life

  Peabody Award-winning broadcaster and National Humanities Medalist Krista Tippett has interviewed the most extraordinary voices examining the great questions of meaning for our time. The heart of her work on her national public radio program and podcast, On Being, has been to shine a light on people whose insights kindle in us a sense of wonder and courage. 
 
In Becoming Wise, Tippett distills the insights she has gleaned from this luminous conversation in its many dimensions into a coherent narrative journey, over time and from mind to mind.

Margaux Bergen began writing her new book when her daughter Charlotte turned nine and she gave it to her right after graduation from high school, when she was setting off for her first day of college.

In Navigating Life: Things I Wish My Mother Had Told Me, Bergen shares her own lessons learned in hopes that her trials and errors might benefit her daughter as she set off for college and prepares to navigate life for the first time on her own.

Margaux Bergen has spent the last twenty years raising three children and working all over the world at large and small institutions focused on international development and women’s leadership.

  Death is something we all confront ― it touches our families, our homes, our hearts. And yet we have grown used to denying its existence, treating it as an enemy to be beaten back with medical advances.

We are living at a unique point in human history. People are living longer than ever, yet the longer we live, the more taboo and alien our mortality becomes. Yet we, and our loved ones, still remain mortal. People today still struggle with this fact, as we have done throughout our entire history. What led us to this point? What drove us to sanitize death and make it foreign and unfamiliar?

In Death's Summer Coat: What the History of Death and Dying Teaches Us About Life and Living, Brandy Schillace shows how talking about death, and the rituals associated with it, can help provide answers.

  After completing her MFA program in non-fiction, Hannah Tennant-Moore set off on a two-month sojourn to Sri Lanka to examine her longtime interest in Buddhism before beginning the next chapter of her professional career.

Immersed in the culture of the country and surrounded by the fascinating people that she got to know, she began to connect the threads that would form her new novel, Wreck and Order.  The result is a novel of ideas that looks at spirituality, sex, life, friendship, and the eternal quest for fulfillment in life and love that drives us all. 

  But What If We’re Wrong? visualizes the contemporary world as it will appear to those who'll perceive it as the distant past.

Chuck Klosterman asks questions that are profound in their simplicity: How certain are we about our understanding of gravity? How certain are we about our understanding of time? What will be the defining memory of rock music, five hundred years from today? How seriously should we view the content of our dreams? How seriously should we view the content of television? Are all sports destined for extinction? Is it possible that the greatest artist of our era is currently unknown (or—weirder still—widely known, but entirely disrespected)? Is it possible that we “overrate” democracy? And perhaps most disturbing, is it possible that we’ve reached the end of knowledge?

  Half a century after walking on the moon, iconic astronaut Buzz Aldrin reflects on a lifetime of achievements and what he’s learned through it all in his new book, No Dream Is Too High: Life Lessons from a Man Who Walked on the Moon. Aldrin, speaks intimately and from the heart, sharing his experiences in space, in war, and as a public figure.

Buzz Aldrin, best known for his Apollo 11 moonwalk, holds a doctoral degree in astronautics and, at age 86, continues to wield influence as an international advocate of space science and planetary exploration.

  Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Charles Duhigg’s first book The Power of Habit has spent over 150 weeks on the NYT bestseller lists.

In his new book, Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, he looks to explain why some people and companies are able to get so much more done than others. 

In New Aging: Live Smarter Now to Live Better Forever Matthias Hollwich has laid out his work on aging and architecture into a collection of short, digestible passages that will inspire us to think creatively and realistically about how we want to spend the rest of our lives.

His advice ranges from practical design tips for making our homes safer and more comfortable to thought-provoking insights on how we work, relax, travel, socialize, and even how we eat. Most importantly, Matthias wants us to make small, simple changes in our 40s, so we won’t be forced to make large ones in our 70s.

  After a series of childhood misfortunes her father’s death, her mother’s ill-advised love affair, her disabled sister wrecking the family GTO, self-avowed church-geek Jo Page decided it was her job to figure out how to stay on God’s good side and maybe spare the family any more tragedy.

But she was a girl. And a Lutheran. Though women were ordained in the larger branch of the Lutheran church, when Page’s own pastor handed her a brochure enumerating all the ways in which she, as a female, was to be silent and submissive, she gave up on the church and went off in search of sex and drugs and rock-and-roll like any rejected adolescent Lutheran girl would.

Eventually Page found her way back into the church and ultimately into ordained ministry, spending twenty years in the ecclesiastical trenches, presiding over life’s rituals and preaching compulsory weekly words of hope she wasn’t sure she even believed.

Her new book is Preaching in My Yes Dress.

  All her life, Emily has felt different from other kids. Between therapist visits, sudden uncontrollable bursts of anger, and unexplained episodes of dizziness and loss of coordination, things have always felt not right. For years, her only escape was through the stories she’d craft about herself and the world around her. But it isn’t until a near-fatal accident when she’s twelve years old that Emily and her family discover the truth: a grapefruit sized benign brain tumor at the base of her skull.

In her memoir, All Better Now, Emily Wing Smith chronicles her struggles with both mental and physical disabilities during her childhood, the devastating accident that may have saved her life, and the means by which she coped with it all: writing.

  Most of us have to “talk across the aisle” once or twice a year—when we’re seated next to our conservative out-of-town uncle at Thanksgiving, say. But millions of self- identified liberals live in cities and towns—particularly away from the East and West Coasts—where they are regularly outnumbered and outvoted by conservatives.

Justin Krebs is a political and cultural entrepreneur, strategist and writer. He is the founding director of Living Liberally, a national progressive social organization with over 200 chapters. The organization is primarily composed of Drinking Liberally happy hours, which give liberals around the country the opportunity to get offline and form face-to-face friendships.

Krebs' new book is Blue in a Red State: The Survival Guide to Life in the Real America.

  Award-winning journalist and author Nancy Jo Sales is the featured keynote speaker at The Woodstock Writers Festival this year. Her latest book is American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teen­agers. She will be in conversation with Carla Goldstein, Omega Institute’s chief external affairs officer and co-founder of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center.

The dominant force in the lives of girls coming of age in America today is social media and Sales captures what it feels like to be a girl in America today. She crisscrossed the country, speaking to more than two hundred girls, ages thirteen to nineteen, and documenting a massive change in the way girls are growing up, a phenomenon that transcends race, geography, and household income.

American Girls provides a disturbing portrait of the end of childhood as we know it and of the inexorable and ubiquitous experience of a new kind of adolescence—one dominated by new social and sexual norms, where a girl’s first crushes and experiences of longing and romance occur in an accelerated electronic environment.

  In his new book, The Point Is: Making Sense of Birth, Death, and Everything in Between, Lee Eisenberg (bestselling author of The Number) dares to tackle nothing less than what it takes to find enduring meaning and purpose in life.

He explains how from a young age, each of us is compelled to take memories of events and relationships and shape them into a one-of-a-kind personal narrative. In addition to sharing his own memories, Eisenberg presents research culled from psychology and neuroscience, and draws on insights from a pantheon of thinkers and great writers-Tolstoy, Freud, Joseph Campbell, Virginia Woolf, among others -- as well as men and women of all ages who are wrestling with the demands of work and family, ever in search of fulfillment and satisfaction.

  Like nearly one in five people, Matt Haig suffers from depression. His book: Reasons to Stay Alive is Matt’s inspiring account of how, minute by minute and day by day, he overcame the disease with the help of reading, writing, and the love of his parents and his girlfriend (and now-wife.) And eventually, he learned to appreciate life all the more for it.

Speaking as his present self to his former self in the depths of depression, Matt is adamant that the oldest cliché is the truest—there is light at the end of the tunnel. The book looks to teach us to celebrate the small joys and moments of peace that life brings, and reminds us that there are always reasons to stay alive.

    

  In her latest novel, After Birth, Elisa Albert writes about motherhood and friendship. The book tells the story of Ari who lives in a town in upstate New York and is supposed to be working on a Ph.D. in women’s studies but she has major postpartum depression.

The book issues a wake-up call to a culture that turns its new mothers into exiles and expects them to act like natives.

  Award-winning actress Drew Barrymore shares funny, insightful, and profound stories from her past and present told from the place of happiness she's achieved today in her new memoir, Wildflower.

In the book, she looks back on the adventures, challenges, and incredible experiences of her earlier years. It includes tales of living on her own at 14, saying goodbye to her father in a way only he could have understood, and many more adventures and lessons that have led her to the successful, happy, and healthy place she is today.

It is the first book Drew has written about her life since the age of 14.

Rinker Buck will be doing a talk and signing at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT on Friday, December 4 at 7 PM, and a talk and signing at Northshire in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, December 5 at 7 PM.

Buck is no stranger to grand adventures. His first travel narrative, Flight of Passage, was hailed by The New Yorker as “a funny, cocky gem of a book,” and with The Oregon Trail he brings the most important route in American history back to glorious and vibrant life.

Traveling from St. Joseph, Missouri, to Baker City, Oregon, over the course of four months, Buck is accompanied by three cantankerous mules, his boisterous brother, Nick, and an “incurably filthy” Jack Russell terrier named Olive Oyl.

    Stuffocation is one of the most pressing problems of the twenty-first century. We have more stuff than we could ever need, and it isn’t making us happier. It’s bad for the planet. It’s cluttering up our homes. It’s making us stressed—and it might even be killing us.

James Wallman helps us deal with "the secret hoarder in all of us" in his book, Stuffocation: Why We've Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever.

  Daniel Klein is a great friend of ours. Here is a guy who has a warm, humorous, and thoughtful way to shows how philosophy resonates in everyday life. Readers of his popular books Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar... and Travels with Epicurus come for enlightenment and stay for the entertainment.

As a young college student studying philosophy, Klein filled a notebook with short quotes from the world’s greatest thinkers, hoping to find some guidance on how to live the best life he could. Now, from the vantage point of his eighth decade, Klein revisits the wisdom he relished in his youth with this collection of philosophical gems, adding new ones that strike a chord with him at the end of his life.

His new book is Every Time I Find the Meaning of Life, They Change It: Wisdom of the Great Philosophers on How to Live.

  Elaine Sciolino, the former Paris Bureau Chief of the New York Times, invites us on a tour of her favorite Parisian street, offering an homage to street life and the pleasures of Parisian living.

While many cities suffer from the leveling effects of globalization, the rue des Martyrs maintains its distinct allure.

Sciolino reveals the charms and idiosyncrasies of this street and its longtime residents—the Tunisian greengrocer, the husband-and-wife cheesemongers, the showman who’s been running a transvestite cabaret for more than half a century, the owner of a 100-year-old bookstore, the woman who repairs eighteenth-century mercury barometers—bringing Paris alive in all of its unique majesty.

Elaine Sciolino’s new book is The Only Street In Paris: Life On The Rue Des Martyrs.

  As a journalist whose career spans three decades, CNN correspondent Tom Foreman has reported from the heart of war zones, riots, and natural disasters. He has interviewed serial killers and been in the line of fire. But the most terrifying moment of his life didn't occur on the job--it occurred at home, when his 18-year old daughter asked, "How would you feel about running a marathon with me?"

At the time, Foreman was approaching 51 years old, and his last marathon was almost 30 years behind him. The race was just sixteen weeks away, but Foreman reluctantly agreed. Training with his daughter, who had just started college, would be a great bonding experience, albeit a long and painful one.

He joins us to talk about the experience and the book he's written about it, My Year of Running Dangerously: A Dad, a Daughter, and a Ridiculous Plan

  Stephen King calls Abigail Thomas "the Emily Dickinson of memoirists."

Her latest book, What Comes Next and How to Like It, is an extraordinarily moving memoir about many things, but at the center is a steadfast friendship between Abigail Thomas and a man she met thirty-five years ago.

  Eat Pray Love made Elizabeth Gilbert one of the most read and beloved writers of our time. While Eat Pray Love was Gilbert’s personal memoir, many readers took it as stimulus to make changes, large and small, in their own lives.

In the decade since Eat Pray Love was published, people worldwide have sought further advice from Gilbert on how to lead a bold and creative life. Gilbert’s TED talk about creativity has nearly 10 million views, making it one of the most viewed TED talks of all time, and this past fall Gilbert went on tour with Oprah, speaking to over 100,000 people along the way.

 

   Waking Up to the Dark: Ancient Wisdom For a Sleepless Age by Clark Strand is a book for those of us who awaken in the night and don’t know why we can’t get back to sleep, and a book for those of us who have grown uncomfortable in real darkness—which we so rarely experience these days, since our first impulse is always to turn on the light.

In the tradition of Thomas Merton’s spiritual classic The Seven Storey Mountain or Thomas Moore’s Care of the Soul, Waking Up to the Dark is a resonant and personal project and a modern gospel that is an investigation of the relationship between darkness and the soul.

  Every year, perhaps even every week, there is some new gadget, device, service, or other digital offering intended to make our lives easier, better, more fun, or more instantaneous–making it that much harder to question how anything digital can be bad for us. Digital has created some wonderful things and we can hardly imagine life without them.

But digital—the most relentless social and economic juggernaut humanity has unleashed in centuries—is also destroying much of what we’ve taken for granted.

In Digital is Destroying Everything, Andrew Edwards takes us on a tour of today’s “blasted heath”, where many things we’ve held dear have been uprooted or entirely changed by digital–and where many new and intriguing flora and fauna are sprouting.

  We live in an age of awesome technological potential. From nanotechnology to synthetic organisms, new technologies stand to revolutionize whole domains of human experience.

One thing these technologies can’t do is answer the profound moral issues they raise. Who should be held accountable when they go wrong?

Wendell Wallach's book, A Dangerous Master forces us to confront the practical - and moral - purposes of our creations.

Harvey Wang

  Dave Isay is the founder of StoryCorps and the recipient of numerous honors, including six Peabody Awards, a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship and the 2015 $1 million TED prize.

StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 50,000 interviews from more than 100,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. Millions listen to weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition on Friday mornings.

Isay is the author/editor of numerous books that grew out of his public radio documentary work, including three StoryCorps books. He will be at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA on Wednesday, August 5.

  Do you believe that "winners never quit and quitters never win"? Do you tend to hang in longer than you should, even when you're unhappy?

Our culture usually defines quitting as admitting defeat, but persistence isn't always the answer: When a goal is no longer useful, we need to be able to quit to get the most out of life. In Quitting, bestselling author Peg Streep and psychotherapist Alan Bernstein reveal simple truths that apply to goal setting and achievement in all areas of life, including work, love, and relationships.

  Most people think of love and contracts as strange bedfellows, or even opposites. In Love’s Promises, however, law professor Martha Ertman shows that far from cold and calculating, contracts shape and sustain families.

Blending memoir and law, Ertman delves into the legal cases, anecdotes, and history of family law to show that love comes in different packages, each shaped by different contracts and mini-contracts she calls “deals.”

  After a decade designing technologies meant to address education, health, and global poverty, award-winning computer scientist Kentaro Toyama came to a difficult conclusion: Even in an age of amazing technology, social progress depends on human changes that gadgets can’t deliver.

He writes about it in his book, Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology .

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