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Bob Elsewhere

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November 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The end of World War II brought a flood of optimism and dreams of great aspiration, both for the country as a whole and for many individuals. This is the back drop of Mark Helprin’s new novel, In Sunlight and in Shadow.  It’s a complicated love story that pairs a former paratrooper with an heiress in Manhattan. Helprin is also the author of Winter’s Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, and many other books.  Then, what has ten fingers, two ears for the past and one sharp mind? A folklorist of course! Steve Winick and Nancy Groce are back on the program toting treasures from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. This time around their theme is riddles.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news.  Next, how does one console a terminally ill friend? Author Bonnie Draeger’s new book When Cancer Strikes A Friend: What to Say, What to Do, and How to Help grapples with this difficult question and others like it. Draeger shares her insight and knowledge with Bob.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we hear the essay of Susie Green.  After they have children, some parents decide they have even more love to give. Green was divorced, with two birth children, when she adopted a two-year-old boy who had been living in homeless shelters and foster homes. He needed lots of attention and love, and Green says that as he grew physically, she grew spiritually and emotionally. Green says that when considering adoption, many people do not fear whether the child will love them, but whether they have the capacity to understand and to love the child.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Once they were called robber barons; today it’s job creators.  In her new book, Plutocrats, Chrystia Freeland writes about the rise of the new global super-rich, exploring the economics and psychology of the society that created them. Bill Moyers calls Freeland’s book “the definitive examination of inequality in our time.”  Then, Kentucky inspired Stephen Foster, America’s first professional songwriter, and gave birth to Bill Monroe, Lionel Hampton, Rosemary Clooney and scores of headlining artists in every genre of music.  Jason Howard’s A Few Honest Words illustrates Kentucky’s harvest of gifted musicians continues well into the era of hip-hop, jam bands and all your various indies and alts.  


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

As voters head to their polling stations on election Tuesday, Bob hosts a discussion about the many races at stake.  Susan Davis is Senior Congressional Reporter for USA Today. Then, Bill Allison is the Editorial Director for the Sunlight Foundation, where they have been tracking the campaigns that received the most money this year. Finally, we’ll hear an essay from children’s book author and regular contributor Daniel Pinkwater.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the results of the presidential election and the latest political news.  Then, in the summer of 1962, recording devices were installed at several locations in the White House. They were put there at the request of President Kennedy and only he, his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and the technicians who installed them knew of their existence.   They were likely intended to be used later for his memoirs, but instead they have been a rich resource for historians.   Recently, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation released a collection of those secret recordings, and historian Ted Widmer curated the most compelling for Listening In, a book and two CD combination that includes 2.5 hours of original audio.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Bach’s music is ubiquitous, from commercials to ring tones, and it still sells out concert venues worldwide.  Paul Elie reexamines the life of one of the greatest composers of all time in his new book Reinventing Bach.  Next, Mary Sharratt’s book Illuminations: A Novel of Hildegard von Bingen gives a secular look into the life of this twelfth-century abbess who welcomed controversy and nearly died an outcast. Bob and Sharratt discuss this book and von Bingen’s reason for rebellion.  Then, Bob talks sports with John Feinstein, Washington Post columnist and co-host of SiriusXM’s “Beyond the Brink” (Mad Dog Radio, channel 86).


Friday, November 9, 2012

Journalist Scott Christianson latest book, 100 Diagrams That Changed The World: From the earliest cave paintings to the Innovation of the iPod, charts human evolution from the Babylonian days of Pythagoras’ Theorem to the construction of our very own World Wide Web. Bob talks to Christianson about his influential 100 Diagrams and our human need to create more. Next, A Royal Affair portrays the insane Danish King Christian VII, his young Queen Caroline Mathilda, and their physician Struensee, a man of enlightenment and idealism.  The royal couple finds Struensee’s ideas irresistible and the result is a ramshackle attempt to reform the European nation with progressive laws.  Writer and director Nikolaj Arcel and co-screenwriter, Rasmus Heisterberg, will discuss the true story and the film’s production.  Then, in this week’s installment of our ongoing series This I Believe, we’ll hear from the family of a service member who is stationed overseas.


Monday, November 12, 2012

In 1990, thirteen works of art worth 500 million dollars were stolen from a Boston museum.  Author B.A. Shapiro imagines the circumstances of the heist in her novel The Art Forger.  Then, Bob goes backstage at The Birchmere Music Hall to talk with singer-songwriter Aimee Mann about her career, her soundtrack for the movie Magnolia and the music on Charmer, her eighth studio album and Mann’s first since 2008. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

In the opening chapter of Barbara Kingsolver’s new novel, Flight Behavior, the central character, Dellarobia Turnbow, climbs to the top of a mountain and has a vision that puts the rest of the book in motion. Set in present-day Appalachia, the book tackles many modern political dilemmas: climate change, strip mining, religious fervency and rural poverty. This is Kingsolver’s fourteenth book in a pantheon that includes best-sellers, The Poisonwood BibleProdigal Summer, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Then, Bill Roorbach’s latest mystery novel, Life Among Giants, is filled with contemporary cynicism, opulence, and what one critic calls a “Gatsbyesque portrayal of celebrity.” Roorbach has published in Harper’s, the Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, and he’s the author of eight books. Bob and Roorbach discuss the book and his career.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

British writer Zadie Smith burst onto the literary scene in 2000 with the publication of her debut novel White Teeth.  Instantly hailed as a classic, White Teeth became a best-seller and won a trove of literary awards.  Smith’s most recent book, NW, follows a cast of characters living in the northwest corner of London.  Then, female jazz musician Marian McPartland is a living legend in the jazz world. And jazz critic Paul de Barros has written a whole book about her life and career called Shall We Play That One Together? The Life and Art of Jazz Piano Legend Marian McPartland. He shares details about McPartland’s life with Bob. 


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Academy Award-winning actress Sally Field joins Bob to discuss her career and most recent role as the First Lady in the feature film, Lincoln. Then, Bob talks sports with John Feinstein, author & sports columnist for the Washington Post.


Friday, November 16, 2012

Doyle McManus, Washington columnist for the Los Angeles Times, joins Bob to discuss the latest political news. Next, director Joe Wright (Atonement, Hanna) brings one of literature’s most enduring classics to the big screen: Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.  The film stars Keira Knightley as the passionate and tragic Anna, Jude Law as her husband, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as her feckless lover Count Vronsky. Anna Karenina comes out in theaters today. Then, in our latest This I Believe essay, we’ll continue our series this month focusing on sacrifices made by military families. 


Monday, November 19, 2012:  In his new book Deadlines and Disruption, Stephen Shepard examines how the most endangered journalism species — the newspaper — might prevent extinction. Shepard is the founding dean of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.  Then, Irish singer-songwriter Susan McKeown pays homage to her adopted homeland with her latest album Belong.  McKeown moved to New York City from Ireland in the 1990s, building a successful music career that has taken her from Klezmer to African sounds, and earned McKeown a Grammy along the way.


 Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Neil Donovan is the Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless and he discusses the increasing rate of families without homes and the services available to help them. Then, Pulitzer Prize winner Tina Kelley and Covenant House President Kevin Ryan partnered to share the stories of six young people who became homeless.  “Creionna” is one of those, a teen mother and Katrina refugee who left home when her son was six weeks old to protect him from her damaging family.  They will discuss how to overcome the violence and neglect, as told in their new book, “Almost Home: Helping Kids Move from Homelessness to Hope.”


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

 Oscar-winning director, author, and illustrator William Joyce’s most recent film, Rise of the Guardians, sprang from a single question his daughter asked him 14 years ago: “do Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy all know each other?”  Actors Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, and Isla Fisher provide the voices for childhood’s most famous three, with Jude Law as the villain Pitch.  Then, Donald Fagen is best known as the front man for Steely Dan, the band Rolling Stone magazine called, “the perfect musical antiheroes for the Seventies.” After hits like Rikki Don’t Lose That Number and Peg, Fagen went out on his own and has now released his fourth solo album, Sunken Condos. Fagen is joined by Michael Leonhart who served as co-producer for the new album, and has performed with Steely Dan since their comeback in the 90s.


Thursday, November 22, 2012


On this Thanksgiving Day we dip into our archives. First it’s Bob’s interview with Nantucket resident Nathaniel Philbrick about his book Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War.  Then, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva have been producing some of the best stuff on radio since 1979.   They are the creators of two Peabody Award winning NPR series Lost & Found Sound and The Sonic Memorial Project. Bob talks to The Kitchen Sisters about their project, an audio book based on their radio series Hidden Kitchens: Stories and More from NPR’s The Kitchen Sisters.


Friday, November 23, 2012

First, we listen back to a conversation with retiring novelist Philip Roth, author of such seminal works as  Goodbye, Columbus & Portnoy’s Complaint. Next, Katherine Boo won the 2012 National Book Award for Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, a book that chronicles the story of people struggling to live in one of contemporary India’s most notorious slums. Then, in our latest This I Believe essay, we’ll continue our series this month focusing on sacrifices made by military families.