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Best of The Writers' Block 2012

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2012 was a really great year for books and an even better one for KQED’s book-lovin’ podcast, The Writers’ Block. Although, as the program’s Producer, every episode is a home run in my book, here’s a rundown of a few authors that truly blew me away.


I was super nervous to meet Alison Bechdel. What if she was one of those intelligent people who are jerks about knowing more than you? Or what if she didn’t like my sense of humor? Or my hair? I’m happy to report that she is delightful and spent 15 minutes in my cube and laughed at my weird jokes and said that, if we were in a relationship, she would solve my Libran indecision by making all the decisions on where we would eat and what movies we would watch (seriously). I’m also happy to say that her latest graphic novel Are You My Mother?, an impeccably crafted peek into psychoanalysis and her relationship with her mother, was well worth the six year wait since her last magnum opus (Fun Home). It’ll make you feel things!



Pee-Wee. E.T. Ferris Bueller. The Garbage Pail Kids. They all ruled the ’80s, but no one had a stronger stranglehold on the decade than everyone’s favorite redhead, Molly Ringwald. With her silver screen my-parents-forgot-my-fing-birthday eye rolls behind her, Ringwald has since moved onto writing. Her first collection, When It Happens to You, will have you falling for her all over again, Duckie style.

Listen to Molly Ringwald read an excerpt from <i>When It Happens to You</i>

Listen to Molly Ringwald read an excerpt from When It Happens to You


Life is full of questions. And Cheryl Strayed, the woman behind the once-anonymous advice column Dear Sugar, has the answers (even Almighty Oprah thinks so). Tiny Beautiful Things compiles her best columns, along with unpublished ones, all of which are equal parts wisdom and wisecrack. Click play. Clarity awaits you.

Listen to Cheryl Strayed read an excerpt from <i>Tiny Beautiful Things</i>

Listen to Cheryl Strayed read an excerpt from Tiny Beautiful Things


You’re probably used to hearing this particular voice sing about sailor-gobbling whales, but that’s not the only medium in which Colin Meloy, the lead singer of the Decemberists, excels. In the latest installment of the Wildwood series, Meloy, with the help of his illustrator wife Carson Ellis, brings a fantastical parallel universe to life, modeled on Portland’s Forest Park. It almost makes you understand why all your friends keep talking about moving there.

Listen to Colin Meloy read an excerpt from <i>Under Wildwood</i>

Listen to Colin Meloy read an excerpt from Under Wildwood


The first time I met Cassie Sneider I got this rumbling in my chest, a feeling from playgrounds of my past. It could only be one thing: the best friend crush. This happens when someone is so cool and hilarious and brilliant that you just have to play light-as-a-feather-stiff-as-a-board with them. Put simply, Cassie’s writing is the equivalent of jumping on the bed with your bestie at a slumber party that never has to end.

Listen to Cassie J. Sneider read an excerpt from <i>Fine Fine Music</i>

Listen to Cassie J. Sneider read an excerpt from Fine Fine Music

For all of my other favorite readings, click here.

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