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Joe Giron / www.pokerphotoarchive.com

Maria Konnikova, best-selling New York Times author and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, has long been interested in understanding the balance between skill and luck. How much of her life could she take credit for and how much was the luck of her draw? So, she took a year away from work to become a professional poker player. 

Jericho Brown in 2019
Brian Cornelius

At the start of this year, Jericho Brown addressed the graduates of the Bennington Writing Seminars Class of January 2020. 

He said, “If you can't imagine these last few days without trees, I know you can't imagine life without poetry. Literature fills needs we did not know we had. Poems and stories plant seeds for things we did not know we needed."

Jericho Brown is this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry for his book, The Tradition, a collection of poetry questioning why and how we’ve become accustomed to violence and trauma.

This hour, Jericho Brown joins us to discuss his work, and advice for new poets.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public

Did you know that before the clock was invented, we used to sleep in two installments? Or that the standardization of cameras and film led to racial bias in the production of photographs?

Travis Isaacs / Creative Commons

Humans typically make enough collective noise to keep the earth vibrating at a steady hum. But the pandemic has quieted that hum enough to let seismologists study the vibrations that can be hard to detect in the din of our noise.

Picasa / Google

Scientists say humans don't know how to breathe very well. We don't breathe deep enough, we breathe too much, and we breathe through our mouths instead of our noses. Our bad breathing can lead to conditions that we don't typically associate with the way we breathe, such as asthma.  

Miramax, LLC

No Country for Old Men. Fargo. The Big Lebowski. Raising Arizona. Barton Fink. Miller's Crossing. Blood Simple. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Over the past 36 years, Joel and Ethan Coen have reliably been among the most recognizable voices in moviemaking.

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

Travis Wise / flickr creative commons

In 2007, journalist Alan Weisman published The World Without Us. It was an international bestseller. The book tries to answer what is ultimately a simple question: What happens to the Earth if human beings disappear? Here's how Weisman puts it in the book: "Say a Homo sapiens-specific virus -- natural or diabolically nano-engineered -- picks us off but leaves everything else intact." Then what?

And over these last few months, we've gotten maybe a fraction of a percentage point there. Temporarily. Maybe not directly because of coronavirus, but indirectly because of our absence and scarceness due to stay-at-home orders and the like. And so... then what?

Betsy Kaplan

When did the horrors that once seemed unthinkable become commonplace? 

Alexandra Petri, satirist and columnist for The Washington Post, says this is an alarming and terrible time. Everything is more absurd but not much is funny. How do you make people laugh without losing sight of what's happening?  

Illustrative amendment by Chion Wolf
John William Waterhouse (1902) / Wikipedia

May 20th was the long-awaited date in Connecticut when the first phase of reopening began after the Coronavirus caused life as we know it to be put on hold. Offices and malls were allowerd to open with precautions; restaurants, museums and zoos could open outdoor areas as well.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Who would have guessed a face mask would become the latest cultural symbol of our identity, one more way to express our politics, our sense of style, and our deepest beliefs in what it means to be American.

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Three years ago, we did a show where we asked which fictional dystopian future we were actually already living in. Now that we've arrived at, ya know, this present moment, that show has been on our minds. But we've realized we've got a new set of questions now too.

Travis Isaacs / Creative Commons

Humans typically make enough collective noise to keep the earth vibrating at a steady hum. But the pandemic has quieted that hum enough to let seismologists study the vibrations that can be hard to detect in the din of our noise.

Miller Memorial Central Library
Ryan Caron King/Connecticut Public

National Library Week was forced to go digital this year. The American Library Association changed the original theme from “Find Your Place At The Library” to “Find The Library At Your Place” to bring attention to how libraries are still open online during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wikimedia Commons

In March, President Trump blamed our global pandemic on China. When that didn't work, he blamed the World Health Organization (WHO) for not responding quickly enough to the virus. When that didn't work, he blamed governors for not getting their own supplies. Now, he says immigrants will take away American jobs.

The Bible defines a scapegoat as one of two kid goats. One goat was sacrificed and the living “scapegoat” was supposed to absorb the sins of the community and carry them into the wilderness. Is that what's happening here? Are the president's scapegoats supposed to carry away the sins of Mr. Trump?

CEA

Before the pandemic, most of us craved of a little solitude away from the hustle of life. Now, we've been  been thrust into a form of solitude far from the idleness of the lazy summer afternoon we imagined. Our minds are restless with uncertainty and fear and without the usual distractions we turn toward when being alone with ourselves becomes too painful to confront. 

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

My son, Simon, is a year old. His mother and his grandmother are both librarians. His father is, well, me. Simon is, predictably, obsessed with books.

Back before everything changed, we'd gotten into a pretty good reading routine. Every morning before Simon went to his grandparents', we'd read a big pile of books. Every evening when I got home from work, we'd read a big pile of books.

We'd read Goodnight Moon. We'd read The Little Blue Truck. We'd read Peek-a Who? and Peek-a Moo! and Peek-a Zoo! We'd read Who Hoots? and Who Hops? We'd read Dear Zoo and Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? and Each Peach Pear Plum and Spooky, Spooky, Little Bat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? And then we'd probably read them all again.

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?

His family struggled in a Hartford very different from the city that many of us experience. It's a place that still exists in the shadows.

public domain

You can find lots of advice about how to avoid feeling bored during this pandemic. There are virtual dance parties and home safaries, lists of what to read and watch, and yoga classes on Zoom.

Boredom is a difficult emotion for most of us. Almost 3,500 people living under quarantine in Italy shared on a survey last week that boredom has been one of the hardest parts of staying inside. We go out of our way to avoid feeling it, like the students who chose electric shock over feeling bored.

Pandemic Book Club

Mar 26, 2020
Books HD

In the midst of the pandemic, it’s easy to keep the TV on all day. But it’s also the perfect time to take a step back and start a new book -- or even read an old favorite.

This hour, we discuss what we’re reading while we’re stuck at home and how to make reading a daily habit.

Hulu, LLC

As with all things, The Nose has never been a Nose quite like this week's Nose. First off, for almost every Nose ever, we've put four (sometimes more) people in a radio studio for an hour. This Nose is four people talking to each other from very separate places, and none of them is a radio studio.

Meanwhile, we've said goodbye to movie theaters. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson and Idris Elba have all tested positive. People have been using Tinder as a news service. I mean, it's hard to imagine that we'll ever go back to normal.

And so, we might as well watch some TV then, right? The Nose has tried out Hulu's new adaptation of High Fidelity with Zoë Kravitz in the lead role.

Wikipedia

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.

Talk of nuclear war, climate apocalypse, pandemic, economic instability, and the decline of democracy has led more people to think about how to survive a catastrophic -- if not apocalyptic -- event.

Princeton University Office of Communications

John McPhee is a writer's writer. He's thought of as one of the progenitors of the New Journalism, of creative nonfiction or narrative nonfiction, along with people like Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson. But his style is... quiter than those folks'. His writing is transparent. He tends to keep himself out of the narrative. He doesn't even, in fact, have an author photo.

Beth Beverly / Diamond Tooth Taxidermy

When you think of taxidermy, you may imagine a trophy room in which mostly male hunters have mounted the heads of 12-point stags along wood-paneled walls. If so, your image would be incomplete.

Taxidermy has gone through many iterations since gentleman scientists turned to taxidermy to understand anatomy during the Enlightenment. Victorians added a touch of whimsy, decorating their homes with birds under glass and falling in love with Walter Potter's anthropomorphized cats.

Fort Meade Public Affairs Office / 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. 

Sparsh Ahuja / Creative Commons

The recent Senate trial for President Trump's impeachment riveted the nation, but little consensus could be reached about the facts of the case or the outcome. Additionally, many in Congress knew how they would vote before the trial began. 

On December 13, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend two articles of impeachment against President Trump, and the full House of Representatives adopted them on December 18. On February 5, 2020, the Senate acquitted the president on both articles.

Going by those dates, the full, official impeachment saga lasted 54 days.

Our side-project, Saturday-show chronicling of the impeachment, Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?), launched on December 6, 2019. 11 episodes and 12 hours of radio later, Pardon Me has come to its close.

This hour, in lieu of a proper Colin McEnroe Show, and continuing the Presidents' Day weekend festivities, we present the final installment of Pardon Me.

Four Department of Justice prosecutors working on the case of Roger Stone, a close friend of President Trump, withdrew from legal proceedings Tuesday after Attorney General William Barr overruled their sentencing recommendations. The president had complained about the long sentence.

Barr denied that President Trump asked him to intervene and claimed he wouldn't be "bullied or influenced by anybody." He said Thursday that the president should stop tweeting about DOJ criminal cases. The president took to Twitter Friday to say he has the "legal right." Shortly therafter, the DOJ dropped their probe into former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Before you think this is more than theater, keep in mind that Barr also set up a process to vet information that Rudy Giuliani is gathering in Ukraine. And he tasked prosecutors to review the case of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Robert C. Demarest / Wikimedia Commons

Ram Dass' 1971 book, "Be Here Now," was the gateway drug into spirituality for a lot of young people seeking answers in the era of Vietnam.

Dass first tried being a psychology professor at Harvard, where he and colleague Timothy Leary, sought God through experiments with psychedelics. Then, he went to India and found his guru, who taught him how to feel high without the drugs. 

Ryan Leigh Dostie

Ryan Leigh Dostie is an Iraq War veteran. She joined the U.S. Army to serve her country. But before she was deployed, she experienced violence from one of her own when she was raped by a fellow soldier. 

This hour, we sit down with Dostie. She is a Connecticut resident and author of the new book: Formation: A Woman’s Memoir of Stepping Out of Line.

Recent statistics show sexual assaults in the military have surged in recent years. We talk with a retired colonel about this disturbing trend.

And we want to hear from you. Are you a veteran? How do you think the U.S. military should confront this epidemic of violence in its ranks?

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