From Faith Middleton: Wally Lamb's books beat with a human heart.
Many people, especially Wally Lamb's fans, recall that his first novel, She's Come Undone, was selected by Oprah's book club. But what I remember is the experience of riding in the New York subway, and seeing so many people bumping along, engrossed in his story. On one occasion, these subway readers, strangers to each other, started a discussion about the book—possibly the first underground book club.
In the late 90s, before Dave Eggers wrote a bestselling memoir (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius), before he penned the screenplay for Where the Wild Things Are, before any of his novels, he was a young guy sitting in his kitchen tearing open envelopes filled with literary submissions.
Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 12:43 pm
In Dave Eggers' terrific new novel, The Circle, set at a California computer company, a cult of connection is slowly taking over the United States and spreading around the globe. An evolving cultural preference for constant sharing by way of computer and camera is turning any citizen's wish for privacy into a scorned, misanthropic secrecy.
From Faith Middleton: Book Clubs call in, and so do individual readers, telling us which books are great reads in all categories—mystery, history, thrillers, romance, art, politics, science, biographies and memoirs.
If you listen to public radio, you know Frank Tavares. Colin McEnroe called him NPR’s Yoda, but you probably best know him as the voice of NPR. He’s wrapping up his tenure as the voice that says, “This is NPR” after funding credits.
We celebrate a book that reminds us of what a great read can do to light up your life. Will Schwalbe, author of The End of Your Life Book Club, found a way to write about the books he and his mother read together as her life drew to a close. It makes you want to set aside a year to read what they did, because such wise and caring people have to reflect the stories they read. This is a tribute to the power of reading in our lives, the way it opens conversation, touches the deepest parts of ourselves, entertains and enlightens us. It turns out that The End of Your Life Book Club is very much about living in the best possible way.
Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:31 pm
Alice Munro has been awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, the Swedish Academy announced Thursday morning. The academy often explains its decision — what it calls the "prize motivation" — with lush precision; recent winners have been praised for their "hallucinatory realism," "condensed, translucent images" and "sensual ecstasy." But for Munro, the committee came straight to the point: They called her simply "master of the contemporary short story."
Biologist Paul Ehrlich became famous in the 1970s with his book The Population Bomb, which outlined a doomsday scenario in which the world’s supply of food and resources couldn't keep up with overpopulation.
Gather around book buddies. It's time to join in the hunt for books that will make life interesting. Whether you want escape, pleasure, thrills, wisdom, information, learning, or laughs, you'll hear about all kinds of good reads on our Book Show… Mysteries, Science, History, Comedy, Biographies, Thrillers, Memoirs, Politics, Food, Travel.
As a shot in the dark, this week I asked my rather large Facebook audience whether any of them were lapsed Catholics thinking about tiptoeing back to the church based on the recent comments of Pope Francis, who talked about rebalancing the church's priorities with possibly less emphasis on what he called an obsession with abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage.
From Norvelt to Nowhere is a book that begins in the shadow of nuclear annihilation, during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. The first few paragraphs also disclose that nine elderly women in the town of Norvelt are dead by poison.
There are a lot of fascinating details hiding below the surface in the world of color. For instance, scientists once thought the average color of the entire universe was turquoise — until they recalculated and realized it was beige.
In Japan, you wait at a stoplight until it turns from red to blue, even though it's the same green color as American stoplights.
And in World War II, the British painted a whole flotilla of warships pinkish-purple so they'd blend in with the sky at dusk and confuse the Germans. That's right — pink warships.
If you seek parallels between J.D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon they're easy to find. Both were literary geniuses. Both were publicity-shunning recluses. Both men were psychosexually arrested by God knows what primal wound.
Salinger seemed able to bond only with very young women and girls. Pynchon had a pattern -- somehow linked to inability to form normal alliances -- of hijacking the wives and partners of his friends.
The Book Show gang joins Faith with recommendations in all categories. What’re you reading? What’ve you recently read and loved? Are you a librarian? A teacher? Are you part of a book club? Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.
Join the Food Schmooze gang for a look at post-summer grilling. Plus, the cookbooks Wine Bites: 64 Nibbles That Pair Perfectly with Wine and The Book Club Cookbook: Recipes and Food for Thought from Your Book Club's Favorite Books and Authors.
Why do the smartest students often do poorly on standardized tests? Why did you tank that interview or miss that golf swing when you should have had it in the bag? Why do you mess up when it matters the most—and how can you perform your best instead?
The linguist John McWhorter joins us to talk about his book What Language Is (And What It Isn't, and What It Could Be). From Standard English to Black English; obscure tongues only spoken by a few thousand people in the world to the big ones like Mandarin—What Language Is celebrates the history and curiosities of languages around the world and smashes our assumptions about "correct" grammar. Plus, a look at the career con man and serial impostor Clark Rockefeller, who wasn't, ya know, actually a Rockefeller at all.
It's a common story for a personal passion to lead to a business opportunity. For one Connecticut entrepreneur it was the convergence of two passions -- baseball and art -- that launched her on the road to success.
"Well, I grew up listening to the Red Sox on the radio, and on the only station that we had on our TV, you know, back in the Seventies. And my dad was a baseball coach and an umpire, so we just grew up with the Red Sox as sort of part of the family."
Today’s show features two loosely-related interviews. Billy Collins is probably the most popular poet in the United States and this summer he’s guest curating and guest voicing The Writer’s Almanac, a popular Garrison Keillor radio segment which showcases one poem every day and then looks back-- usually because of birthdays—at creators of the past.