Yearly Archives: 2014

Podcast

Doing Right by Our Companion Animals

Ellen Cooney talks about her newest novel, The Mountaintop School For Dogs. It’s a mystery about an unusual and redemptive rescue operation. We also replay our conversation with animal behaviorist Vint Virga about his book, The Soul of All Living Creatures: What Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human.

Ellen Cooney

EllenCooneyWe use the word “humane” to describe behavior that is compassionate and caring. But maybe we should use something like “canane” instead or, yes, even “felane.” Because, can we really hold up humans as exemplars of such behavior? Maybe we need to act more like our companion animals act toward us.  If more of us treated them as well as they treat us, we’d have a lot fewer traumatized, abused and neglected animals. We also might have fewer traumatized, abused and neglected humans.

MttopcvrEllen Cooney ponders these questions in her new work of fiction, The Mountaintop School For Dogs And Other Second Chances. Wrapped within a kind of mystery novel is an exploration of our relationship to the animals who share our lives. What happens when things go wrong, either through misunderstanding or evil intent?

Cooney’s protagonist is a young woman who has been through some traumas of her own. Answering a mysterious ad in the paper, she finds herself in the midst of a unique rescue operation for abused dogs. What she learns there not only changes the lives the animals she has come to help, but her life, as well.

Ellen Cooney is the author of numerous previous novels, including Lambrusco, which we spoke about with her in 2008. She lives in Maine with her canine companions.

Read an excerpt from The Mountaintop School For Dogs

Vint Virga
soul-of-all-creatures-680x440We love our cats and dogs and thrill to the sight of wild animals. But we tend to forget that we are animals ourselves — and thus share our fragile planet with what are really our cousins in the animal kingdom.

Veterinary behaviorist Vint Virga says that other animals have much to teach us about being human — not just the biological traits we share, but also other qualities like resilience, compassion and being present in the moment.

Virga draws on his 25 years of working with both domestic pets and zoo animals to explore these themes in his thoughtful and moving book The Soul of All Living Creatures.

Vint Virga has appeared as a featured guest on ABC World News, PBS Nature, and National Geographic Explorer. He is one of only 61 behavioral veterinarians in the US. The Soul of All Living Creatures won a Nautilus Book Award in 2014.

Read an excerpt from The Soul of All Living Creatures

Podcast

Following The Thread of History To Find Ourselves

David Laskin talks about his family memoir of Jewish life in the twentieth century, The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century. Then, a poet’s dialog with the 1886 diary of an ordinary woman: Sarah Sousa talks about her books, Diary of Esther Small, 1886 and Church of Needles.

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Podcast

Paying The Price Of The War On Terror. Also, Talking Climate For Everyone

Journalist James Risen talks about his explosive new book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War. And George Marshall talks about what’s been keeping the climate crisis from seizing the hearts and minds of the public — and how to change that. His important book is Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change. Continue reading

Podcast

Rowing For The Gold Against Hitler & Shakespeare From The Female POV

Daniel James Brown talks about his bestseller, THE BOYS IN THE BOAT: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Then, a re-telling of the story of Romeo and Juliet — from the POV of Juliet’s nurse. We talk with historian-turned-novelist Lois Leveen about JULIET’S NURSE.

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Podcast

The True Story of Thanksgiving – Plus, Tips on Eating & Studs Terkel

In this Thanksgiving Day special, we reach back into our archives for three treats: we air our 2005 interview with the late great Studs Terkel talking about his last book, And They All Sang. Then food psychologist Brian Wansink gives us tips on how not to overeat in this excerpt from our 2006 interview about his book Mindless Eating. Finally, Native American storyteller and historian Marge Bruchac tells us the real story of Thanksgiving.

Studs Terkel

Studs Terkel
Studs Terkel

Late great radio man and chronicler of 20th century life, Studs Terkel was long a hero to Francesca. She leaped at the chance to interview him when, at the age of 92, he came out with his last book, And They All Sang: Adventures of An Eclectic Disc Jockey.

A homage to the power of music to bring out the best in humanity, the book features conversations Terkel had with some of the greatest musicians of the 20th century — like Bob Dylan, Dizzy Gillespie and Mahalia Jackson — on his famed daily radio show on WFMT in Chicago. And They All Sang was his 14th book.

Brian Wansink

Mindless EatingThere are many drivers of the obesity epidemic. Food is everywhere and portions tend to be supersized. How can we resist the temptations that lures us from all sides?

Food psychologist Brian Wansink has the answer. Back in 2006, WV spoke with him about his book, MIndless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. Today we play an abridged version of that interview.

Wansink is the director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

Marge Bruchac

Bruchac1_t-150x150
Marge Bruchac

When Thanksgiving rolls around, Native American storyteller Marge Bruchac gets a lot of requests to talk about the first Thanksgiving, when the English settlers got together with the Wampanoag natives of Massachusettsfor a feast. The year was 1621. Bruchac co-authored the book, 1621: A New Look At Thanksgiving.

Marge Bruchac is an anthropologist, historian, and museum consultant. She’s also a performer of Algonkian Indian music and oral traditions. In addition to 1621, she’s the author of other books, including the children’s book, Malian’s Song.

Podcast

Climate Changes Everything

Naomi Klein talks about her ground-breaking new book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism and The Climate. It’s about how the climate crisis could lead to a more just and safer world. Then, the Senate voted down the Keystone XL pipeline for now, but is almost certain to pass it after January. We talk with climate journalist John Cushman, re-airing an interview with him about the pipeline and what it will mean if it’s approved.

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Podcast

I Heart Archeologists — Plus, A Campus Satire

Marilyn Johnson talks about her delightful and informative book, Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble (Harper Collins, 2014). Then, Julie Schumacher tells us about her brilliant satire of academia, Dear Committee Members (Random House, 2014.)

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Podcast

Is School Reform Failing Our Schools?

Dana Goldstein

Journalist Dana Goldstein discusses her groundbreaking history of school reform in the US and conflicts over teaching, then and now. It’s called The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession (Doubleday). Then, we check in with Katrina van den Heuvel about her interview with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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Blog

Six Great Books I Have To Read This Week For Writer’s Voice

Francesca’s Bookshelf

I love talking to authors about their awesome books, but that means I have to read — a lot! You’d be shocked at how many authors thank me for actually reading their books (I guess a lot of interviewers don’t.)

Of course, that’s one of the benefits of producing Writer’s Voice: I get to indulge my reading habit and ask questions of the authors.

But there’s so much great stuff coming out all the time that sometimes my desire to devour all of it gets ahead of the time available. That’s when I find myself with more books on my plate than I bargained for. This is one of those weeks. But what books! I just finished the first one: David Laskin’s THE FAMILY. Read on for my take on his book and more. Continue reading

Web Extras

Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Snowden Interview

Edward Snowden,
Edward Snowden

On October 6, Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel and contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen sat down in Moscow for a wide-ranging discussion with Edward Snowden, where he shared his thoughts on the surveillance state, the American political system and the price he’s paid for his understanding of patriotism.

The conversation lasted for nearly four hours and has been distilled into an in-depth article in this week’s edition of the Nation magazine. Francesca Rheannon of Writers Voice spoke with Katrina van den Heuvel about the interview with Snowden, as well as her thoughts on the impact the Snowden revelations have had on the US press.

Podcast

Danielle Allen, OUR DECLARATION & Katy Simpson Smith, THE STORY OF LAND AND SEA

Danielle Allen
Danielle Allen

Danielle Allen talks about the foundational ideas of our American Republic in her book Our Declaration, A Reading Of The Declaration of Independence In Defense of Equality (W.W.Norton, 2014)

Then Katy Simpson Smith talks about her novel, The Story of Land And Sea (Harper Collins, 2014.) It takes place just after the Revolutionary War, when ideas of equality and liberty were transforming America.

NEWSFLASH! We’re excited to announce that Writer’s Voice has a redesigned, more user friendly website. It’s built to work with all your web devices: smart phones, tablets and computers.

Explore the site, join the email list and keep an eye on exclusive features we’re rolling out in the coming weeks. Let website designer Bill Weye know how much you appreciate this new design (or tell him what else you’d like to see there). We love his work! Continue reading

Podcast

Mark Schapiro, CARBON SHOCK

Mark Schapiro
Mark Schapiro

Journalist Mark Schapiro discusses his new book, CARBON SHOCK: A Tale of Risk and Calculus on the Front Lines of the Disrupted Global Economy. It’s about how global warming isn’t just causing climate chaos — it’s creating economic chaos, as well.

Climate action opponents say climate change is too expensive to tackle. But they never talk about the cost of not dealing with it. Higher taxes and food prices, steeper insurance payments, and more costly travel come on top of the loss of jobs and income when droughts, floods, and other impacts of global warming hit us in the pocketbook. But who should pay? Polluters or the public?

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Podcast

Tana French, THE SECRET PLACE & Shannon Moroney, THROUGH THE GLASS

Tana French
Tana French
Shannon Moroney
Shannon Moroney

What drives some of us to commit murder? That question is on the roster today as we talk with crime fiction writer Tana French about her terrific new novel, The Secret Place.  And Shannon Moroney’s memoir Through The Glass tells a searing story about a brutal crime and her journey toward restorative justice.

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Podcast

Vint Virga, THE SOUL OF ALL LIVING CREATURES & Mike Graf, ADVENTURES WITH THE PARKERS series

Vint Virga
Vint Virga

Animal behaviorist Vint Virga talks about his award-winning book, The Soul of All Living Creatures:What Animals Can Teach Us About Being Human. And children’s book author Mike Graf discusses two in his series of adventures guides set in National Parks, To The Top of The Grand, about Grand Teton and Eye of The Whale, about Acadia.

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Podcast

Seth Rosenfeld, SUBVERSIVES & Betty Medsger, THE BURGLARY

Seth Rosenfeld
Seth Rosenfeld
medsger-150x150
Betty Medsger

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, WV talks with Seth Rosenfeld about his bestselling history of that movement and its surveillance by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI, Subversives. Also, WV revisits our April 2014 interview with Betty Medgser about her book, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI. Continue reading