Monday, September 21, 2009:
Bob first talked with Jill McCorkle at the beginning of her career. Now, they re-unite to discuss “Going Away Shoes,” her ninth book. It’s a collection of short stories that McCorkle describes as a litter she was nursing. The characters confront unhappy marriages, looming adulthood, and therapy – but McCorkle manages to inject a lot of humor into those dark subjects. McCorkle will talk about the state of American short fiction, and her own balance between the story and the novel. Then, Chris Smither is a musician with a reputation for storytelling, weaving catchy melodies and intricate lyrics together. Smither mixes the blues with folk to create his recognizable style, and it’s one that has influenced other artists, like Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris. Smither’s latest album is called Time Stands Still, and it includes his own songs and covers from Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler. Bob talks with Smither about his long musical career and his new gig – short story writing.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009:
Americans built the bomb, walked on the moon, decoded the human genome, and created the internet. Yet only half of American adults know the earth orbits the sun once per year. What happened to scientific literacy in America and who is to blame for its decline? Journalist Chris Mooney and scientist Sheril Kirshenbaum examine these questions in their book, Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future. Then, writer Mitch Horowitz, editor-in-chief of Tarcher/Penguin Press, is a well-known scholar and expert on the occult. His new book Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation explains how the esoteric movement spread throughout America and what its impact is on our nation today.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009:
Coming on the heels of his epic film The War, documentary king Ken Burns returns to the U.S. for his latest series, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. This documentary charts the history and current status of our national parks, and Bob talks with Burns and writer and co-producer Dayton Duncan about their 6 year project.
Thursday, September 24, 2009:
Journalist Allison Hoover-Bartlett became friends with both a rare book dealer and the thief who stole from him as she investigated the eccentric book thief, John Charles Gilkey. Her book The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession ties all of their stories together, and offers a glimpse into the exclusive world of book collectors. Then, Bob talks with Edge of Sports host Dave Zirin about college football, the NFL, and baseball’s postseason races.
Friday, September 25, 2009:
David Broder of The Washington Post joins Bob to talk politics. Next, fashion designer and icon Coco Chanel changed not only how women of the early 20th century dressed, but also how they saw themselves. Her clothes emphasized a woman’s natural figure over restricting corsets and bustles, and nearly a 100 years later her fashion house still dominates today’s runway shows. French director Anne Fontaine’s new biopic Coco Before Chanel focuses on the fashion designer’s rise from poverty to social and commercial heights. Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, Bob talks with executive director Dan Gediman about the essay from Julia Adams. Television and film actress Julia Adams’ career has spanned more than 50 years. In addition to her role in “Creature From the Black Lagoon,” Adams co-starred with movie icons John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Charlton Heston and many others. More recently, she has appeared on TV shows “Lost” and “Cold Case.”