One of the great pleasures of podcasts for me has been the discovery of Bookworm, a book review/author interview program broadcast by KCRW in Los Angeles. It goes without saying that left to my own Wisconsin devices, I would never have heard this program.
The host is Michael Silverblatt, one of the most astute readers I have ever encountered. His literary scope is absolutely encyclopedic. Silverblatt not only reads the books he discusses, he gets inside them in the most thoughtful and analytical way. It's obvious he digests his reading and devotes careful thought to it all.
It must be a delight to be an author interviewed on Bookworm. Unlike some talk shows, where it's obvious the interviewer has only the most superficial knowledge of the book being discussed, Silverblatt is ready with observations on themes and comparisons to other writers and books that elicit unexpected insights from the authors. Stacey Levine spoke about her fascination with girls' pulp fiction of the 50s and 60s, especially series like Cherry Ames, and how their scrambled syntax inspired the crafting of Frances Johnson. Cherry Ames!
Must. Read. This. Book.
Some of the books and authors are scholarly and esoteric, some are very approachable. This show has led me to authors and books I might not ever have found otherwise. This is why I've been researching Jane Bowles in odd moments all day...
I subscribed to the podcast version of Bookworm through iTunes. It's free. If you have an iPod or other such device, you can be all signed up in minutes.