Bob talks to Wired magazine columnist Clive Thompson about his book Smarter than You Think. It’s about the different ways technology and the internet is changing the way we think and process information. Then, “Oriental” became a derogatory classification for people when cultural studies scholar Edward Said educated us on its divisive implications. Bob talks to his daughter Najla Said about her relationship with the unconventional thinker and her memoir Looking for Palestine: Growing Up Confused In An Arab-American Family. Both books are now available in paperback.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
If you’re looking for the perfect walking partner, look no further than writer and cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz… or if she’s unavailable, you can take along her book, On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation. Here Horowitz teaches readers what it means to be an expert observer. On Looking is now available in paperback. Then, Bob talks to author and journalist Joshua Wolf Shenk about his latest book Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
In 1920, James Howard “Billy” Williams took a job in the teak business so he could work with elephants. He believed that just living with them made him a better man. Over time, Williams developed a rapport with the elephants that earned him the nickname Elephant Bill. During World War II, Elephant Bill built a company of elephants that helped build bridges and evacuate refugees. Vicki Croke tells his remarkable story in a new book, Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II. Then, Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance is the latest work from Northwestern University scholar Carla Kaplan. She joins Bob to discuss her book on these unconventional women and her interest in cultural studies. Kaplan’s book is now available in paperback.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
Bob talks to novelist Julie Schumacher about her new book, Dear Committee Members. It’s about a year in the life of a beleaguered, misanthropic English professor, told in the form of letters of recommendation he writes for his students and colleagues. Schumacher teaches creative writing at the University of Minnesota. Then, Bob talks to William Deresiewicz about why people shouldn’t send their kids to Ivy League schools. His new book is Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life.
Friday, September 5, 2014
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, Bob talks anew with country music legend and five time GRAMMY-winner Marty Stuart on the eve of the release of his new double album Saturday Night & Sunday Morning (out 9.30). Marty started his career as a teenager backing Lester Flatt and played in Johnny Cash’s band for six years before launching his solo career. It was during his time with Flatt that Stuart began photographing country musicians. An exhibit of his photographs, including the last known photograph of Johnny Cash, is currently on display at Nashville’s Frist Center for the Visual Arts. Finally, we hear a new commentary from children’s book writer and illustrator Daniel Pinkwater.
Monday, September 8, 2014
Today we replay Bob’s award-winning documentary, “Exploding Heritage,” which addressed the controversial issue of mountaintop removal in the south-central Appalachian Mountains. The method of extracting coal by blowing the tops off of mountains is devastating plant and animal life, and causing trouble for the people who live nearby. Bob explored how mountaintop removal is leveling the oldest mountain range in America — leaving the landscape, the local economy, and the local culture ravaged.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Over the last few years, Nev Schulman has investigated dozens of online relationships to determine whether they’re based on truth or fiction. Now, he takes his knowledge to the page in his new book In Real Life. Bob talks to Schulman about his book, the TV show, and the complexities of identity in the digital age. Then, Bob talks to public radio treasure and host of “A Prairie Home Companion” Garrison Keillor.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Today Bob spends the hour with public radio host and recent National Humanities Medal recipient Diane Rehm, talking about end of life medical decisions. Rehm’s husband, John, was in the final stages of Parkinson’s and wanted to end his life, but his doctor refused to help. As a result, he chose to deliberately die by dehydration, the process taking nine days. Rehm says “He should have had better choices.”
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Academy Award-nominated actress Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear) plays Kelly, a new mother stuck in suburbia, who befriends 17 year old Cal (Jonny Weston) in director Jen McGowan’s new film Kelly & Cal. Bob talks with Lewis and McGowan about Kelly & Cal, which is in theaters now. Then, the term cult following could have been invented to describe the popularity of Bob Dylan, an enigmatic figure who recoils from most one-on-one contact with his fans. Despite that, there are legions of people obsessed with Dylan to a degree far beyond what seems healthy and reasonable. They are Dylanologists and that’s the title of a new book about them by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Kinney.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Then, we hear a new commentary from children’s book writer and illustrator Daniel Pinkwater. And finally, we remember American jazz icon Gerald Wilson. He started his professional music career in 1939, playing trumpet for the Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra. Over the course of his seven-decade career, Wilson had great success as a composer, arranger, bandleader, and jazz educator, writing music for and playing with jazz legends Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughn, Bobby Darin, and Ray Charles, to name a few. Gerald Wilson died Monday at the age of 96.