Episode 1: All Over the Map with Richard Price, Susan Choi, Colin Harrison and Charles Bock

  • warning: Parameter 1 to theme_field() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/content/38/8537338/html/includes/theme.inc on line 170.
  • warning: Parameter 1 to theme_field() expected to be a reference, value given in /home/content/38/8537338/html/includes/theme.inc on line 170.

About this episode

We "travel" across the world with some of the country's best novelists. This episode features fiction that takes us to the Lower East Side of New York, a midwestern college campus, the bustling stock exchange of Shanghai, and the neon streets of Las Vegas.

Comments on this episode

WmAnthony's picture

Over time the format will

Over time the format will transform, no doubt, to be more inclusive and less isolating on specific authors and titles at a time -- I hope. But the format as it stands now does not allow for it, because there is little connecting in terms of theme of the chosen titles. The second installment, based loosely around debuts, should prove to be less stilted. I produced a taped book discussion show on a nationally-televised channel and had the conversation taped inside a bookstore to great result. The vibrancy of the atmosphere and the kinetic feel of people milling about helped, this studio feels somewhat cavernous and cold.
But, principally, this is exactly what book lovers and writers need. Smart talk about important books. Thank you Titlepage.

Brad's picture

In these comments, someone

In these comments, someone said the word "stiff", and then a few other people agreed. I don't know if those people would have arrived at that word if they hadn't read it first. I mean, yes, it was a bit "stiff" (there were no bikini clad women eating rattlesnake eggs for an immunity idol or anything like that), but I feel like that's a weird thing to take away from the episode. After all, it's a show for literary discussion, right? I thought Bock's ironic hardware store employee shirt was all the levity it needed.

Kudos Titlepage! Keep 'em coming!

Anonymous's picture

What a delight Titlepage is

What a delight Titlepage is for those of us who live and breathe via books!
I am busy reading the books/authors to be featured March 17; three of the
four were available in my library system.
A mash note for all of you who put this program together. Terrific, XXX !

Gabriel Boz's picture

Excellent piece of work,

Excellent piece of work, specially the last part, with the writers debate about creative process and all. Wonderful! Congratulations, I will be looking forward for the next episode.

Spencer C.'s picture

A bit stiff, but an

A bit stiff, but an excellent discussion of books, their writers and our own interactions with the world. Keep these discussions going. Perhaps make it more open between the authors.

Well done TitlePage!

carislin's picture

I really enjoyed this

I really enjoyed this episode. I agree that it seemed a bit stiff but I have done this sort of thing before and know how difficult it can be. One has to appreciate the format and intelligence in bringing this group together. I ama huge Susan Choi fann; what fun to see her side by side by someone so different like Charles Bock.

I do certainly think you should have some place for reader suggestions, to keep the quality and make it less of a publishers promotion playground (it isn't yet, but it could go there certainly.)

My favorite novel of the last year was Porochista Khakpour's (sp?) "Sons and Others Flammable Objects." I know it got a huge review in the New York Times book review and there was a big feature on her here in L.A. (Times), but I wish ths book got even more attention! And she is the most engaging speaker and reader I have seen in ages. I went to her two readings in Los Angeles on her book tour and they were marvelous. Her novel is about Iranians and yet also Americans and her prose bridges the gap between the Zadie Smiths and Anne Tylers.

I also love another Grove Press author, Kiran Desai, as mentioned. She won the Booker of course and "The Inheritance of Loss" is so elegant and lyrical. And I would think Helen Oyeyemi would be marvelous too--"Icarus Girl" was such a delight. Sherman Alexie has always been a favorite and so has Junot Diaz, whose NBCC win should surely draw even more attention to his incredibly brilliant debut last fall.

Please do try to keep the authors just as diverse as the genres and books!

Big Kudos and Congrats!

Kenneth C. Crowe's picture

I am so grateful to Daniel

I am so grateful to Daniel Menaker, Odile Isralson and Lina Mattathe and any unknown others involved for bringing Titlepage onto the Web. I have a hunger, which this show promises to fulfill, for interviews and discussions involving novelists and their views of their work and works. Menaker was marvelous in this first episode.

Hal Lewis's picture

This is as good as it gets.

This is as good as it gets. Keep up the great work. I went out and purchased Richard Price's book and I'm just into it and so far it excellent.

Keep them coming.

KeiraSoleore's picture

An excellent program all

An excellent program all around. Thank you for taking the medium in a whole new direction of real-time panel discussions llike the radio and TV.

Tom Teicholz's picture

Love the concept -- but....

Love the concept -- but.... This first episode is too stiff, too formal. Menaker has a good on air presence but the program needs to better deliver the way people who love books really talk about them.

Whenever anyone, including me, wonders why there isn't an American version of "Apostrophes" the famous French TV show about writers coming together to talk about books, now they know the answer: it's not so easy to do well!

In this installment each of the writers seemed leaden when talking about their books and bored when other authors were talking about their books -- not good.

But I'm sure Menaker's conversation with the authors in the green room or at lunch, dinner or in a bar before or after, is much more lively. That's what the show has to deliver.

And I'm sure that in time it will.

Cesar Torres's picture

I have to say I was

I have to say I was impressed with the authors on the panel, but this first episode felt a little stiff. Like with any television program, I think it takes a few episodes (sometimes a whole season) to hit its stride, so I am looking forward to future installments.

Marc Weingarten's picture

Oh wow! Finally the web

Oh wow! Finally the web fulfills its promise as a vehicle for intelligent discourse! Thank you Daniel Menaker and thank you Titlepage for this wonderful series! I can't wait to see the next one.
Best
Marc Weingarten

Dr. Allan Hunter's picture

I've been so excited by what

I've been so excited by what I've seen that I have to put
everything I was going to say to one side while I congratulate you all
on a truly inspiring program.

I was profoundly energized by the first episode - and I'd have sent in
a comment to say as much except that my computer somehow didn't want
to let me do it from the website (I run a Mac... you might find I'm
not the only one thus afflicted).

What intelligent, engaging, and perceptive speakers! What a pleasure
to hear authors speak about their work in a way that allows the viewer
to feel the quality of mind in each case. And with Daniel Menaker as
moderator we knew right from the statrt that this would be quality.
Many readers, including me, stumble over piles of books in stores,
every volume of which is emblazoned with hype so crude that we're
tempted not to read any modern literature at all. Now we have a way
of being tactfully directed to quality once more. Thank you. Thank
you.

I don't know what your next episode will be but you can be sure I'll
watch it and those that follow it since the first was so well done.

Lisa's picture

I enjoyed watching Titlepage

I enjoyed watching Titlepage - it was a real treat. Would it be possible to have all or any of these authors on future shows: Kiran Desai, Ann Beattie, Anne Lamott, and Lauren Slater. Btw...The Old Left is one of my favorite books.

Thanks again.

Nicole S.'s picture

Subscribed! Great show.

Subscribed! Great show.

Alex Rose's picture

Superb episode. Very

Superb episode. Very skillfully moderated. Thoughtful comments by all of the authors. I would suggest perhaps decreasing somewhat the amount of one-to-one time between the moderator and each author (i.e,. the initial segments), and increasing the amount of time for free interchange among the whole group.

I look forward to reading some of the novels discussed.

Mary Lou's picture

Congratulations. I intended

Congratulations. I intended to skim through the show but I found myself listening to every
word.

I'm finishing up my second memoir and I wouldn't have thought memoirists
and novelists had so much in common but we do. (Perhaps becasue writing
is writing?)

In any case, I feel somewhat illuminated about my own stumbling blocks.
Now I've absolutely got to get back to them.

Bravo.

Toni Kelner's picture

I enjoyed it, but I'd really

I enjoyed it, but I'd really like to see more interaction between the writers. A panel, rather than a succession of interviews.

Rakan Jawdat's picture

Fabulous! Keep bringing

Fabulous! Keep bringing these wonderful authors to us with their eloquent insight into their writing processes. I found myself wanting to run out and buy all 4 books. I have sent the links to several friends who, as readers, will surely be interested. Thank you Lina and Odile for bringing this to us and keep them coming. I'm hooked.

Ignacio Sanchez Prado's picture

It worked! Thanks very much

It worked! Thanks very much for the help. I am very much looking forward to future episodes

ShanghaiGirlUsa's picture

I thoroughly enjoyed the

I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode. Mr. Menaker came across as a natural tv moderator. Colin Harrison's calling his character Jin-Li "the Chinese Chinese" (ie, China-born immigrant, not Chinese-American) is very interesting. Hope to see more contemporary American fiction featuring major characters that belong to this group.

Thanks for a wonderful program and best of luck!

Vivian Yang, Author of SHANGHAI GIRL
http://ShanghaiYang.tripod.com

Joel Bass's picture

Is there a transcript of

Is there a transcript of this? I kind of enjoy... reading....

Fran Carpentier's picture

Thank you for The Perfect

Thank you for The Perfect Night, which is the only way to describe sitting in front of my computer screen with a freshly brewed cup of hot tea and my attention focused solely on Daniel Menaker and four distinguished authors. The show fed my brain and my soul. I look forward to the next episode. Thank you! — Fran

Kevin Longrie's picture

Fantastic. Keep them coming.

Fantastic. Keep them coming.

dee's picture

Terrific. Particularly

Terrific. Particularly enjoyed Susan Choi. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear author's answers to challenging questions about their process. I've forwarded the site on to several other writers. Thank you.

Janet McGehee's picture

Loved it! Now when do we get

Loved it! Now when do we get the next episode? By the way, the 'jump cuts' referred to in an earlier post (re:Dan's glasses) escaped my notice, probably because I enjoyed the great timing of the cutaways of the writers. It's interesting to watch them listen to each other. I like the whole concept and look forward to the itunes downloads making titlepage more portable.

Kevin Longrie's picture

I've been anticipating the

I've been anticipating the first episode, and you've delivered. Thank you to all involved and count me in for future episodes. Can't wait for this site, and it's community, to expand.

Yemisi Blake's picture

This is fantastic! Thank

This is fantastic! Thank you.

Moxie's picture

Cool! Loved the show. I'm so

Cool! Loved the show. I'm so glad that you're highlighting the work of literary writers. Keep on making it. I'll watch.

Kemble's picture

Congrats on the show. The

Congrats on the show. The conversation is engaging and provocative, especially for authors. I've already recommended it to several other writers.

Kemble Scott
Author of the novel
SoMa

Jurgen Wolff's picture

Excellent--a great

Excellent--a great displacement activity for when I should be writing! I've been a Richard Price fan for a long time ("Freedomland" especially) and it was fascinating to see and hear him talking about his work.

Anonymous's picture

Nice show. It's great that

Nice show. It's great that there's another venue for serious conversation about fiction. I thought the grouping of the first four authors was very well curated -- just enough overlap in terms of the worldliness of the fiction, but also a range of experience and different approaches to writing. One thing I would have liked to see more of is questions from the authors directed to each other. Mr. Menaker seems like a very able steward of the conversation, and did a nice job getting things off the ground, but the few occasions where one author began a dialogue with another made me long for more freedom among the participants to engage (or even challenge) each other. the most interesting part for me was the final 10 or 15 minutes, where you could see one author's answer sparking a related thought in another. I would love to see more of that kind of open interchange in future episodes, more sparks and connections flying with less formality, as though we're overhearing dinner party conversation. But this is a quibble. on the whole, it's a great show, and very welcome for book lovers. Please keep them coming!

Vivian Yang's picture

Fascinating show expertly

Fascinating show expertly moderated by the very Mr. Menaker. "The Chinese Chinese woman" Jin-Li (Colin Harrison's wording) in his The Finder is certainly an interesting character in American fiction. I look forward to reading about more portrayals of such characters in contemporary fiction.

Thank you (Xie xie)!

peterneufeld's picture

It's great to see everything

It's great to see everything finally come together. The episode was great. It was especially interesting to hear Richard Price discuss his new novel. I had never heard him speak before.

Peter Neufeld

Andrea Shapiro's picture

Ah, Dan! The phoenix

Ah, Dan!
The phoenix returns. Excellent.
Andrea

Akin's picture

Hi, Loved the show, and I

Hi,

Loved the show, and I look forward to watching many more.

Like Ignacio, I was able to download the show on to my computer, but unable to watch it on my iPod. Hope this can be sorted in due course.

Congratulations on an excellent concept - I'll be telling everyone I know about it!

Anonymous's picture

This was wonderful! Thanks

This was wonderful! Thanks so much for a great, thought-provoking interview.

Colin Marshall's picture

Very nice job. It's so good

Very nice job. It's so good to see a new book television show, especially one that's not lacking for production value.

Julie's picture

HOORAY and WOW! This was

HOORAY and WOW! This was WONDERFUL! I tuned in to see Richard Price and am going to buy all four books. What a fantastic and necessary program, and such a joy to hear these writers talk about their work and process. This will bring a whole new exciting dimension to reading.
I will be forwarding this all day. Congratulations!!

ed's picture

Kudos to the editors! I was

Kudos to the editors! I was enthralled by the magical way in which Menaker's glasses appeared on his head in one shot, only to disappear in the next! I mean, who needs transitions or B-roll when Menaker's glasses regularly defy the laws of physics of their own accord?

I'd say more, but, rest assured, I will be watching "Title Page" with febrile interest in the months to come -- if only so that I might pick up some helpful hints to train my own eyeglasses to take on these same temporal and spatial eccentricities.

Odile's picture

Ignacio, so glad you liked

Ignacio,
so glad you liked it....
did you try downloading the audio or the video file?
indeed, we are not yet connected to the iTunes store as it will take about two weeks to be "certified" but you should be able to download either/or via your itunes software, already. Looking into it and will make sure it works ASAP!

Ignacio M. Sanchez Prado's picture

Hi I absolutely love the

Hi
I absolutely love the show and it is great to have a new outlet for literature discussion. I have a problem though. I tried to download it to view in my iPod and apparently it is not compatible. I don't know if it is bc of your original file or because it is not offeered through the iTunes Store. Please help! If you put it for download straight on the store we may be able to take it ont he go!.