Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Books du Jour, EP#212, "The First Time They Did It" 05-20-15


 Episode #212    “The First Time They Did It”  (broadcasting May 20th, 2015)

Only tonight on LIFE 25 at 10:30 pm

“The first time they did it” is about first timers. Regardless how old they are and where they come from, how and when they did it is a topic they do not shy away from. As a matter of fact, they are quite loquacious discussing the topic, exposing their weaknesses and frustration and the moment of bliss round the corner waiting to greet them. But before “graduating,” they shared similar painstaking journeys of perseverance and painstaking apprenticeship.

Susan Strecker, “Night Blindness” offers a rare exploration of the singular, unparalleled love between a daughter and her cancer-riddled father, and writes with unflinching honesty about the dynamics of a family in crisis, and the fallout of a single rash act: how responsible was she in the death of her brother?


Helen Wan, “The Partner Track” took the world by storm with its new take on the office politics/law firm novel that follows a Golden Girl employee who has passed the apprentice stage and is now facing mature and relatable issues. But textbook and reality are two worlds apart, and soon our Chinese American prodigy has to wade across the deep waters of damage control as she herself drowned in a her own romantic life.


John Benditt, “The Boatmaker” tells the tale of a fierce complicated silent man who wakes from a fever dream compelled to build a boat and sail away from the small island where he was born. The boat carries him to a bigger island, where he becomes locked in a drunken and violent affair whose explosion propels him to the mainland. Hence begins a long journey of discovery, part fable and part allegory.

Thank you to CITY Winery, NY


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Books du Jour, EP #211, "Jazzing Up the Tune" 05-13-15


Episode #211    “Jazzing Up the Tune”   (broadcasting May 13th, 2015)

Tonight 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’.



Rick 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. 



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.



Julia 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

The Books du Jour Team


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Books du Jour, EP #210, "The Monopolies of Monarchs" 05-06-15


Episode #210   “The Monopolies of Monarchs(broadcasting May 6th, 2015)

Tonight only on LIFE 25 at 10:30 pm

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.

Sponsor: City Winery

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Books du Jour, EP #209, "A Sliver of Silver Pie" 04-29-15


Episode #209      “A Sliver of Silver Pie”  (broadcasting April 29st, 2015)

Tonight only on LIFE 25 at 10:30 pm

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.


Greg 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.


Jena 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.


Charlotte 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 and accessible approach to weight loss that yields sustainable, long-term results.
Thank you City Winery, NY

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Books du Jour, Ep #208, "Beyond the Torrid Fiesta" 04-22-15


Episode #208        “Beyond the Torrid Fiesta” (broadcasting April 22th,  2015)

Tonight at 10:30 pm only on LIFE 25

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.


Shari 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 head to the movie theater in December 1992, in different parts of the globe, and mull over their friendships, sex, ambition, fame and tragedy.

Alan 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.


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. 

Special Thank you to CITY WINERY

As always, we look forward to your feedback

The Books du Jour Team

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Books du Jour, Ep #207, "Queens and Spiritus Mundi" 04-15-15


Episode #207         “Queens and Spiritus Mundi”  (broadcasting April 15th, 2015)

Only on LIFE 25 at 10:30 pm

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? This week books look into personal accounts:


John 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.


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 reason. But Sandrine insists on visiting the dangerous mansion, where her “wild night of the soul” is forced to find expression and flight.


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.

Thank you to CITY WINERY, NY

The Books du Jour and Book Case TV Teams

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Books du Jour, Ep #206, "The Other Side of Others" 04-08-15

Episode #206     “The Other Side of Others    (broadcasting April 8th, 2015)

Only on LIFE 25 at 10:30 PM

Whether through 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.


Thank you to CITY WINERY, NY

The Books du Jour Team


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Books du Jour, Ep #205, "Super Fortuna Believer" 04-01-15


Episode #205     “Super Fortuna Believer”    (broadcasting April 1st, 2015)

Tonight on LIFE 25 at 10:30 pm

From time immemorial, mankind has feared the power of a boundless universe, sky falling, earth freezing, floods, and of course its wheel of fortune. But mankind’s main pursuit consists in making meaning, finding explanations and creating stories, which both sooth its fears and serve as moral compasses.



Caleb Scharf, “The Copernicus Complex” asks the big questions: What is our significance in the vast, ever-expanding universe of which we occupy such a small part? What at the chances we will one day detect life elsewhere in the cosmos? According to Scharf, there is compelling evidence that the Copernican Principle—the idea that the Earth is an insignificant, unremarkable speck in a boundless sea—is in need of an update.




Barb Schmidt "The Practice,” looks at how the mind has a way of interfering with personal happiness, often causing stress and doubt. Getting in touch with one’s inner source of peace and following its guidance over the mind often-unfounded concerns requires training and discipline. This guide is for people who are looking for confidence, less stress, and deeper meaning along life’s path.


Paul Strohm, “The Chaucer’s Tale” takes on the theme of rebirth. At the start of 1386, Chaucer was a middle-aged Londoner with a distasteful customs job and husband to a higher-ranking wife. By 1387, he was forced to leave London jobless, a widower, and without political allies. Strohm unravels how this calamitous year led to Chaucer’s rebirth as a literary celebrity.


Thank you to City Winery

As always, we look forward to your feedback.