I don’t catch Terry Gross very often on NPR.
I think I’m working maybe when she’s on. HOWEVER, the few times I’ve heard her I’ve enjoyed it because
she’s a good interviewer with interesting guests. I happened to catch her being interviewed on TV when she was
promoting this book. And she was funny and didn’t look at all like I had
expected, and she was very interesting--like someone you would invite to a dinnery party to make it more interesting.
It’s a great book to
read a while and put it down and pick up later. Because each “chapter” is approximately
5-6 pages with interviews from one person. And then you move on to the next
person/interview. So it’s kind of like a magazine that you can pick up and put down easily.
The people in the book that she’s
interviewed are largely artists, musicians and authors. Conan O’Brien would be
one exception to that. I thought she would have more people from popular culture,
largely, but it’s a broader mix than that. Honestly, some of these people I’ve
never even heard of—particularly the artists, since I’m not a huge art buff. But
she’s really into music, particularly jazz and R&B, again, things I’m not
really knowledgeable about. So some of the interviews are people I wouldn’t know
if I met them and I wish she had pictures of them where the chapter starts—that
might have helped—but there are no pictures. It’s a radio show after all
just really enjoying the book though. Even the interviews with people I
don’t know are interesting. Because she’s talking to people about their
process. How they became artists or why they do the art they do. How a
musician came up with some original style no one had ever heard
of or why Conan does late night in the unique way he does it? The
process itself that the people go through to make their art or music
combined with the people’s background or upbringing—those are largely
the topics and they are very interesting. Even if you don’t know the
people. That said, I’m probably familiar with 80-90% of the
interviewees. Some of the interviews have conflict--for reasons she
details--and other interviews are so smooth and she is really
connecting with the person being interviewed. Each chapter has the
backstory and then the interview (or interviews) excerpt. I really
recommend this book.
It’s a very eclectic mix of
interviews and I recommend the book!