Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Books du Jour, Ep #211, "Jazzing up the Tune"

Episode #211    “Jazzing Up the Tune” 

Only on LIFE 25 at 10:30 pm

The ears don't lie. They know when something sounds phony. But what about authors writing about music? This week's episode takes a look at the crossroad of music and literature, in all its form: rhyme, rhythm, lyricism, repetitions, and of course the theme of music itself, not only in the lives of the characters depicted but also in the authors’.

 

Moody-SmallRick Moody, “On Celestial Music.” A dazzling selection of essays about music. Moody’s anatomy of the word cool reminds us that in the postwar 1940’s, the word was infused with the feeling of jazz music, whereas now it is merely a synonym for neat. The collection laments the loss in contemporary music, without failing to inspire us and dive into the music that enhances our lives.



Morris-Small Mary Morris, “The Jazz Palace.” In the midst of boomtown Chicago, two Jewish families suffer terrible blows. They have lost their boys on the SS Eastland, which sank in 1915. But Benny Lehrman, the only son left, has no interest in saving the family business and making hats. His true passion is piano—especially jazz.



Titus-smallJulia Titus, “Poetry Readers for Russian Learners.” Through the poetry of 19th and 20th Centuries Russian authors, including Pushkin and Akhmatova, the book helps all level of Russian learners refine their language skills. Poems have their own music and rhythm, singing to the witnesses of history, clamoring human insights and the muffling of tragic biographies.


Thank you to City Winery NY

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Books du Jour, EP#210, "The Monopolies of Monarchs"




Books du Jour, Episode #210   “The Monopolies of Monarchs” 


The journey from the heavens to our heart can happen in the blink of an eye. But from the heart to the Heavens is a different story. Legal battles may stand in the way. Today, we look at the downfall of a king accountable only to the Gods above; the wandering Jews in search of a promised land and only facing rejection, and finally the legal battle for a board game in the wake of the financial crisis and its pernicious values.

Mary Pilon, “The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World’s Favorite Board Game.” The way the Parker Brothers tells it, Monopoly, the world’s most famous board game, was invented by an out-of-work salesman in the depths of the Great Depression, who sold his invention. A fabulous rags-to-riches story to say the least. But as Pilon explains it: “it’s just not quite exactly true.” 


Charles Spencer, “Killers of the King” relates for the first time to the shocking stories and fascinating fates of the 59 men who signed Charles I of England’s death warrant in 1649. This act not only changed British history forever, reverberated across the ocean to the young British colonies in American, which more than 100 years later also rose up against their king, but also became their death sentence.
Roger Cohen, “The Girl From Human Street” trails the upheavals of a family saga, with none of the comfort of a happy ending. Through the decades, the Jewish sense of “otherness” is pervasive, and Cohen finds it has been significant factor in his family’s history of manic depression. A moving portrait and an elegy to his mother, June, who struggled most mightily with her illness. But also a tale of remembrance and repression, moral ambivalence, suicide, and amazing resilience.

Thank you to City Winery NY

Friday, June 3, 2016

Books du Jour, Ep #209, "A Sliver of Silver Pie"

Episode #209      “A Sliver of Silver Pie


 

If there is enough food for three, chances are there is enough for four. We are what we eat. But what about if you don't like the diet you eat? What would you become? We gather at a table every week, and yet we still have not had a panel about health and food. This week, we are discussing about health, physical and emotional, and how good and bad food impacts our general well-being.

O'Brien-smallGreg O’Brien, “On Pluto” is a first person account with Alzheimer. O’Brien speaks freely about what it is like to lose your mind and “see slices of your very identity being shaved off” on a daily basis. The story is a beacon of hope to anyone who can read and listen.





Laflamme-smallJena La Flamme, “Pleasurable Weight Loss.” For Jena “the key to losing weight is not about enjoying less, it’s about enjoying more.” This radical insight has allowed thousands of her students to lose weight without food plans, arduous rules, or punishing exercises. Pleasure is the secret to switching off the stress triggers.



Markey-SmallCharlotte N. Markey, in “Smart People Don’t Diet: How Psychology, Common Sense, and the Latest Science Can Help You Lose Weight Permanently,” Markey uses psychology and brain chemistry and more than 100 years of research and scientific findings to provide an accessible approach to weight loss that yields sustainable, long-term results.


Thank you to City Winery NY

Monday, May 16, 2016

Books du Jour, Ep #208, "Beyond the Torrid Fiesta"

Episode #208        “Beyond the Torrid Fiesta"


In this week's episode, we look at the impact of reality on our writing.  Do the events in our life shape our stories? Or do the stories we tell ourselves affect our lives? But can these questions however always apply? This week’s authors come from diverse backgrounds, from power lawyer to cabaret actor, and one would be but surprised at the type of stories they generate.

Goldhagent-SmallShari Goldhagen, “In Some Other World Maybe” explores family dynamics and relationships with a sharp eye and six-degrees-of-separation, coming-of-age tale, written from multiple POVs. An absorbing ensemble heads to the movie theater in December 1992, in different parts of the globe, and mulls over their friendships, sex, ambition, fame and tragedy.


Hruska-SmallAlan Hruska, “Pardon the Ravens” is a fast-paced legal thriller about a gifted young lawyer who lets his heart get in the way of his business affairs and the consequences of crossing the man who controls organized crime in New York during the Mad Men era.



Vaill-Small
Amanda Vaill, “Hotel Florida: Truth, Love and Death in the Spanish Civil War.” Beginning with the cloak-and-dagger plot that precipitated the first gunshots of the war and moving forward month by month to the end of the conflict, Vaill traces the tangled and disparate wartime destinies of three couples, Hemingway-Gellhorn, Capa-Taro, and Barea-Kulcsar, against the backdrop of a critical moment in history.


Thank you to City Winery NY

Monday, April 25, 2016

Books du Jour, Ep #207. "Queens and Spiritus Mundi"

Episode #207           “Queens and Spiritus Mundi

Sponsor: City Winery, New York.

Textbooks only outline the key players of our socio-historical conflicts to better elevate their status and mythologize them within our ideological assumptions. This is what we called the “Grand Narratives.” But what about the “little narratives”? The lives of those millions of people whose contributions have made the “Grand Narratives” possible but have been forgotten? This week books look into personal accounts:

JohnOller-SmallBDJ_EP207-06John Oller, “American Queen: The Rise and Fall of Kate Chase Sprague” depicts the story of the charismatic and beautiful daughter of Lincoln’s Treasury Secretary who used her social graces and political acumen to make a name for herself in Washington and ran the show from behind the scenes, only to lose everything at the end and be forgotten.

MJRose-Small 
M J Rose, “The Witch Of Painted Sorrows” moves to the backdrop of the Belle Époque in Paris. When Sandrine Salome escapes an abusive husband for her grandmother’s Paris mansion, what she finds there is even more menacing. The house is closed and under renovation for mysterious reasons. But Sandrine insists on visiting the dangerous mansion, where her “wild night of the soul” is forced to find expression and flight.

ARichman-Small Alyson Richman, “The Garden of Letters,” follows Elodie, a young cello prodigy. When Mussolini’s fascist regime strikes her family, Elodie is drawn into the burgeoning resistance movement by a young and impassioned bookseller. “The Garden of Letters” is a story of love, courage, and the power of the human spirit to find hope against the backdrop of war.




As always you look forward to your feedback
The Books du Jour Team

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Books du Jour, Ep #206, "The Other Side of Others"


Episode #206                      “The Other Side of Others”

 Sponsor: City Winery, New York

Logline: The dustbins of history are filled with conflicts born out of blaming others for one’s misfortune: David Margolick, Jon Ronson, Jane Green.


Whether scapegoats or martyrs, the dustbins of history are filled with conflicts born out of blaming others for one’s misfortune. The history of Others is also the history of acceptance and differences. Why are we so determined to exclude those who do not resemble us? Punish moral dissents? Or turn a blind eye on those who fall prey to society’s ever increasingly disregard?

David Margolick, “Dreadful: The Short life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns” portrays the once-celebrated largely forgotten author of what’s arguably the first great gay novel in American literature. “Dreadful” retraces the breathtaking rise of a writer hailed as a worthy successor of Hemingway, John Dos Passos, only to vanish as quickly as he appeared, in just six years.




Jane Green, “Saving Grace” is about Grace Chapman who lives comfortably with her husband, bestselling author Ted, in picture-perfect farmhouse, until Ted hires the young Beth, who quickly threatened Beth’s marriage. Losing her center, Grace falls into a whirlpool of paranoia and psychotic drugs, as she is misdiagnosed with mental illness.

 

Jon Ronson, “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed,” investigates the world of public shaming, where social media has made everyone a vigilante and where a poorly phrased tweet or comment can catapult a person to Public Enemy No 1 overnight. Ronson follows up with those whose lives have been left in tatters and questions those being most cruel in the anonymous internet playground.


Look forward to your feeback, The Books du Jour Team