Books

When her first child was born, Pamela Druckerman expected to spend the next several years frantically meeting her daughter's demands. In the U.S., after all, mealtimes, living rooms and sleep schedules typically turn to chaos as soon as a baby arrives. That's the reason one friend of mine used to refer to his child as a "destroying angel."

We talk to the co-authors of a new book who spent years in the field of  political “opposition research”.   They’re the folks that dig up the dirt and unveil the skeletons on candidates for Presidential on down to the local school board.  It’s a story that involves shady characters, clandestine meetings and piles of documents, all aimed at bringing down your opponent and winning elections.

Guests

Books to get you through 'til Sunday

Jan 26, 2012

Historian Simon Schama calls it another example of British television’s “cultural necrophilia”. Well then, bring out your dead…the Downton Abbey miniseries now airing Sunday nights on PBS has invigorated public television, revved up sales of cloche hats and maxi skirts, and has publishers scrambling to appeal to readers who devour period dramas.

OH. MY. GODS.

Jan 12, 2012
Photo by Sp!ros via Flickr Creative Commons

How many times have we heard that studying the classics is no longer useful, an anachronism? Then out come movies like Clash of the Titans, or Troy, and suddenly everyone is hungry for more. From Star Wars to Harry Potter, references to ancient myths are inescapable.

Hope: A Tragedy

Jan 11, 2012

 There are strange noises and a rotten smell  coming from the attic of Solomon Kugel’s old farmhouse in upstate New York. His wife resents him, his kid is sickly and his mother, who grew up in the United States, imagines herself a Holocaust survivor with PTSD. Yet, Kugel remains an optimist, which his shrink declares is the problem: the more hell bent one is on life, the more terrified of death.

Three Wishes, Three Surprise Endings

Jan 11, 2012
Karen and Casey Jordan via Flickr

Statistics from the Pew Research Center show that single women over 35 now account for around fifteen percent of the birthrate in the united states. One reason may be that there are so many more options for women who have delayed motherhood -- from adoption to using donor sperm to freezing their own eggs. Journalists Pamela Ferdinand, Carey Goldberg, and Beth Jones all had fulfilling careers, rich friendships, and hapless relationship histories.

According to our guest today, Colin Woodard, America's political divisions aren't between red states and blue states, right and left, Republicans and Democrats but between 11 distinct North American cultural regions.  They are regions the he names "Yankeedom", "Greater Appalachia", "The Deep South" and "The Far West" and they have been created by centuries of Americans who settled there, each with their own unique cultures, religions, political traditions and ethnographic characteristics.  Woodard suggests that only by truly understanding these regions can we begin to see beyond these deep 

10 Tea Parties You Haven't Heard About

Jan 9, 2012
Photo by Spychick via Flickr Creative Commons

With the first in the nation primary swirling around us, we turn to the spread of the Tea Party…circa 1774. We’re talking about the Annapolis Tea Party…the New York Tea Party, and other protests that boiled over in the colonies from Maine to North Carolina. These copycat protests were buried by the 92,000 pounds shoved overboard in Boston.

The Civil War Era's Kardashian

Jan 5, 2012

News of the spectacular break-up between actress Adah Issacs Menken and bareknuckle boxing champ John Heenan splashed across the papers that year. Heenan accused his wife of bigamy. That was just one charge against the woman who was best known for bounding across the stage strapped to a horse in a skin-tight flesh colored costume.

2012 Publishing Predictions

Jan 3, 2012
Photo by Mr.T in DC, courtesy of Flickr creative commons

Winter is a bountiful time for booklovers…the choices are abundant, and publishers and retailers are tripping over themselves to get people buying books - in any format.  The e-book has breathed some life into the publishing industry, but traditional books are still selling at independent bookstores. As part of Word of Mouth’s 2012 Nostradamus Edition, Jason boog, blogger and editor of the publishing website Galley Cat, makes his predictions for what the publishing industry will face in the coming year.  

1493 (Rebroadcast)

Jan 2, 2012

In a new book, author Charles Mann explores what happened in the years after Columbus’s famed voyage to the Americas.  He says it altered everything:  sparking a new era of globalization and not just in commerce:  but radical changes in crops, cultures, and politics.  We’ll talk with Mann about this expansive look at this new era and how the world changed after Columbus.  

Guests

  • Charles C. Mann - Author of 1493:Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

Word of Mouth for 12.24.2011

Dec 23, 2011
(Photo by zizagou76 via Flickr Creative Commons)

                                                                            

Part 1:

Why Music Writing Matters in 2011

In his introduction to an anthology of The Best Music Writing 2011, Alex Ross shares a selection of tweets reacting to bassist and singer Esperanza Spaulding’s upset over teen star Justin Bieber for the Best New Artist Grammy.

The Overlooked Books of 2011

Dec 22, 2011
Photo by: hashmil

The publishing industry stayed afloat this year by designing and selling books for e-reader; those devices jumped from novelty items to the mainstream. Brick and mortar booksellers had a rougher time. Biblio behemoth Borders closed stores across the country. Closer to home, RiverRun Books in Portsmouth nearly closed its doors, but was saved by a swarm of Locavestors. The indie bookstore is one place where unsung gems can shine. We’re ticking through some of the year’s books that didn’t have big names, big budgets, and big promoters to sell them.

Why Music Writing Matters in 2011

Dec 22, 2011
(Photo by Nicole Abalde via Flickr Creative Commons)

In his introduction to an anthology of The Best Music Writing 2011Alex Ross shares a selection of tweets reacting to bassist and singer Esperanza Spaulding’s upset over teen star Justin Bieber for the Best New Artist Grammy.

How Lego stacked itself out of the ashes

Dec 20, 2011
(Photo by Owly via Flickr Creative Commons)

Contrary to the buy now messaging of the season, kids aren’t looking only for instant gratification. Take Lego.  In 2005, Lego Corporation came back from the brink by capitalizing on research showing  that kids are inspired by the difficulty and process of mastering a complicated model. So, rather than dumbing down to compete with the plug-in immediacy of video games, Lego ramped up the sophistication of its models.

Notes from a Maine Kitchen

Dec 20, 2011

However you celebrate the holidays, we are now in deep. Hannukah begins at sundown tonight. There are five more shopping days and umpteen things to do until christmas…the holiday parties, the food shopping, the secret santa gifts, school plays and pick-ups. Time seems to compress as our wish to enjoy each other in this dark season expands.

Writers on a New England Stage: Chris Matthews

Dec 9, 2011
(Photo by David Murray of <a href="http://books.simonandschuster.com/Jack-Kennedy/Chris-Matthews/9781451635089" target="_blank">Clear Eye Photo</a>)

Chris Matthews is best known for his opinionated and combative style on his MSNBC program, "Hardball with Chris Matthews." What's lesser known is that he's a former print journalist, was a long-time aide to Tip O'Neill, and that he grew up in an Irish Catholic family...of Republicans. All this played no small part in sewing the seeds of his admiration for a man he'd later write two books about, John F. Kennedy. 

Imagining the real John Lennon

Dec 8, 2011
(Photo by Pedro Netto via Flickr Creative Commons)

Today marks the 31st anniversary of the day that John Lennon was shot and killed on the sidewalk in front of his home in New York City. Reams of words have been written about that senseless, irrevocable act. But writer and critic Tim Riley prefers the parts of John Lennon’s story that are not so well known. 

Small World, Two Authors

Dec 6, 2011
praveenspravi

 

Flikr Creative Commons / drocpsu

The push to support local businesses – Buy Local campaigns – are gaining steam, and Invest-Local is no exception.

In Portsmouth, so called “Locavestors” have come together to save a community book store.

RiverRun bookstore sits near the center of downtown Portsmouth.

It’s a bright shop, with big windows looking out onto historic Congress Street.

Customers Nancy Pollard and Elria Ewing are in browsing for replicas of old maps of downtown.

They love their local bookseller.

Naturally Curious

Dec 2, 2011
<a href="http://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/category/december/">Mary Holland</a>

The natural world quiets down in December, both visually and audibly. Fall's riot of colors is long gone, and the bird song chorus is a distant memory. Not everyone embraces winter, but there is a positive way to view the impending season of cold, ice and snow. Without the overload of spring, summer and fall distractions, we're freed up to notice and appreciate the subtle winter world.

One Nation Under AARP

Nov 30, 2011

What began a half century ago as an organization for insurance purposes has grown into much more.  The AARP has become an influential lobbying group with forty million members.   We’ll talk with the author of a new book which examines this and the AARP’s role in current debates over Medicare and Social Security.  

  • Frederick Lynch - An Associate Professor of  Government at Claremont McKenna College, and author of Invisible Victims and the Diversity Machine

 

He's a Fighter, Not Just a Writer

Nov 29, 2011
(Photo courtesy <a href="www.mattpolly.com" target="_blank">Matt Polly</a>)

Who doesn’t love an underdog? A Rocky in the ring? With the audience for boxing eroding, the new ring is an octagonal cage. In popularity and profits, mixed martial arts, or MMA, has knocked out boxing in the past decade.  The Ultimate Fighting Championship, MMA’s flagship event, was sold for two million dollars in 2001. Today, it’s worth an estimated one billion. Our guest today is a definitive UFC underdog.  He’s a writer who dove George Plimpton-style into the grueling world of MMA and landed in the octagon. 

Writers on a New England Stage: Stephen King

Nov 28, 2011

Author Stephen King has written more than 50 worldwide best-sellers. More than 80 feature and television film adaptations have extended King’s reach far beyond the bestsellers list, earning him the title of “Master of Horror,” and establishing him as one of the most influential writers of our age.

Homies and Hermanos

Nov 21, 2011
Photo by Piet den Blanken, courtesy of Oxford University Press

Why would a gun-wielding, tattoo-bearing "homie" trade in la vida loca for a Bible and the buttoned-down lifestyle of an evangelical hermano (brother in Christ)? To answer this question, Robert Brenneman interviewed sixty-three former gang members from the "Northern Triangle" of Central America--Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras--most of whom left their gang for evangelicalism.

Our Oddest Clauses

Nov 21, 2011
(Photo by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/roemerman/444304025/">Steven Roerman </a>via Flickr Creative Commons)

Jay Wexler's new book and blog focus on the odd Constitutional clauses we should, maybe, focus on a little less...and those we should, perhaps, turn into awesome t-shirts.

Erik Eisele / NHPR

As of early 2010, more than 2 million US troops have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Larry Minear, a researcher on international and internal armed conflicts, has spent a lot of time talking to more than 175 of these veterans, many of whom came from New Hampshire and Vermont. He talked to them about what motivated them to go to war, what they did once they went over, and how they rejoined society upon their return.

Is time real, or is change just a kind of optical illusion resting on a deeper unchanging reality?

As finite creatures, with death hovering just out of our sight, the true nature of time haunts all our endeavors. Tomorrow, physicist Brian Greene tackles time's illusion in his Fabric of Reality PBS series. Science, however, is just one way we ask about the reality of time.

As The Publishing World Turns...

Nov 1, 2011
Zimpenfish / Flickr Creative Commons

Amazon is back in the business of getting books on print - only now, they're hopping the middle man. Jason Boog, Editor of the publishing website Galley Cat, explains.

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Genetic Genocide: GMO Mosquitoes

Nov 1, 2011
Karl-Ludwig Poggeman / Flickr Creative Commons

Editor for Scientific American Michael Moyer explains how genetically-modified mosquitoes could stop the spread of Dengue Fever; unless uncomfortable corporate practices don't cause a GMO backlash first.

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