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In January of 2018, a seemingly racist incident occurred on the National Mall. Photos and videos were posted to social media showing a group of MAGA hat-wearing high school students from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky. One of them, Nick Sandmann, seemed to be mocking and blocking the path of Native American activist, Nathan Phillips. People either jeered or cheered on social media, depending on how it was perceived, long before most of us had any idea of the context of the situation. 

sferrario1968 / Pixabay

The bed. It’s a central feature of daily life. We rest on it, recharge in it. But rarely do we reflect on our relationship with it. Until now. 

This hour, we sit down with Brian Fagan, co-author of the new book What We Did in Bed: A Horizontal History. We talk double beds, pod beds, Murphy beds ... even Mark Twain’s bed. And we also hear from you. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

On January 31, 2018, Kristin and Mike Song's 15-year-old son Ethan Song, accidentally shot and killed himself at his friend's house. They were handling a gun they knew was kept in a bedroom closet. The gun was one of three guns owned by the friend's father. They were in a cardboard box inside a tupperware container that was hidden in a bedroom closet. The guns had locks but the keys and ammunition were in the same box. 

Sasa Tkalcan / Jimmy Webb

.Jimmy Webb was possibly the most successful songwriter of the 1960's and 1970's. Classics like "Galveston," "Wichita Lineman," "Up, Up, and Away," and "MacArthur Park," were recorded by hundreds of artists from Glen Campbell to Donna Summer. Webb wrote the songs that others made famous.

Sasa Tkalcan / Jimmy Webb

On September 5, our team traveled to Glen Cove, New York to interview legendary songwriter, Jimmy Webb

The interview has been on our "to do" list for four years, and it was worth every minute of the wait. For the first time in CMS history, we've decided to create two shows from Webb's stories and music.

Writer Ocean Vuong, 30, who teaches at UMass Amherst and lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, is among the two dozen recipients of the 2019 MacArthur "genius" awards.

Tom Hines

Ocean Vuong emigrated to Hartford from Vietnam when he was two-years-old. His family brought with them the trauma of an American-led war that ravaged their people and their culture. How do they retain their culture and assimilate into one that doesn't want them? 

Allen Allen / CreativeCommons.org

The American criminal justice system has become less 'just' over recent decades and prosecutors bear much of the responsibility.

Stephanie & Sean Ware / Creative Commons

Chuck Klosterman is a man for all seasons. He's a pop culture icon. He's a sports geek. He's interviewed Jimmy Page. He appears as himself in other people's movies. He was part of a rock band. He's an author of fiction, nonfiction, and fictional nonfiction. Top that!

Today, an hour with someone at least one person would call, the smartest man on earth. 

TOM HINES

Ocean Vuong grew up in a Hartford that many of us don’t pay attention to. His family emigrated from Vietnam when he was two years old, and he came to know the area through the nail salons and tobacco fields where he and his mother worked. All the while, they struggled to create joy for themselves in the context of xenophobia, racism, and trauma from an American-led war that still weaves itself into our ways of knowing and living. 

His first novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, documents an American story that’s often erased — that of immigrant, war-torn, non-white, working-class life. 

dom fellowes / flickr creative commons

Shakespeare in the Park starts tonight in New Haven. Shakespeare & Company in the Berkshires has a new workshop production of Coriolanus opening next week. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens didn't think Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare's works. The BBC has a multi-camera, filmed-in-front-of-a-live-studio-audience Shakespeare sitcom.

This hour: lots of little looks at this summer's best Shakespeare stuff.

L'Observateur Russe / Wikimedia Commons

The 18th century Parisian cafe was an incubator for the liberal tradition as it was before liberalism became a politically-loaded and dirty word. The cafe brought people together to exchange ideas, talk, connect, argue, debate, and learn about humanity, empathy, and humility outside the control of the state; a place where civil society trumped tribal impulse. 

Is Democracy Dying?

Aug 13, 2019
Fort Meade Public Affairs Office / Flickr Creative Commons

Populism is on the rise from Europe to India to the United States.

Americans elected Donald Trump on his promise to "Drain the swamp" of a political elite no longer responsive to their needs. Populists almost took control of Germany, France, and the Netherlands in 2017. Former prime minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi regained power seven short years after being ousted from office for corruption. 

Updated at 10:05 a.m. ET

When Toni Morrison received her Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, her remarks began with a reflection on the phrase once upon a time. In her signature, measured cadence, Morrison told the Swedish Academy she believed these were some of the first words we remember from our childhoods.

Bansy / Flickr Creative Commons

Dr. Joseph Cyr, a surgeon with the Royal Canadian Navy, had to think quick when his ship came upon a rickety boat with mangled and bloody bodies at the height of the Korean War in 1951. As the only doctor on board, he quickly moved to operate on 19 men, all of them his enemies in this war. All survived, making the young doctor a hero.

Except he wasn't really a doctor. 

Dan / Flickr

On September 3rd of 2019, Random House will release what is likely the very last Dr. Seuss book there'll ever be: Dr. Seuss's Horse Museum. The work, initially just a manuscript and pile of incomplete sketches, was found buried in a box in the late author's California home in 2013. Since then, artists intimately familiar with Seuss's style of drawing have managed to fill in the gaps and finish the book.

Lily Tyson / Connecticut Public Radio

In 1953 American illustrator Norman Rockwell moved from Arlington, Vermont, to the small town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, on the Western edge of the Berkshires. While there, Rockwell developed a relationship with a prominent psychotherapist who came to influence the artist’s work. Their relationship is the subject of a new exhibit at the Norman Rockwell Museum: “Inspired: Norman Rockwell and Erik Erikson.” 

Pedro Ribeiro Simões / Creative Commons

Summer is the time we look forward to reading -- or rereading -- our favorite books.  

Tom Hines

Ocean Vuong emigrated to Hartford from Vietnam when he was two-years-old. His family brought with them the trauma of an American-led war that ravaged their people and their culture. How do they retain their culture and assimiliate into one that doesn't want them?  

Wikimedia Commons

Reality TV shows like the Discovery Channel's Doomsday Bunkers and National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Preppers perpetuate a stereotype of "preppers" that omits the wide swath of people who engage in preparedness in a less extreme and more varied way.

Jeffrey Smith / Flickr Creative Commons

This hour, we take a deep dive into the realities of modern-day motherhood. We talk with a sociologist who spent years in the field interviewing working moms. We also get a local perspective, and we want to hear from you. 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

From the bestselling author of Lilac Girls comes a new novel. It's called Lost Roses and it centers on Eliza Ferriday, a one-time Connecticut resident and mother of esteemed philanthropist Caroline Ferriday.

This hour, author Martha Hall Kelly returns to our studios to talk about the book, and about her experience researching war and revolution in the early 20th century. 

Surprise Truck / Flickr Creative Commons

Are you one of the millions inspired by Marie Kondo and her KonMari Method to get rid of your clutter? Kondo's books, such as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, have sparked an intense and prolonged fervor where other self-help gurus have failed. 

yourgenome / Creative Commons

With the last decade of the twentieth century came the first clinical trials for a biotechnology known as gene therapy. Since then, how far has gene therapy come? And how far has it left to go?

This hour, we consider these and other questions, and we also hear from you. Were you or was someone close to you diagnosed with a genetic disease? What thoughts or questions do you have about gene therapy and its ongoing advancement? 

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Graduation season is upon us. Your niece is finishing high school. Your neighbor's son is graduating from Tulane. Your boss just got her second Master's. How did it get to be that the obvious gift for all of these people is... a Dr. Seuss book?

And then: Vulture, this week, published a click-bait listicle ranking all the HBO shows ever. The Nose took the bait and clicked. And... Six Feet Under didn't make the top ten? Girls isn't in the top 25? John from Cincinnati made the top 30? Did anybody even understand that show?

And speaking of shows, George Clooney and Grant Heslov's new Hulu miniseries is a four-and-a-half-hour, six-episode adaption of Joseph Heller's Catch-22. Is that what the world needed right now?

The Truth About Lies

May 29, 2019
Mike Roberts / Flickr Creative Commons

Laszlo Ratesic is a nineteen-year veteran of the Speculative Service. He lives in the Golden State, the only place left in what was once America. Laszlo's job is to bring the worst criminals to justice, those who tell lies. In his new novel, Ben Winters creates a world which might sound Eden-esque in our era of misinformation. 

Netflix

No Country for Old Men. Fargo. The Big Lebowski. Raising Arizona. O Brother, Where Art Thou? Miller's Crossing.

Over the past 35 years, Joel and Ethan Coen have reliably been among the most recognizable voices in moviemaking.

Their latest, the anthology western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, hit Netflix last fall.

This hour: a Noseish look at the work of the Coen brothers.

Marco Verch / flickr creative commons

Seriously: a show about towels.

There's the history of towels, towels in Christianity, Terrible Towels, Towel Day.

Oh, and there are actual towels too.

Allen Allen / Creative Commons

The American criminal justice system has become less 'just' over recent decades and prosecutors bear much of the responsibility.

L'Observateur Russe / Wikimedia Commons

The 18th century Parisian cafe was an incubator for the liberal tradition as it was before liberalism became a politically-loaded and dirty word. The cafe brought people together to exchange ideas, talk, connect, argue, debate, and learn about humanity, empathy, and humility outside the control of the state; a place where civil society trumped tribal impulse. 

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