book reviews

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak once again with our longtime book reviewer, Nancy Pearl. A retired librarian, bestselling author, literary critic, and former Tulsan, Nancy, now based in Seattle, is a well-known reading advocate who was named the 2011 Librarian of the Year by Library Journal.

"To have great poets," as Walt Whitman once noted, "there must also be great audiences." And great cities, it would seem, likewise require great bookstores. On this edition of ST, we learn all about Magic City Books -- an indie bookstore owned and operated by the non-profit Tulsa Literary Coalition (or TLC) -- which will soon, at long last, open for business in downtown Tulsa. Indeed, after a series of construction-related delays, Magic City Books will open on Monday the 20th at 9pm...with Mayor G.T.

On this edition of ST, we chat with the New York-based author and journalist Jennifer Egan, whose newest novel, the much-praised "Manhattan Beach," is just out. As was noted of this book in a starred review in Kirkus: "After stretching the boundaries of fiction in myriad ways...Egan does perhaps the only thing left that could surprise: she writes a thoroughly traditional novel. Realistically detailed, poetically charged, and utterly satisfying: apparently there's nothing Egan can't do." And further, per Dwight Garner in The New York Times: "Immensely satisfying....

On this edition of StudioTulsa Medical Monday, Dr. David Palma is our ghuest. He is a Canadian radiation oncologist and cancer researcher who focuses on the treatment of lung, head/neck, and metastatic cancers -- and he tells us new book, which is just out: "Taking Charge of Cancer: What You Need to Know to Get the Best Treatment." As was noted by Dr. Tony Mok of the Chinese University of Hong Kong: "If you use a guidebook for a journey, you will need [this book] for a cancer journey. Cancer patients are overwhelmed with information related to the diagnosis, and commonly, it is confusing.

On this edition of ST, we welcome the Tulsa-based author Jennifer Latham back to our show. Her recently published YA novel, "Dreamland Burning," is a suspenseful narrative about the Tulsa Race Riot. As was noted of this book in an appreciative review from School Library Journal: "Latham follows up 'Scarlett Undercover' with a rich work that links past and present in a tale that explores racial prejudice. After the remains of a skeleton are found in her Tulsa, OK, backyard, 17-year-old Rowan Chase becomes consumed with finding out the story behind the death.

Our guest on this installment of ST is author Ladee Hubbard, who joins us to discuss her first novel, which is just out. It's called "The Talented Ribkins." It's a creative and widely acclaimed book about race, class, politics, and America itself...and it focus on, of all things, a family of super-heroes. And per a starred review of this novel by Kirkus: "Crafty and wistful.... Hubbard weaves this narrative with prodigious skill and compelling warmth. You anticipate a movie while wondering if any movie could do this fascinating family, well, justice.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in April.) On this installment of ST, the bestselling writer Jonathan Lethem is our guest. He's known for such celebrated novels as "Dissident Gardens," "The Fortress of Solitude," and "Motherless Brooklyn." He joins us to discuss his latest book, which is a gathering of nonfiction pieces. It's called "More Alive and Less Lonely: On Books and Writers," and it's an impressive collection of 50+ essays, some of them previously published and some newly written.

On this edition of ST, we welcome the award-winning Oklahoma writer Rilla Askew back to our show. Her new book, just out, is her first-ever nonfiction volume; it's a collection of nine linked essays entitled "Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place." In this timely and reflective work, she argues that the State of Oklahoma -- whether we are talking about police violence, gun culture, race relations, secret history, religious fervor, spellbinding landscapes, or brutal weather -- is actually a "microcosm" of the United States.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in March.) Our guest is Chris Cleave, the British novelist whose bestselling WWII-era yarn, "Everyone Brave Is Forgiven," is now in paperback. As was noted of this book by an Amazon critic: "We've been wondering lately: What is the secret sauce that makes novels like Anthony Doerr's 'All the Light We Cannot See' and Kristin Hannah's 'The Nightingale' so popular, stories set against the backdrop of WWII? Whatever it is, it made me approach Chris Cleave's 'Everyone Brave Is Forgiven' with a particularly wary eye.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we are pleased to welcome back to the show Nancy Pearl, our longtime book reviewer. A former Tulsa resident, Nancy is a retired librarian, best-selling author, literary critic, and tireless reading advocate -- as well as a frequent book reviewer for NPR's All Things Considered. She joins us to offer some can't-miss reading suggestions for the summer months. Here are the books she tells us about:

Peter Blauner, "Proving Ground"

Jamie Harrison, "The Widow Nash"

Stephen Mack Jones, "August Snow"

Joseph Kanon, "Defectors"

On this installment of ST, we speak with Nancy Pearl, our longtime book reviewer. She's a Seattle-based bestselling author and retired librarian, and she used to work as a bookseller (decades ago) here in Tulsa. A tireless book advocate and literary critic -- and perhaps the only librarian ever to be fashioned and sold as an action figure -- Nancy can also be heard occasionally recommending books on NPR's Morning Edition. She talked with us about the following titles, all of which she thinks would make great gifts this holiday season:

On this edition of our show, we offer a conversation with author Hisham Matar. His first novel, "In the Country of Men," was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Novel Prize, and his latest book, his third, is a memoir entitled "The Return." This work tells the story of his father's kidnapping by Muammar Qaddafi's government -- and of the fallout endured by Matar and his family over the ensuing decades.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we talk with Alan Schwarz, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated investigative reporter who (until recently) was on the staff at The New York Times. He joins us to discuss his groundbreaking new book, "ADHD Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic." It's a detailed report on why the widespread misdiagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has become a sad yet undeniable fact of American life.

On this edition of ST, we welcome back Tulsa City-County Library CEO Gary Shaffer. He joins us to describe in detail the TCCL's newly renovated Central Library, which will re-open to the public tomorrow morning (October 1st) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. For the past two years or so, the Central Library branch -- which originally opened in 1965 near Fifth and Denver in downtown Tulsa -- has been getting a complete overhaul, both its exterior and interior.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we listen back to a 2008 discussion with author and journalist Steve Lopez about his bestselling nonfiction account, "The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music." At that time, this book -- which explores themes of mental illness, homelessness, artistic inspiration, and creativity -- had just come out; it was later the basis for major motion picture of the same title.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak with Alton Carter, an Oklahoma Book Award-winning author whose memoir, "The Boy Who Carried Bricks," was originally published in 2015. It's a painful-to-read yet ultimately uplifting autobiography that details Carter's growing up in smalltown Oklahoma. Carter will be participating in the upcoming "Chapters" event at the TCCL's Hardesty Regional Library, on September 8th at 6:30pm; this event is a fundraiser in support of adult literacy programs, and the deadline to register for it is September 1st.

On this broadcast of StudioTulsa, we speak with the author, editor, and retired librarian Nancy Pearl, formerly of Tulsa and now based in Seattle, who is also our longtime book reviewer. We called Nancy recently and asked her to offer a few can't-miss summer reading recommendations. Here are the titles that she spoke with us about:

Chris Bachelder, "The Throwback Special"

Margeret Lazarus Dean, "Leaving Orbit: Notes from the Last Days of American Space Flight"

Helen DeWitt, "Last Samurai"

Lissa Evans, "Crooked Heart"

On this installment of ST, a chat with the British scholar, journalist, and author David Goldblatt, whose new book -- arriving just in time for the Summer Games in Brazil -- is "The Games: A Global History of the Olympics." As was reecntly noted of this thorough and well-researched (and often quite opinionated) history of the modern Olympic games by a critic for the UK's Guardian newspaper: "Sport is many people's first exposure to international relations, and it's often not a bad primer on who's got a beef with whom.

On this edition of ST, we speak with A.O. Scott, chief film critic at The New York Times. Scott has a new book out; it's called "Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth." As was noted of this work in a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "This stunning treatise on criticism from...Scott is a complete success, comprehensively demonstrating the value of his art.

(Note: This show originally aired back in February.) We chat with Kevin Hazzard, a California-based writer who formerly worked as a paramedic. Indeed, he has a compelling new book out that details his adventures in the EMS trade, and that book is the focus of our discussion: "A Thousand Naked Strangers" was published last month by Scribner.

(Note: This show first aired back in February.) On this edition of ST, we're discussing an interesting literary biography called "The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered In the Modern World." Our guest is the author, William Egginton, who is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and a Professor of German and Romance Languages and Literatures at the Johns Hopkins University. As was noted of this compelling study in the pages of Publishers Weekly: "Egginton weaves together Cervantes's life story with his development as a writer.

On this installment of ST, we speak with the British writer Kate Hamer, whose first novel has recently appeared here in the U.S. to widespread acclaim. "The Girl in the Red Coat Hardcover" was published stateside last month, at which time Amazon named it a Best Book of February 2016. In doing so, a critic for Amazon noted: "It's every parent's nightmare: Beth, a single mother, takes her 8-year-old daughter, Carmel, to a local festival for some fun and frivolity and she vanishes. What follows is an unusual and terrifying journey for them both.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Kevin Hazzard, a California-based writer who formerly worked as a paramedic. Indeed, he has a compelling new book out that details his adventures in the EMS trade, and that book is the focus of our discussion: "A Thousand Naked Strangers" was published last month by Scribner.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we're discussing an interesting new literary biography called "The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered In the Modern World." Our guest is the author, William Egginton, who is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and a Professor of German and Romance Languages and Literatures at the Johns Hopkins University. As was noted of this compelling study in the pages of Publishers Weekly: "Egginton weaves together Cervantes's life story with his development as a writer.

On this edition of ST, we learn about a novel called "The Unraveling of Mercy Louis," which has just recently appeared in paperback. Our guest is the author, Keija Parssinen, who grew up in Saudi Arabia and Texas before graduating from Princeton University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Parssinen is now an assistant professor of English at the University of Tulsa, and she tells us about the themes, experiences, and ideas that led to the creation of this (her second) novel.

Today's ST is a replay of a show from two weeks ago, which was preempted by a presidential press conference. For this edition of our program, we check in with our longtime book reviewer, Nancy Pearl, for a few page-turning gift suggestions. (With the holidays fast upon us, it's entirely worth pointing out that one can never really go wrong with a good book....) A well-known librarian, now retired, who began appearing on our show back when she lived in Tulsa -- in the early 1990s -- Nancy is also a bestselling author, literary critic, and book editor.

Our guest on StudioTulsa today is the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and military historian Rick Atkinson, who is the recipient of this year's Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. (This prize is awarded annually by the Tulsa Library Trust.) Atkinson grew up a self-described "military brat" and began his writing career as a newspaper reporter in Pittsburgh, Kansas, and today he's perhaps best known for his bestselling "Liberation Trilogy" about the U.S. Army's role in the liberation of Europe during World War II.

On this edition of ST, with the holiday season just around the corner, we check in with our longtime book reviewer, Nancy Pearl, for some page-turning, gift-giving tips. A well-known librarian -- now retired -- who began appearing on our show back when she lived in Tulsa in the early 1990s, Nancy is also a bestselling author, literary critic, and book editor.

On this edition of our show, we get to know the novelist and short story writer Jennifer duBois, who teaches in the MFA program at Texas State University. Her first novel, "A Partial History of Lost Causes," was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, and her second, "Cartwheel," won the Housatonic Book Award for Fiction and was a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Award. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a former Stanford University Stegner Fellow, duBois is also the recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award.

On this edition of our show, a conversation with the prolific and bestselling author Sharon Draper, who's the winner of this year's Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature. This prize is awarded each year by the Tulsa Library Trust, and Ms. Draper will formally accept the honor at a presentation and address on Friday the 28th at 7pm. This event happens at the Hardesty Regional Library here in Tulsa, and Ms. Draper will also speak about her life and works, answer questions from the audience, and sign copies of her books.

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