2013 was a weird year for me personally, and I think it was also a weird year for a lot of people. For others – it was one of the best. With only 4 days left before we embark upon 2014, I take a moment to pause and reflect on some of the best moments of Book Talk in the last twelve months.
The Christmas Show
When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday’s newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don’t want and turn it into something you can’t wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter—veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner—travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, multibillion-dollar industry that’s transforming our economy and environment.
Dirty Hits collects together twenty short stories published in literary magazines, websites, anthologies and fanzines over the past 10 years in one low-price e-book. 
Laughing Through the Tears is a poignant yet comical parody of the struggle Christine Houston faced while living with her spouse who was stricken with Alzheimer’s. With crisp and witty brilliance, Christine utilizes fictitious animated characters and real life circumstances to tell her own touching story.
In Want Not, Miles takes a giant leap forward with this highly inventive and corrosively funny story of our times, a three-pronged tale of human excess that sifts through the detritus of several disparate lives, all conjoined in their come-hell-or- high-water search for fulfillment.
An "at-risk" student is generally described as one who, by virtue of his or her circumstances, is statistically more likely than others to fail academically. The criteria of at-risk status often focus on ethnic minorities, those who are academically disadvantaged, disabled, of low socioeconomic status, and students who experience dysfunction in the family. Students who are labeled "at-risk" face a number of challenges that other students do not. Though an "at-risk" student is not necessarily doomed to be a poor learner, the odds are they will be underachievers for whom higher learning is often not even a feasible concept. Author Paul Lamar Hunter's tragic background clearly painted him "at-risk," yet in his later years he triumphantly overcame the dismal odds against his obtaining a college degree, as he became the first in his family to do so.
"Hey, what's up, come a little closer, I have something to tell you," God said to Cornelio. The deal was simple: God would be the silent partner in the norteño band that Cornelio had started with his best friend Ramon. Cornelio would sing and play the bajo sexto, Ramon the accordion, and God would write the songs. Cornelio agreed; he would sell his soul to God.
Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s classic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Mitzi Szereto’s The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray continues where Wilde left off with the Faustian tale of a man of eternal youth and great physical beauty who lives a life of corruption, decadence and hedonism. Leaving behind London and the powerful influence of Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian’s story begins in the bordellos of Jazz-Age Paris, moving to the opium dens of Marrakesh and the alluring anonymity of South America. In his pursuit of sensation and carnal thrills, Dorian’s desires turn increasingly extreme as he leaves behind yet more devastation and death. He ultimately settles in present-day New Orleans, joining forces with a group of like-minded beings known as the Night People. They inadvertently return to Dorian his humanity when he falls in love with a young woman he rescues from becoming their victim. Will she be his redemption or will she be his final curse?
Alice Munro wins the Nobel Prize in Literature, Eleanor Catton wins the Man Booker Prize for her book The Luminaries and The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner.
Savior's Day is a work of fiction taken out of today's headlines. Cardinal Arnold Ford, head of the Archdiocese of New York, witnesses a murder on the steps of St. Patrick's Cathedral. With the old man's dying breath, he hands the Cardinal a sliver of ancient parchment to keep and protect. What follows is a tale woven from an open case that Israel's vaunted spy agency, the Mossad, is afraid to solve. What do they fear? How can the lost pages of an ancient treasure threaten the very existence of the State of Israel?
The Lion Seeker by Kenneth Bonert (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 15, 2013) is the coming-of-age story of the irrepressible Isaac Helger, son of Jewish immigrants, surviving the streets of Johannesburg in the shadow of World War II. Bonert is an amazing new voice in fiction, the kind you come across only very rarely in a lifetime of reading. 
Book Publishing for Entrepreneurs: Secrets From a New York Publisher by Karen Strauss In this insider's guide to publishing author Karen Strauss reveals secrets that unlock the mysteries of the industry to ensure a successful publication. You, too, can reap the benefits of publishing to make you a RockStar in your industry. Written with the entrepreneur in mind, Strauss delivers the tools you need to be a professional author and to make your book your strongest marketing tool. Strauss takes you from delivery of manuscript to providing social media networking and worldwide distribution. If you're thinking that you want to write a book but you don't have the time, talent or the connections. Think again! Strauss' invaluable hints will make publishing your book an adventure and a success. 00:00 Book Talk Intro – DJ Kory 04:48 Your Light Is Spent – Final Fantasy 07:51 Interview with Karen Strauss Part 1 30:33 He Poos Clouds – Final Fantasy 34:03 Interview with Karen Strauss Part 2 52:28 This Is the Dream of Win and Regine – Final Fantasy 57:00 Finish Upcoming Events: “Best Practices For Self-Publishing” Tuesday, October 29, 2013 Ripley-Grier Studios, Room 16T, 520 8th Ave., New York, NY Doors open at 8:30 AM, Program starts promptly at 9:00am and end at 5:00pm 2:30 – 3:30pm “Distribution and Sales: Selling Your Book: the Harsh Facts & Some Tips” Final Fantasy Upcoming Shows: There are no upcoming shows scheduled at this time.
There is an oil debate going on on both sides of the border (that being USA and Canada) around a proposal that has us piping black gold from Northern Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. Should it happen?
Images of Red Hook is a visual representation of this unique part of Brooklyn but is much more than simply a gallery of photos. Containing over 120 color images of industrial sites (some long-gone), urban mosaics, close-ups, panoramas, a sunset or two, and cranes, lots of cranes – this book provides an in-depth view of this fascinating and vibrant place.
This week on Book Talk DJ Kory takes a look at some of the best summer moments as well as the upcoming book-related events this fall.
Rob Goldstein Author of 51 Colors of Seduction Sexcapades of a Committed Couple discusses falling into one of five sexual zones, and by using these zones you can take your sex life to a whole new level. Can a Zone 1 last with a Zone 5? Or are you both Zone 3s on a quest to enter Zone 5? 
Friend In Your Pocket Conversations Session will have readers intrigued to do something different leaving an impact. Short, sweet, sincere and to the point, Friend In Your Pocket has no fluff. As long as Author Qwana Reynolds keeps breathing the “Friend In Your Pocket” franchise will tackle relevant questions and situations people may ponder daily with vigor, real life examples, quotes, humor and experiments. Qwana Reynolds is a woman with the gift for word that will influence everyone who sees or hears her spoken or unspoken words. 
Two years ago I went up to the boys’ bedroom to find the three of them huddled around the computer. I look over their shoulder and to my shock and horror, they have accessed YouTube©. Prior to this fateful afternoon, the boys had never ventured off the pages I had bookmarked. Without any notes home to the parents, without any education surrounding the risks and threats of the internet, my first grader's music teacher had introduced the class to YouTube©. Here they sat innocently searching for "the milkshake dance."
Yvette Heyliger is an award-winning, grant-winning playwright, a director, and a producing artist/partner in her own company, Twinbiz.
George Cameron Grant is the internationally produced author of 10 full-length plays, over 20 one acts, and countless monologues. In his latest full-length play, Sanctuary: A Mystery of Faith and Forgiveness, George navigates the unchartered spiritual waters of abortion.
A memoir of haunting and redemptive events covers such topics as a con-man father's betrayal; the murder-suicide of a houseguest and a decade spent in the arctic as a translator of Inuit tales.
Man versus Ball follows Hart’s adventures around the country as he undertakes new missions, often with unexpected results. He becomes a pro wrestler, learning “fake” moves that all but land him in the hospital after a body slam went awry. He plays an entire season for a championship semipro football team, suits up as a U.S. Open ball boy for three years, and is an “amateur caddie” for a Professional Golfers’ Association tournament. After attending mascot school, he performs in a neon gorilla suit in front of several thousand fans at a minor league hockey game. He works as a vendor at several venues around the country, hawking concessions while fending off drunken fans. He even earns a bit of glory for himself, leading his roller basketball league in rebounds for two consecutive seasons. Feeling confident, he takes part in the World Cup of roller soccer, which is soccer on in-line skates. All this prepares him for his moment of truth: a race up the 1,576 stairs of the Empire State Building.
Tangled Up in New York: Shakedown on the Streets is the inspirational, hilarious, and strange saga of a forty-eight year-old salesman who bagged his day job to hustle books on the streets. From Memorial Day through Halloween, Howard “Catfish” Weiner hauled his Dylan/Dead memoirs from Battery Park to Yankee Stadium in search of an audience for his prose.  Along the way, Catfish becomes one with his oppressive environment, fusing with the strange brew of humanity stampeding along the steamy asphalt jungle. This is the quintessential and timeless tale of a New Yorker pressing on against all odds to manifest destiny, on his own terms. 
A total of seven anthologies of The Best Plays from the Strawberry One-Act Festival, these anthologies are compiled by Artistic Director Van Dirk Fisher and feature one-act plays from all over the country that capture the heartbeat of American Theatre. Included in this week’s interview is Kristen Seavey, playwright, actor model and performer, whose play “The Losing Game” was featured in Strawberry in 2010.
What makes things popular? If you said advertising, think again. People don’t listen to advertisements; they listen to their peers. But why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?
Our hero Nathan Wavelsky moves into the burbs with his wife. Life is good. He’s a successful slacker. He doesn’t want to rock the boat. His definition of a good time is listening to his favorite bands on his iPod and staring at the grass and the poplar trees in his backyard.
Like film, literature has been no stranger to marijuana and hashish, going back to Charles Baudelaire’s 1860 Artificial Paradises, in which the French poet not only describes the effects of hashish but postulates it could be an aid in creating an ideal world. The pleasures, pains, and complexities of marijuana are more than hinted at in works by William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, Hunter S. Thompson, and Thomas Pynchon, to name just a few, and I hope this anthology will add to that legacy and keep the flame of pot literature burning bright...
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House-the sources for the films The Social Network and 21-comes the larger-than-life true tale of a group of American college buddies who brilliantly built a billion-dollar online poker colossus based out of the hedonistic paradise of Costa Rica. One problem: the U.S. Department of Justice was gunning for them…
Reintroducing hard-boiled detective Ben Drake to a whole new generation, By the Balls: The Complete Collection assembles all the early writing of Jim Pascoe and Tom Fassbender—including the bowling alley murder mystery that launched crime fiction house UglyTown—in a redesigned 15th anniversary edition. This deluxe package contains the two underground cult-classic novels By the Balls and Five Shots and a Funeral, along with two brand-new short stories, a new introduction, and over a dozen short essays by industry luminaries.
In this epic, mythical debut novel, a newly wed couple escapes the busy confusion of their homeland for a distant and almost-uninhabited lakeshore. They plan to live there simply, to fish the lake, to trap the nearby woods, and build a house upon the dirt between where they can raise a family. But as their every pregnancy fails, the child-obsessed husband begins to rage at this new world: the song-spun objects somehow created by his wife’s beautiful singing voice, the giant and sentient bear that rules the beasts of the woods, the second moon weighing down the fabric of their starless sky, and the labyrinth of memory dug into the earth beneath their house. A powerful exploration of the limits of parenthood and marriage—and of what happens when a marriage’s success is measured solely by the children it produces, or else the sorrow that marks their absence.
Former academic Arthur Opp weighs 550 pounds and hasn’t left his rambling Brooklyn home in a decade. Twenty miles away, in Yonkers, seventeen-year-old Kel Keller navigates life as the poor kid in a rich school and pins his hopes on what seems like a promising baseball career–if he can untangle himself from his family drama. The link between this unlikely pair is Kel’s mother, Charlene, a former student of Arthur’s. After nearly two decades of silence, it is Charlene’s unexpected phone call to Arthur–a plea for help–that jostles them into action. Through Arthur and Kel’s own quirky and lovable voices, Heft tells the winning story of two improbable heroes whose sudden connection transforms both their lives. Like Elizabeth McCracken’s The Giant’s House, Heft is a novel about love and family found in the most unexpected places.
Ellie McEnroe is back in HOUR OF THE RAT, the sequel to Lisa Brackmann’s smash hit debut, Rock Paper Tiger a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Eager to shed the haunting memories of the last year, Ellie agrees to do a favor for an old war buddy that gets her out of Beijing (and away from her mother, who has long overstayed her welcome). The breathtaking Chinese countryside is totally worth the endless hours of train travel, and Ellie is just starting to relax. But there are depths to this favor that she couldn’t have predicted, and soon Ellie finds herself in the middle of a bottomless conspiracy that threatens millions of lives—including her own.
When syndicated columnist Tracy Beckerman trades in her TV job and cool NYC existence for the New Jersey suburbs, she doesn’t expect to also trade in her entire identity. But her new life as a stay-at-home mom knocks her for a loop in more ways than one. From the embarrassment of being ticketed while driving in her bathrobe to the challenge of making friends in the land of big hair and minivans, Beckerman shares her struggles with self-deprecating humor as she endeavors to reclaim her “cool.”
The Morel – Arthur, Penny, and Will – are a happy family of three living in New York City. So why would Arthur choose to publish a book that brutally rips his tightly knit family unit apart at the seams? Arthur’s old schoolmate Chris, who narrates the book, is fascinated with this very question as he becomes accidentally reacquainted with Arthur. A single, aspiring filmmaker who works in a movie theater, Chris envies everything Arthur has, from his beautiful wife to his charming son to his seemingly effortless creativity. But things are not always what they seem.
This is a story about accepting the people we love—the people we have to love and the people we choose to love, the families we’re given and the families we make. It’s the story of two women adrift in New York, a widow and an almost orphan, each searching for someone she’s lost. It’s the story of how, even in moments of grief and darkness, there are joys waiting nearby.
Viktor Mayer-Schonberger is the Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at the University of Oxford. His research focuses on the role of information in a networked economy. Earlier he spent ten years on the faculty of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Professor Mayer-Schonberger has published seven books, as well as over a hundred articles (including in Science) and book chapters. His most recent book is the best-selling "Big Data" (co-authored with Kenneth Cukier).
A little bit of history and a little bit of science. Book Talk discusses to re-releases from the 30s that represent the polar societies in America of that time--one written by Woody Guthrie and the other written by John O’Hara. At the end of the show, I look at how Bill Bryson was able to write a science book that explains everything in our universe while never taking a science class in his adult life.
What’s new in NYC’s literary world? The upcoming launch of The National Digital Public Library, books discovered in the Lanza household in Newtown, CT, and an investigative report on one of the worst corruptions in recent legal history.
Written by a non-scientist for non-scientists, the book explains how feelings, emotions, memories, love, fear and more are processed by our brains. Dina explores how the mind creates feelings and explains how readers can live in harmony with their feelings for a more fulfilling life.
As part of Reunion Week here on BreakThru Radio, Book Talk will discuss some of English Literature’s most classic novels featuring a reuniting. One part realist Victorian Lit (Wuthering Heights), one part Fantasy (The Princess Bride) and one part American Literature (Shoeless Joe) the story of reuniting lovers, family and friends is a repeated plot in some of our greatest books.
Who knew there was so much writing out there on Hair? On Book Talk, I look at two books that use hair as their subject—one, an attempt to understand the personal and political behind our own psychological handling of hair and, in the other, a study of the role hair has played in cultural and civil history. In addition to hair week, I take a brief look at a new Kerouac biography and a literary critic book on the survival of the print literary journal.
In terms of “Danger” in literature, who else does it better than “Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang?” As part of our look into danger this week on BreakThru Radio, I examine the pop cultural phenomenon that is James Bond. How did this suave man of mystery become the billion-dollar film and literature business it has? I also look at the dangerous pastime of baseball. Believe it or not, baseball can be hazardous to your health. In 2007, baseball professors Robert M. Gorman and David Weeks published an account of all the deaths in baseball over the last 150 years. Finally, in tribute to all those backpackers and risky travelers out there, I examine two books that detail some of the most dangerous spots on Earth.
After her infant son is kidnapped, Beverley Cottrell’s marriage fails. Years later, could a mysterious, lurking young man be her long-lost son?
Jesse Sheidlower is a well-educated writer, scholar, and Oxford English Dictionary editor living in New York City. He has written an entire book dedicated to the word fuck and today on Book Talk he helps us better understand how words are born, defined, and die in the English language.
It all began in a blizzard on his way to see the Grateful Dead in Philadelphia. Twenty-seven years later, in 2009, Howard "Catfish" Weiner's road rhapsody landed him in Las Vegas for his 100th Bob Dylan show. Tangled Up In Tunes is the memoir of how 300 nights with Dylan and the Dead changed his life. A ramblin' man seeking identity in conformist times, Catfish clung to the music that inspired him. As an eyewitness to a legacy of historical performances, Catfish delivers a distinctive tale of American spirit.
It’s February, and that means Black History Month. There has been a lot of great African American writers over the last three or four centuries in America, and a lot of the time they don’t get as much attention and respect as they should. For this February show, I take a look at four classic African American writers that we all need to know about and read as part of our duty as lit fans in this country.
Jerry Stahl is the author of six books, including the memoir Permanent Midnight (made into a movie with Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson) and the novels I, Fatty and Pain Killers. Formerly the culture columnist for Details, Stahl's fiction and journalism have appeared in Esquire, the New York Times, and the Believer, among other places. He has worked extensively in film and television and, most recently, wrote Hemingway & Gellhorn, starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman, for HBO.
The Law of Strings and Other Stories is an existential yelp examining individual choices and our all-too-human response to unexpected events. Fans of George Saunders and Aimee Bender will delight in Gillis’ surprising surrealist twists in the heart of painfully real emotion and interpersonal relationships. From a tightrope walker abandoning his trade to an Immovable Girl learning to levitate, The Law of Strings explores what happens at the crossroads in our lives and how we decide what matters most in a world defined by chaos.
Stoney Nix can play anything, from Beethoven to the Blues, on his old rattletrap piano. It’s just a gift, and a good one. Music is his ticket out of Pinewood, Alabama, his ironic, dying hometown, where they reenact the Civil War but cancel marching band because it’s too small. Then Sadie Green, the hilarious and beautiful new girl (and Stoney’s major crush), convinces him to fight in the fake Civil War battle. What happens there will haunt Stoney forever—and only through voices of the past, struggle, friendship, and his music, will Stoney find himself. A collection of six raucous short stories about growing up—starring a vagabond uncle hellbent on corrupting his nephew, and a jazz musician stuck in a saxophone factory, and a crew of regulars watching their town take away their bar, just to name a few.
It’s not easy for a messiah to grow up in the Badlands of North Dakota. And it’s even harder for him to share his message when radical ideas and so-called “miracles” are the surest way to get the FBI breathing down your neck. The sequel to Nazareth, North Dakota, Apostle Islands follows Sam Davidson and his group of roughneck followers as they save wedding receptions, cure cancer patients, and boost a flagging fishing season, all while breaking bread and laws and making peace and enemies.
2012 was a tough year for a lot of people. For others – it was one of the best. Only 5 days into 2013, I take a moment to pause and reflect on some of the best moments of Book Talk in 2012.