Books

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Today, we have a conversation with an anatomist behind a new PBS series that puts the lens on mammals who reproduce under extreme circumstances, like dolphins. And if you think it’s tough for mammals to find a mate, try finding one in the vast ocean when you’re a nearly microscopic crustacean. We’ll look into the mating rituals of copepods. And then, a different sort of nature when Chuck Klosterman tells us more about the traits of villainy.

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


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With their shaven heads, combat boots and bomber jackets, neo-Nazis used to be pretty easy to pick out of a crowd. Today, not so much. We explore why Europe’s young hyper-nationalists are opting for a more hipster look. Plus, common sense tells us that reading to children is good for them, but it’s more powerful than you might imagine. We’ll look into the practice of interactive reading and share tricks for bringing up book worms in the age of screens and digital devices. And, not all princesses are polite and demure. We remember some princesses for their bad behavior.

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


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With more than a quarter of the players born outside the US, professional baseball is the UN of American pro sports. We take a look at a position crucial to a team’s success:  the interpreter…and how the job requires more than mere translation. Plus, France’s government is banning English words like ‘fast-food’ and ‘hashtag’ in the name of cultural preservation…we find out why the words are unlikely to disappear from the vernacular anytime soon. And, Sue Miller speaks about her new book, The Arsonist.

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?

The Most Popular Books Left Unread

Jul 9, 2014
Logan Shannon / NHPR

We’ve all been there, crack open a new book, read the first few chapters and then for whatever reason, just…stop. And that’s it. The book slowly migrates from bedside, to under the bed, and ends up in a pile with a bookmark placed somewhere in chapter two. Enough of the “best sellers” and “the book” to read this summer, we’re adjusting our aspirations to consider the books purchased optimistically in June and are left, un-read, by Labor Day. Dr.

John Cooper via Flickr Creative Commons

High tech can sometimes mean hand stitching. We discuss the production of World Cup soccer balls in Siaklot, Pakistan with Atlantic assistant editor, Joe Pinsker. Next, a conversation about the intricacies of teaching high school English with writer and teacher Nick Ripatrazone. Then, Dr. Jordan Ellenberg takes us through the most unread books of summer using his formula, the Hawking Index. And, we talk to "Joyland" author Emily Schultz about the strange events that followed the release Steven King's book of the same title. Plus, a look into the history of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster.

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

Joel Christian Gill

Whether it’s a catchy theme song, or a single image - think Mary Tyler Moore tossing her cap into the air – some TV credit sequences are etched in our minds. Today we listen for the greatest TV opening sequences of all time. Plus, a look at a graphic novel that reveals the untold stories of African-American history…including that of Richard Potter, for whom the New Hampshire town of Potter Place is named. Then, tis the season for mosquitoes, black flies, and ticks. How are you preventing pesky bites? We sample the rainbow of bug repellant…from witch hazel to DEET.

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


hitchBOT.me

Looking for a gripping summer read? How about The Crucible, with text messaging? Writer Megan Abbott discusses her new novel The Fever, which is based on a true story of mass hysteria among high school girls. And then, rebellious teens take note: hitchhiking is ill-advised…but what if you’re a machine? We’ll chat with the developers of Hitchbot, a robot that is set to hitch rides across Canada.  Plus, we visit the Audio Orchard to select to pluck the month’s best new songs.

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


Word Of Mouth Voted Best N.H. Radio Talk Show

Jun 26, 2014

We are so proud to have been voted Best New Hampshire Radio Talk Show by the readers of New Hampshire Magazine.

Six years after launching Word of Mouth, we still feel like upstarts and appreciate our listeners coming through. Thank you!  It's pleasure to bring you stories that spark curiosity and wonder about the world around us, and will continue spreading interesting information the best way we know how: through Word of Mouth.

And not only was Word of Mouth voted Best New Hampshire Radio Talk Show, but NHPR was voted Best FM Radio Station!

With all that in mind, here is a look back at some of your favorite Word of Mouth stories from the past year.

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.

The Debate: Should Adults Be Embarrassed To Read YA?

Jun 10, 2014
rachelkramerbussel.com via Flickr Creative Commons

When Ruth Graham published the Slate article “Against YA” there was an immediate push back. Here we’ve compiled some of our favorites for both sides of the debate.

Nay to YA

Against YA,” by Ruth Graham for Slate.

Here it is, the original article. It’s well-reasoned with a lot of good points, even if it’s getting billed with the uber-polarizing line, “you should be embarrassed to read YA.”  Many criticisms seem to skip straight to the part where Graham says adults shouldn't be reading YA, but there's more in here, so take a look.

Thomás via Flickr Creative Commons

The world cup kicks off in Sao Paulo this Thursday amid controversy, corruption, and protest. Today, a profile of the neuroscientist behind a bionic exoskeleton that will make a miraculous kickoff at the world cup possible. But first, Stephen Dubner, co-author of Freaknomics, explains some of the decisions that are part of playing in the world cup. And then, a conversation with Ruth Graham, who triggered a fury among young adult fans by claiming "Adults should be embarrassed about reading literature for children".

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


Must-Read Books For Summer 2014

Jun 4, 2014

As the warm weather finally arrives, we’re looking at what’s new this season in books suited for coming days at the beach, in the mountains, or even your backyard. There’s a new series from New Hampshire children’s author Paul Durham, a memoir from Mariano Rivera, and a new novel from perennial favorite JK Rowling. (digital post by Faith Meixell)

GUESTS:

alexbeam.net

We're sitting down with Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam to talk about his new book, "American Crucifixion," examining the life of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church.

GUEST: 

  • Alex Beam – columnist for the Boston Globe and author of several books, most recently “American Crucifixion.”

LINKS:

lynneolsen.com

We're sitting down with Lynne Olson, author of new book "Those Angry Days: Roosevelt, Lindbergh, and America’s Fight Over World War II, 1939-1945." We'll discuss the bitter debate leading up American involvement in World War Two, a critical time in U.S. History.

GUEST:

via amazon.com, Chris Devers and Heinrich Klaffs via flickr Creative Commons & nplusonemag.com

No fooling: today's show deals with some dangerous imposters. It's not all lies and deception, however. We also have some "lost" sounds from the man in black himself. Finally, Chad Harbach talks about his controversial essay about making it as a writer. Grab your headphones and turn up the volume; we've got the stories behind the stories.

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

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.

W.W. Norton

Author Andre Dubus III talks about his new book "Dirty Love"

  • A successful professional hopes to win back his wife after proving her infidelity. A bank clerk crowding in on 30 and hoping for a family moves in with her compulsive, demeaning boyfriend.  A bartender who fancies himself a poet cheats on his pregnant wife, and a pretty teenaged girl gets shamed on Youtube and reaches out for the promise of a new future and a new love on Skype. These characters all live in the faded beach towns and leafy suburbs of the New England coast. They are united by their clumsy attempts at connection and are the subjects of four loosely connected novellas in a new book called “Dirty Love” by Andre Dubus III. The national book award-winning author of “House of Sand and Fog” and “Townie” again presents gritty, frustrated lives on the skids of the American dream... NOTE: Andre's reading and book signing at the New England College has been rescheduled to April 16th due to weather.

Required Reading: Fiction Vs. Non-Fiction

Mar 10, 2014

We invited Nick Ripatrazone and Natasha Vargas-Cooper onto the program to discuss their difference of opinions on the traditional High School English reading list. Here in the Word of Mouth pod we have our own take on what those reading lists meant to us, and what we think the future public radio hosts and producers of tomorrow should be exposed to while sitting in High School English.

We all agreed that a good teacher can help create lasting memories of books often thought of as staid and not accessible to the average High School student. It also became apparent that required reading lists vary depending on where you went to High School. Zach, Logan & Virginia wish Catcher in the Rye had been required, and Taylor listed it as one of his favorites.

Remember High School English class? Chances are you were assigned the classics: Shakespeare, The Scarlet Letter, maybe a Hemingway novel thrown in for good measure. Today on Word of Mouth—a debate on the required reading list.

And, Sam Lipsyte joins us to talk about his collection of short stories now out in paper back, The Fun Parts.

Also today, this week marks the one year anniversary of Pope Francis’ election. We consider what his papacy has meant to the image of the Catholic Church.

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.

Photo by David J. Murray / ClearEyePhoto.com

NHPR and The Music Hall present Writers on a New England Stage with B.J. Novak, recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth.

Best known for his role as “Ryan the Temp” on The Office, Novak talks with us about his debut collection of short stories One More Thing which he thinks is even more revealing than a memoir.

We’ll also get his take on his rising fame, and the not-so-heavy burden of being a celebrity author.

In this new approach to the Civil War, Wineapple provides the reader with a sense of the passions and tragedies of the era, including character studies of the vibrant and flawed personalities behind the scenes.

GUEST:

  • Brenda Wineapple – teaches literature at both New York's New School University and Columbia University.  Wineapple is also professor of modern literary and historical studies at Union College.  Her previous book is White Heat: the Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
German Poo-Caamano via flickr Creative Commons

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.

Dartmouth professor Charles Wheelan joins us to discuss his best-selling book “Naked Economics: Undressing The Dismal Science”.  Wheelan presents the economic principles behind Federal Reserve policy, the government’s response to the recession, international trade, and more.

GUESTS:

  • Charles Wheelan -  Professor at Dartmouth College, author of the international best-sellers Naked Statistics and the recently revised and updated Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science  

Mansfield has spent his literary life writing stories that connect people to the land where they live. In his latest book, he explores the idea of one’s ‘dwelling’ - from mansions to condos to sheds and how, as he says, "they succeed or fail to shelter us, body and soul.”

GUEST:

  • Howard Mansfield: noted New Hampshire author, whose latest book is “Dwelling In Possibility”
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.

smarterthanyouthink.net

When the IBM supercomputer dubbed “Deep Blue” defeated chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997, it was considered a major blow for human intelligence, and a big moment for artificial intelligence.  But, as Clive Thompson explains in his new book, Kasparov went on to outsmart computers with human-machine teams.  It turned out that the combination of computers and human intelligence was unbeatable.  With digital realms at our fingertips, Thompson argues, our abilities have been enhanced to an extraordinary degree.

Dan Klimke via flickr Creative Commons

Well, the holidays are upon us and there’s nothing quite like a well-told story for seeking refuge from the chaos or a little too much quality time with family. A lot of big-name authors had terrific new titles out this year, but we have a fondness for books that don’t get full page ads or window displays – call it the literary equivalent of the island of misfit toys – great books waiting for a good home; you just have to know that they are there. 

With us today are two seasoned purveyors of overlooked books. Michele Filgate is a writer and critic as well as the events coordinator at community bookstore in Brooklyn. Liberty Hardy is events coordinator at Riverrun bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She’s also contributing editor for Book Riot.

storycorps.org

We're speaking with David Isay, StoryCorps founder and frequent contributor to NPR. His StoryCorps project's mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories about their lives. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 45,000 interviews. They are all preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and many have aired on NPR's Morning Edition. David Isay has written a new book, "Ties That Bind: Stories of Love and Gratitude From the First Ten Years of StoryCorps".

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