Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Paris Review Interviews and KCRW's 'Bookworm' archive online

I've been spending altogether too much time recently digging around in a couple of amazing online literary interview archives. Most readers already know that a large number of the classic Paris Review Interviews can be read online at no charge. (More fool me for buying two volumes of these interviews a couple of years ago.) The Harold Bloom interview is especially enjoyable. I'll probably be reading my way at random through many of the others over the next several years.

Less well-known is the enormous online archive of audio interviews recorded for Michael Silverblatt's gloriously highbrow and unapologetically intelligent KCRW radio program "Bookworm." Here you can  listen to twenty years worth of highly informative 30-minute interviews with the likes of W. G. Sebald (listen to his gorgeous Germano-British accent), Camille Paglia (who gives new meaning to the word 'motormouth;' she seems to have downed a bottle of amphetamines with a Jolt Cola chaser immediately before her 1993 interview), William T. Vollmann, David Foster Wallace, Alexander Theroux, William H. Gass, and just about anyone else a serious reader wants to hear seriously interviewed. And Silverblatt is a very good interviewer, knowledgeable and impressively well-read. Just listen to the first two questions he asks Sebald, and then ask yourself, "Why doesn't this guy have a show on PBS?" (America's best writers deserve better than a few predictable minutes around Charlie Rose's big round table.) Check out the Bookworm archive--but be warned: it's a labyrinth of Daedalus, and you might not find your way out.

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