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Disasters in developing nations bring out the better angels of foreign governments and world citizens, but not all aid, or media coverage, is distributed equally. On today’s show we discover why the world’s worst disasters don’t always get the most aid.

Then, if you’ve ever binge-watched a show until you feel sick, you may be suffering from: “shoverdose”.  Check your phone obsessively? Well, you may be “figital”. Later in the show, the joys of made-up words.

Rachel via flickr Creative Commons / flic.kr/p/dXsYyp

The Oscars are Hollywood’s top award for recognizing achievement in film – and of course, fashion. On today’s show: why some actresses are bucking against the red carpet parade.

Then, for most of us, the prospect of winning a million dollars is a daydream, but for Justin Peters, it was just two right answers away. He’ll explain how losing Who Wants to Be a Millionaire changed his life for the better.

Plus, a conversation with artist, writer and filmmaker Miranda July.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

From Mr. Show To Better Call Saul: Bob Odenkirk

Feb 9, 2015
Sharon Alagna

  Before Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, Bob Odenkirk was a cult favorite on Mr. Show, a show he co-created with comedian David Cross. And before that he wrote for Saturday Night LiveDennis Miller, and Ben Stiller. His comedic style definitely veers towards the absurd which is evident in one of the shows he produced for Comedy Central: Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! 

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The image of the family gathered at the table for the evening meal is a durable American tradition. Only it’s a myth. On today’s show, a food historian describes how most families ate for most of American history.

Plus, researchers at Cornell offer tips on how to navigate the all you can eat buffet without gaining a pound.

Then, we move from food to booze: hard drinking writers, like Ernest Hemingway and John Cheever fortified the myth of the alcohol-soaked genius. An author who explores why writers drink, and dispels any myths about booze as muse.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Writers On A New England Stage: Anne Rice

Dec 15, 2014
© David J. Murray / ClearEyePhoto.com

NHPR and The Music Hall present Writers on a New England Stage with author Anne Rice who reinvented a genre when she published Interview with a Vampire nearly 40 years ago. Subsequent novels presented undead characters who experienced love, grief, and longing.

11.11.14: Veteran's Day

Nov 11, 2014
jpellgen via flickr Creative Commons

Ron Capps served in five wars in ten years, and was left with severe PTSD. On today’s show, he talks with us about founding the Veterans Writing Project to harness the power of prose for coping with the hidden wounds of war. Plus, we’ll find out how one mother of three dealt with her husband’s prolonged absence during military deployments: by asking guests to fill his empty seat once a week.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Writers On A New England Stage: E.O. Wilson

Nov 6, 2014
David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto.com

NHPR and The Music Hall present Writers on a New England Stage with biologist, ecologist and two-time Pulitzer prize-winning author E.O. Wilson. Wilson has spent decades researching some of the biggest scientific riddles of our time - from the origins of human social behavior to saving disappearing species of plants and animals. He’s out with a bold new book that takes on nothing less than The Meaning Of Human Existence. He’ll discuss his ideas on where we came from, what we are and where we’re going.

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Two weeks ago Apple Pay was unveiled with great fanfare and claims that the mobile-payment system will make purchasing easier and more secure. On today’s show, a closer scan of Apple Pay to find out who is set to benefit from it.

Then, if you’re at a loss to describe something in English, why not turn to the language that brought you zeitgeist and schadenfreude?  We’ll explore compound German words uniquely outfitted for life’s everyday pleasures, pains, and unnamed oddities.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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From dash cams to the EZ Pass lane, big brother is in our passenger seat, whether we realize it or not. But just how much are drivers being monitored? And who is benefiting from the surveillance? On today’s show, the future of car surveillance.

Then, a conversation with actor and comedian, Bob Odenkirk. While many know him as strip mall lawyer Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad, he has achieved near cult status for his contributions to sketch comedy. We’ll discuss his storied career, the legacy of Mr. Show, and his debut collections of essays, A Load of Hooey.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

Getting together for dinner on a regular basis can be tough for any family, but it is especially hard for military families during deployments. On today’s show: how one mother of three dealt with her husband’s deployment, by asking guests to fill his empty seat once a week. Then, the artist M.C. Escher may be best known for his repeating patterns and mind-bending optical illusions, but a new exhibit at the Currier Museum of Art, touted as the most comprehensive retrospective of Escher’s work, is highlighting his lesser known illustrations.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.

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It’s September, put down that beach novel, it's time to get serious about your to-be-read list. Thankfully, fall is the biggest season in the publishing world, so there's plenty of titles to choose from. Michele Filgate, freelance writer, critic, and independent bookseller at Community Bookstore in Brooklyn brings us her must read list for early fall. Click on the book titles for more information.

A former home of "The Catcher in the Rye" author J.D. Salinger is up for sale in New Hampshire with an asking price of $679,000.

The Valley News reports the author bought the home in Cornish in the 1950s and later left after separating from his first wife. He remained in Cornish, where he died in 2010 at age 91.

The current owner bought the 2,900-square-foot home on 12 acres in the 1980s. The land once belonged to architect Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and a descendant of his built the house in 1939.

finchlake2000 via flickr Creative Commons

Despite having 94,000 miles of coastline and millions of acres of rivers, America imports 91% of its seafood. Today we explore the case for reviving the nation’s local fisheries. And, we’ll stay local with filmmaker Jay Craven, whose film Northern Borders is now on tour in New Hampshire. He tells us about the economics of regional filmmaking. Plus, word craft for fast times: a writing teacher celebrates the beauty and efficacy of writing short. 

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


Alan Levine via flickr Creative Commons

Last week, the Federal Reserve released a startling statistic: one in five people nearing retirement age have no money saved for it. On today’s show we pose the question: have we reached the end of retirement? Also, with almost 8 million Americans over 65 still working – a rising number of older Americans are hitting the road to chase low-wage jobs across the country.  We’ll also talk to a reporter who looked for the retail connection to a holiday that is growing in popularity here in the US: Ramadan.

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


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Has the digital age made things like handwritten letters and rotary phones obsolete? Today, we look at our possible transition towards a paperless society. Then, what treasure lays buried at your local transfer station? And how can that change your relationship with your neighbors? Plus, we speak with New Hampshire author Betsy Woodman about her new novel Emeralds Included.  

Listen to the full show and Read more for individual segments.


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There is an increasing number of books that share titles, a fact that might not confuse a person in a bookstore but can pose problems for online search algorithms. Word of Mouth intern Molly Donahue spoke with author Emily Schultz about a strange phenomenon she experienced this year. So what happens when two authors release two different books with the same title?

Carl Hiassen's "Bad Monkey"

Jun 26, 2014

Word of Mouth presents a special rebroadcast of Writers on a New England Stage with Carl Hiassen, presented by NHPR and The Music Hall and recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Hiassen joined Virginia on stage last June to talk about “Bad Monkey,” a volume of comic crime fiction. It is now available in paperback

Word of Mouth presents a special rebroadcast of Writers on a New England Stage with Bill Bryson, presented by NHPR and The Music Hall and recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. He joined Virginia Prescott on stage last October to talk about his book “One Summer: 1927.” It is now available in paperback.

Sarah Thomas / NHPR

Today on Word of Mouth, a sweet conversation with a man who knows maple syrup. Emerson writing professor and author, Douglas Whynott joins us to discuss his new book The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup and One Family's Quest for the Sweetest Harvest. Plus, we'll put Whynott to the test when he joins Virginia in a blindfolded taste test of 4 grades of authentic, New Hampshire made maple  syrup and one imposter.

Also on the show, Jamie Page Deaton breaks down her list of the top choices for family cars. 

Listen to the full show and click Read More for individual segments.

N.S.F.W. & N.S.F.NPR With B.J. Novak

Mar 3, 2014
Photo by David J. Murray / ClearEyePhoto.com

B.J. Novak read several stories from his new book One More Thing, during his performance at The Music Hall, and we included a few in our broadcast. However, there was one story that was particularly funny, and probably not safe for work and definitely not safe for public radio. The following audio is presented without edits and may contain language you are not accustomed to hearing on public radio airwaves.

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The National Book Critic's Circle Awards are upon us and joining us to discuss the nominees are:

Michele Filgate is events coordinator at Community Bookstore in Brooklyn, NY. She’s also a writer and critic.

Eric Banks is a board member and past president of the NBCC. He’s the former editor of Bookforum and Artforum and the director of the NY Institute for the Humanities.

See below for the complete list of nominees that Michele and Eric discussed during the segment.

Photo(s) by David J. Murray / ClearEyePhoto.com

NHPR

and The Music Hall present Writers on a New England Stage with Doris Kearns Goodwin, recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. The Pulitzer prize-winning historian and biographer of several American presidents shifts to the progressive era with, The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt William Howard Taft & The Golden Age Of Journalism.  The book follows two presidents who became friends and later bitter rivals, as well as a chronicle of the dawn of investigative journalism in America.

This broadcast was made possible with support from TransCanada.

In early September, 1965 a UFO sighting was reported near Exeter, New Hampshire.  Air force investigators were sent to question several eye witnesses who reported a “big orange ball” and a “huge dark object as big as a barn with flashing red lights” in the sky.  They dismissed the sighting as “nothing more than stars and planets twinkling…owing to a temperature inversion.” The incident is one of the best documented accounts of an alleged close encounter with the paranormal.  New Hampshire’s brush with paranormal fame makes it the perfect setting for a new compilation of short stories called Live Free or Sci-Fi. The book features stories that bend science and reality together into hair raising tales of speculative fiction.

Rick Broussard is the editor of Live Free or Sci-Fi and creator of the New Hampshire pulp fiction series. He is also the editor of New Hampshire Magazine.

via benbradleejr.com

“The Kid”, “The Splendid Splinter”, “Teddy Ballgame”; Ted Williams went by a few nicknames while playing for the Boston Red Sox.  Maybe none so fitting as: “The Greatest Hitter That Ever Lived.”  Williams was the last player in the major leagues to achieve a batting average over .400--which he did in 1941–in his third season in the majors. Ted Williams was obsessed with hitting, taking meticulous care of his bats, and was often observed swinging or posing for a pitch, whether he had a bat in his hands or not.

Off the field, the measure of Ted Williams is not so easy to follow. A private and mercurial man, he was moody and prone to bouts of rage. He would blow up at the press, his teammates, and his family. Williams married three times and had three children, but struck out as a father or husband. Ben Bradlee Jr., former editor and reporter for the Boston Globe, spent ten years trying to find out exactly why Ted Williams was the way he was. He interviewed more than six hundred people who knew “The Kid” going all the way back to his childhood. Ben Bradlee Jr.’s new book is called “The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams.”

via PatriciaCornwell.com

NHPR and The Music Hall present Writers on a New England Stage with Patricia Cornwell. Her best-selling Kay Scarpetta crime fiction series introduced millions of readers to forensic pathology – and inspired popular TV shows from CSI to Dexter. After her 21st Scarpetta novel, Patricia Cornwell reflects on the process of turning grisly real-world crimes into absorbing fiction.

via indiebound.org

I was once invited to Thanksgiving dinner by a friend who warned me that her family was “Not a Real Norman Rockwell Kinda Bunch”. We know that image: brightly scrubbed faces hover in smiling anticipation over sparkling china as Ma sets the turkey in front of the family patriarch ready to be carved. That painting is titled Freedom From Want and it’s one of those homespun scenes that only happens in what author Deborah Solomon calls “Rockwell Land” -- a magical reflection of American life as it should be. Solomon’s new biography of the illustrator, beloved by the masses and dismissed as corn ball by the art world, reveals a complicated, neurotic, and repressed man who lived very far from the America he invented.

Deborah Solomon is author of American Mirror: The Life and Times of Norman Rockwell

Children’s book writer and illustrator David Wiesner is a three-time winner of the Caldecott Medal for most distinguished children’s picture book. His newest work is about a group of tiny extra-terrestial explorers, whose wee spaceship unwittingly becomes a plaything for a house cat named Mr. Wuffles. 

As with all of Wiesner’s books, Mr.Wuffles is nearly wordless, with dramatic visuals that propel readers from the plausible and everyday into the fantastical world of what could happen… 

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It’s estimated that one in ten Americans show signs of depression, but in a society where mental illness is simultaneously taboo and overexposed, it’s easy to stick to a black-and-white label to describe mental health.

As part of the 'Almost Effect'  series from Harvard Health Publications, two instructors at Harvard teamed up to write a book on that uncomfortable gray area between well-being and chronic depression. It's called Almost Depressed. 

MacMillan Publishers

Is there an adult out there who has not, in a moment of fatigue, insomnia, or on a particularly hard day at work, looked around at their life and asked, “Is this it? Is this what I want my life to be?”  Even people who have plenty of money and status and work in their industry of choice may find themselves fantasizing about a job that engages their spirit. A new book from the School of Life series sets out a practical guide to negotiating the myriad choices, overcoming the fear of change, and finding a career that has meaning. Roman Krznaric is a founding member of the school of life. He advises organizations from Oxfam to the UN on using empathy and conversation to create social change. He spoke to us from Oxford, England to talk about his new book How to Find Fulfilling Work.

Logan Shannon / NHPR

Not sure how you're going to muster the energy to rake another pile of leaves this weekend? Let us make the chore a little easier by distracting you with a solid hour of public radio encouragement. The Word of Mouth Saturday show is carefully designed to take you on a sound odyssey that's perfect even if you decide to forgo the leaf raking for another day.

On this week's show:

  • Please don't send shoes: Jessica Alexander makes the case for sending money instead of food or clothing when disaster strikes.
  • Why is Sweden so good at pop music? Nolan Feeney outlines the many reasons Sweden is a country of hit makers. We dare you to not get "The Sign" stuck in your head.
  • Talking about death: It's not an easy subject, but a new Showtime series, "Time of Death" approaches the taboo with unflinching realism. Jaweed Kaleem from the Huffington Post, and Miggi Hood, co-executive producer of the series join us to talk about death.
  • The Warren Commission 50 years later. Justice Richard Mosk was a 23-year-old attorney when he became the youngest member of the commission established by President Johnson to investigate the murder of JFK and his assassin. He tells us about the commission and why conspiracy theories can be harmful.

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