Ben Fountain is the author of <a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/152675694/billy-lynns-long-halftime-walk">Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk</a> and the short story collection <em>Brief Encounters With Che Guevara</em>.
Last spring, weekends on All Things Considered spoke with author Ben Fountain just as he released his widely acclaimed first novel, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. Later in the year, it was nominated for the National Book Award.
We asked Fountain to share with us what he's looking forward to in the book world next year. He says he's read about 25 books for release in 2013 and tells host Jacki Lyden, "The state of American fiction is really strong, at least from where I'm standing."
On-air challenge: This week is the annual "new names in the news" quiz. You're given some names that you probably never heard of before 2012, but who made news during the past 12 months. You say who they are. These names were compiled with the help of Kathie Baker and Tim Goodman, who were players on previous year-end quizzes.
Matt Damon has played Jason Bourne, the brainwashed assassin. He won an Oscar for co-writing the screenplay for Good Will Hunting with Ben Affleck. And now he's returned to the writer's chair for his latest film — Promised Land.
Damon plays Steve Butler, a salesman who comes to a small Pennsylvania town to sell the local farmers on allowing his company to drill on their land for natural gas using a controversial process known as fracking.