Books

Logan Shannon

Weather events and disasters can be ferocious - but in December of 1952, London, England was struck by a much quieter calamity - a heavy blanket of smog so thick, that thousands died. Today, stories from The Great Smog of 1952.  

And, eight years after the financial crisis, unemployment is down to pre-recession levels. Another indicator has not faired as well: underemployment. Is part-time work the new normal?

1.05.17: Presidential Kids, Half Wild, & 10MWW

Jan 5, 2017
msrivergirl via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/ac7qJT

The framers of American democracy rejected monarchy and its tradition of passing power through bloodline ...that has not stopped presidents past from relying on their kids. Today, Brady Carlson on first children who've made presidential politics a family business. 

Also today, hold-outs, hippies, haves and have-nots live side-by-side in a collection of stories set in Vermont...not the picture postcard version.

Plus, the 10-Minute Writer's Workshop talks with a longtime copy writer for the LL Bean catalog.  

NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty on Reimagining Midlife

Dec 30, 2016
Michael Garcia Novak / Flickr/CC

Even with all the angst about mid-life crises, and birthday cards calling you over the hill, the author says the middle years are most often about renewal. Today we're talking with former NPR correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty on what she discovered about middle age in America.


The New Year is a time to look ahead, but this week we’re looking back. Today a selection of our favorite stories and interviews of 2016. First up, we revisit a conversation about the global disappearance industry that plots, facilitates and documents fake deaths - and the investigators who track them down. 

Then, we'll reminisce about some of the strangest school assemblies we endured growing up.

And  Roman Mars of 99% Invisible looks into the origins of those inflatable tube men you see outside of car washes.

Holiday Book Show: December 6, 2016

Dec 25, 2016
Christina Phillips; NHPR

Our popular holiday tradition takes place on December 6.  We look at the top books of 2016 and discuss best books for gift-giving...and receiving.  Let us know what books you've enjoyed this year by email, by tagging us in a tweet, or sending a message to our Facebook page.

This show originally aired on December 6, 2016. 

U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/epy8go

The holidays are fast approaching, and for the procrastinators among us, the online retailer Amazon.com offers a ray hope. But what if the gift you've purchased isn't what it claims to be? Today, the supply and demand chain for counterfeit goods

Then, in the early days of cinema, soundtracks were played live.  A single pianist or orchestra accompanied those early silent films with sometimes written and sometimes improvised, music and sound effects. The Alloy Orchestra keeps that tradition alive by live scoring old silent films using state of the art electronics, and...a rack of junk. 

Irish author Emma Donoghue may be best known for Room,  her novel written in the voice of a young boy confined with his mother in a single room.  It was nominated for a Man Booker prize and made into an Oscar-winning film, for which she wrote the screenplay. Her most recent novel is The Wonder, about a "fasting girl" in 1850s Ireland.

Global Panorama via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/r2nw3q

Someone suffering from a major depressive episode may have trouble getting out of bed - sleep too much during the day, and then suffer from insomnia at night. Today, an experimental, and counter-intuitive treatment for depression.

Plus, the benefits of being bored. Whether we're sitting quietly for a cup of coffee, or taking a walk without a destination, one author argues that setting aside time to do nothing can make us more creative, and teach us more about who we really are - she even has some handy tips for how foster a bit of boredom.

Frank Maurer via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/83biv

Social media networks have too few people to monitor and shut down the volume of Islamic State propaganda accounts. Today, a Dartmouth professor has created a tool to flag violent, extremist videos and recruitment tools and keep them off social media feeds...still, some companies fear accusations of censorship.

Then, in the early 1800s, America was new - a wide and blank slate for backwoods prophets, reformers and salvation seekers to create their own versions of paradise. Today, from Shakers to radicals to polygamists, a road trip through some of the nearly 200 utopian communities that emerged in the 19th century.

James Vaughan via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/c83XTb

What do McDonalds hamburgers and NPR underwriting have in common? Ray and Joan Kroc.  One, a business tycoon responsible for building a world-wide brand and the other a strong woman with a passion for progressive causes. Today we’re learning about the odd couple pairing of a billionaire-entrepreneur and peace-loving philanthropist.

Plus, a collection of stories follows characters down the slippery slope of technological dependency -  and how to slow it down.

Virginia Prescott

Tom Gauld -- a cartoonist, illustrator of comics and covers for the New Yorker and The Believer. His weekly cartoon about the arts for The Guardian newspaper is a wry, often deadpan favorite among writers. He is extremely prolific, author of more than a dozen books of comics, including You're Just Jealous of My Jetpack and most recently Mooncop.

Writers on a New England Stage: Mario Batali

Nov 30, 2016
David J. Murray, ClearEyePhoto.com

Today, NHPR and the music hall present Writers on a New England Stage with Mario Batali recorded live at the Music Hall in Portsmouth. Batali is a celebrity chef, entrepreneur, restaurateur, television star and passionate advocate for simple, regional food. He is author, or co-author, of 7 cookbooks on Italian food, wine and culture, one on Spanish specialties, and three of American recipes, including his most recent Big American Cookbook.

11.27.16: Lots of Leftovers

Nov 25, 2016
Ginny via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/4Jo3Sb

Now that the long, stressful, divisive election season is behind us, maybe it's time to talk about something that unites us in pleasure: food. Now, a cultural history of one food that makes everything a little bit better: butter. 

Plus, the resurgence of rainbow sprinkles. Whether you call them jimmies, funfetti or unicorn food, those brightly colored sugary bits that top cupcakes, cookies & ice cream sundaes, are having a bit of a moment. We’ll talk to a food writer from the New York Times about the current funfetti explosion.

Sara Plourde / NHPR

A National Book Award winner, Pulitzer-Prize nominee, Guggenheim fellow, and winner of a MacArthur "genius" grant, Colson Whitehead's new book, The Underground Railroad, was one of the most anticipated works of fiction this year.

Virginia caught up with him backstage at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire before a reading with novelist Ben Winters hosted of Gibson’s Bookstore.

11.14.16: Nonstop Metropolis & Words on the Move

Nov 14, 2016
http://giphy.com/gifs/timelapse-new-york-city-manhattan-SuG8hEiyKDCDe

Whether it's the overuse of like, saying "nuculear", or using the word "literally", figuratively, misuse of language has a way of getting under our skin. A linguist assures us that language is always changing...so loosen up. Today, why dictionaries and grammar sticklers can't stop improper language.

Plus artists, researchers and cartographers re-interpret the city that never sleeps... Illustrating its distinctive culture, history and variety through maps.

In Conversation With Colson Whitehead & Ben Winters

Nov 4, 2016
Courtesy Sara Plourde, NHPR

Colson Whitehead and Ben Winters joined Virginia in front of a live audience for the "In the Spotlight" series at the Capital Center for the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire, presented in partnership with Gibson's Bookstore. Today, we're listening to that conversation with two writers who made the imaginative leap from what we already know happened, to what could have happened.

David J. Murray, cleareyephoto.com

It’s our 30th episode, this time with the phenomenally successful Jodi Picoult.

Ingvild Hunsrød via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/pQnNv3

As one of the most densely populated placed on earth, Hong Kong has a very competitive retail market. But deals can be had, if... You're willing to put up with a few ghosts. Today, the haunted house hustle.

Also today, it's been almost 70 years since Shirley Jackson's chilling classic "The Lottery" shocked readers. We'll talk with Jackson's grandson about his graphic adaptation of the story, and with Jackson's biographer about the author's many faces... Comically besieged housewife, channeler of nightmares, witch?

Miranda July The First Bad Man
Amor Towles Rules of Civility
Andre Dubus III Townie

Ric Kallaher Photography

The novelist, short story writer and essayist Cynthia Ozick's best known piece of writing is called The Shawl, a brutal, phantasmal story of a woman and two children marching to a Nazi concentration camp. The Holocaust and Jewish identity are recurring topics in Ozick's fiction and criticism. Growing up in the Bronx, she was called Christ-killer, and humiliated for not singing Christmas carols at school.

USFWS Mountain-Prairie via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/EJSXqM

Each year, eight-hundred thousand Latinos turn 18 in the United States - add up the 4 years since the last election, and you've got a whole lot of young voters. Today, a new app designed to increase turnout among young Latinos - an crucial block that haven't always shown up to the polls. 

Plus, the author of The Way Things Work - a quintessential coffee-table book from 1988 made up of detailed illustrations to explain everything from catapults to calculators. The classic book just got an update for the digital age.

And conservation by drone - we'll hear about a program designed to save black-footed ferrets from the plague by air-dropping vaccines.

(R) Colson Whitehead/ Photo Credit Madeleine Whitehead, (R) Ben Winters/ Photo Credit Nicola Goode

 

New Hampshire Public Radio in partnership with Gibson's Bookstore and Capitol Center for the Arts, is pleased to present Colson Whitehead (The Underground Railroad) and Ben Winters (The Last Policeman) on stage in conversation at the Spotlight Cafe at Capitol Center for the Arts.

Trigger Warnings, Born In Between, & Miranda July

Sep 9, 2016
Thomas Hawk via Flickr CC / flic.kr/p/dSuxV1

Demanding trigger warnings? Canceling speakers? Shutting down comedians? College students today make the political correctness of the past seem tame. Today, is oversensitivity ruining education? We’ll also look at the roots of extreme protectiveness in a nation where police officers are stationed at more and more high schools…a story about what happens when school discipline meets law enforcement. And while the trans-gender movement gains ground, we’ll explore the shockingly common occurrence of doctors assigning gender to intersex babies. 

Karen Kenney

Andre Dubus III's memoir Townie told the story of his violent childhood on the wrong side of the tracks. Writing was his way out, and he's made more than good, with multiple NYT bestsellers, an Oprah’s Book Club pick, and an Oscar-nominated film adaptation (for his novel The House of Sand and Fog). And he gets out there, as a public speaker and writing instructor for graduate programs, seminars and retreats. We caught up with him at New Hampshire Writers’ Project's annual Writers’ Day.

Judy Blume - In the Unlikely Event
Daniel Silva - The Black Widow
Chuck Klosterman - But What If We're Wrong?

Fernando Stankuns via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5tSdbv

Presidential candidates talk a lot about what they'll do to jump start the economy. But what about local TV stations that rely on campaign ads to pay the bills? They're hurting. Today on the show, it may feel like all campaign, all the time, but not on TV.

And, the Rio Olympics have ended - and green pool and Ryan Lochte-gate aside, it wasn't half the disaster people feared. But now with the Paralympics just around the corner, and only a fraction of tickets sold, disaster might just get another chance.

Tom Wigley via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/aWb3Uv

Poverty, suicide, and alcohol and drug abuse are disproportionately high among the two million Native Americans in the US - and at crisis levels on reservations. Today on the show, we'll look into one economic impediment: property rights.

And, women of the whites. A museum exhibit highlights how, from urban society, women took the lead in  developing access, accommodations and preservation of the paths and peaks of New Hampshire's White Mountains.

Amina Tagemouati via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/rbxKAD

Today on the show, a writer explores the greatest escape plan: pseudocide... We'll hear about the global disappearance industry that plots, facilitates and forges documents for fake deaths - and the investigators who track them down.

And from Team Refugee to Superfan Mavis, a rundown of Olympic tweets, memes, and illegal gifs... Including a very photogenic Tongan flagbearer.

Rich Fleischman

Essayist, novelist, columnist, sportswriter and former ethicist for the New York Times Magazine, Chuck Klosterman has got a wildly original voice. That makes sense for a guy who's written about glam metal bands in North Dakota, or whether you should hire a detective to trail your spouse. He's author of several best-sellers including Sex, Drugs & Cocoa Puffs and most recently But What If We're Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past.

PROJohn Carleton via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/9MsoA9

The games have begun - the disastrous lead-up to the Rio Olympics has been overtaken by the spectacle of competition. Still, economists agree: hosting the games is a costly and complicated affair.  Today, we'll hear a thought experiment turned innovative solution: why not host the games in multiple cities at once?

Also today, the dog days of summer are suddenly getting shorter. As we near mid-August, perhaps you're nearing the end of your summer reading list. If you're looking for new titles to bring to the beach...we've got you covered.

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