Harvard Book Store author talks: 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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The Peabody Sisters – with biographer Megan Marshall

Note: This interview was broadcast on WGBH radio’s “Arts and Ideas.” And here’s a review of the program on PRX!

Author Megan Marshall has recently written a well-received biography of the three Peabody sisters – Elizabeth, Mary and Sophia – who were key players in the founding of the Transcendentalist movement in the early to mid 19th century.

Elizabeth, the oldest, was intellectually precocious, learning Hebrew as a child so she could read the Old Testament. Mary was the middle sister, somewhat subdued by the dominant – and bossy – qualities of Elizabeth, and by the attention paid to the youngest, Sophia, who was practically an invalid. Nonetheless, Mary managed to become a teacher, writer and reformer. Sophia, beset by devastating migraines, spent most of her early years in bed. But when she had the strength, she painted. In an interview with ThoughtCast, Megan Marshall continues the tale…

Click here: to listen (28:30 mins).

Click here to listen to a lecture by Megan Marshall on the Peabody sisters on the WGBH Forum Network.

Posted on December 8, 2005 in History
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The Web 2.0 and beyond — a conversation

Note: this program was broadcast on KYOU, open source radio. Check it out!
Three Internet gurus talk with ThoughtCast about the “social architecture” of the web, and how it might bring people together, and/or pull them apart! The four of us spoke following a daylong conference on the subject.

David Weinberger is a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, as well as the man behind Joho the Blog. He is also the author of “Small Pieces, Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web” and “The Cluetrain Manifesto,” and is currently working on a new book, “Everything is Miscellaneous.”


Chris Nolan, an independent, online journalist, is a former member of the mainstream media, and is known to have coined the phrase “stand alone journalism.” As the founder of Spot-on, a web site featuring diverse voices across the political spectrum, she embodies this practise of “stand alone” independent journalism on the web.


Stowe Boyd is president and chief operating officer of Corante, a new media company devoted to promoting social software on the web. A self-described “media subversive,” Stowe also pens the blog Get Real on Corante, in addition to his personal blog, A Working Model.



Click here: to listen (29:30 mins).

And there’s more: Corante has recently launched Corante Hubs and the related Corante Network.

Posted on December 5, 2005 in Public Media
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Carol Bundy, Civil War biographer

Note: this ThoughtCast interview was broadcast on WCAI/WNAN on Nov. 12, 2006 in honor of Veterans Day.

At a time when the country’s attention is focused on the ever-expanding list of American war dead, Carol Bundy’s biography of a Union officer who sacrifices his life in the Civil War is eerily apt.

Carol’s book tells the story of the short, heroic life of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr., an elite young cavalryman who embodied the promise of his generation. An ardent abolitionist and reformer, Lowell was also a brilliant battlefield strategist, and he turned the tide at the Battle of Cedar Creek in the Shenandoah Valley, a crucial victory for the North just two weeks shy of Lincoln’s re-election. Shot twice during the fighting, Lowell died at dawn the following day.
Click here: to listen (28:30 mins).
Click here to listen to a lecture by Carol Bundy on her biography of Charles Russell Lowell, Jr. at the Harvard Book Store.

Posted on November 6, 2005 in Biography, History
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Virgil’s Georgics with award-winning Poet David Ferry

Note: This program was broadcast on April 8th 2007 on WGBH.

Click here to read a review of the interview on PRX.

Noted Cambridge poet David Ferry has recently translated Virgil’s Georgics, and on ThoughtCast he joins Virgil scholar Richard Thomas, the chair of Harvard’s Classics Dept., for a detailed examination of this beautiful and insufficiently known poem. It is said to have taken Virgil 7 years to write, from about 36 to 29 B.C.

 

As such, The Georgics was written during a period of political instability and chronic civil war, and inevitably reflects Virgil’s dark, often pessimistic outlook on human nature. But at the same time, The Georgics (which means “agriculture” in Greek), is a celebration of nature and its ceaseless beauty. As Virgil describes the cycles of crops, the seasons, the weather — the birth, death and rebirth that mark the natural world — he provides us with a complex, realistic, painful but enduringly uplifting poem.
Click here: to listen (29 minutes).


Click here  to listen to a lecture by David Ferry on his Georgics translation at the Harvard Book Store.

Posted on September 1, 2005 in Harvard Luminaries, History, Literature, Poetry
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Harvard Book Store author talks: Carol Bundy

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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