Videos From the 2008 National Book Festival

I shot a few short videos of some of the authors I caught at yesterday’s National Book Festival. Not especially competently, I’m afraid—I’m working with a two-year-old personal digital camera. But the sound is better than I’d expected, and everybody here gets off a good line or two.

Neil Gaiman, responding to a question about whether his ego ever gets in the way of his work (1:36):

Poet Laureate Kay Ryan, reading her poem “Composition” (0:52):

James McBride, discussing one of the obvious models for his first novel, Miracle at St. Anna (2:12):

Geraldine Brooks, discussing the books that first got her interested in reading (2:21):

(The camera conked out before she got to the punchline. She was able to name the emotion she felt; it’s lust.)

Richard Price on writing for The Wire: (0:30):

Richard Price on writing dialogue (0:45):

Winter Preview in USA Today

Complete with an odd if strangely compelling snowman widget, USA Today previews some of the bigger books coming out in the next three months, among them novels by Geraldine Brooks and Dan Brown. Mentioned among the high-profile literary fiction releases:

The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller, due Tuesday. “She doesn’t write often, but when she does, it’s always an event,” [Barnes & Noble’s Sessalee] Hensley says. Also: Russell BanksThe Reserve (Jan. 29). In March: Lush Life by Richard Price. In April: Unaccustomed Earth, stories by Jhumpa Lahiri.

I can speak to the worthiness of both Miller’s and Price’s novels, and I’m hoping to get to The Reserve soon. The Namesake put me off Lahiri a bit, but her talents as a short-story writer (if not a novelist) is indisputable. [Shelf Awareness]