Biologist Paul Ehrlich discusses the book he co-wrote, The Annihilation of Nature: Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals and Writers Voice airs one of the year’s Ten Best Shows: our interview with Joseph Luzzi about his memoir, In A Dark Wood. Continue reading
2015 marks the tenth full year Writer’s Voice has been on the air (the show began in July of 2014.) Each December, as I look back on the interviews our guests have given us, I am struck by the richness and depth of conversation we have been privileged to engage in.
This year, I was hard put to choose the Ten Best, because it left out so many other wonderful episodes. But following is a list of some that came rushing into my memory as notable when I looked over all the terrific shows we did in 2015.
Francesca Rheannon, Host and Producer Continue reading
Andrea Wulf talks about her bestselling new book, The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World. It’s listed as one of the ten best books of 2015 by the New York Times. Then, we check in with journalist Jack Cushman of Inside Climate News about the historic climate pact out of Paris and how the just-passed omnibus spending bill will affect carbon emissions. Continue reading
Some picks for last minute book gifts from Writer’s Voice — even if the gift is just for you. Continue reading
We feature the work of two political cartoonists who have come out with graphic biographies: Ted Rall talks about his new graphic bio of Edward Snowden, Snowden. And then British cartoonist Kate Evans talks about her new graphic biography of the revolutionary leader, Rosa Luxemburg, Red Rosa. Continue reading
by Francesca Rheannon
Part One: The Jews
“McDO, that’s a Jewish business,” my host Michel said contemptuously. I was staying with him and his wife, the lovely Marie-Jo in Apt, an ancient Gallic-Roman city in the south of France. The year was 2002 and I was in Provence to gather research on a book.
The couple had generously opened their home to me, someone they barely knew, and we had quickly become fast friends. Michel was a private chef; his wife was a nurse who was taking leave from her job to care for her elderly invalid mother who lived next door.
Michel had not always been a chef. He was a man of many sides and a checkered past. He didn’t fit easily into any categories. For one, he had spent close to a decade in prison during his youth. The details were never really forthcoming, but it had something to do with underworld gangs in Marseilles. He would have looked the part, too, with his street tough’s body, all barreled and bandy-legged, were it not for his warmth and ebullient nature. Continue reading
We talk with M.T. Anderson about his new book Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad. It tells the story of how Shostakovich’s 7th Symphony inspired the resistance of the people of Leningrad to one of the most brutal sieges in history, that mounted by Hitler’s Army in World War II.
And with the world climate talks happening in Paris, we consider the intersection between climate change — and terrorism. We air a clip from our 2011 interview with Christian Parenti about his book, Tropic of Chaos.
We talk with environmental writer David Gessner about his new book about two of the greatest writers — and champions — of the Western wilds, All The Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West. We also re-air a clip from a previous interview with Gessner about his last book, My Green Manifesto.
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 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
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
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
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
Another 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