book reviews

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...

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. (Matar was born in New York City to Libyan parents.) Matar is...

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. More than one in...

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. As Shaffer recently announced when...

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. Now, the Mental Health Association Oklahoma's 2016...

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...

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"
...

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...

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. His first major assertion is that criticism is indeed an art, and that 'a work of art is...

(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. As was noted of this work in a Publishers Weekly review: "Readers should fasten their seatbelts for this wild ride with former paramedic Hazzard as he...

(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...

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...

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. As was noted of this work in a Publishers Weekly review: "Readers should fasten their seatbelts for this wild ride with former paramedic Hazzard as he navigates Atlanta's seedier side...

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...

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. As was noted of...

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...

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...

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. She is also a former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book in the Seattle Public Library, and she can sometimes be...

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...

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...

The folks who bring you StudioTulsa have been on summer holiday for the first half of August.

Here's a guide to the programs that we aired on ST on July 31st as well as August 3rd through the 7th, along with audio links (in case you'd like to hear any of these programs as a free, on-demand mp3 stream).

Friday, July 31st -- We spoke with Terrie Correll, CEO of the Tulsa Zoo; you can hear that conversation here: We also featured a commentary during our 7-31-15 show by...

On this edition of ST, an engaging chat with Shaun Usher, a writer, researcher, and blogger based in the U.K. Usher tells us about his new book, just out, which he edited and compiled: "Lists of Note: An Eclectic Collection Deserving of a Wider Audience." Hailed in the British press as "beautiful and immensely satisfying" (The Observer) and as "1. Splendid. 2. Addictive. 3. Sumptuously produced with interesting photos and facsimiles" (The Independent), this book curates 125 charming, off-the...

Our guest on ST via telephone is Nancy Pearl , our longtime book reviewer, a bestselling author, critic, editor, and retired librarian (and former citizen of Tulsa) who can also be heard regularly on NPR's Morning Edition. Now that the warm and sunny days of summer have finally arrived, Nancy joins us with a stack of favorites that ought to be perfect for that long trip in the car, endless airplane ride, idle day at the beach, lazy afternoon in the hammock, or all of the above. Nancy's list...

On this edition of ST, we speak with the writer J.C. Hallman, who was raised in Southern California, studied at the University of Pittsburgh and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and now teaches at Oklahoma State University. (Hallman can be visited online at his website .) We speak with Hallman about his widely acclaimed new work of "creative criticism" -- just now out from Simon & Schuster -- called "B & Me: A True Story of Literary Arousal." This book is a funny, smart, far-reaching, and...

On this edition of ST, a conversation with Miranda July, the noted filmmaker, writer, and performance artist. Best known for her films "The Future" and "Me and You and Everyone We Know" -- the latter of which won a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival and the Caméra d'Or at Cannes -- July is also the author of an acclaimed short-story collection, "No One Belongs Here More Than You." She chats with us about her first novel, just out, which is called "The First Bad Man." In praising...

Howdy, folks, and Happy New Year from StudioTulsa. We've been airing The Best of ST for 2014 on our program lately, and hopefully you've heard and enjoyed some or all of these encore presentations.

Here's a guide to what we've been listening back to over the past week; please note that each listing below has a link whereby you can access a free, on-demand "stream" of the show in question. And thanks, as ever, for listening to ST.

Friday, December 26th: We spoke with...

Alfred Hitchcock's longtime collaborator, Alexander Graham Bell's assistant, Vladimir Nabokov's wife, Muhammad Ali's first coach, Ernest Shackleton's right-hand man, John Wayne's stunt man, and the little-known sixth member of The Rolling Stones -- on this installment of ST, we're talking about some of the great "sidekicks" of modern history. Our guest is Julia Rothman, one of the editors of a new book called "The Who, the What, and the When: 65 Artists Illustrate the Secret Sidekicks of...

Nancy Pearl, author of the "Book Lust" series of recommended books and our longtime book reviewer here on StudioTulsa, joins us to discuss her favorite reads of 2014. Here's a complete list of the books she discussed with us on today's program: "2 a.m. at the Cat's Pajamas" (Crown) by Marie-Helene Bertino -- This novel depicts 24 hours in the lives of nine-year-old aspiring jazz singer Madeleine Altimiri and her circle of acquaintances. "Spooner" (Grand Central) by Pete Dexter -- A reprint of...

On this edition on StudioTulsa, we offer an entertaining and wide-ranging chat with Stacy Nyikos, an author, writing teacher, and on-the-go mom who lives in Bixby. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College, and she's just published a new book -- it's actually her seventh picture book for young readers -- called "Waggers." (It's the story of "one little dog with an out-of-control tail!") Interestingly, Nyikos was an accomplished academic with a doctorate in political science when she...

(Note: This show first aired in June.) On this installment of ST, we speak with Rachel Urquhart, a writer whose work has been published in The New Yorker, Tin House, Elle, The New York Times, Vogue, and Spy, among other publications. Urquhart has recently published her first novel, "The Visionist," which is a widely acclaimed historical drama about a teenage girl who finds refuge --- or perhaps does not find refuge --- in an 1840s Shaker community. As was noted of this novel is a starred...

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