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Tell Me What You’re Reading

Tell Me What You’re Reading

By Howard
Talking about books on the streets of New York, in the mountains of the Catskills and on the road. I find that when I ask people about what they’re reading, they tend to start talking about books generally and then start talking to others about books. Encouraging the discussion of books cannot be a bad thing!

“Books are a sort of cultural DNA, the code for who, as a society, we are, and what we know. All the wonders and failures, all the champions and villains, all the legends and ideas and revelations of a culture last forever in its books.” @susanorlean, The Library Book
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Currently playing episode

Ep. #19 Visiting Days, by Gretchen Primack

Tell Me What You’re Reading

Ep. #39: Jen Maxfield - More After the Break: A Reporter Returns to Ten Unforgettable News Stories
Jen Maxfield is an Emmy® Award winning correspondent for NBC 4 New York. She covers breaking news and general assignment stories in New Jersey, and is a fill-in anchor on all of NBC 4 New York’s newscasts. Jen has covered many of the Tri-State area’s most memorable and powerful stories throughout her long career. More After the Break describes her initial reporting and follow up many years later for the 2003 Staten Island ferry crash, Katrina and Sandy in 2005 and 2012, a 2011 horrendous hit and run casualty, and several other accidents, tragedies and moving stories. The stories themselves are compelling, but mostly I loved Jen’s honesty, and her humility and introspection; the way she expressed the vital role of local news reporters in the community; her bouts of what she referred to as “news guilt”; and her expression of the "moral ambiguity" of her job, while recognizing her professional obligations.
August 07, 2022
Ep. #38: A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Discussion with the Woodstock Shakespeare Festival directors
Our friend Maxine Davidowitz recently introduced me to Hank Neimark, telling me that Hank was getting ready to work on the Summer 2022 Woodstock Shakespeare Festival production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. After talking with Hank for just a short time, I asked if he would like to talk about the play on the podcast, and he agreed.  At Hank’s suggestion, we were joined on the podcast by David Aston Reese, the Producing Artistic Director of the Bird-On-A-Cliff Theatre Company in Woodstock. David has acted, directed and produced works for Bird-On-A-Cliff Theatre Company's Woodstock Shakespeare Festival and The Woodstock Playhouse. David is the Director of the Summer 2022 Woodstock Shakespeare Festival production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hank is working with him.  Hank and David, both extraordinarily knowledgeable and enthusiastic Shakespearians, discussed A Midsummer Night’s Dream’s often misguided or misdirected lovers, the Kings and Queens, marriages, and dreams, the irrepressible Bottom and Puck, and the other “mechanicals” and fairies, the play within the play, and the tension between what some think of as one of Shakespeare’s most sexual plays, and also as the one most suitable for children. An unlikely but highly effective combination.  Lots of discussion as well about the production of the play, the direction embedded in the language of the play, and the “choreography”, i.e. the blocking, and stage direction, that comes together with the music that is embedded in Shakespeare’s words. Our discussion culminates with Hank’s Mel Brooks impersonation from “Queen Alexandra and Murray”.
July 21, 2022
Ep. #37: L. Mark Weeks - Bottled Lightning; Moby Dick; the writing process; etc.
My guest for this episode is Mark Weeks, a friend and former colleague at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Mark has practiced law at Orrick in New York and Tokyo for more than 30 years and after many years as a Partner and head of Orrick’s Tokyo office, Mark is now a Senior Counsel at the firm. Mark is also a world class, award winning, international saltwater fly fisherman. It is said that first novels are at least partly autobiographical, and much of Mark’s debut novel, Bottled Lightning, neatly overlaps with his life and career: a top global technology lawyer and avid motorcyclist, born in Alaska and practicing law in Japan. The objective of our discussion was to discuss Mark’s novel, and we did. However, we talked at least as much about Melville’s Moby Dick, which I had mentioned, and Mark’s writing process. All great. Thanks Mark!
May 22, 2022
Ep. #36: Trinh Q. Truong - The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
My guest for this episode is Trinh Q. Truong. Trinh came to the U.S. from Vietnam with her mother about 20 years ago. During what we in the U.S. refer to as the Vietnam War, Trinh’s grandfather worked for the governments of the Republic of Vietnam and the United States doing intelligence work, mainly mapping the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Most of the rest of her family was engaged during the war years in democratic activism in the country.  After Saigon fell in 1975, Trinh’s grandparents and eight of their children—with the exception of Trinh’s mother, who was one year old—were sent to reeducation labor camps for nine years to atone for their wartime allegiances. Trinh herself is a longtime refugee activist in the U.S. and a recent graduate of Oxford in England with a masters degree in refugee and forced migration studies. When I met Trinh last summer, we had, what to me, is an inevitable discussion of books. As I was intrigued by her background, I asked Trinh if there was a book she might like to discuss with me on the podcast. Trinh said that she had started reading The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen several times, and that she would get through it this fall and then talk with me. The Sympathizer is a beautifully written, dark and tragic novel set during and after the war in Vietnam. The unnamed narrator is a Western-educated Vietnamese. While he is working for the CIA in Saigon and serving as aide-de-camp to a South Vietnamese general, he is also a spy for the North, secretly sending intelligence to the insurgents, and his spying continues as he joins Vietnamese refugees in America after the war. Adding to the difficulties for our narrator, his boyhood friends are soldiers fighting for the South. The narrator is torn apart by his conflicting sympathies. Now, sometime in the late 1970s, the narrator is in a communist prison, addressing an interrogator who demands that he explain his activities among the enemy.  The book is ultimately an indictment of the French, the Americans and the Vietnamese themselves.  More on Trinh From Vietnam to Utica and back again: Reflecting on my refugee journey Trinh Truong
January 20, 2022
Ep. #35: Tom Vartanian - 200 Years of American Financial Panics - Crashes, Recessions, Depressions, and the Technology That Will Change It All.
Tom Vartanian discusses his recent book, 200 Years of American Financial Panics - Crashes, Recessions, Depressions, and the Technology That Will Change It All. Tom is the former head of the financial institutions practice at two major law firms; the former General Counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and at the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation; and the former executive director and professor of law at George Mason University's Scalia Law School Program on Financial Regulation & Technology. 
November 12, 2021
Ep . #16 Kate McGloughlin - Requiem for Ashokan - The Story Told in Landscape
Kate McGloughlin is a painter and printmaker (and storyteller), and during her long career, she has exhibited in notable galleries and museums around the world. Kate is president emeritus of the Board of Directors of the Woodstock School of Art, where she teaches printmaking and landscape painting, including to Carol, and where she directs the Printmaking Studio. Through her paintings, poetry and prose, Kate’s book, Requiem for Ashokan, The Story Told in Landscape, is her outlet to tell a personal story with universal themes of tragedy, loss, grief, confusion and rage, as well as of migration, shared resources, competition for resources, and the importance of fair treatment by the government.  Kate lives and maintains her own studio in Olivebridge, NY, near the site of the Ashokan Reservoir, which is at the center of our discussion. The Ashokan Reservoir and its aqueducts and tunnels were built to get water to New York City to alleviate chronic and dangerous water shortages in the rapidly growing metropolis, but the cost was borne by the thousands of residents of the Esopus Valley who were displaced from their family homes and farms and mills; taken from them and demolished to make room for the reservoir, which dammed the Esopus Creek and then flooded the valley. 
August 19, 2021
Ep. #34: Brian E. Denton - War and Peace (Tolstoy)
My guest for this episode is Brian E. Denton. Brian has been reading Tolstoy’s great novel War and Peace every year for the last ten years, one chapter a day, which results in a year long read of the 361 chapters. Brian has also produced an e-book titled “War and Peace and A Year of War and Peace”, which includes the full text of the novel as well as Brian’s reflective essays, his insightful commentary on each chapter. War and Peace was brought to my attention at the beginning of the pandemic when I learned of Princeton Professor Yiyun Li’s online “Tolstoy Together” book club, which contemplated reading 15-16 pages a day in order to complete the novel in 85 days. I didn’t jump on Professor Li’s bandwagon but I’m glad I learned of Brian and his work. At the time I recorded our discussion, we were a little over one half way through this epic novel. Tales of aristocratic abundance and privilege in 1805 Moscow, and simultaneously, Russia’s war with Napoleon’s France. Peace and war. Tales told through the characters, including, most notably, Pierre, Andrey, Rostov, Natasha, Nikolay, Marya,  Denisov, Dolokhov, Sonya, Helene, Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon, among many, many others. I can see why Brian and others are serial readers, just to know whose who.
August 07, 2021
Ep. # 33: Jim Finnegan (Again): Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart; etc.
My friend Jim Finnegan (who was my guest on episode #3 of our podcast) discusses Shuggie Bain, by Douglas Stuart; a tough book but a great read. An unfortunate tale of growing up gay in working class poor Glascow with an alcoholic mother; anger, sadness, lack of hope, despair and dependence. Jim and I also discuss Milkman, Ironweed, The Vanishing Half, The Shadow King, Deacon King Kong, The Pope of Greenwich Village, Interior Chinatown, Lolita, Caro’s LBJ biographies, The Power Broker, Motherless Brooklyn (film), Angela’s Ashes, The British Are Coming: The War for America, Lexington to Princeton, 1775-1777, Ten Lessons For A Post-Pandemic World. A Swim In a Pond in the Rain - In Which Four Russians Give A Master - Class on Writing, Reading and Life, Passing, The Tenant and The Natural. Another whirlwind of a discussion with Jim. Reviews of each of these books are linked in my website
April 17, 2021
Evelyn Lerman - A Tribute. Discussing “A Dressmaker's Threads: The Life and The Legacy of My Russian Immigrant Mother"; and discussing the life and legacy of Evelyn as well
Special Edition (March 31, 2021) Our friend Evelyn Lerman wrote a loving biography titled “A Dressmaker's Threads: The Life and The Legacy of My Russian Immigrant Mother", which was published in 2013. In July 2018, I sat down with Evelyn in her cabin in Winslow Maine to discuss the biography she wrote about her mother. As you will hear, I use the excuse of talking to Evelyn about her book to talk with Evelyn about her own life as well. Evelyn describes her mother - Celia Gorfinkel - as a remarkable woman, who  in 1920, with a sick husband and an infant, escaped from the Czar's Army in Russia, walked across Europe from the Ukraine, and sailed to Ellis Island. Celia was a dressmaker who worked 12-18 hour days at her sewing machine and whose love for education motivated her to put Evelyn and her two sisters through college. Our warm, loving and dear friend, Evelyn passed away on March 17, 2021. Ev, as remarkable as her mother, was 95 years old; married to Albert for almost 74 years. Evelyn was vibrant to the end. We are all very sad, but have been reflecting on what a wonderful, fulfilling and productive life Ev had, a journalism degree from Simmons College, graduate degrees in education and human development from Harvard, a teacher and later an administrator in the Brookline, Massachusetts Public Schools for 27 years, author of four books, traveling (including cross country with Albert in their RV in their late 80s), teaching writing to adults and directing a reading program for third graders while in her 90s, the blessings of her children, her grands and her great grands, Camp Caribou, and, most of all Albert. Our entire family is so blessed to have been a part of Ev and Al’s life. Carol was 19 years old when she first met Evelyn as a student teacher in Ev's elementary school classroom, and Carol and Ev then taught together as colleagues. Carol adopted Evelyn as her “chosen mother“ and Evelyn and Albert also adopted us. We visited Ev and Al at Camp Caribou in Maine almost every summer beginning in about 1972 for over 40 years. Melanie, Dave and Ben also had wonderful relationships with Evelyn (and with Albert too).  Evelyn was a role model and a friend for us all, but most especially for Carol, whose loving relationship with Evelyn was very special. The Altarescus all feel the pain, Carol most deeply among us, but it was Carol who so wisely referred to this loss as a part of the circle of life. We love the entire Lerman family and know that there are so many wonderful memories to sustain them all. I’m so glad to have had this discussion with Evelyn a few years ago, and to publish the discussion now as a tribute to our friend.
March 31, 2021
No. 31: Charlotte Cross - Reading to write, and novels about "marginalized characters" (The Brides of Dracula, etc.)
Charlotte Cross of Oxford, England is working on a tale of the “Brides of Dracula”, following in the footsteps of other novels that have given voice to “marginalized characters”, characters (usually women) who haven't been given the chance to speak in the originals. These others include The Silence of the Girls, by Pat Barker and Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys. Charlotte discusses those books, and others, as well as her writing process. Charlotte also discusses the books she has recently read: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Bronte, Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
February 21, 2021
Ep. #29: Andrew Wilcox - Richard Ravitz and Paul Volcker memoirs, Lewis’ The Fifth Risk, JFK, Nixon, and Lepore’s masterpiece, These Truths, A History of the United States
Andrew Wilcox discusses So Much to Do: A Full Life of Business, Politics, and Confronting Fiscal Crises, a memoir by Richard Ravitz, former head of the New York State Urban Development Corporation and of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; Keeping At It, by former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker; The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis; JFK: Coming of Age in the American Century, 1917‒1956, by Fredrik Logevall; Being Nixon: A Man Divided, by Evan Thomas; and These Truths, A History of the United States, by Jill Lepore
November 14, 2020
Ep #28: Andrew Rice - Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx is Burning 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City
Andrew Rice discusses Jonathan Mahler's book, Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx is Burning 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City, which includes stories of New York City in 1977, the mayoralty race, Cuomo, Koch (Bess Meyerson), Bella, Giuliani, Bloomberg, LaGuardia, The Daily News, The New York Post, New York Magazine, Murdoch (Succession), Breslin, Hamill, Steinbrenner, Reggie, Billy Martin, Thurman, Cosell, Son of Sam, Bed Stuy, Bushwick, South Bronx, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Saturday Night Live, Rolling Stone, Studio 54, Tavern on the Green, Windows on the World, Elaine’s, Maxwell’s Plum (Warner LeRoy), Jim MacMullen’s,  etc. Andrew also discusses his forthcoming book, A Popular History of the Year 2000 in the State of Florida, which will describe the Bush v. Gore election controversy ("the most wild and improbable election outcome you can imagine - so far"); the pilots planning 9/11 who were training at flight centers on Florida, for 18 months before the attacks; Donald Trump's presidential run as a Reform Party candidate; young Cuban kid, Elian Gonzalez, washed up on the shore in Miami; enraged Cuban community in Florida, determinative in Presidential election; resulted in 24hour coverage (the first reality television); and an arms dealing, money laundering case ("the most obscure but most fascinating tale"). giCFrjk28vXx9A4GkET1.
October 02, 2020
Ep #27: Rob Chesnut - Intentional Integrity - How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution— and Why That’s Good for All of Us
Rob Chesnut discusses his new book Intentional Integrity - How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution— and Why That’s Good for All of Us, and explains how intentional integrity and intentional inclusion make companies more attractive to employees and to customers, and make such companies out-performers as well. Rob began his journey in the U.S. Justice Department, including as a federal prosecutor, and then he joined eBay as an early employee and ultimately had responsibility for overseeing all site rules and policies for the eBay global community of over 150 million users. Rob later was General Counsel of LiveOps, Inc. and then of Chegg. Most recently, Rob was General Counsel and then Chief Ethics Officer of Airbnb.
July 27, 2020
Ep. #26 Allen Guy Wilcox – A Gentleman in Moscow
Allen Guy Wilcox, founding Artistic Director of The Theater at Woodshill, a not for profit summer Shakespeare festival in central New York, discusses "A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles, an elegant, historical novel in post revolutionary Moscow, expounding on the literature, poetry and classical music of the time, and on the timelessness of friendship, children, parenting, food and wine, and on the pace of life itself. Grand entertainment, and more, surrounding the life of Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov. "He was wise enough to know that life does not proceed by leaps and bounds. It unfolds. At any given moment, it is the manifestation of a thousand transitions. Our faculties wax and wane, our experiences accumulate, and our opinions evolve - if not glacially, then at least gradually. Such that the events of an average day are as likely to transform who we are as a pinch of pepper is to transform a stew."
March 03, 2020
Ep. #25: Camilla Calhoun - The White Moth
Camilla Calhoun discusses The White Moth, a beautifully told, moving and lovely memoir, both historical and very personal. Much of the story takes place on a 15th century farm villa in Tuscany during very challenging times in Italy, from the 1930s to the 1970s: wars, political upheaval, deprivation, fascism, occupation and change. The book is very much a tribute to Camilla’s rock of a mother-in-law, Alda Innocenti Rafanelli. The tribute is offered in the form of Camilla’s memoir of what was intended to be a sojourn in Italy to pursue her passion for writing, her romance with and marriage to Alda’s son, Aldo and eventually a story of three generations at the villa.
February 22, 2020
Ep. # 24: 2020 Book Club - Kendra Dodson Breitsprecher, owner/editor of Dayton Leader newspaper in Iowa, discusses bios written by Dem Pres. caucus candidates.
When Andrea Phillips, who was then Vice Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, started a book club to encourage her fellow Iowans to read the books written by the 2020 Democratic party Presidential candidates, my wife Carol and I heard Andrea interviewed on MSNBC. Andrea said that Iowa Democrats take their role in vetting the presidential candidates seriously, and that she hoped the book club would help voters know the candidates better so that people can make a good decision on caucus night, which is on February 3. Andrea decided to launch the 2020 Book Club and to put up a 2020 Book Club Facebook page so that Iowans, and others as well, could have a forum to discuss the books written by all of the Democratic presidential candidates. After hearing the interview, I immediately thought that we should do a podcast discussion of the books authored by the candidates and I tracked down Andrea on FaceBook. Andrea is now busy full time seeking the Iowa House District 37 seat, but we were really fortunate to have the opportunity to have a discussion with Kendra Dodson Breitsprecher, the owner and editor of the Dayton Leader newspaper in Dayton, Iowa, a small town located in the middle of the state. Kendra is also a charter member of the 2020 Book Club.
January 24, 2020
Ep. #23 Uli Beutter Cohen: Mona Eltahawy, Alexander Chee, Ocean Vuong, Erin Williams, Lauren Duca
After discussing the Subway Book Review project in our Episode 22, Uli Beutter Cohen and I discussed five books that Uli has recently read and recommends: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee, an essay collection by a Korean American artist and activist; The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls by Mona Eltahawy, which has been referred to as a striking anti-patriarchal manifesto written by an Egyptian American activist, “with enough rage to fuel a rocket”; On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong Ocean is a young Vietnamese-American writer — born in Saigon, he was raised in Hartford, Connecticut and his book is semi-autobiographical and speaks to his experiences as an immigrant and a gay man; COMMUTE - An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame by author and illustrator Erin Williams, which has been referred to as intimate, clever, and ultimately gut-wrenching graphic memoir about the daily decision women must make between being sexualized or being invisible; and How to Start a Revolution, by Lauren Duca. To compliment Chee’s work, Uli also mentioned and discussed Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott; and Devotion: Why I Write, Patti Smith
January 15, 2020
Ep. #22 Subway Book Review: Uli Beutter Cohen
For the last five years, Uli Beutter Cohen has been talking with people on New York City subways about the books she sees them reading on the subway. Uli refers to her Subway Book Review as a social media project.  The project now also has contributors in Washington D.C., London, Berlin, Milan, Barcelona, Mexico City, Sydney, and Santiago.  Discussions with subway readers, pictures of the readers and their books are posted on Instagram @subwaybookreview. 
December 26, 2019
Ep. #21 Tracy Sidesinger - What My Mother and I Dont Talk About
Tracy Sidesinger, a clinical psychologist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist in New York City, discusses “What My Mother and I Don't Talk About: Fifteen Writers Break the Silence”, edited by Michele Filgate. (“Some of these essays are harrowing, some heartwarming, some — like a lot of mother-child relationships — a mix of both. All of them suggest, though, that if you can talk to your mother, you should.” Tampa Bay Times) Tracy also refers to Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty by Jacqueline Rose, and also Feminine Law: Freud, Free Speech, and the Voice of Desire by Jill Gentile with Michael Macrone. Tracy has said that all three books are along a similar theme, that is, addressing expectations of the feminine and opening up more authentic and useful discourse.
November 30, 2019
Ep. # 20 The Call Me Ishmael Project; Steph Kent and Logan Smalley
Call Me Ishmael is a New York City-based project that invites readers to call and leave a voicemail message about their favorite book. Thousands of readers have already called and over a million readers have listened to this library of stories. Steph Kent and Logan Smalley are the founders of the Call Me Ishmael project and they are privy to the reading interests of the thousands of people who have called in. To call Ishmael, call Ishmael’s number: 774.325.0503. It goes straight to voicemail. Listen to Ishmael’s short answering machine message and leave a voicemail about a book you love and a story you have lived. The Call Me Ishmael website shows the books that readers have called in to discuss. Listen to the recordings on the Call Me Ishmael Youtube channel.
November 10, 2019
Ep. #19 Visiting Days, by Gretchen Primack
While visiting the Golden Notebook bookstore in Woodstock last summer, my daughter Melanie and I met and struck up a conversation with bookseller, author and poet, Gretchen Primack. It turns out that Gretchen is also an educator in a more formal sense. Gretchen has taught and/or administrated with prison education programs (mostly college) in maximum security prisons since 2006. Gretchen recently released a new book of poems called ”Visiting Days”, which is inspired and informed by her years of first hand experience teaching and administrating in maximum security prisons. Visiting Days has been described as a collection of short, keen dramatic monologues, a work of advocacy as well as of poetry.
July 26, 2019
Ep. #18 Pride Month/ Stonewall 50: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
In connection with the celebration by my law firm, @Orrick, of Pride Month and the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, I discussed with Alvin Lee and Amy Pasacreta of Orrick The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai, which is a very moving, beautiful and at the same time devastating, award winning novel about the AIDs epidemic in Chicago in the 1980s, its impact on young gay men and on the survivors as well. I’m very proud to say that Orrick has a long standing commitment to inclusiveness that enables the LGBTQ lawyers and staff of the firm to be authentic and to thrive. For 13 consecutive years, Orrick achieved a perfect score in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s annual Corporate Equality Index, which evaluates LGBTQ-related policies and practices, and Orrick was one of the first global law firms to offer benefits to same-sex couples and to also offer fully inclusive transgender benefits.
June 24, 2019
Ep. #17 Josh Raff discusses four sets of "paired" books, and more.
A discussion by a serious and thoughtful,reader of four sets of "paired" books - Song of a Captive Bird + The Age of Light/ Churchill & Orwell: The Fight for Freedom + East West Street: On the Origins of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide/ Chefs, Drugs and Rock & Roll + Fasting and Feasting/ Golden Hill + His Bloody Project - and also Solitary; The Village: 400 Years of Beats and Bohemians, Radicals and Rogues, a History of Greenwich Village; Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the Movement That Changed Modern Art; and The Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean. This is one full agenda!
June 20, 2019
Ep. #15 Sophie McManus: The Art of Time in Fiction
Sophie McManus (master's degree in fiction writing/ teaching writing at Sarah Lawrence College; author of critically acclaimed novel, The Unfortunates) discusses The Art of Time in Fiction by Joan Silber, and a variety of books written in Classic Time, Long Time, Slowed Time, Switchback Time and Fabulous Time.
May 30, 2019
Ep. #14 Nick Lyons: Fly fishing and other lit.; flys, tiers; joy, intensity and solitude of fishing.
Nick Lyons is a lifelong fisherman and has also written 20 highly regarded books about his passion for the outdoors and fly fishing, has edited and published many more, and Nick also for 25 years wrote the Seasonable Angler column for “Fly Fisherman” magazine. Nick’s memoir, Spring Creek, is a love letter to a creek in Montana. In it,  Nick writes that he aims for his writing “to be rich enough to catch some of the stillness, complexity, joy, fierce intensity, frustration, practicality, hilarity, fascination, [and] satisfaction” that he finds in fly fishing. If you read anything that Nick has written, you will enjoy that richness.  We discuss on the podcast the Esopus Creek, the Amawalk, the East Branch of the Croton, the Odell in Montana, the Bourne in the U.K. and the rivers in New Zealand, as well as the books and authors Nick loves. We also talk about fly selection, fly tiers and solitude on the river.
May 09, 2019
Ep. #13 Keith Grossman: Bad Blood, American Kingpin and Red Notice - “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!”
Keith discusses three astounding and true tales, as well as internet privacy and manners, and audio books + Springsteen
April 17, 2019
Ep. #12 Alexis Coe on history, research and writing and the tale of Alice + Freda Forever
Alexis Coe discusses Alice + Freda Forever, the book, podcast and movie; also the research and writing process + her forthcoming bio of George Washington.
April 05, 2019
Ep. #11 Dylan Marron: Educated, by Tara Westover + Dylan’s “softness as strength”, etc.
Dylan Marron discusses “Educated”, the momentous memoir by Tara Westover + wielding softness as strength, empathy on the internet, online and offline personalities and reading audibly.
March 29, 2019
Ep. #10 Joe Polizzotto - Strout, Barry, etc.
Joe Polizzotto discusses the works of Elizabeth Strout, Sebastian Barry and other great novelist.
December 23, 2018
Ep. #9: Children’s Books . . . Follow-up to Youngna Park discussion
Parents of young children tell me what they are reading and, no surprise, it’s books they read to and with their children.
November 30, 2018
Ep. #8: Youngna Park on children’s books
Conversation with Youngna Park, Executive Director of Parenting at The New York Times - Children’s Books; what to read to your kids!
October 30, 2018
Ep. #7: Payton Turner - Women’s anger and, sometimes, rage
Payton discusses The Blazing World and Now My Heart is Full, and also her own experiences as an art student, and the meaningfully ways she has responded to anger and rage.
October 22, 2018
Ep. #6: Catskills Potpourri - Marty’s Mercantile
Conversations at Marty’s Mercantile in West Shokan - our geological beginnings, Of Mice and Men and Moby Dick, dystopian tales and sobering memories of war.
October 14, 2018
Ep. #5: Maya Prohovnik - Stephen King!, Detectives & Sci-fi
Maya Prohovnik - a Stephen King “Superfan”! + Detective tales and Maya’s “favorite book of all time”, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s sci-fi adventure tale, Children of Time.
October 04, 2018
Ep. #4: Reading for the words, with Emma Holland
Emma Holland discusses what she is reading as well as how she reads, highlights and rereads, her love for words, and also her favorite book in the last decade, Too Much and Not the Mood by Durga Chew-Bose.
September 26, 2018
Ep. #3: An impressive tour of 30 + books in about 35 minutes
Tell Me What You’re Reading #3: Jim Finnegan on a literary tour de force, from Haruki Murakami to Joe Ide, Jennifer Egan, Stephen King and many others
September 20, 2018
Ep.#2: Understanding the Nation & Finding Common Ground with Dr. Hardin Coleman
Dr. Hardin Coleman discusses the 11 distinct regions of the country and their particular political, social and emotional traits, President Grant’s pardon of the Confederate generals after the Civil War in order to preserve national unity and the need to find the right balance between acting locally and globally in order to have an impact on the issues we face in the nation today.
September 13, 2018
Ep. #1: History of Comic Books with Dr. Frank Burbrink
In the inaugural episode of Tell Me What You’re Reading, Dr. Frank Burbrink discusses the history of comic books, which were, for many of us, the very first books we read.
September 05, 2018