Tag Archives: interview

Review: Meet the Regulars

hqdefaultRecap: More so than any other city in the United States, New York City is the one that best represents the “melting pot” that is America. Each of the city’s five boroughs has its own personality, while still being diverse. But likely the borough that has changed the most in recent years is Brooklyn. Brooklyn has gentrified. What used to be a predominantly older-skewed borough now appeals to younger people. Where rent used to remain low, it now skyrockets. Things are changing in Brooklyn. But many of the people who have always live there don’t plan on leaving, and the people who move in don’t want to either.

Meet the Regulars explores all of these people — young, old, male, female, black, white, Hispanic, tattooed, clean-cut, artists and corporate workers. The book profiles random people — including some celebrities, actors, comedians and radio hosts you may know —  who live in, work in or just simply frequent Brooklyn and the many restaurants, shops, salons, yoga studios, clubs, bars, and even bowling alleys where they are regulars.

Each of these interviews is taken from an interview series on the New York magazine partner blog Bedford + Bowery. But the book is made cohesive with intermittent essays from the author about the changing face of Brooklyn, the gentrification within the borough and the technology-driven force of millennials.

AnalysisMeet the Regulars is the perfect portrayal of everything Brooklyn and New York City represent: diversity — diversity in its people, diversity in its culture, diversity in its businesses. The book reads more like a coffee table book, since it includes many photos of its interview subjects and the places where they’re “regulars.” By including brief interviews with the people, it’s easy to fly through.

And while you might think this book is all about the cool places in  Brooklyn — and okay, it kind of is — it also uses these places to tell the stories of Brooklyn. Inevitably, when people start talking about the borough and the changes they’ve seen there, they then start talking about the history of the borough. I know more about Brooklyn and its people now than I ever did before, and I’ve spent a good amount of time in Brooklyn.

Meet the Regulars serves as a coffee table book, a social studies book, a compilation of profiles and in some sense, a compilation of reviews. Thanks to the awesome map and index in the back, there are a lot of new places in Brooklyn I want to visit. And a lot more people I want to meet.

Get Meet the Regulars now in hardcover for $13.85. 

Or get it on your Kindle for $11.99.

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Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Tiny Book

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is mostly an actor, really an Internet enthusiast, but also kind of an author. Confused yet? Well the Hollywood actor — best known for his work in 500 Days of Summer and Inception — has recently released a book, based on a collection of short stories developed on his web site.

Gordon-Levitt started the online production company hitRECord within the last few years. The company is collection of people’s thoughts and personal works of art meshed together. It’s made up of a movies, stories, art, and music. And now Gordon-Levitt has combined the works of his production company into one tiny book, The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories: Volume 1.

Entertainment Weekly recently sat down with Gordon-Levitt to talk about the new book. From the conversation, one can tell Gordon-Levitt is a dreamer, who both loves all forms of art and has a special appreciation for physical books. Go ahead and read the entire interview. I don’t know about you, but it certainly makes me want to grab a copy of this clever, little book.

Get The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories in hardcover for only $9.

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Interview with Steve Jobs’ Biographer & His New Book

In case you missed it last night, here is the 60 Minutes interview with Steve Jobs’ biographer, Walter Isaacson.

(Note: CBS does not have an embed code for their show. This link takes you to Youtube, where you can find the follow-up links to the rest of the interview. Plus….)

Isaacson’s book about Steve Jobs is on shelves today. Get Steve Jobs in hardcover for less than $20.


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An Interview with Author Ed Newman

Haunted houses, scorpions, and teenagers. It sounds like the rumblings of your typical tween science fiction novel, but it isn’t. The debut novel, The Red Scorpion, from Ed Newman — who is generally known for his short stories — deals with all these topics. But Newman combines them in an mature, adult fiction kind of way.

The scene of the story is set with Book One — a professor and researcher travels to Mexico to follow up on some well-known myths. But along the way, he comes across a dangerous breed of red scorpions. His naive, but curious demeanor encourages him to bring a scorpion back home. And so begins an 80-year haunted house story with a twist. The house isn’t haunted with ghosts, but scorpions.

I reached Newman via email and spoke with him about some of the themes of the story, how he came to publish his first novel, and why he found it important to make it strictly available as an e-book.

Q: In your afterward, you talk about how you got the idea for this story. You said that it started out as a dream you had about the action sequence at the end. But those who read it know the story deals with a lot of different themes — fear, adolescence, bullying, even mythology. How did you develop the initial sequence you had in mind into the story it became?

A: Good question. I think all creativity is a form of problem solving. Many of my stories have emerged from dreams over the years, but only this one became a book. The idea required developing a backstory, and as I mulled over where the red scorpion came from  I drew from my experiences living in Mexico in 1981. Making a haunted house story came from my experiences as a teen exploring abandoned houses, always imagining something dark about the place. Unrestrained imagination is like weather patterns. You don’t really control them, you just go with whatever is stirred up.

Q: I was very intrigued by Book One. Did you ever think of developing that a little more? And, what made you decide to tell the story this way — in two parts?

A: Book one was originally a middle section called book two. I had attempted to write it as a diary, but there were too many loose ends that a diarist couldn’t really touch on so I wrote it as a first person account telling what was in the diary. Finally I re-wrote this as a third person account and liked it better, but ultimately decided to make it book one for the purpose of set-up. Maybe this came about as a temporary aversion to the overuse of flashback in films.

Q: At the end of your afterward, you allude to a sequel. Do you have one in the works? If so, what can we expect?

A: Well, I do not have a fully fleshed out sequel, but imagined that there could be some kind of news story that Dusty, now a couple years older, connects to the red scorpion. In the sequel Chuchui, the youth who betrayed his tribe, is now an elderly man who has an empire of some kind. He used his education for evil and has become corrupted by power perhaps. It could play on the drug wars and violence south of the border as a continuation of No Country For Old Men.

Q: After writing short stories for years, this is your first novel. How does it feel to finally get a long-form story out there?

A: A bit like giving birth. A lot of labor pains at the end. Gratifying, of course, since I carried this thing for such a long, long time.

Q: Why did it take so long to make it happen?

A: I work full time and it simply takes a lot of energy to produce a book length manuscript. Stories and articles and blog entries are so much easier to dream up, assemble and release. It takes a special degree of motivation to tackle a book. I was not motivated by money since most books fail to really get a serious return. My aim was to create a Lord of the Flies type book that all the kids on my son’s school bus would be reading when he was a senior in high school. I got serious about the book when he was a freshman or thereabouts. It never happened that way – he is 25 now – but this was the driving force that helped me finish the project. When I failed to get a publisher I set it aside until picking it back up this summer as an endeavor that needed closure so I could move on.

Q: Your book is only available in e-book version. What lead to your decision to just do it as an e-book?

A. Ten or so years ago my father-in-law wrote a wonderful World War II memoir called And There Shall Be Wars. Over 500 pages, 176 original photos and more. He self-published after we made endless attempts to find a publisher. The 2000 books he printed cost $9,000 dollars. A majority of those books are still in boxes in my garage.

Ultimately, the week before our book launch I was persuaded by a publisher friend to print 50 copies for people who come to our book launch party. The economics of such short runs doesn’t make sense though and I have no interest in leaving a garage full of books for my heirs.

The real impetus for going virtual with our book is that I have at least four more books in the pipeline, and that Amazon announced that they have sold more e-books than printed books this year, a first, and a foretaste of the future.

The Red Scorpion is available now for just $2.99.

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