Nonfiction

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.

On this installment of ST, we speak with the winner of the 2014 Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, which is annually given by the Tulsa Library Trust. (Past recipients of this honor include Michael Chabon, John Updike, and Geraldine Brooks.) Ann Patchett is our guest today; she is a bestselling American novelist and essayist who's written six novels (among them "The Magician's Assistant," "Bel Canto," "Run," and "State of Wonder") and three books of nonfiction (including the recent "This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage").

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.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the well-regarded author, essayist, and cultural critic Chuck Klosterman, who has published a number of books and also writes the weekly "Ethicist" column for The New York Times Magazine. Klosterman's latest title, "I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined)," is just out in paperback; it's a far-reaching, often funny, and highly entertaining exploration of why we as a society are so attracted to -- yet also, of course, repelled by -- villains both fictional and nonfictional...as well as the very notion of villainy itself.

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.

(Note: This interview first aired earlier this year.) Family secrets. They're as common and as varied --- and as much a part of life --- as are families themselves. Such secrets, those we keep and those we discover, greatly influence who we are and how we live. And our guest is an expert in this regard: Jane Isay is a writer (and former book editor and publisher) whose previous works include "Walking on Eggshells," about parents and their adult children, and "Mom Still Likes You Best," about adult siblings.

On this installment of ST, we are pleased to speak once again with the author, critic, former librarian, and die-hard book-lover Nancy Pearl, who's well-known for her frequent appearances on NPR's Morning Edition, her tireless championing of old or out-of-print titles, and her "Book Lust" series of books about books. Nancy used to live in Tulsa, and she's been the book reviewer for this program for 20+ years --- indeed, while she usually joins us by phone from her home in Seattle, this time around, Nancy is with us in the studio.

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).

On today's ST, we offer a thoroughly gosh-wow-how-cool discussion with Stephen Voltz. Along with Fritz Grobe, Voltz is co-founder of the EepyBird Laboratory in Maine --- please see website here --- which is well-known for its experiments with ping pong balls, sticky notes, balloons, soda cans, Ivory soap, and so forth, with many of these experiments becoming viral videos at YouTube and other sites.

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