Series Archives: Talks@Harvard Book Store

Talks@Harvard Book Store: Sean Dorrance Kelly

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store
Sean Dorrance Kelly

(photo by Jenny Attiyeh)

Sean Dorrance Kelly, a voluble, high-octane philosopher and Harvard professor, spoke at the Harvard Book Store recently about his latest creation: All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age,  which he co-wrote with Hubert Dreyfus, another professor of philosophy, this time at Berkeley.

ThoughtCast was there, and made this recording. (28 minutes.)
So take a listen, and let us know what you think!

Posted on August 10, 2011 in Harvard Luminaries, Literature, Philosophy
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James Carroll Takes On Jerusalem

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store

In this ThoughtCast, noted author James Carroll talks about his latest book, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem”, at the Harvard Book Store, in Cambridge Massachusetts. The city of course serves as both holy ground and flash point for Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and at times during their tumultuous histories, these three monotheistic religions have turned their city into not a place of peace and prayer, but a violent battleground.

Carroll is also the author of the highly regarded book “Constantine’s Sword”, which examines the shocking tale of Christian anti-Semitism from the time of Christ through Nazism and the Second Vatican Council. Carroll’s personal fascination with religion has led him to be both a believer and a skeptic, a critical historian and a man of faith, which is an interesting combination in these unsettling times.

Posted on March 27, 2011 in History, Politics, Religion
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Jonah Lehrer on Emotional Hijacking and “How We Decide”

This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store

Note: this interview was broadcast on WGBH in Boston as well as on the WGBH Cape and Islands affiliate WCAI/WNAN!

Jonah Lehrer
Jonah Lehrer (photo credit: Lori Duff)

Jonah Lehrer, the precocious author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist, has come out with a new book called How We Decide. He spoke at the Harvard Book Store, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Click here to listen (28 minutes.)

After his talk, ThoughtCast spoke with Lehrer briefly about the value of emotion in rational decision making, the power of wishful thinking to hijack our reason, and the potential to retrain the brain via the mind. According to Lehrer, we’d generally be better off sticking to our instincts, our initial reaction or impulse, rather than over-think things. Calm, cool deliberation, it turns out, doesn’t always lead to the best results. Jonah Lehrer is a Contributing Editor at Wired Magazine, and has written for The New Yorker, Nature, Seed, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe.
Click here to listen to this rather noisy interview (8:50 minutes.)

Posted on July 20, 2009 in Economics, Ideas, Philosophy, Psychology, Science
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Getrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas & Janet Malcolm!

This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store

They were a strange pair: Gertrude Stein, the avant-garde writer, salonniere and collector of art and artists, and her lover and companion, the querulous Alice B. Toklas, standing beakishly in the background. But together they formed a whole. Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice, a new book by journalist Janet Malcolm, explores this relationship, and the literary output it sustained.

Click here: to listen (30 minutes) to Janet Malcolm speak about her book, at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, presented by the Harvard Book Store.

Posted on December 3, 2008 in Literature
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How Fiction Works — with James Wood

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store
James Wood, the sincere, somewhat old-fashioned, unpretentious yet high-minded New Yorker literary critic, spoke at the Harvard Book Store recently about his new book, How Fiction Works.
Click here: to listen (30 minutes).
Also… ThoughtCast will be interviewing Wood shortly – hooray! – and we’re interested in your input! We’d like to discuss, among other topics, different kinds of literary creativity. What makes a great critic, rather than, say, a great novelist, or poet? What does the critic look for? How personal is the art of criticism, and how much a matter of taste – or instinct? Just how ‘creative’ is it?

Please add your thoughts in the comments section below, or email them to feedback at thoughtcast dot org!

Posted on November 2, 2008 in Harvard Luminaries, Literature
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Public Media Maverick Jay Allison

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store

Note: this program was broadcast on WGBH‘s sister stations WCAI & WNAN, and on KUT News, in Austin, Texas!

Jay Allison
Jay Allison has egalitarian instincts. He’s a maverick, who’s made it his mission to put the “public” back into public media. As an independent producer of stellar public radio – and television – Jay’s been able to work outside the system, and then change the system. Take This I Believe for example. Jay’s the man behind this series of audio essays, written and performed by a wide variety of Americans, ranging from the well-known to the unknown. As Jay says in this ThoughtCast interview, their sincerity and lack of skepticism make them almost the antithesis of “journalism” — and yet there they are, on NPR.

Click here: to listen. (28 minutes)

Jay Allison is also a contributor to Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide, a selection of essays from Harvard’s Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism, and edited by Mark Kramer and Wendy Call. At the Harvard Book Store recently, Allison and Kramer banded together to tell a few stories of their own about authenticity, the narrative voice and the gruelling process of authorship.
Click here: to listen. (55 minutes)
And to hear more from Jay Allison on the Forum Network, click here!

Posted on April 28, 2007 in Public Media
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Harvard Book Store author talks: Alan Dershowitz

This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store

Click here: (25 minutes) to listen to Alan Dershowitz’s talk on “Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways” at Harvard Hillel, presented by the Harvard Book Store. Among other subjects, Dershowitz discusses the doctrine of preemption, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, torture, and our ‘war on terror’.
And to hear a ThoughtCast interview with Alan, click here!

Posted on March 20, 2006 in Harvard Luminaries, Politics
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Harvard Book Store author talks: Kevin Smokler

This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store
Kevin Smokler
Kevin Smokler, the author, critic and literary blogger, has recently edited a book of essays called “Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times.” Its aim is to remind the world of the relevance of reading, eh, books. Not just summaries of books, or book reviews, or headlines about books, but the real thing. No matter if the book is a bunch of cartoons, the latest supermarket bodice buster, or issued from the Apple PowerBook of yet another disaffected kid from Brooklyn — you know, the one with the rectangular glasses, pale skin and perfectly uncoiffed hair.

It’s all good to Kevin, and who can disagree with him. He spoke with ThoughtCast shortly before he took the mike at the Harvard Book Store.

Click here: (7:18 minutes) to listen to the interview.

And here’s Bookmark Now, the Talk! (34 minutes.)
It features Kevin, naturally, and also Paul Collins, the author of Sixpence House and Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism.

Posted on December 12, 2005 in Prior ThoughtCasts
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Harvard Book Store author talks: Carol Bundy

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store

Cambridge author Carol Bundy’s first book is called “The Nature of Sacrifice: A Biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., 1835-1864.” It’s about her great-great-great uncle, who fought and died in the Civil War. Lowell was a reformer, a cavalryman, and perhaps also a dreamer.

Click here: (30 minutes) to hear Bundy’s talk, at the Harvard Book Store.
And you can also listen to a ThoughtCast interview with Carol Bundy, which was broadcast on public radio.

Posted on August 1, 2005 in Biography, History
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Harvard Book Store author talks: David Ferry

This entry is part 1 of 10 in the series Talks@Harvard Book Store
A Reading with David Ferry, discussing his translation of Virgil’s Georgics. This recording was made at Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, in May 2005. The paperback of Virgil’s Georgics, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, is now available.

Click here: (45 minutes) for the talk.

And you can also listen to a ThoughtCast interview with David Ferry and Richard Thomas, the chair of Harvard’s Classics Dept.

Posted on June 22, 2005 in History, Literature, Poetry
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