Memoir and Autobiography

(Please note: This interview first aired back in February.) On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with the author and food-and-health blogger Andie Mitchell about her widely praised new autobiography, "It Was Me All Along." In naming this title a "Best Book of the Month" for January 2015, one critic at Amazon.com gushed: "Andie Mitchell is irresistible. And by that I mean she's irresistible no matter whether she weighs 268 (at the start of this delightful memoir) or 133 (by its end).

On this edition of ST, we speak with Lynsey Addario, an award-winning American photojournalist whose work appears regularly in The New York Times, National Geographic, and Time magazine. Having covered conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Darfur, the Congo, Haiti, and elsewhere, Addario is also the author of a well-regarded new autobiography, "It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War," which Publishers Weekly has called "a highly readable and thoroughly engaging memoir....

On this edition of ST, we listen back to an interview that was recorded about a year ago with Blake Bailey, who grew up in Oklahoma City, now teaches creative writing in Virginia, and is the author of three highly regarded literary biographies (of Richard Yates, John Cheever, and Charles Jackson). Bailey has now, in his newest book, turned his attention to his own roots -- and specifically to his late brother, Scott, whose too-brief life was marked by incessant tragedy, addiction, recklessness, and mental instability.

(Please note: This interview originally aired back in November.) On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Chris Guillebeau, an entrepreneur, traveler, and New York Times bestselling author. His first two books were "The Art of Non-Conformity" and "The $100 Startup" -- and today he tells us about his newest book, "The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life." Within the last year or so, Guillebeau completed his personal quest to visit every country in the world before reaching the age of 35.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we are pleased to welcome John Erling, known and appreciated by many local radio listeners for his three decades on the air at KRMG. Five years ago, Erling inaugurated Voices of Oklahoma, an oral history website dedicated to caputing the life stories of Oklahomans from all walks of life. As Erling tells us today, what began as basically a part-time retirement project has now grown into full-blown, ongoing passion for the Tulsa radio icon.

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.

The around-the-world journey that locally based food blogger Sasha Martin undertook was truly remarkable; over the span of nearly four years, this Tulsa-based mom and author -- who's our guest on ST today -- set out to cook, and eat, a meal from every country on the planet.

On this penultimate day of Black History Month, we're talking about the life and work of one of our greatest African American writers, Langston Hughes (1902-1967), the prolific and influential poet, activist, novelist, memoirist, playwright, and newspaper columnist. Our guest on ST is David Roessel, one of the editors of the recently published "Selected Letters of Langston Hughes" (Knopf).

On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with the author and food-and-health blogger Andie Mitchell about her widely praised new autobiography, "It Was Me All Along." In naming this title a "Best Book of the Month" for January 2015, one critic at Amazon.com gushed: "Andie Mitchell is irresistible. And by that I mean she's irresistible no matter whether she weighs 268 (at the start of this delightful memoir) or 133 (by its end).

On Friday the 30th, beginning at 7:45am, the Community Action Project of Tulsa (or simply "CAP Tulsa") will present a special event entitled Sunny Side Up. It's a fundraising breakfast that will spotlight recent graduates from CAP Tulsa's CareerAdvance Program; it happens at the Cains Ballroom in downtown Tulsa. CAP Tulsa is, per its website, "the largest anti-poverty agency in Oklahoma. We believe every family and every child deserves the same opportunity for success.

On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Chris Guillebeau, an entrepreneur, traveler, and New York Times bestselling author. His first two books were "The Art of Non-Conformity" and "The $100 Startup" -- and today he tells us about his newest book, "The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life." Within the last year or so, Guillebeau completed his personal quest to visit every country in the world before reaching the age of 35.

The StoryCorps Mobile Recording Booth has returned to Tulsa; it will be parked at the Guthrie Green in Downtown Tulsa from today (Thursday the 16th) through November 15th. How does it work, you ask? Well, people come in pairs to interview family members, friends, mentors, and loved ones; StoryCorps is all about everyday people sitting down together to ask or answer life's important questions. It's a vast and far-flung oral history project like no other; after all StoryCorps interviews are completed, the recordings are archived at the Library of Congress for generations to come.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we present a delightful chat with Rosalind Cook, the locally based sculptor whose well-liked works can be seen throughout the Tulsa community (with more than 30 of her sculptures on public display). Cook's fine, sensitively rendered, and decidedly humane pieces celebrate the human as well as the divine, the earthbound or natural as well as the spiritual or devotional. And as the artist herself has noted, at her website: "I specialize in figurative bronze sculptures that are representational in style.

The Tulsa Library Trust's Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature, inaugurated in 1991, aims to "give formal recognition, on behalf of the Tulsa County community, to nationally acclaimed authors who have made a significant contribution to the field of literature for children and young adults." Past winners of the Zarrow Award include Jim Murphy, Jacqueline Woodson, Jane Yolen, Gary Paulsen, Katherine Paterson, Madeleine L'Engle, and S.E. Hinton -- and this year, the highly deserving recipient of this award is Jack Gantos.

We at StudioTulsa have been enjoying some much-cherished vacation time these past two weeks -- and hopefully you, dear listeners, have likewise enjoyed our Encore Presentations of ST for the weeks of August 4th and August 11th. If you'd like to listen to any of these past programs, you'll find audio-stream buttons for them at the following links.

(Note: This program originally aired earlier this year.) On this edition of our show, we offer an interesting chat with Peter Korn, the founder and executive director of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, a non-profit school in Rockport, Maine. A furniture-maker since 1974, Korn is also the author of several noted how-to books, yet his latest volume is, so to speak, more of a "why" book. It's a readable and far-reaching memoir called "Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman" --- and he discusses it with us today.

Illustration Credit: NPR

On this installment of ST, we welcome back Nancy Pearl, our longtime book reviewer. Nancy is a former librarian --- and former Tulsan --- who's also a bestselling author, editor, critic, and book advocate. She's also the former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library. She can be heard on NPR's Morning Edition, where she regularly offers good-reading tips, and her wide-ranging, well-researched recommendations have also been collected into the ongoing and highly popular "Book Lust" series of volumes.

On this edition of ST, we listen back to an interview from January of this year. At that time, we spoke with David R. Dow, a professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center and an internationally recognized figure in the fight against the death penalty. Dow discusses his latest book, a memoir entitled "Things I've Learned from Dying: A Book About Life." You can learn more about this interview --- and can hear all of it as a free, on-demand "stream" --- at this link.

On this edition of StudioTulsa on Health, we speak with Dr. Barron H. Lerner, a Professor of Medicine and Population Health at the New York University School of Medicine. Dr. Lerner is also an award-winning and quite prolific writer on the related subjects of medicine, medical history, medical ethics, and medicine and society.

On this edition of ST, we speak with a big-thinking, fast-talking, highly motivated, and fairly progressive entrepreneur who's made and lost several fortunes: Bill Bartmann is best known as the founder and CEO of Commercial Financial Services (or CFS), a debt-collection company that actually treated its debtors with respect and fairness. CFS was based in Tulsa, operated from 1986 to 1999, and was for a time amazingly successful as a business --- but the fast-growing company fell apart amid charges of illegal stock trades and bogus debt sales.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Kevin Brockmeier, the Little Rock-based, widely acclaimed fiction writer whose books include the novels "The Illumination" and "The Brief History of the Dead" as well as the story collections "Things That Fall from the Sky" and "The View from the Seventh Layer." His newest book, just out, is an autobiography called "A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade" --- and it's been praised by Entertainment Weekly as "a funny, poignant oddity....

On this edition of ST, we listen back to a great conversation we had last year with Kate Christensen, the award-winning author of several novels as well as a memoir --- "Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites" --- which is just out in paperback. Christensen will be reading from and signing copies of this book tonight (Tuesday the 6th) at a Book Smart Tulsa eevent at Pohlenz Cucine Moderne (at 3402 South Peoria); this event is free to the public and begins at 7pm.

Hemingway once noted: "There are two kinds of stories. The ones you live and the ones you make up. And nobody knows the difference. And I don't ever tell which is which." Great writers aren't the only ones who feel compelled to tell stories. It's something we all do. We have to. Doing so makes us human; sharing stories makes life easier, richer, more coherent, more meaningful. On this installment of ST, we learn about a story-driven event for the Tulsa community that's happening this weekend.

We speak by phone today with Blake Bailey, who grew up in Oklahoma City, now teaches creative writing in Virginia, and is the author of three highly regarded literary biographies (of Richard Yates, John Cheever, and Charles Jackson).

Today on StudioTulsa, we chat with the esteemed Tulsa-based author and longtime public-speaker and businessman Clifton Taulbert, whose many books include "Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored," "The Last Train North," and "Eight Habits of the Heart." Taulbert joins us to discuss his newest book, a memoir called "The Invitation," which is just out from New South Books.

"When the mathematician would solve a difficult problem," as Henry David Thoreau once wrote, "he first frees the equation of all incumbrances, and reduces it to its simplest terms. So simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real. Probe the earth to see where your main roots run." But how might one do so today, in this ever-hurried, hyper-complicated digital age? Our guests have some answers.

On this installment of ST, our guest is Sam Harris --- who grew up in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, and who is widely known and admired for his work as a singer and songwriter, and for his appearances on Broadway, film, and television; his legendary performances on TV's Star Search led to a multi-million-selling recording career. Harris --- who grew up, by the way, with Rich Fisher, our program's host --- has a new book out, an autobiographical collection of essays and stories called "Ham: Slices of a Life," and he tells us about this book on today's show.

Our guest is David R. Dow, a professor of law at the University of Houston Law Center and an internationally recognized figure in the fight against the death penalty. Dow is also the founder and director of the Texas Innocence Network; he has represented more than 100 death row inmates in their state and federal appeals.

(Please note: This show first aired earlier this year.) Our guest is the writer Kate Christensen, whose six novels include "The Great Man," which won the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award. Her reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Elle, and elsewhere --- and her popular blog can be accessed here. Her latest book is "Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites," an acclaimed memoir, which she discusses with us on today's ST.

Today on StudioTulsa, we're joined by our friend and colleague Richard Higgs, a local writer who's well-known as one of the co-hosts of Folk Salad, the long-running folk & blues & Red Dirt (& alt-country & Americana & singer-songwriter & what-not) radio show heard Sunday evenings at 7pm here on Public Radio 89.5. Higgs has a new book out, "Then There Is No Mountain: An American Memoir," which he discusses with us today.

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