Monday, September 14, 2015: Bob talks with Australian writer Tim Winton about his award-winning collection of connected short stories, The Turning: New Stories. In 1998, Australia declared Winton a “national living treasure” and in 2005 the book won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction. Bob talks with guitarist Ben Harper and harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite about their CD titled Get Up! The two occasional collaborators have wanted to record a full album together for over a decade and finally found the time after first clicking musically at a 1997 recording session with John Lee Hooker.
Tuesday, September 15, 2015: 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 talks with Bob about his memoir titled I Shudder: And Other Reactions to Life, Death, and New Jersey. You know “snark” when you hear it: It’s biting, mean, condescension disguised as high-brow teasing. Maureen Dowd is very good at it, and so was Cicero. New Yorker film critic David Denby says it is “spreading like pinkeye through the media” and weakening the public discourse. His book on the subject is titled Snark.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015: In his book Freedom’s Forge, Arthur Herman tells a little-known story from World War II: how two American businessmen—the President of General Motors William Knudsen and construction giant Henry Kaiser—oversaw an output of war materials including weapons, tanks, planes, guns, and ammunition – that almost defies imagination. Herman calls it the greatest industrial miracle in history, and makes the case that these men changed the face of not only American business and industry but of American society. Then military journalist and author Stephen Harding shares another unlikely but true story. It’s all in the subtitle of his book The Last Battle: When U.S. and German Soldiers Joined Forces in the Waning Hours of World War II in Europe.
Thursday, September 17, 2015: Mark Frauenfelder is co-founder of the most popular blog in the world www.boingboing.net and Editor in Chief of Make magazine, which advocates for Americans to re-engage with the physical world. Bob talks to Frauenfelder about the Do-it-yourself movement and its promise to reinvigorate traditional American values like resourcefulness, creativity and thrift. He also has some good ideas about how to have fun making cool stuff and reducing the amount of disposable items in our lives. Then Bob talks to Rafe Sagarin, marine ecologist and author of Learning from the Octopus: How Secrets from Nature Can Help Us Fight Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters and Disease.
Friday, September 18, 2015: The Cold War is over and with the collapse of the Soviet Union, there is little threat of an all-out, mutually destructive nuclear war. But investigative journalist Eric Schlosser points out that most of those weapons are still out there…and many of them are still on hair-trigger alert. In his book Command and Control, he writes that school children no longer practice to “duck and cover” — even as the danger of an accidental war or accidental nuclear detonations may have increased. Drawing on thousands of pages of recently declassified government documents and on interviews with scores of military personnel and nuclear scientists, Schlosser writes about our illusion of safety when it comes to today’s nuclear weapons. Then Bob checks in with Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten on his latest project. Weingarten is still pulling together stories relating to one day chosen at random – December 28, 1986. The forthcoming book will be called One Day and will prove that old journalism axiom that good stories can be found anywhere.