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The Sultan of Byzantium by Selcuk Altun
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All Things Considered: Mystery Writer Finds Istanbul’s Byzantine Past Hiding In Plain Sight
A quiet academic living in Istanbul receives a message from a mysterious organization telling him that he’s a descendant of the last Byzantine emperor, and posing a series of tests to determine whether he’s a worthy successor. Translated by Clifford Endres and Selhan Endres.
How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey
All Things Considered: Studying? Take A Break And Embrace Your Distractions
A science reporter presents an exploration of what is known about learning and memory that considers how to adapt negative characteristics to expand learning potential.
Accepting the Disaster: Poems by Joshua Mehigan
The Writer’s Almanac: At Home
The Writer’s Almanac: The Story of the Week
A shark’s tooth, the shape-shifting cloud drifting from a smokestack, the smoke detectors that hang, ominous but disregarded, overhead—very little escapes the watchful eye of Joshua Mehigan. The poems in Accepting the Disaster range from lyric miniatures like “The Crossroads,” a six-line sketch of an accident scene, to “The Orange Bottle,” an expansive narrative page-turner whose main character suffers a psychotic episode after quitting medication. Mehigan blends the naturalistic milieu of such great chroniclers of American life as Stephen Crane and Studs Terkel with the cinematic menace and wonder of Fritz Lang. Balanced by the music of his verse, this unusual combination brings an eerie resonance to the real lives and institutions it evokes.
These poems capture with equal tact the sinister quiet of a deserted Main Street, the tragic grandiosity of Michael Jackson, the loneliness of a self-loathing professor, the din of a cement factory, and the saving grandeur of the natural world. This much-anticipated second collection is the work of a nearly unrivaled craftsman, whose first book was called by Poetry “a work of some poise and finish, by turns delicate and robust.”
Burn Lake by Carrie Fountain
The Writer’s Almanac: Progress
The Writer’s Almanac: Heaven
The Writer’s Almanac: Mesilla
Set in southern New Mexico, where her family’s multicultural history is deeply rooted, the poems in Carrie Fountain’s first collection explore issues of progress, history, violence, sexuality, and the self. Burn Lake weaves together the experience of life in the rapidly changing American Southwest with the peculiar journey of Don Juan de Oñate, who was dispatched from Mexico City in the late sixteenth- century by Spanish royalty to settle the so-called New Mexico Province, of which little was known. A letter that was sent to Oñate by the Viceroy of New Spain, asking that should he come upon the North Sea in New Mexico, he should give a detailed report of “the configuration of the coast and the capacity of each harbor” becomes the inspiration for many of the poems in this artfully composed debut.
Darkness Sticks to Everything: Collected and New Poems by Tom Hennen
The Writer’s Almanac: Plains Spadefoot Toad
The Writer’s Almanac: Early Spring in the Field
The Writer’s Almanac: Sheep in the Winter Night
The Writer’s Almanac: From a Country Overlooked
After this all-but-unknown poet was called an American master” in a long, gorgeous review in The New York Times, Tom Hennen was finally “discovered,” and his book became a poetry best-seller
It’s hard to believe that this American masterand I don’t use those words lightlyhas been hidden right under our noses for decades. But despite his lack of recognition, Mr. Hennen…has simply gone about his calling with humility and gratitude in a culture whose primary crop has become fame. He just watches, waits and then strikes, delivering heart-buckling lines.” Dana Jennings, The New York Times
"As with Ted Kooser, Tom Hennen is a genius of the common touch… . They are amazingly modest men who early accepted poetry as a calling in ancient terms and never let up despite being ignored early on. They return to the readers a thousandfold for their attentions."Jim Harrison, from the introduction
"Many readers will appreciate this evocation of a life not as commonly portrayed in contemporary verse."Library Journal
"There is something of the ancient Chinese poets in Hennen, of Clare and Thoreau, although he is very much a contemporary poet."Willow Springs
"One of the most charming things about Tom Hennen’s poems is his strange ability to bring immense amounts of space, often uninhabited space, into his mind and so into the whole poem."Robert Bly
"America is a country that loves its advertising. That loves its boxes we can put people and places into. We love ‘Heartland’ as opposed to ‘Dustbowl.’ We also love to be surprised. Rural Minnesota, as written by Tom Hennen in Darkness Sticks to Everything, is a world of realistic loneliness and lessons. It’s a collection of sincere poems about man and the land."The Rumpus
"Hennen is a master of the prose poem [who] can take little details, tiny details and make them universal."River Falls Journal
"What separates Hennen from many of his contemporaries is his willingness to identify with the natural world in a way that feels neither possessive nor self-serving, but simply (once again) sincere."Basalt Magazine
"There is something strong in all Tom Hennen’s poems, an awareness and a clear, sure voice… I don’t usually want to end by saying ‘Buy this book,’ but I’m going to say it this time: ‘You should buy this book.’"Fleda Brown, Interlochen Public Radio
"[A] delight to read for the person who is willing to slow down with Hennen and take a look under a leaf, or at a bee, or into their own reflection in a rain drop."The Corresponder
Tom Hennen gives voice to the prairie and to rural communities, celebratingwith sadness, praise, and astute observationsthe land, weather, and inhabitants. In short lyrics and prose poems, he reveals the detailed strangeness of ordinary things. Gathered from six chapbooks that were regionally distributed, this volume is Hennen’s long-overdue introduction to a national audience. Includes an introduction by Jim Harrison and an afterword by Thomas R. Smith.
"In Falling Snow at a Farm Auction"
Straight pine chair
In anyone’s company,
Older than grandmother
It enters the present
Its arms wide open
Wanting to hold another young wife.
Tom Hennen, author of six books of poetry, was born and raised in rural Minnesota. After abandoning college, he married and began work as a letterpress and offset printer. He helped found the Minnesota Writer’s Publishing House, then worked for the Department of Natural Resources wildlife section, and later at the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge in South Dakota. Now retired, he lives in Minnesota.
Baltimore Baseball & Barbecue with Boog Powell: Stories from the Orioles’ Smokey Slugger by Rob Kasper, Boog Powell
Morning Edition: Deford: Frankly, Hot Dogs Best Served At The Ballpark
Since he started smacking long balls for the Baltimore Orioles, John “Boog” Powell has enjoyed the gustatory delights of his adopted hometown. A four-time All-Star and a fixture in two World Series, Boog also knows how to make one heck of a pit beef sandwich. Backyard barbecues at Boog’s Baltimore row house were once a post-game tradition for the team. After hanging up his spikes, the former MVP set up his now iconic barbecue operation at Camden Yards. Baltimore author Rob Kasper takes a behind-the-scenes look at the life of this smoky slugger from his Florida boyhood through his rise to major-league glory and beyond. Told in Boog’s colorful style, this rollicking journey is spiced with recipes and topped off with interviews from former teammates like Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson and Jim Palmer.
Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe by Jim Davies
On Point: What Keeps Us ‘Riveted’?
Why do some things pass under the radar of our attention, but other things capture our interest? Why do some religions catch on and others fade away? What makes a story, a movie, or a book riveting? Why do some people keep watching the news even though it makes them anxious?
The past 20 years have seen a remarkable flourishing of scientific research into exactly these kinds of questions. Professor Jim Davies’ fascinating and highly accessible book, Riveted, reveals the evolutionary underpinnings of why we find things compelling, from art to religion and from sports to superstition. Compelling things fit our minds like keys in the ignition, turning us on and keeping us running, and yet we are often unaware of what makes these “keys” fit. What we like and don’t like is almost always determined by subconscious forces, and when we try to consciously predict our own preferences we’re often wrong. In one study of speed dating, people were asked what kinds of partners they found attractive. When the results came back, the participants’ answers before the exercise had no correlation with who they actually found attractive in person! We are beginning to understand just how much the brain makes our decisions for us: we are rewarded with a rush of pleasure when we detect patterns, as the brain thinks we’ve discovered something significant; the mind urges us to linger on the news channel or rubberneck an accident in case it might pick up important survival information; it even pushes us to pick up People magazine in order to find out about changes in the social structure.
Drawing on work from philosophy, anthropology, religious studies, psychology, economics, computer science, and biology, Davies offers a comprehensive explanation to show that in spite of the differences between the many things that we find compelling, they have similar effects on our minds and brains.
Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz
On Point: The Educated Sheep Of The Ivy League
A groundbreaking manifesto for people searching for the kind of insight on leading, thinking, and living that elite schools should be—but aren’t—providing.
As a professor at Yale, Bill Deresiewicz saw something that troubled him deeply. His students, some of the nation’s brightest minds, were adrift when it came to the big questions: how to think critically and creatively, and how to find a sense of purpose.
Excellent Sheep takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counselors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale’s admissions committee. As schools shift focus from the humanities to “practical” subjects like economics and computer science, students are losing the ability to think in innovative ways. Deresiewicz explains how college should be a time for self-discovery, when students can establish their own values and measures of success, so they can forge their own path. He addresses parents, students, educators, and anyone who’s interested in the direction of American society, featuring quotes from real students and graduates he has corresponded with over the years, candidly exposing where the system is broken and clearly presenting solutions.
The Roommates: True Tales of Friendship, Rivalry, Romance, and Disturbingly Close Quarters (Picador True Tales) by Stephanie Wu
On Point: The Art And Science Of Living With A Stranger
On Point: Your (Weird? Wonderful? Wacky?) Roommate Stories
THE SECOND ENTRY IN THE PICADOR TRUE TALES SERIES: ONE OF LIFE’S TRICKIEST RITES OF PASSAGE COLLECTED INTO AN UNFORGETTABLE VOLUME OF STORIES
The fraught relationship between roommates is a true cultural obsession. Shows like Friends, The Golden Girls, The Odd Couple, and New Girl have held us rapt for decades, simultaneously delighting and disconcerting us with their depictions of mismatched couples’ cringe-worthy awkwardness and against-all-odds friendship. Maybe it’s that uniquely unnatural experience of living with a total stranger that ignites our curiosity, or just that almost all of us, for better or worse, have had one of our own.
In Stephanie Wu’s The Roommates, people of all ages reveal their disastrous, hilarious, and sometimes moving stories of making their best friend for life or lifelong nemesis. Learn what it’s like to share a room in places as unusual as a thirty-person beach house, a billionaire’s yacht, a reality show mansion, and a retirement hotel, and those as familiar as sleepaway camps, boarding schools, and college dorms. Put down your roommate’s dirty dishes and passive-aggressive Post-it’s for this eye-opening glimpse into how people live together in the modern age.
You’ll meet: The Amateur Taxidermist ∙ The Alcoholic Genius ∙ The Kleptomaniac ∙ The Rent Stiffer ∙ The Naked Nanna ∙ The Serial Roommate ∙ The Top Chef ∙ The Recovered Addict ∙ The Russian Missionary ∙ The Obsessive Lesbian ∙ The Impersonator ∙ The Party Poopers…and many more!
Manipulator by Ty Segall
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NPR First Listen: Ty Segall, ‘Manipulator’
All Songs Considered: Guest DJ Ty Segall
THE SEGALL HAS LANDED. And it s fully loaded, with everything that TY SEGALL (and you and me) are gonna need in the world to come. Heads up! It s coming down fast. Sticking his hand deeper into the machines all around him, TY is reaching ever further to the outer limits of inner space orbited throughout TWINS and SLEEPER. And now more than ever, the chunks of the world that came before are like asteroids formed in his image … picking up speed … . Still fighting the power with all the energy that a deter- mined mind-patriot can conjure, Ty s a fighter who loves, a surfer, a spaceman, and yeah, a casualty like you, he ll never be free. But unlike you, he knows it and when he goes down and his head cracks in two, out pour the multi-colored manias that make up MANIPULATOR. Sour-sweet declarations fea- turing freaks and creeps alike: The Singer, The Faker, Mister Main, Susie Thumb, the Connection Man, and The Crawler, to name but a mutant fistful. To see these peeps, to realize their dreams and visions, TY kept working, kept writing, laying down more tracks than ever. New musi- cal expressions pop and surprise relentlessly throughout all the knockout tunes of MANIP- ULATOR with many sounds in the mix but LP most of all, SO many guitars! So Many. And different kinds of strings - the strangled-neck solo of The Singer, recalling the good old days down by the river with Neil. Numbed-and-unplugged discursions spiraling away from the funk on Mister Main. Three-quarter quartets raising their din in a few key places. Waves of sparkling acoustics with ominous, Lovely undertones and then, torrents of filthy git-grunge, exploding into the chorus, washing everything away, fusing the black- ness of SABBATH with the grime and grab-ass of the STOOGES and the sweet swinging tones of the STONES. All in the name of getting high- er on the music. Why have one guitar solo when you can have a few in the same space? There s so little time, and a LOT to say. In order to ensure that he got it all out, TY called a few friends to fill in special parts on certain MANIPULATOR songs. He got great touches from CHRIS WOODHOUSE (piano, synth & percussion), SEAN PAUL PRESLEY (vocals), BRIT LAUREN MANOR (vocals), STEVE NUTTING (drums), IRENE SALZER (violin), JESSICA IVRY (cello), MATTHIAS MCENTIRE (viola) and the TY SEGALL band (MIKAL CRONIN, CHARLES MOOTHEART, EM- ILY ROSE EPSTEIN). Plus, MIKAL arranged the strings and everyone played awesomely. The clarion call/siren song of his guitar….clouds of guitar billowing, blood rushing to the head, the tempera- ture going from blue to red….TY s on a mission, working to change chemistry through music with the streamlined pop and helium-cooled vocals of MANIPULATOR. These seventeen songs take many forms, as if TY is finally releasing all the thoughts that have been holding him down, that made him pick up the ax to begin with. By the end of MANIPULATOR, you ll feel that he must have chased all the demons but it s a big world, and MANIPULATOR has only begun to fight.
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
All Things Considered: 'This Fight Begins In The Heart': Reading James Baldwin As Ferguson Seethes
The author shares his views of black thought and the conditions of black life in America during the 1940’s and early 1950’s.
The Second Amendment: A Biography by Michael Waldman
The Leonard Lopate Show: The Second Amendment: Controversial, Volatile, and Misunderstood
Widely acclaimed at the time of its publication, the life story of the most controversial, volatile, misunderstood provision of the Bill of Rights.
At a time of increasing gun violence in America, Waldman’s book provoked a wide range of discussion. This book looks at history to provide some surprising, illuminating answers.
The Amendment was written to calm public fear that the new national government would crush the state militias made up of all (white) adult men—who were required to own a gun to serve. Waldman recounts the raucous public debate that has surrounded the amendment from its inception to the present. As the country spread to the Western frontier, violence spread too. But through it all, gun control was abundant. In the twentieth century, with Prohibition and gangsterism, the first federal control laws were passed. In all four separate times the Supreme Court ruled against a constitutional right to own a gun.
The present debate picked up in the 1970s—part of a backlash to the liberal 1960s and a resurgence of libertarianism. A newly radicalized NRA entered the campaign to oppose gun control and elevate the status of an obscure constitutional provision. In 2008, in a case that reached the Court after a focused drive by conservative lawyers, the US Supreme Court ruled for the first time that the Constitution protects an individual right to gun ownership. Famous for his theory of “originalism,” Justice Antonin Scalia twisted it in this instance to base his argument on contemporary conditions.
In The Second Amendment: A Biography, Michael Waldman shows that our view of the amendment is set, at each stage, not by a pristine constitutional text, but by the push and pull, the rough and tumble of political advocacy and public agitation.
International Night: A Father and Daughter Cook Their Way Around the World Including More than 250 Recipes by Mark Kurlansky, Talia Kurlansky
The Leonard Lopate Show: Travel the World in Your Kitchen
The Leonard Lopate Show: Recipe: Haitian Grilled Octopus
The Leonard Lopate Show: Recipe: Haitian Griyo de Porc
The Leonard Lopate Show: Recipe: Haitian Blanc Manger Mamiche
Once a week in the Kurlansky home, Mark spins a globe and wherever his daughter’s finger lands becomes the theme of that Friday night’s dinner. Their tradition of International Night has afforded Mark an opportunity to share with his daughter, Talia—and now the readers of International Night—the recipes, stories, and insights he’s collected over more than thirty years of traveling the world writing about food, culture, and history, and his charming pen-and-ink drawings, which appear throughout the book.
International Night is brimming with recipes for fifty-two special meals—appetizers, a main course, side dishes, and dessert for each—one for every week of the year. Some are old favorites from Mark’s repertoire, and others gleaned from research. Always, they are his own version, drawn from techniques he learned as a professional chef and from many years of talking to chefs, producers, and household cooks around the world. Despite these insights, every recipe is designed to be carried out—easily—by any amateur chef, and they are designed to be completed with the assistance of children.
Mark and Talia invite you and your family into their kitchen, outfitted with overflowing packets of exotic spices and aromas of delicacies from Tanzania and Kazakhstan to Cuba and Norway. From there, recipes and toothsome morsels of cultural and historical information will fill your bellies and your minds, and transport you to countries all around the world.
Unreasonable Men: Theodore Roosevelt and the Republican Rebels Who Created Progressive Politics by Michael Wolraich
The Leonard Lopate Show: How Theodore Roosevelt Helped Create Progressive Politics
At the turn of the twentieth century, the Republican Party stood at the brink of an internal civil war. After a devastating financial crisis, furious voters sent a new breed of politician to Washington. These young Republican firebrands, led by “Fighting Bob” La Follette of Wisconsin, vowed to overthrow the party leaders and purge Wall Street’s corrupting influence from Washington. Their opponents called them “radicals,” and “fanatics.” They called themselves Progressives.
President Theodore Roosevelt disapproved of La Follette’s confrontational methods. Fearful of splitting the party, he compromised with the conservative House Speaker, “Uncle Joe” Cannon, to pass modest reforms. But as La Follette’s crusade gathered momentum, the country polarized, and the middle ground melted away. Three years after the end of his presidency, Roosevelt embraced La Follette’s militant tactics and went to war against the Republican establishment, bringing him face to face with his handpicked successor, William Taft. Their epic battle shattered the Republican Party and permanently realigned the electorate, dividing the country into two camps: Progressive and Conservative.
Unreasonable Men takes us into the heart of the epic power struggle that created the progressive movement and defined modern American politics. Recounting the fateful clash between the pragmatic Roosevelt and the radical La Follette, Wolraich’s riveting narrative reveals how a few Republican insurgents broke the conservative chokehold on Congress and initiated the greatest period of political change in America’s history.
The Real Cost of Fracking: How America’s Shale Gas Boom Is Threatening Our Families, Pets, and Food by Michelle Bamberger, Robert Oswald
The Leonard Lopate Show: How Fracking Affects People, Pets, and Our Food
A pharmacologist and a veterinarian pull back the curtain on the human and animal health effects of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”
Across the country, fracking—the extraction of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing—is being touted as the nation’s answer to energy independence and a fix for a flagging economy. Drilling companies assure us that the process is safe, politicians push through drilling legislation without a serious public-health debate, and those who speak out are marginalized, their silence purchased by gas companies and their warnings about the dangers of fracking stifled.
The Real Cost of Fracking pulls back the curtain on how this toxic process endangers the environment and harms people, pets, and livestock. Michelle Bamberger, a veterinarian, and Robert Oswald, a pharmacologist, combine their expertise to show how contamination at drilling sites translates into ill health and heartbreak for families and their animals. By giving voice to the people at ground zero of the fracking debate, the authors vividly illustrate the consequences of fracking and issue an urgent warning to all of us: fracking poses a dire threat to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and even our food supply.
Bamberger and Oswald reveal the harrowing experiences of small farmers who have lost their animals, their livelihoods, and their peace of mind, and of rural families whose property values have plummeted as their towns have been invaded by drillers. At the same time, these stories give us hope, as people band together to help one another and courageously fight to reclaim their communities.
The debate over fracking speaks to a core dilemma of contemporary life: we require energy to live with modern conveniences, but what degree of environmental degradation, health risks, and threats to our food supply are we willing to accept to obtain that energy? As these stories demonstrate, the stakes couldn’t be higher, and this is an issue that none of us can afford to ignore.