Thursday, February 18, 2016

Author Interviews on Fresh Air

On 3/2/10, I wrote about how much I love the NPR radio show, Fresh Air, with the gifted host and interviewer Terry Gross. I think it is time to write about the show’s interviews again. I enjoy the variety of interviews with politicians, journalists, scientists, musicians, artists, and others, but most of all I love the interviews with authors. Gross always chooses interesting and varied authors and books to discuss, and somehow knows exactly the right kinds of questions to ask, the kinds of questions we all have, or would have if we thought deeply about the topic. With these questions, and her follow-up questions, she unerringly elicits the most interesting answers, giving us glimpses into an author’s work as well as her/his life, experiences, and opinions. There is also a blessedly unrushed quality to these interviews. In recent months, for examples of these interviews, Gross (or occasionally her colleague Dave Davies) has interviewed authors Toni Morrison, Tessa Hadley, Gloria Steinem, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Rick Moody, Patti Smith, David Mitchell, and Elizabeth Strout, among others. I love encountering the interviews with authors whose work I know, but also enjoy those with authors who are new to me. A chance to hear these authors in person in an accessible way (because although there are live readings in bookstores, etc., which I also love, those happen much less frequently and involve much more commitment of time and scheduling) is invaluable. Fresh Air in general, and its author interviews in particular, offer truly intelligent radio, and are a joy to experience.
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