Friday, July 13, 2012

Five on Friday: Louis Bayard

I am so sorry I've been M.I.A. this week. To make up for my absence, I have a super fun Five on Friday today. Before I get to our wonderful guest, though, I have a few items to share with you.

First, my interview with Lisa Unger appeared this week in Shelf Awareness. So you can check that out if you'd like. I'll have a review of her new book HEARTBROKEN soon, I promise!

Next, congrats go out to Carl who was the winner of NIGHT WATCH from last week's giveaway. I'll have some more great giveaways next week, so stay tuned.

And the last little item I want to share is about a Criminal Element contest. I don't share all the contests over there, but y'all know I loved Lou Berney's GUTSHOT STRAIGHT and I have to say that WHIPLASH RIVER is just as wonderful (review to come later); Criminal Element has a chance for you to win both. You have to register before noon (Eastern) on the 17th, so just go do it now and you'll have nothing to worry about!

O.k. now for the highlight of my Friday. Louis Bayard has become one of my go-to recommendations and I have Steve Hockensmith to thank for that. Steve recommended Louis' THE PALE BLUE EYE on one of our features here awhile back. Steve's recommendation was just too tempting to resist, and I'm glad because THE PALE BLUE EYE was amazing! And I've been a devout Louis Bayard fan ever since. I believe he's the kind of writer who can appeal to everyone. So if you haven't read him yet, add him to your list. I highly recommend the audio versions of his books as well.

To say I'm thrilled to have him participating in the Five on Friday feature would be a gross understatement. Please help me welcome, Mr. Louis Bayard!

When I’m reading a book, I absolutely hate it when a writer...  Pummels me with research! I call it the “straight A student trap.” You’ve been spending all this time in the library stacks and you want a big fat gold star for it, so you download everything you’ve ever learned about … [sanitation practices in early 19th-century France] … [architectural features of Restoration-Era London] … [shipbuilding in the Far East] … and it’s such a bore. If I can’t find your story for the research, I move on.

The TV show I absolutely can’t miss is:  “The Good Wife.” Not game-changing television. It’s just so unfailingly well-constructed, well-written and well-acted that it gives me more actual pleasure than more “happening” shows (e.g., Breaking Bad, Mad Men). And it confirms my suspicion that great entertainment is rarer than great art.

The best car I ever owned was:  A 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. Because it was so ugly it was pretty. Because, when I moved from Chicago, it was able to carry every last one of my belongings (including the stereo system that never worked but I brought with me anyway). Because it was so insultingly easy to break into and hotwire that, by the time it was finally stolen, its insurance value was significantly more than I could have sold it for. I believe it grasped this at some level. I believe it went to its chop shop with a true heart.

My favorite vegetable is: Brussels sprouts. Because of all things you have to do to Brussels sprouts – i.e., lard them with cream, butter, bacon or cheese or some combination of all those things – to make them edible. In other words, they give you the perfect excuse to eat stuff you would never otherwise allow yourself to eat. (Hm. Brussels sprouts and ice cream….)

The #1 item on my bucket list right now is: Finishing my fricking book! Each of my novels takes roughly two years to emerge, so by the end of the gestation, I’m like a heavily pregnant woman begging for epidurals. Just get it out! And then, of course, once it’s done I plunge into existential angst because I’m not working on a book and hence have no identity. Writers are a sick breed. 

Oh, but I'm so glad you exist! When Lou isn't writing his novels, he writes some fantastic articles and reviews for various publications. You can check them out on his website.  I also love his video of him from the National Book Festival.

 Fun stuff. Wonderful writer. Great guy. Many thanks to Lou for taking time out and having a little fun with us this week. I hope you all enjoyed Lou's responses much as I did.

Have a GREAT weekend and happy reading!


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