books

Digital Vision / Thinkstock

This hour, we talk with neuroscientist James Fallon. He found something shocking when he was looking at brain scans of serial killers. We’ll talk about his book The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain and what his research might tell us about Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza.

Thalita Carvalho/flickr creative commons

Faith's motto on The Book Show is… Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join Faith and her book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories. If you're in a book club, please tell us what you've read and enjoyed.

Daniel Menaker

If you read magazines and live on the North half of the East Coast there is a good chance that you believe that The New Yorker is the ne plus ultra of magazine writing and if you believe that there's a good chance you run around using phrases like ne plus ultra.

With The New Yorker's Olympian status goes a certain preciousness One of the reasons there's nothing else quite like The New Yorker is The New Yorker deeply believes that to be true and communicates it to us in subtle ways. 

Mark Milloff

When he’s not playing professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, artist Mark Milloff sculpts, paints, and envisions gigantic pastel drawings. He also moonlights as a musician. But all things being equal, he’d rather be fishing.

Chion Wolf

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the epidemic of injury in the game of football - concussions and traumatic brain injuries… but have you ever asked yourself why football helmets are designed the way they are? And how better helmet design might actually have made the game more dangerous? And while you’re at it, have you considered “the divine randomness of prolate spheroid?” That’s science talk for the unlikely evolution for the shape of the football.  

Mark your calendars: According to some scholars, the next time it might happen is the year 79,811. I'm talking, of course, about the hybrid holiday of Thanksgivukkah, a melding of Thanksgiving and the Jewish Festival of Lights. The Borsch Belt-style Pilgrim jokes and mishmash recipes (turkey brined in Manischewitz, anyone?) are flying around the Internet; but since Jews are frequently referred to as "the People of the Book" and Pilgrims pretty much lived by the Book, Thanksgivukkah seems to me like the quintessential (stressful) family holiday to celebrate by escaping into a book.

Wikimedia Commons

Norman Rockwell. It's the day before Thanksgiving. Who else are we gonna talk about? Deborah Solomon (the same one who invented the "Questions for" format in the New York Times magazine) will spend the whole show talking about her new comprehensive biography of Rockwell.

Nicholas Dawidoff's Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football may be the best book I've ever read about football. It is certainly the most detailed account of the players inside the helmets and the coaches obscured from an enthralled public by large, laminated playsheets.

Jason M Parrish/flickr creative commons

Faith's motto on The Book Show is… Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join Faith and her book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories. If you're in a book club, please tell us what you've read and enjoyed.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

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.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Abhi Sharma/flickr creative commons

Today's show originally aired September 12, 2013.

Faith's motto on The Book Show is… Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join Faith and her book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories.

Tag Him, Track Him, Hug Him, Love Him

Nov 7, 2013

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.

Chion Wolf

Okay, this is sad. Like a lot of people, I have trouble achieving the deep focus needed to enjoy long fiction. And, like a lot of people, I have trouble finding time to read novels.

Recently, I came up with a solution. I go to the gym, get on a recumbent bike, and I read while I pedal for an hour, so yes,  I kill two birds with one Robert Stone.

Jeremy Piehler/flickr creative commons

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.

Chion Wolf

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.  

Emily Carlin/flickr creative commons

by Faith Middleton

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.

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."

This post was updated at 9:30 a.m.

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Michael Childers

Fear of Flying sold 18 million copies worldwide and helped tip feminism into a new focus on fulfilled sexuality. But it also introduced a meme so pervasive that the book's author, Erica Jong, worried the phrase "zipless f--k" would appear on her tombstone.

Jong recenly defined the phrase on NPR's Weekend Edition:

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.

Why not let one of Connecticut's best-selling authors tell it in her own words?:

liz west/flickr creative commons

by Faith Middleton

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.

Chion Wolf

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.

Did we mention it's a kids' book, too?

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.

Abhi Sharma/flickr creative commons

Faith's motto on The Book Show is… Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join Faith and her book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

 Wally Lamb, the best-selling author, advocate for female prisoners, and frequent contributor to The Colin McEnroe Show, reported last night that the Connecticut Department of Corrections had banned his book "She's Come Undone" and put "I'll Fly Away" on an "endangered list."  

Then we got this statement from the State Department of Correction less than a day after the news broke: 

Pages