Dec 15, 2021 • 36M

Josh Ritter On Books He Loves and the Differences Between Songwriting and Novel Writing

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This week’s guest is Josh Ritter, novelist, musician, all around highly intelligent gentleman. In 2006, he was named one of the "100 Greatest Living Songwriters" by Paste magazine and his music has won numerous accolades. His albums The Animal Years and So Runs the World Away are both extremely important to me. 

But of course we’re here to talk books, including his own. His first novel, Bright’s Passage, came out in 2011, and then earlier this autumn, his second novel was published. It’s called THE GREAT GLORIOUS GODDAMM OF IT ALL, and its both a coming-of-age novel and a memory novel set during the last age of the lumberjacks. The protagonist is ninety-nine year old Weldon Applegate, and he’s looking back at his life among larger-than-life characters that populated the Pacific Northwest around the turn of the twentieth century. 

Ritter is from Moscow, Idaho, and the novel captures that part of the world in vivid detail. He writes in poetic, playful prose that is consistent with what we have seen in his songs for more than two decades now. 

As the book’s jacket says, it’s a novel that is “Braided with haunting saloon tunes and just the right dose of magic,” and “is a novel bursting with heart, humor and an utterly transporting adventure that is sure to sweep you away into the beauty of the tall snowy mountain timber.” 

Ritter joined the show recently to discuss the books that have inspired him and the differences he sees in songwriting and fiction writing.