Tag: NPR

Books from All Fifty States – NPR asked poets laureate, state librarians, bookstore owners

As the summer travel season kicks off, many of us look forward to exploring new places on trips away from home. To help with this, NPR asked poets laureate, state librarians, bookstore owners and other literary luminaries from all 50 states — plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico — to recommend quintessential reads that illuminate where they live.

Here are more than 100 recommendations for you — whether you want to read about somewhere you’re heading, a place you hope to go someday, or somewhere you live and want to get to know better….

The Man Who Came Uptown by George Pelecanos: The latest from George Pelecanos, The Man Who Came Uptown is a crime novel focusing on a man returning to a Washington, D.C., that has changed dramatically during his time in prison. In researching the story, Pelecanos spent time with the D.C. Jail’s librarian to develop one of the main characters in the story, Michael Hudson.
Washington, D.C

New Jersey Noir edited by Joyce Carol Oates: This anthology is a collection of stories from all around New Jersey and is a representation of the richness of experiences with a twist: It’s not all glass skyscrapers and clouds. This anthology gives voice to stories that don’t make polite society, as most of us urban Jersey kids wouldn’t. It’s a thrilling read that brings shadows to life.
New Jersey

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines: The award-winning novel by Ernest J. Gaines focuses on two African American men: Jefferson, who is accused of murder, and Grant, who had gone away for school and returns home to a community struggling to survive. Grant visits Jefferson in prison as he waits to be executed, and the men develop a bond, both eventually learning from the other. Set in a small, segregated Louisiana town in the late 1940s, A Lesson Before Dying is filled with important and timeless themes, including justice, growth, dignity and death.

The Virginian by Owen Wister: For many, Owen Wister’s The Virginian established the myth of the West and Western pulp fiction. Wyoming walks the dichotomy between the myth and our reality: Wyoming turns to the myth for tourism and great stories, but we ultimately find that keeping to the myth holds us back and becomes something that we cannot shake off even today. The Virginian is a great snapshot of Wyoming’s past and present struggle with our relationship to the myth of the West. the myth of the West and Western pulp fiction. Wyoming walks the dichotomy between the myth and our reality: Wyoming turns to the myth for tourism and great stories, but we ultimately find that keeping to the myth holds us back and becomes something that we cannot shake off even today. The Virginian is a great snapshot of Wyoming’s past and present struggle with our relationship to the myth of the West.

See the whole selection here:
Traveling this summer? Here are book picks for all 50 states (and then some)

Guillermo del Toro Interview – Fresh Air

On some of the principles he learned through his research with psychics

There are certain devices that come with the psychic craft. … You find what [people] need the most or what they fear the most and hook them through that. And the other principle is …. “Everybody’s desperate to tell you who they are to be seen,” which is, sadly or not, a reality of our species. We are all desperate to be seen or to be heard, and we communicate constantly through our clothing, our physical language, our inflections. And a skillful psychic will be able to read all the signs. We break down in the movie quite accurately and minutely how these grifts take place. …

There are generalizations that are called Black Rainbow, and that is when you throw the net [to] both sides. For example, you say, “You are quite naïve, but at the same time, you’re very, very shrewd about who you trust.” Or … “You are very friendly, but ultimately you don’t reveal yourself to everyone.” And these are generalizations that fit all sizes, and that’s what they are called Black Rainbow, because they encompass every color.

Guillermo del Toro says his future was set the first time he saw ‘Frankenstein’

Liking *Low* Culture – Jersey Shore, example of

King’s favorite chapter in Tacky is the one following how the reality TV show Jersey Shore helped her bond with her father. She recalls coming home from college for winter break, and stumbling upon her dad transfixed by the show. When King went back to college, her dad would call her every Thursday at 11 p.m. for recaps of the latest episode.

“I was having a really hard time at college, just really depressed and felt really adrift and untethered. And those phone calls were a real lifeline to me, I mean, my dad kept me tethered to the Earth.”

Ever since her father died, King remembers those phone calls even more fondly. She hopes her family’s love for Jersey Shore proves that culture’s purpose isn’t only to be be “good,” but also to bring people together.

“Like yeah, Jersey Shore was silly and loud… But it was also really important to us in its way. I think that one big part of being able to engage with any piece of culture joyfully, regardless of what it is, is having somebody to do it with.”


Discussion with author Rax King regarding her book,
Tacky: Love Letters to the Worst Culture We Have to Offer

Paul McCartney Interview – Fresh Air

On why they chose to go with a persona on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

“We’d been The Beatles for quite a while. And when you made a record, you knew you were making a Beatles record, and so you imposed certain parameters on it. So we can’t get too far out because people just go, ‘What the hell’s going on? They’ve gone mad!’ So you had certain standards for Beatles records [and] you were always trying to advance those standards, but there were limits that you felt. And also when you stepped up to a microphone, you were conscious of all that background of, ‘I’m Beatle Paul, and I’m going to do a Beatle Paul song.’

“I don’t think it really was terrifying or even boring, but I had this idea to just change our identity and make ourselves think that we were kind of another band. So it meant now anything goes, we don’t have to sing like The Beatles. We can sing like whoever they saw the band is. In the end, the name came out of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. So the idea was so that when you stepped up to a microphone, it was not now John Lennon Beatle doing his song. It was a guy out of this strange band, and in some way, it was just liberating.”

Paul McCartney knew he’d never top The Beatles — and that’s just fine with him
Fresh Air

Living on Low Wages

Joyce Barnes sometimes pauses, leaving the grocery store. A crowd shifts past, loaded up with goodies. Barnes pictures herself, walking out with big steaks and pork chops, some crabmeat.

“But I’m not the one,” she says. Inside her bags are bread, butter, coffee, a bit of meat and canned tuna — a weekly grocery budget of $25.

The shopping has to fit between her two jobs. Barnes, 62, is a home care worker near Richmond, Va. In the mornings, she takes care of a man who lost both his legs, then hustles off to help someone who’s lost use of one side of his body in a stroke. The jobs pay $9.87 and $8.50 an hour. Barnes gets home around 9 p.m., then wakes at 5 a.m. to do it all over again.

She Works 2 Jobs. Her Grocery Budget Is $25. This Is Life Near Minimum Wage
Alina Selyukh
All Things Considered

Bob Gruen Photographed The Spirit Of Rock ‘N’ Roll – Fresh Air Interview

Photographer Bob Gruen spent decades capturing the lives and performances of rock stars of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, including John Lennon, the Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Tina Turner — and many more.

Gruen put in many hours backstage, in studios and on the road, sometimes doing drugs and drinking until dawn with his subjects.

“I carried a little flask of cognac in my camera case. It was part of my equipment. That’s the way it was in the ’70s,” he says. “I don’t know how I survived, because I crave peace and quiet — but I actually thrive in chaos.”

Gruen approached his subjects collaboratively, often soliciting their opinion about a photograph instead of trying to catch them off guard. He describes his work as an effort to capture the feeling and passion of music — not just the facts.

Talking about Depression – Fresh Air Interview with John Moe


This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. For people prone to depression, especially if the depression is triggered by stress, this is probably a really difficult period. That’s one of the things I’m going to talk about with my guest John Moe, who you might know from his public radio podcast “The Hilarious World Of Depression,” which is also the name of his new book. He’s a humorist who’s dealt with clinical depression much of his life. On his podcast, he interviews people – mostly comics – who have depression. In his book, he writes about his own depression and the history of mental illness in his family. His older brother died by suicide. Throughout the book, Moe quotes relevant passages of his interviews with comics. In the preface, he writes that the book is about how he’s been tortured by depression but also found the absurd humor in it.

Fresh Air

Sitting better

Instead of focusing on the chest or shoulders, Sherer says, we need to turn our attention to a body part that is lower down, below the waist: the pelvis.
Or to put another way — your butt.
“The most important thing to change to reduce back pain is your pelvis position,” she says. “It’s like a stack of toy blocks. If the blocks at the bottom aren’t sturdy, then the top has no chance.”

School refusal

“It’s a struggle that many parents are familiar with — your child doesn’t want to go to school. But for some kids, this happens every day, leading to weeks and sometimes months of missing school. Mental health professionals say these students’ chronic absenteeism is part of a condition called “school refusal” that may be triggered by anxiety, depression, family crises and other traumatic life events.”

Interesting talk on Here and Now.