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Boston Book Festival

Boston Book Festival

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Boston Book Festival
Boston Book Festival

Boston Book Festival

Boston Book Festival

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Featuring the best audio content from the Boston Book Festival, New England's largest literary event, held annually in October in Boston's historic Copley Square.

Latest Episodes

What We Talk About When We Talk About Sex

We live at a time when sex is no longer taboo to talk about (or have), when repression is banished, and no one has issues. Or not. Turns out, there are still powerful unspoken norms, cultural expectations, and widespread confusion about sex. Let’s talk about it with Lauren Holmes, author of a much-lauded and multiple star-reviewed debut story collection, Barbara the Slut and Other People; novelist Dylan Landis, author of Rainey Royal, a powerful portrait of an abandoned fourteen-year-old girl; and journalist Rachel Hills, whose The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality examines the new normative when it comes to sex. Come join in a discussion moderated by culture critic, philosopher, and author of How To Do Things with Pornography, Nancy Bauer.

58 MIN2016 MAR 31
Comments
What We Talk About When We Talk About Sex

But Enough About Me: Reimagining the Memoir

As the memoir continues its reign, it has also continued to surprise and captivate us, raising provocative questions about truth, memory, and the different ways we tell the story of ourselves. Novelist Heidi Julavits’s collection of personal essays, The Folded Clock, blends memoir and journal, with wry, minutely-observed meditations on friendship, aging, and the selves we leave behind. And journalist-turned-woodworker Nina MacLaughlin, author of Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter, explores the challenges and freedom she found in a hands-on avocation, one rarely taken on by women. Come join these three masters of the form in a discussion moderated by Megan O’Grady, book critic at Vogue. Sponsored by May K. Houghton.

53 MIN2016 MAR 31
Comments
But Enough About Me: Reimagining the Memoir

Racial Justice And Community Activism In The Age Of Black Lives Matter

Join the conversation about black political and social activism with leading scholars of the subject. Jason Sokol, author of All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston To Brooklyn, specializes in politics, race, and civil rights. Laurence Ralph, author of Renegade Dreams: Living through Injury in Gangland Chicago, studies how police abuse, mass incarceration, and the drug trade normalize disease, disability, and premature death in the inner city. Come participate in this illuminating and timely discussion moderated by Callie Crossley, host of Under the Radar on WGBH Radio.

63 MIN2016 MAR 3
Comments
Racial Justice And Community Activism In The Age Of Black Lives Matter

YA: Boys to Men

There are more possible definitions of “masculinity” than ever before—but does that make the journey from boyhood to manhood easier, or just more confusing? In their recent novels, these four authors for teens offer their own fictional road maps to becoming a man. Award-winning novelist Andrew Smith takes a bittersweet look at senior year in Stand-Off, his sequel to Winger. In The Hunted, Matt de la Peña’s heart-stopping sequel to The Living, a boy discovers what it means to be a man—while fighting to survive. And in All-American Boys, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely collaborate on a timely novel that takes on race, justice, and masculinity. What images of young men predominate in YA books? How can YA authors effectively reach male readers? These questions and others will be considered by our panel, led by Simmons College’s Amy Pattee, who’s more than capable of hanging with the guys.

62 MIN2016 MAR 3
Comments
YA: Boys to Men

Hits, Hooks, And Jam Bands

What is the secret to making a hit song? In Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain, Alan Light, a former writer at Rolling Stone, looks at how Prince’s song, album, and movie became a musical juggernaut since audiences first heard the song in 1984. Walter Holland’s Phish’s A Live One examines the cultural context for the band’s groundbreaking 1995 album. And John Seabrook, in The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory, takes you into the world of hooks and computerized composition. From the jam band to the pop machine, this session considers how music moves and manipulates us. Get a virtual-lighter app for your phone and be ready to cheer. Moderated by the music-loving host of WBUR’s On Point, Tom Ashbrook.

59 MIN2016 FEB 25
Comments
Hits, Hooks, And Jam Bands

The Supremes. A Towering Giant And A Pint-Sized Powerhouse

In Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America, Wil Haygood, author of The Butler, delivers the definitive biography of the man who, as a lawyer, won a string of landmark Supreme Court cases that dismantled Jim Crow and later became a towering figure on the Court himself. As a lawyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was often called the Thurgood Marshall of the women’s movement, and like him she has gone on to become a Supreme Court icon. But lately there has been a 21st-century twist: thanks to the Notorious R.B.G. Tumblr developed by Shana Knizhnik, she is now also an Internet meme. That celebratory spirit suffuses Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Knizhnik and Irin Carmon. Join us for an illuminating look at two extraordinary justices delivered by three very original biographers with a gift for portraiture. Hosted by WBUR’s Anthony Brooks.

55 MIN2016 FEB 25
Comments
The Supremes. A Towering Giant And A Pint-Sized Powerhouse

Art, Architecture, and Design Keynote: Moshe Safdie

This year’s American Institute of Architects Gold Medal winner, Moshe Safdie, has devoted a lifetime to the issue of dense urbanism beginning with Habitat, his low-rise, high-density housing complex introduced at the 1967 Montreal World’s Fair. Today, megascale projects seem to defy human scale, but Safdie believes architects can create the conditions for a high quality of life in megacities and has done so in several enormous projects. Safdie will present his ideas, after which he and architecture critic Sarah Goldhagen will discuss the challenges posed by dense urbanism and the desire to humanize the megascale. Sponsored by Ann and Graham Gund.

61 MIN2015 DEC 18
Comments
Art, Architecture, and Design Keynote: Moshe Safdie

The Trial Of Abraham

We invite you to serve on the jury in the sensational trial of Abraham for the attempted murder of his son, Isaac. Alan Dershowitz, author of Abraham: The World’s First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer and no stranger to complex cases and celebrity clients, argues for the defense. Biblical scholar Harvey Cox, author of How to Read the Bible, brings his considerable knowledge to bear as prosecuting attorney. The trial will be presided over by First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Barron, and you, the audience, will be the jury. Don’t miss the trial of the millennium. From the 2015 Boston Book Festival.

58 MIN2015 DEC 18
Comments
The Trial Of Abraham

2015 Fiction Keynote: Colum McCann

Irish-born author Colum McCann’s novels are known for a stunning use of language, empathic power in describing loss and grief, and an almost cathartic effect on readers. His National Book Award–winning novel Let the Great World Spin is considered an American masterpiece. McCann’s latest, Thirteen Ways of Looking, includes four pieces of short fiction that form a tribute to the search for meaning in a world of chance occurrences as well as to the healing power of storytelling. Publishers Weekly, in its starred review, declares that these new stories prove McCann’s standing as “a master with a poet’s ear, a psychologist’s understanding, and a humanitarian’s conscience.” Join Colum McCann as he discusses Thirteen Ways of Looking with Claire Messud, author of the award-winning The Woman Upstairs. Sponsored by the Boston Public Library. From the 2015 Boston Book Festival, October 24, 2015.

55 MIN2015 DEC 18
Comments
2015 Fiction Keynote: Colum McCann

2015 Nonfiction Keynote: Atul Gawande

In Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, surgeon and New Yorker staff writer Atul Gawande confronts head-on an inconvenient truth: we are all going to die, and even modern medicine can’t change that, at least not yet. Gawande takes a hard and honest look at the end-of-life experience and the ways in which suffering is often prolonged. He offers examples of alternative ways of aging and dying, including the story of his own father’s death, that emphasize quality of life. Being Mortal is widely considered to be Gawande’s best book, as well as his most personal. Join Atul Gawande as he talks about Being Mortal with Meghna Chakrabarti, co-host of WBUR’s acclaimed Radio Boston. Sponsored by the Plymouth Rock Foundation. From the 2015 Boston Book Festival, October 24, 2015.

61 MIN2015 DEC 18
Comments
2015 Nonfiction Keynote: Atul Gawande

Latest Episodes

What We Talk About When We Talk About Sex

We live at a time when sex is no longer taboo to talk about (or have), when repression is banished, and no one has issues. Or not. Turns out, there are still powerful unspoken norms, cultural expectations, and widespread confusion about sex. Let’s talk about it with Lauren Holmes, author of a much-lauded and multiple star-reviewed debut story collection, Barbara the Slut and Other People; novelist Dylan Landis, author of Rainey Royal, a powerful portrait of an abandoned fourteen-year-old girl; and journalist Rachel Hills, whose The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality examines the new normative when it comes to sex. Come join in a discussion moderated by culture critic, philosopher, and author of How To Do Things with Pornography, Nancy Bauer.

58 MIN2016 MAR 31
Comments
What We Talk About When We Talk About Sex

But Enough About Me: Reimagining the Memoir

As the memoir continues its reign, it has also continued to surprise and captivate us, raising provocative questions about truth, memory, and the different ways we tell the story of ourselves. Novelist Heidi Julavits’s collection of personal essays, The Folded Clock, blends memoir and journal, with wry, minutely-observed meditations on friendship, aging, and the selves we leave behind. And journalist-turned-woodworker Nina MacLaughlin, author of Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter, explores the challenges and freedom she found in a hands-on avocation, one rarely taken on by women. Come join these three masters of the form in a discussion moderated by Megan O’Grady, book critic at Vogue. Sponsored by May K. Houghton.

53 MIN2016 MAR 31
Comments
But Enough About Me: Reimagining the Memoir

Racial Justice And Community Activism In The Age Of Black Lives Matter

Join the conversation about black political and social activism with leading scholars of the subject. Jason Sokol, author of All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston To Brooklyn, specializes in politics, race, and civil rights. Laurence Ralph, author of Renegade Dreams: Living through Injury in Gangland Chicago, studies how police abuse, mass incarceration, and the drug trade normalize disease, disability, and premature death in the inner city. Come participate in this illuminating and timely discussion moderated by Callie Crossley, host of Under the Radar on WGBH Radio.

63 MIN2016 MAR 3
Comments
Racial Justice And Community Activism In The Age Of Black Lives Matter

YA: Boys to Men

There are more possible definitions of “masculinity” than ever before—but does that make the journey from boyhood to manhood easier, or just more confusing? In their recent novels, these four authors for teens offer their own fictional road maps to becoming a man. Award-winning novelist Andrew Smith takes a bittersweet look at senior year in Stand-Off, his sequel to Winger. In The Hunted, Matt de la Peña’s heart-stopping sequel to The Living, a boy discovers what it means to be a man—while fighting to survive. And in All-American Boys, Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely collaborate on a timely novel that takes on race, justice, and masculinity. What images of young men predominate in YA books? How can YA authors effectively reach male readers? These questions and others will be considered by our panel, led by Simmons College’s Amy Pattee, who’s more than capable of hanging with the guys.

62 MIN2016 MAR 3
Comments
YA: Boys to Men

Hits, Hooks, And Jam Bands

What is the secret to making a hit song? In Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain, Alan Light, a former writer at Rolling Stone, looks at how Prince’s song, album, and movie became a musical juggernaut since audiences first heard the song in 1984. Walter Holland’s Phish’s A Live One examines the cultural context for the band’s groundbreaking 1995 album. And John Seabrook, in The Song Machine: Inside the Hit Factory, takes you into the world of hooks and computerized composition. From the jam band to the pop machine, this session considers how music moves and manipulates us. Get a virtual-lighter app for your phone and be ready to cheer. Moderated by the music-loving host of WBUR’s On Point, Tom Ashbrook.

59 MIN2016 FEB 25
Comments
Hits, Hooks, And Jam Bands

The Supremes. A Towering Giant And A Pint-Sized Powerhouse

In Showdown: Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America, Wil Haygood, author of The Butler, delivers the definitive biography of the man who, as a lawyer, won a string of landmark Supreme Court cases that dismantled Jim Crow and later became a towering figure on the Court himself. As a lawyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was often called the Thurgood Marshall of the women’s movement, and like him she has gone on to become a Supreme Court icon. But lately there has been a 21st-century twist: thanks to the Notorious R.B.G. Tumblr developed by Shana Knizhnik, she is now also an Internet meme. That celebratory spirit suffuses Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Knizhnik and Irin Carmon. Join us for an illuminating look at two extraordinary justices delivered by three very original biographers with a gift for portraiture. Hosted by WBUR’s Anthony Brooks.

55 MIN2016 FEB 25
Comments
The Supremes. A Towering Giant And A Pint-Sized Powerhouse

Art, Architecture, and Design Keynote: Moshe Safdie

This year’s American Institute of Architects Gold Medal winner, Moshe Safdie, has devoted a lifetime to the issue of dense urbanism beginning with Habitat, his low-rise, high-density housing complex introduced at the 1967 Montreal World’s Fair. Today, megascale projects seem to defy human scale, but Safdie believes architects can create the conditions for a high quality of life in megacities and has done so in several enormous projects. Safdie will present his ideas, after which he and architecture critic Sarah Goldhagen will discuss the challenges posed by dense urbanism and the desire to humanize the megascale. Sponsored by Ann and Graham Gund.

61 MIN2015 DEC 18
Comments
Art, Architecture, and Design Keynote: Moshe Safdie

The Trial Of Abraham

We invite you to serve on the jury in the sensational trial of Abraham for the attempted murder of his son, Isaac. Alan Dershowitz, author of Abraham: The World’s First (But Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer and no stranger to complex cases and celebrity clients, argues for the defense. Biblical scholar Harvey Cox, author of How to Read the Bible, brings his considerable knowledge to bear as prosecuting attorney. The trial will be presided over by First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Barron, and you, the audience, will be the jury. Don’t miss the trial of the millennium. From the 2015 Boston Book Festival.

58 MIN2015 DEC 18
Comments
The Trial Of Abraham

2015 Fiction Keynote: Colum McCann

Irish-born author Colum McCann’s novels are known for a stunning use of language, empathic power in describing loss and grief, and an almost cathartic effect on readers. His National Book Award–winning novel Let the Great World Spin is considered an American masterpiece. McCann’s latest, Thirteen Ways of Looking, includes four pieces of short fiction that form a tribute to the search for meaning in a world of chance occurrences as well as to the healing power of storytelling. Publishers Weekly, in its starred review, declares that these new stories prove McCann’s standing as “a master with a poet’s ear, a psychologist’s understanding, and a humanitarian’s conscience.” Join Colum McCann as he discusses Thirteen Ways of Looking with Claire Messud, author of the award-winning The Woman Upstairs. Sponsored by the Boston Public Library. From the 2015 Boston Book Festival, October 24, 2015.

55 MIN2015 DEC 18
Comments
2015 Fiction Keynote: Colum McCann

2015 Nonfiction Keynote: Atul Gawande

In Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, surgeon and New Yorker staff writer Atul Gawande confronts head-on an inconvenient truth: we are all going to die, and even modern medicine can’t change that, at least not yet. Gawande takes a hard and honest look at the end-of-life experience and the ways in which suffering is often prolonged. He offers examples of alternative ways of aging and dying, including the story of his own father’s death, that emphasize quality of life. Being Mortal is widely considered to be Gawande’s best book, as well as his most personal. Join Atul Gawande as he talks about Being Mortal with Meghna Chakrabarti, co-host of WBUR’s acclaimed Radio Boston. Sponsored by the Plymouth Rock Foundation. From the 2015 Boston Book Festival, October 24, 2015.

61 MIN2015 DEC 18
Comments
2015 Nonfiction Keynote: Atul Gawande
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