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Friday
May292015

The Bob Edwards Show Schedule (June 1-5, 2015)

 

Monday, June 1, 2015: Rupert Holmes won a Tony for “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” created the Broadway show “Say Goodnight Gracie,” won an Emmy for “Remember WENN” (a TV show about old-time radio)—-and all of this followed his pop music career. He wrote the Pina Colada Song, but here is the best thing—— in trying escape a record deal, he satisfied the label’s requirement for a song by writing and performing one he figured they could never release. The result was “Timothy,” a song about cannibalism, and it was a Top-40 hit. Bob spends the hour with Holmes today.

 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015Gene Weingarten is so good at what he does that he’s won a Pulitzer… twice. As a feature writer for the Washington Post, Weingarten muses about whatever strikes his fancy. One of his most well-known pieces was about a stunt he set up with the violin virtuoso, Joshua Bell. Weingarten stationed Bell outside of a busy metro stop to see if anyone noticed. Hardly anyone did.  Weingarten talks with Bob about that and many of his other memorable stories from a collection titled The Fiddler in the Subway.

 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015: Bob talks with writer Malcolm Gladwell about rapid cognition, the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye.  Gladwell’s book Blink examines how we think about thinking.  He’s also the author of other bestsellers like The Tipping Point and Outliers.

 

Thursday, June 4, 2015: John Wooden was the most successful men’s college basketball coach ever. “The Wizard of Westwood” led his UCLA Bruins to ten NCAA Basketball Division 1 championships. In addition to his unquestionable on-court success, he also imbued his players, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton, with indelible life lessons for success.  Seth Davis, senior writer for Sports Illustrated and analyst for CBS Sports, is the author of Wooden: A Coach’s Life. John Wooden died on this date in 2010 at the age of 99. Over the past five decades, Bruce Dern has worked with just about every iconic actor and director … and he’s not afraid to say what he thinks about all of them in his book, Things I’ve Said, but Probably Shouldn’t Have. Today the actor turns 79 years old.

 

Friday, June 5, 2015: We feature two conversations about the creepier side of science today. Author Harry Brunius talks with Bob about the disturbing yet little-known history of eugenics in America.  It can be traced all the way to the Supreme Court, which voted 8-1 to make forced sterilization a constitutionally-acceptable method for a state to keep anyone deemed “unfit” from having kids. Then Bob talks with David Plotz author of The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank.  Plotz recounts the story of this life-giving bank and the families involved.  Criss-crossing the country and loggin countless hours online, Plotz succeeded in tracking down donors and their children, and in some case, introducing donors to their children.

 

Friday
May292015

Bob Edwards Weekend (May 30-31, 2015)

HOUR ONE:

Scholar, literary critic and best-selling writer Stephen Greenblatt is the author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. It examines the ancient Roman document that inspired the Renaissance.   As one of the founders of New Historicism and one of the most important scholars of our age, Greenblatt is also the author of, among other works, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare.

Then, the 1980s conjure happy nostalgia for some, while others remember it as a low point in American history. For the good and the bad, author David Sirota claims that the decade of Ronald Reagan and Bill Cosby has an outsized influence on our national perspective today. His book is titled Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now – Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything.

 

HOUR TWO:

Bob talks with David Anderegg about his book titled Nerds: Who They Are and Why We Need More of Them.  Anderegg is a clinical child psychologist and explores the stereotyping of nerds and how it affects everyone at an early age.

Then, Science magazine writer Sam Kean turned his life-long fascination with the periodic table into a best-selling book titled The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements.  Kean’s book recounts tales about the list of elements that range from the educational to the down-right weird. 

Wednesday
May272015

Edmund de Waal's The Hare With Amber Eyes

NOTE: This blog originally appeared in December 2011

One of de Waal’s netsuke

Ceramic artist and writer Edmund de Waal’s book The Hare with Amber Eyes is a little hard to describe.  It’s part family history, part art history, part social history, and part artistic musings; but whatever it is, it works.  While de Waal’s story is interesting, the book’s succeeds because he is a beautiful writer and an honest and humble narrator.  For a man who has spent most of his life working in porcelain, de Waal proves here that he is an artist of words as well as clay.

de Waal’s work as a ceramic artist

Friday
May222015

The Bob Edwards Show Schedule (May 25-29, 2015)

 

Monday, May 25, 2015: On this date in 2006, Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling of Enron were found guilty of fraud and conspiracy for their roles in the spectacular rise and fall of energy giant Enron. Bob talks with Alex Gibney, writer and director of “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.” This documentary features revealing insider accounts and rare audio and video tapes from inside the bankrupt energy company. Gibney is joined by Fortune magazine writer Bethany McLean, who did extensive reporting on the Enron story. Of course today is also Memorial Day.  Bob talks to Jan Scruggs, the founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. He conceived the idea of building a memorial dedicated to all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces in Vietnam….and took $2,800 of his own money and launched the effort.  The memorial, known as The Vietnam Wall, was dedicated on November 13, 1982.  And we close the program with some appropriate music from the soldier-musicians of The US Air Force Brass Quintet.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015:  Bob talks with novelist, biographer, poet and literary critic Jay Parini.  He’s the author of Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America. And if you need still more titles for your list, Promised Land includes 100 other books we should all read.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015: Bob talks with David Anderegg about his book titled Nerds: Who They Are and Why We Need More of Them.  Anderegg is a clinical child psychologist and explores the stereotyping of nerds and how it affects everyone at an early age. Then, Science magazine writer Sam Kean turned his life-long fascination with the periodic table into a best-selling book titled The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements.  Kean’s book recounts tales about the list of elements that range from the educational to the down-right weird. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015: Compassion, kindness, selflessness – none make logical sense biologically. And yet, examples of biological altruism are found throughout the animal kingdom.   Darwin never successfully explained the kindness gene, but a relatively unknown, eccentric scientist named George Price did.  Oren Harman is a professor of the history of science at Bar Ilan University in Tel Aviv and the author of a new book, The Price of Altruism: George Price and the Search for the Origins of Kindness. Then, when world-renowned ceramicist Edmund de Waal inherited a collection of 264 Japanese wood and ivory carvings called netsuke, he decided to find more about his family’s past and how they came to own such a priceless collection.  His memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance is the story of de Waal’s ancestors, the Ephrussis, one of Vienna’s most powerful and wealthy dynasties.  The family and their fortune were almost entirely destroyed by the Nazis during World War II, and the netsuke is all the remains of their once-fabulous wealth.

Friday, May 29, 2015: Scholar, literary critic and best-selling writer Stephen Greenblatt is the author of The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. It examines the ancient Roman document that inspired the Renaissance.   As one of the founders of New Historicism and one of the most important scholars of our age, Greenblatt is also the author of, among other works, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare.  Then, the 1980s conjure happy nostalgia for some, while others remember it as a low point in American history. For the good and the bad, author David Sirota claims that the decade of Ronald Reagan and Bill Cosby has an outsized influence on our national perspective today. His book is titled Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now – Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything.

 

Friday
May222015

Bob Edwards Weekend (May 23-24, 2015)

 

 

HOUR ONE:

With graduation season winding down, Bob looks at commencement speeches that have become subjects in their own right.  First, Bob talks with best-selling writer George Saunders about his book, Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness.  It’s an expanded version of the address Saunders gave in 2013 at Syracuse University.

Then, Bob talks with Wellesley High School English teacher David McCullough Jr., son of the famous historian, about his 2012 commencement speech.  McCullough expanded it into a new book called You Are Not Special: … and Other Encouragements.

We conclude our look at notable commencement addresses with audio of writer David Foster Wallace’s 2005 speech at Kenyon College, which has been called the best commencement address ever.  It might have been all but forgotten, but after Wallace took his own life in 2008, the text surfaced on the internet. It was later published as a book, called This is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life.

 

 

HOUR TWO:

Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, celebrated writer Michael Chabon turns his attention to San Francisco’s Bay Area.  His seventh novel Telegraph Avenue centers around a vinyl record store on the border between Berkeley and Oakland. 

Actor John C. Reilly discusses his career on stage and screen and some of his more memorable roles. Reilly’s work includes serious films like Boogie Nights and Magnolia – silly ones like Walk Hard and Talladega Nights – and an Oscar nomination for the musical Chicago.