Albany, NY – Derek Bok, retired president of Harvard, draws upon a great deal of empirical evidence in his new book "Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More." In this interview, Bok explains how some of the most important skills educators say are needed in the 21st century are no longer being adequately taught in America's colleges and universities.
Albany, NY – Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina's guest on this show is obituary writer Marilyn Johnson, whose new book "The Dead Beat" offers a fascinating look at the history and evolution of the form and the people who proclaim themselves "obituary enthusiasts." Johnson also talks about the differences in the way other cultures handle the marking of notable deaths.
Albany, NY – Harlem in the early 1940's is the setting for the newest historical novel by Kevin Baker, "Strivers Row." Third in the author's "City of Fire" trilogy of New York novels, the book examines the parallel experiences of Jonah Dove, a Harlem clergyman undergoing a crisis of faith, and a directionless teenager named Malcolm Little who is destined to be known by another name. The novel recreates a Harlem at the end of its period as America's black capital and builds toward an explosive draft riot.
Albany, NY – Dara Horn's second novel, "The World to Come," traces the connections between Russian-born painter Marc Chagall and the New Jersey-based Ziskind family, particularly former child prodigy Ben Ziskind, who feels adrift in the present and steals a Chagall painting from a Jewish museum, believing that it once belonged to his family. Horn talks to Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina about her book's journey through the Ziskind family history and how the young author juggles writing and her own family life.
Albany, NY – Two anti-war protesters in the Vietnam era commit a crime that forces them to abandon their loved ones and their own identities in order to hide from authorities in Dana Spiotta's new novel "Eat the Document." The emotional costs of their decision and the ways in which subsequent generations adopt and distort 1970s counterculture are explored in the book and in this interview with the author conducted by Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina.
Albany, NY – Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina interviews science fiction author Octavia Butler about her novel "Parable of the Talents," about a woman in the not-too-distant future who founds her own religion. Gretchen talks to Butler about the novel's themes and why she prefers writing in the genre. The show is a repeat of one of Butler's infrequent interviews, and is being played in honor of the author, who passed on in late February.
Albany, NY – John Carlin's new book, "Masters of American Comics," traces the origins and meteoric rise of the medium by examining the works of 15 of its masters. Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina discusses the history and appeal of comics with Carlin in this revealing interview.