Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies ; Joseph Kanon, Instanbul Passage ; Paul Theroux, The Lower River
Alan Cheuse and I are lucky in that we live in a time of an embarrassment of riches. Whereas most of what shows up on the silver screens turns out to be bilge, and even hundreds of cable channels can only turn out a few moments of watchable television, (many of those based on books), the literary world is awash with great titles. In one session, NPR's Cheuse and I had the pleasure of talking about three outstanding works of fiction that were both engrossingly entertaining and of the highest literary merit.
What was interesting to me as we talked about these books –and this time, I'll let the discussion speak for itself in that regard – was that both Alan and I were made acutely aware the distinctive pleasures available only to readers that these books exemplify. Generally, we focus on the books and only the books, but this discussion took a few short swipes at the larger topic of reading as a form of art and entertainment.
06-05-12 UPDATE:Podcast Update: Time to Read Episode 47: Walter Mosley, 'The Gift of Fire and On the Head of a Pin'
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Here's the forty-seventh episode of my new series of podcasts, which I'm calling Time to Read. The podcasts/radio broadcasts will be of books worth your valuable reading time. I'll try to keep the reports under four minutes, for a radio-friendly format. If you want to run them on your show or podcast, let me know.
My hope is that in under four minutes I can offer readers a concise review and an opportunity to hear the author read from or speak about the work. I'm hoping to offer a new one every week.
06-04-12:A 201A 2012 Interview with Leonard Mlodinow
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"...so now, for the first time, you could look inside people's heads..."
I'm glad I got Leonard Mlodinow to Bookshop Santa Cruz a bit early, because it proved that we needed every minute we had to talk about 'Subliminal.' In fact, there was still a lot to talk about in this wonderful book that in retrospect is really dense with new facts and visions of our minds; but it sure doesn't fell dense when you are reading it.
And here is a great reason to listen to interviews, because you can hear Mlodinow's prose voice in his spoken voice. It will quickly become clear how he can write about complicated, scientific concepts and experiments in prose that is positively breezy and fun to read.
We talked about the types of experiments he wrote about, and about the many forgotten scientists who in retrospect did ground-breaking work that was not recognized at the time. Not surprisingly, Mlodinow is an engaging speaker, and the sort to be well-prepared. For the tour associated with this book, he's got a great slide show.
05-04-13: Commentary : Reasons Not to Leave the House, Reality Check : The Truth Hurts Edition: 'Down the Up Escalator' by Barbara Garson, 'The Wolf and the Watchman' by Scott C. Johnson,'The Book of Woe' by Gary Greenberg, 'Confessions of a Sociopath' by M. E. Thomas