Angry White Men & Rape Culture: Michael Kimmel & Kate Harding


Feminist sociologist and gender researcher Michael Kimmel talks about the “aggrieved entitlement” of so many white men in America. His book is Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era. Then, we look at the rise of rape culture in America with Kate Harding. Her book is Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture–and What We Can Do About It. Continue reading


Lesléa Newman, I Carry My Mother & Martine Bellen, This Amazing Cage Of Light


Lesléa Newman talks about her latest book of poetry, I Carry My Mother (Headmistress Press, 2015). The elegiac volume is composed of poems chronicling her mother’s last illness and dying, as well as her own grief.

Then, poet Martine Bellen reads from and discusses her new collection, This Amazing Cage of Light: New And Selected Poems (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2015). Inspired by myth, history and everyday life, her evocative poems explore identity and connection.  Continue reading


Two Allegories: Michael Golding’s A Poet of the Invisible World & Robin Cook’s Host


Michael Golding talks about A Poet of the Invisible World, his stunning new novel set in 13th century Persia. This fable explores the spiritual path taken by its main character, a Sufi poet with four ears.

Then, Robin Cook tells us about his new medical thriller, Host. It’s about what happens when medical research into the newest class of drugs — biologics — intersects with a greed-driven medical system. Continue reading


School Reform Wrongs & Rights: Dale Russakoff, The Prize & Kristina Rizga, Mission High


Dale Russakoff talks about her acclaimed new book, The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools. It’s about the ambitious plan hatched by Cory Booker, Chris Christie and Mark Zuckerberg to reform Newark’s schools from the top down.

Then, Kristina Rizga tells the inspiring story of an inner city high school that’s changing students’ lives. Her book is Mission High: One School, How Experts Tried to Fail It, and the Students and Teachers Who Made It Triumph. Continue reading


Carl Safina, BEYOND WORDS: What Animals Think And Feel

elephants amboseli

Conservation biologist Carl Safina talks about his acclaimed new book, Beyond Words: What Animals Think And Feel. It’s an eloquent plea based on science and ethics for a major re-set on how humans regard our fellow animals. It’s a game changer. Continue reading

Web Extras

Web Extra: Read an Excerpt & Hear Carl Safina read from BEYOND WORDS

Carl Safina by Michael Lutch

Into the Mind Field

Ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
—Job 12:7–8, King James Version

Beyond Words Jacket FINAL.inddAnother big group of dolphins had just surfaced alongside our moving vessel—leaping and splashing and calling mysteriously back and forth in their squeally, whistly way, with many babies swift alongside their mothers. And this time, confined to just the surface of such deep and lovely lives, I was becoming unsatisfied. I wanted to know what they were experiencing, and why to us they feel so compelling and so—close. This time I allowed myself to ask them the question that is forbidden fruit: Who are you? Science usually steers firmly from questions about the inner lives of animals. Surely they have inner lives of some sort. But like a child who is admonished that what they really want to ask is impolite, a young scientist is taught that the animal mind—if there is such—is unknowable. Permissible questions are “it” questions: about where it lives, what it eats, what it does when danger threatens, how it breeds. But always forbidden is the one question that might open the door: Who? Continue reading


Joyce Carol Oates, The Lost Landscape & Ann Patchett’s Essays


We talk with Joyce Carol Oates about her wonderful new memoir, The Lost Landscape: A Writer’s Coming of Age (Harper Collins). It tells the story of her coming of age as a writer, from her childhood in rural western New York state until her launching as a celebrated novelist.

Then we re-play an edited version of our 2014 interview with novelist Ann Patchett about her book of essays, This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage. Continue reading


Is The World Running Out Of Food? Joel Bourne, THE END OF PLENTY


We spend the hour talking with journalist Joel K. Bourne, Jr. about population, the threat of famine and new ways to prevent it. His book is The End of Plenty: The Race To Feed A Crowded World. Continue reading


Juliana Barbassa on Rio on the brink & Ta Nehisi Coates on fathers and sons

We take the pulse of Brazilian society with journalist Juliana Barbassa — the forces holding it back and the people’s push for more democracy. Her book is Dancing with the Devil in the City of God.

Then, Ta-Nehisi Coates just received a MacArthur “genius” fellowship. We re-air our 2008 interview with him about his memoir, The Beautiful Struggle

Continue reading


Marcel Theroux, STRANGE BODIES & Jessica Abel, OUT ON THE WIRE


Marcel Theroux talks about his new novel Strange Bodies. It’s a fantastic multi-genre romp — part sci-fi, part thriller, part disquisition on literary immortality. And then we pivot to the renaissance in radio storytelling, talking with cartoonist Jessica Abel about her graphic book, Out On The Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio.

Continue reading


Refugees of War: Lou Ureneck, THE GREAT FIRE & Lissa Evans, CROOKED HEART


Lou Ureneck talks about his book, The Great Fire. It tells the story of the burning of Smyrna by the Turks and the rescue of thousands of civilians by an American. We also talk with British novelist Lissa Evans about her dark comedy Crooked Heart, set in wartime London. It’s about a young refugee from the Blitz and his rescuer, a small time con artist. Continue reading


Sci-fi Imagines Climate Change: Paolo Bacigalupi’s THE WATER KNIFE & SHIPBREAKER


Paolo Bacigalupi talks about his new thriller, The Water Knife. It’s about the fight over water supplies in the American Southwest that erupts when a climate-driven mega-drought hits the region.

Then, we re-air portions of our 2011 interview with Bacigalupi about his sci fi novel for young adults, Shipbreaker. Also set in the climate-changed world of the near future, it takes place in Florida in a time of sea level rise. Continue reading


Saving The New York Public Library

New York Public Library - Patience & Fortitude, the LIbrary Lions

Journalist Scott Sherman talks about the fight to save the New York Public Library. His book is Patience and Fortitude: Power, Real Estate, and the Fight to Save a Public Library (Melville House, 2015). Then, we air part of our 2014 interview with Eric Alterman about his book Inequality And One City: Bill de Blasio and the New York Experiment. Continue reading


Banking On The Extinction Of Wild Tigers


J.A. Mills  talks about her book, Blood of the Tiger: A Story  about Conspiracy, Greed, and the Battle to Save A Magnificent Species. It’s about how the survival of tigers in the wild are threatened by tiger farms in China. Then, Martin Windrow tells us about his memoir of a unique human/avian friendship, The Owl Who Liked Sitting on Caesar Continue reading