Monday, October 19, 2009
Rafe Esquith teaches fifth grade at Hobart Elementary in Los Angeles, California. He’s the only teacher to have been awarded the president’s National Medal of the Arts and he returns to the show to discuss his new book, Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World. Then, Kurt Vonnegut is gone but not forgotten. His works are celebrated for their satirical humor and a startling creativity that experimented with traditional narratives. A new book collects some of Vonnegut’s previously unpublished short stories. It’s called, Look at the Birdie. Vonnegut’s longtime friend Sidney Offit wrote the forward, and he joins Bob to reminisce about Vonnegut’s early career and the heyday of magazine fiction, when works by the best writers appeared at newsstands and not just the bookstore. A writer himself, Offit is the author of fourteen books and serves as the curator of the George Polk Awards in Journalism.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
In a collection encompassing more than two hundred original essays and more than a thousand pages, Greil Marcus offers a kaleidoscopic view of what “Made in America” means in his new book titled A New Literary History of America. Marcus is best known for his scholarly writing on music including the books Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music, The Rose & the Briar: Death, Love and Liberty in the American Ballad, and Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads (2005), a “biography” of a singular song.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
With everyone from the environmental movement to big business “going green,” oceanographer Sylvia Earle urges us to remember the blue. In her new book, The World is Blue, Earle describes the deteriorating health of our oceans and how their decline affects other animals – including humans. Earle is a National Geographic Society explorer-in-residence and she led the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1990-1992.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Any fan of Libby Gelman-Waxner’s monthly column, “If You Ask Me,” in Premiere magazine (1987-2007) could tell you all about Libby’s home life and her hilarious observations on Hollywood and films. But many of those fans never knew that “Libby” was actually a pseudonym for screenwriter, playwright, and novelist Paul Rudnick, one of America’s greatest humorists. Rudnick’s most recent book is a memoir about his work in the theater world, titled, I Shudder, And Other Reactions to Life, Death, and New Jersey. Then, a look at the world of film with our resident entertainment critic David Kipen.
Friday, October 23, 2009
David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, for three years, director Joe Berlinger gathered the footage for his new documentary Crude. In the classic battle between the haves and the have-nots, Crude examines both sides of legal case known as the “Amazon Chernobyl.” 30,000 residents of the jungles of Ecuador claimed that the American oil giant Chevron contaminated an area roughly the size of Rhode Island, resulting in high levels of cancer, birth defects, and other health problems. Crude was an official selection at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Bobby Doerr. He was the second baseman for the Boston Red Sox from 1937 to 1951, played in nine All-Star Games and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986. Doerr now lives in Oregon on land he bought when he was a teenager. That’s where we reached him by phone to reflect on the essay he recorded decades ago.