In 2011, author Dan Szczesny and his wife unexpectedly became caretakers to two nine-year-olds. One of them, a girl named Janelle, joins Dan on a quest to hike the New Hampshire mountains known as the “52 with a view.” That quest is the basis for Dan’s book The Adventures of Buffalo and Tough Cookie.
Tom Holbrook is the co-owner and manager of the independent RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth and one of our partners for the writers on a New England Stage series. Tom recently sent out an email saying “why I’m not going to complain about Amazon anymore” to the more than 2500 members of RiverRun’s e-mail list. Word of Mouth Senior Producer Rebecca Lavoie tracked Tom down to find out what was behind it. We have a copy of Tom's email posted on our Facebook page, Word of Mouth Radio.
Recounting his relationship with Dungeons and Dragons, David Ewalt writes, “I don’t know if I played D&D because other kids my age thought I was a nerd, or if they thought I was a nerd because I played D&D.” The progenitor of many of today’s role-playing games has gained a reputation for attracting social outcasts and misfits and as a gateway for teenage boys to consider Satan and suicide. Like millions of kids who played twenty-side die in basements and game rooms across the country, Ewalt grew up…and had less time for a game that could suck up the idle hours of youth. He’s among those picking up the old dice bag for a D&D revival. David Ewalt is now an editor for Forbes, and author of the new book Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons and Dragons and the People Who Play It. It hits stores August 20th.
Children’s books are delightful, colorful, and whimsical ways to introduce children to reading. Although parents may find it a wee bit annoying to repeat the same stories night after night, reading to kids is crucial to healthy childhood development and helps form their vision of a world outside of their own. A study released last year found that children’s books are woefully under-representative of cultural diversity. Jason Boog is editor of the publishing website GalleyCat – he’s working on a book about reading to kids, and has been keeping an eye on content for kids.
Nearly three years have passed since Long Island police uncovered the bodies of four dead girls along their local ocean parkway. Following the discovery, authorities uncovered commonalities among the deceased that included internet prostitution and a poor, working class socio-economic background. These revelations, coupled with a fifth girl who disappeared nearby under similar circumstances, resulted in the pursuit of a faceless serial killer who left behind very few leads.
The success of The Hunger Gamesand the Divergent series opened the floodgates for young adult novels set in a dystopian future. Readers are gobbling up dark stories set in bleak landscapes where the authorities can’t be trusted and young protagonists rebel against a world built to subdue them. And of course, there is room for romance to rise from the ashes. Margaret Bristol is an editor at Bookish where she wrote the article, “What I Learned About Getting Married From Dystopian YA.” A dedicated fan of the genre, she’s here to discuss the sometimes valuable, sometimes hyperbolic messages people can glean from the dark world of dystopian fiction.
Last week, author J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame was uncovered as true author behind The Cuckoo’s Calling, a mystery novel written under the pen-name Robert Galbraith. Signed first editions of the book are now selling for over six thousand dollars, a testament to the value of a name. The reporters at the Sunday Times who broke the Rowling story consulted several academics whose methods of determining authorship relied heavily on software they had developed for that very purpose.
Our favorite content of the week, wrapped up in one audio-licious program. This week, author Chuck Klosterman defines villainy, the Cronut craze catches a Harvard researcher's eye, head transplants are given an examination, robots roll into vinyards, and a pair of hard-partying vegetarians share their take on potato salad (spoiler alert: it's got Doritos in it!)
It’s easy to tell who's the villain in an old western: The good guy wears a white hat, the bad guy wears black. Real life villains don’t follow that code. Nor are they likely to conspicuously twirl their moustaches like Snidely Whiplash awaiting the oncoming train. Sure Hitler was evil…but what is the nature of villainy? Bill Clinton? Joe Frazier? And the Sharon Stone character in Basic Instinct attract haters…but does that make them wicked? What is the nature of villainy? Why does Taylor Swift inspire cultish adoration, while Wilt Chamberlin is loathed? And why is our culture so absorbed with anti-heroes, anyway.
Our sunniest content of the week, all in one smart and snazzy hour. This week, misogyny online, the return of legal internet poker, an app that proves you're on a public beach, surprising summer reads, and a photographer's documentation of vanishing highway rest stops.
In his new book, Harvard University President Joseph Nye analyzes the role of presidential leadership during the rise of American global influence from Theodore Roosevelt - the first president to assert this country’s power on the world stage - to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, who presided over the end of the Cold War during a time when American power reached its zenith.
There’s nothing more tempting than a day off spent soaking up the sun on a hot beach with a good read. Summer reads don’t have to be mindless, though. Michele Filgate likes to find the perfect book for every occasion, and isn’t afraid to add some substance to the usually light fare offered by summer reading suggestions — Michelle is a writer, book critic, and independent bookseller at Community Bookstore in Brooklyn.