud Rossmann was supposed to be. We heard Silicon Valley and early 2000's and dot-com moguls as neighbors and we assumed, always a mistake, we know, that we were stumbling into some insider parody of the dot-com culture in the vein of yes, Silicon Valley, which we watch and love, or Halt And Catch Fire, which we don't know a fucking thing about, or maybe some riff on The Soul of A New Machine, also loved, a lot. But, no it isn't that, not really, and maybe not at all. Because you see, it has all of that stuff, and yet none of it too, not really. It's the story of a family and a kid and their is strife and love and death and work and siblings and adoption and most of all trying to figure out issues of race, class and wealth, plus how anyone makes friends with anyone or falls in love or stays married. Which is to say, that it's more about being an exercise in domestic fiction with the idea of silicon valley and what that all means wrapped around it and we for one celebrate that. More domestic fiction please and more importantly more stories about more families of all kinds in all kinds of situations. Rossmann give us this, all of this, and she gives it with love and affection and knowingness. And it feels impossible to put down, and not because there's suspense or murder or some impossibly transformative idea that must be solved here, now, but because the writing is so fluid and we care so much about our protagonist Chad and because we have to know what happens to him and his family and friends because Rossmann cares so much about them and that leaps off of the page and it's really kind of lovely. As is Rossmann herself, which we know because we read the book and we had her on This Podcast Will Change Your Life and we now invite you to fully immerse yourself in the Rossmann experience. And not just because we think it must be so, though that's a good enough reason to do anything. It's because we know The Place You're Supposed To Laugh and the Rossmann herself will change your life, and that, well that's the whole point isn't it? 

  • This Book Will Change Your Life - Perfect Conditions by the Vanessa Blakeslee.

    This is not the first time we have written this, nor do we suspect it will be the last. But how do we grow as writers? And when we seek to stay engaged and immersed in a changing world how does it affect our writing? What if we keep writing and producing new words and want to keep it fresh, challenging ourselves to explore new ideas and push in new directions? We ask this because we just finished Perfect Conditions by the Vanessa Blakeslee and while it is so very Blakeslee, an exploration of the normal, broken marriages, and families, the world of work, and health, missed opportunities for love, and surfing, lots of surfing, it is something else as well, an rumination on women's rights, and especially their bodies, the environment and the upcoming apocalypse. There's also some magical realism if that's your jam. None of which surprises us, as we recently had the opportunity to talk with the Blakeslee over on This Podcast Will Change Your Life. We know she cares about these issues, especially the environment, and we can't imagine how they wouldn't creep into her work. But we still want to believe it's about growth, because great writers grow, and Blakeslee is one of our great ones. We are also reminded of a quote we referenced when we reviewed her debut story collection Train Shots: "Now remember, even though what you're seeing appears to be standing still, nothing ever is." We loved this quote because it reminded us of Blakeslee's stories, so much happening right below their otherwise calm surfaces. Emotion and struggle and pain. A desire for some kind of normal. That's still true. But what isn't true, is what we also wrote at the time, that she didn't do weird or surreal. That's changed, because like her stories, Blakeslee isn't standing still either. Well that, and she is as sure to change your life as she ever was. Some things of course never change.

  • This Book Will Change Your Life - June by the Miranda Beverly-Whittemore.

    In a way, we would like to just get down to business. June by the Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is a page-turning delight, a shapeshifting tale that is both ghost story and mystery, bouncing along multiple time lines and unfolding with layers of suspense, humor, rich characterizations and celebrity. Also, we highly recommend it. Easy, that. But the business is something else entirely. We had the thrill once of participating in a panel with Beverly-Whittemore, and she too is a delight, thoughtful, humorous and all business as well. As memory serves us, and we do wonder how much we've created this idea in our head, Beverly-Whittemore spoke to her desire to write a best-selling novel, an effort which started with her previous book Bittersweet. And so she has, twice now. It almost feels miraculous. A best seller is a sort of miracle anyway, but consciously writing one? Wonderbar. That leads to the question however, of how one does so? Beverly-Whittemore didn't spill many secrets that day, and we hope we may get her to come onto This Podcast Will Change Your Life someday and spill at least some of it to us. But in the interim, we have been pondering what it is that makes for a bestseller, and in doing so, we will preface this by saying that skill is not one of the factors. Beverly-Whittemore writes the fuck out of June, but a lot of people can write the fuck out of the page. Maybe not all as well as Beverly-Whittemore, but still, a best seller is something else entirely. So, with that in mind, and June fresh in our minds, what might comprise the formula? One thought we have is that any best seller is served well by reflecting a certain epic sweep of time, years pass, time is crossed, people change. And people must change, there must be growth, risk and fear. There must be conflict, and there always must be love, but conflict, something that causes a break, confusion, brings that mystery, and solving all of that. Big. Triumph helps as well though. Overcoming something may be key, but doing so triumphantly, with growth and health intact is imperative. We all aspire to that in some fashion and to be able to project ourselves onto the page and see ourselves in said triumph is as aspirational as it comes. Sex and violence help, and ghosts, always, this is where the excitement comes, in the right dose, and when it is just enought to grab our attention, it's a must. Celebrity helps, we love it, we are drawn to it, and if said celebrities feel familiar, along with their scandals, all the better. Nostalgia too, also big, which if we learned anything from Mad Men, we should have at least learned that. The characters have to be likeable too, even at their worst, and when all is said and done, and even if we are crying in the end, which we of course were not, allergies we suspect, we have to smile. June accomplishes all of this, and does it well. Also, and this seems necessary, it certainly doesn't matter if you do somehow know everything that makes a best seller a thing, you still have to be able to bring it all together, itself a miracle of gift and craft, and while we don't how consciously Beverly-Whittemore thought about any of it, we are curious, we want to talk, and as always we want to change lives, ours, yours, whomevers.