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51 minutes | Nov 16, 2021
Radical Empathy – Terri E. Givens
We are all impacted by racism and bias, but we can train ourselves to see each other differently. Author Terri Givens uses examples from her family history and her own life as examples of how to develop a new perspective on race without losing sight of the past. The path Givens lays out for us begins with a willingness to be vulnerable. It ends with creating change and building trust. The process, she explains, is gradual and achievable. And, Givens says, can be hopeful.
50 minutes | Sep 28, 2021
All We Can Save - Abigail Dillen
Scientists say we have 10 years to stop, if not reverse, the physical destruction of the earth. Their concerns apply to climate change and to the entire web of our environment. Though the condition of our planet is grave, many people continue to live in complacency. Abigail Dillen is a lawyer and President of Earthjustice, an organization dedicated to fighting for the planet. She is also a contributor to the anthology "All We Can Save" and feels realistic about the Earth’s current condition, if we take the necessary steps to combat global climate change. In this interview, she discusses her work as an environmental attorney and explains the responsibility we all share.
53 minutes | Aug 30, 2021
The Sentinel – Andrew Child
An author works to make a name for himself, and if he’s successful, that name can land on covers in bookstores around the world. So to achieve success as a writer and then change to a different name is a big risk. It seems to be working out just fine for Andrew Child, the author previously known as Andrew Grant. He recently adopted a new pen name to partner with his real-life brother, Lee Child, on the latest book in the popular Jack Reacher novel series, “The Sentinel.” Andrew was already a successful novelist when his brother decided to retire, but he was surprised when Lee asked him to continue the legacy of a series he had enjoyed and admired as a reader. Reacher, the main character, is a drifter who recognizes problems and solves them in his own unique way. The younger Child follows the tradition set by his brother in portraying Reacher as a strategic thinker and physically formidable opponent for villains and bullies. The subject of the 25th novel in the series is cybersecurity, with a focus on ransomware. The plot is a fictionalized version of tech crimes that pop up in the news.
55 minutes | Aug 18, 2021
Already Toast - Kate Washington
More than 50 million people in the United States are caregivers for loved ones. Most are women, and many are women of color. They are often unpaid or underpaid. Caregiving didn’t enter Kate Washingon’s mind in her early forties. She and her husband Brad were focused on their careers – hers as a writer, his as a college professor – and raising their two young daughters. Their lifestyle came to a halt with Brad’s diagnosis of a rare form of lymphoma, accompanied by some equally rare side effects. His treatment spanned several years, during which he temporarily lost his vision, went through stem cell replacement and had to take early retirement. By the time Kate wrote and published her book, Brad was in remission. Kate considers her family fortunate in that they had good medical coverage and the funds to pay for care that was not covered by insurance, but they could not avoid the emotional strain of the situation. As an online stress assessment revealed to Kate, “You’re already toast.”
58 minutes | Jul 29, 2021
Hook, Line, and Supper – Hank Shaw
Hank Shaw has a lifelong love for fish. He gets excited about the catch. “The tug is the drug,” as he says. Every kind of fish has a different “feel” at the other end of the line, and every angler has a way of working the water. But unlike some anglers, Shaw has taken the time to learn the cultures that surround fish. He explores the unique styles of fishing around the globe, and he learns regional techniques for preparation and cooking. Shaw refers to fishing as a skill, but he treats it as a craft, and his artistry is as evident in “Hook, Line and Supper,” as it is in his other books and on his website, Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook. The photographs, paired with Hank’s descriptions, make for a delightful reading experience. This is not a cookbook. Hank Shaw creates an experience that gives his followers a close-up look at how your fillet reached the plate on your table. Even if you never catch a fish in your life, “Hook, Line and Supper” will help you become a wiser consumer of seafood.
45 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
Why To These Rocks - Community of Writers
From its initial poetry gathering in the Sierra to its annual series of writers’ workshops, the Community of Writers celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2021. Instructors and attendees are inspired by the magic of the Olympic Valley. They share insights about their craft. They listen to each others’ stories. They exchange wisdom about the publishing industry. But mostly, they write. The majority of each day is devoted to making magical connections between words. To celebrate this monumental anniversary of the poetry program, the Community of Writers published an anthology entitled “Why To These Rocks.” It includes the work of instructors and attendees from throughout the history of the workshops. Brenda Hillman did not attend the first meeting of poets, but she has been to many of the subsequent gatherings. She now serves as Director of the Poetry Program for the Community of Writers. Blas Falconer first came to the sessions as a participant, and returned as a leader. Hillman and Falconer both teach poetry at the university level throughout the year and meet with other published poets in the Olympic Valley every summer.
56 minutes | Jun 16, 2021
The Body Papers - Grace Talusan
NOTE: This interview contains discussions about sexual assault. The annual arrival of houseguests was a horrifying event for Grace Talusan, who, as a child, was regularly assaulted by one of the visitors. Her memoir “The Body Papers” takes readers into the dark times of her youth, only some of which she can remember, as well as loving times she shared with her parents and niblings. Talusan is open and authentic in relating the effects of the assault on her mental and physical health. She also draws parallels to everyday occurrences – how fear shows up in crossing busy streets and how making yogurt becomes an opportunity to nurture. As a speaker and teacher at the university level, Talusan is mindful of the impact we have on each other. She is a prominent voice for Asian and Pacific Island communities and cancer prevention.
46 minutes | Mar 22, 2021
Family in Six Tones – Lan Cao & Harlan Margaret Van Cao
PTSD. Shell shock. Society has terms to recognize wartime trauma in soldiers and the same terms apply to the long-term effects felt by civilians who are caught in battle. Author Lan Cao was one of those people. She was a child in Vietnam during the war, and she has vivid memories of what she witnessed during those years, including the Tet Offensive in 1968. Cao fled to the U.S. in her early teens, but the trauma did not dissipate. It continued under the surface during her education and her successful career as an attorney and author. Those early experiences in Vietnam are still a part of Cao’s life, and they have filtered into her relationship with her daughter. “Family in Six Tones” is a vehicle that allows each of them to tell their perspective of their experiences. In the process, the pair educates readers on the effects of trauma and the therapy of empathy.
56 minutes | Feb 17, 2021
The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X – Tamara Payne
Malcolm X was an intriguing leader of the Black Power movement in the early 1960s, in part because of two sides of his persona – charismatic and angry. The origins of those traits are part of “The Dead Are Rising,” the biography of Malcolm X compiled by journalist Les Payne and his daughter Tamara Payne. Malcolm Little was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1925. His parents, active followers of the teachings of Marcus Garvey, taught their eight children to take pride in their African and Caribbean heritage. Within a few years, the family would endure the brutal bias of the Ku Klux Klan, including the loss of land ownership and, Malcolm believed, the death of his father. As young adults, the Little siblings followed in their father’s footsteps as community organizers, albeit in a different direction. They became devout followers of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI). Malcolm became a national spokesperson for the organization, though he eventually questioned Muhammad’s leadership and began to study how Islam was practiced in the Middle East and in Africa. It was a transformative experience shortly before his assassination in 1965. The identity of his killer is one of many questions explored by the Paynes in “The Dead Are Arising.” The scenes leading up to that event read like a movie script. The authors provide a detailed timeline and in-depth interviews with people witnessed Malcolm’s murder.
63 minutes | Jan 15, 2021
The Lager Queen of Minnesota – J. Ryan Stradal
It starts with the unequal distribution of inheritance through the sale of a family farm. It ends with two sisters and a granddaughter finding peace in their passion for brewing beer. The women in this story are devoted to their craft, although not always to each other. Their journey will resonate with families of any background in any part of the world. Beer lovers will appreciate the attention to detail author J. Ryan Stradal brings to this novel, in which he pays tribute to his native Minnesota from his adopted home of Los Angeles. His ingrained love for family and tradition is gently blended with humor and a deep understanding of the grieving process. In “The Lager Queen of Minnesota,” Stradal has developed a story that draws us in and reminds us of what is truly important. What comes through in this interview, as in his writing, is Stradal’s appreciation of his roots. Blood is thicker than water, and apparently, so is beer.
26 minutes | Dec 9, 2020
Celebrating The Gift Of Reading
In Iceland, December is a celebration of books. Jolabokaflod, which translates to “yule book flood,” is a tradition that dates back to war time and rationing, where people gave books as gifts during the holiday season because there was no shortage of paper. For this final episode of 2020, CapRadio Reads is taking a 75-year-old holiday tradition and extending it to all the holidays of this winter solstice month. In this podcast, you’ll hear from past CapRadio Reads authors, such as Alka Joshi and Georgeanne Brennan, on the books they like to give as gifts. And you’ll hear from CapRadio staff members about their favorite reads to share.
45 minutes | Nov 13, 2020
The Shame Game – Mary O’Hara
Poverty is more than a lack of money. Journalist Mary O'Hara says it also includes the psychological strain of being shamed by society and government. “The Shame Game” explores the long history of poverty in the United States and the United Kingdom and unsuccessful solutions pursued. O'Hara's childhood and adolescence give context to the data. The history of shame need not be perpetuated, according to O'Hara. By changing the narrative, people who live in poverty can improve how they see their place in society. The goal is to change the wording and attitudes of government agencies who provide services. O'Hara's Project Twist-It advances the conversation by encouraging gatherings and events that look beyond income levels and focus instead on the shared experiences of communities.
65 minutes | Oct 26, 2020
Gretchen Sorin - Driving While Black
The dangers of travel are not new to African-Americans. In slavery and in freedom, movement has posed threats. Automobile ownership provided some safety and reduced the exposure to racism, but with caveats. “Driving While Black” offers the history of mobility and the network of resources available to African-American travelers. It explains the famous Green Book, but it goes far beyond that guide. As a historian, professor and museum exhibition curator, Dr. Gretchen Sorin understands the value of oral history. The gravity of racism is interspersed with remembrances of vacations and family gatherings, her own and those of others. The book documents mobility through the Civil Rights movement, but the story continues. “I want people to say, ‘I must get involved. I must do something. I must respond,’” Sorin said in this interview. In the final pages of “Driving While Black,” activists and police weigh in on law enforcement-community relations.
48 minutes | Oct 9, 2020
Ruchika Tomar – A Prayer for Travelers
A road trip is a rite of passage at any age. For Cale and Penny, recent high school graduates who grew up in the Nevada desert, the road has defined them and mapped their future. Their desire to explore has also led to a lot of trouble. Ruchika Tomar’s “A Prayer for Travelers” reminds us of the people we grew up with and the mistakes that can be made as we come of age. Her portraits of the desert make you want to start your own adventure right away, while the events she describes will make you wish to turn back. Authors say their manuscripts have a way of emerging from the page in a way that surprises them. As this story played out, and Tomar became better acquainted with her characters, she knew she felt strongly about seeing their story through to the end. The process of writing “A Prayer for Travelers” was almost as intriguing as the plot, as Tomar initially had no idea it would take 10 years to complete the book.
59 minutes | Aug 20, 2020
Alka Joshi - The Henna Artist
Lakshmi is The Henna Artist, a 30-year-old woman who escapes an abusive, arranged marriage and builds a career working with the city’s elite circle. She doesn’t know she has a younger sister until the 13-year-old shows up on her doorstep … accompanied by Lakshmi’s estranged husband. This tale is rich in culture and tradition. Readers will appreciate the accounts of family, of compassion, of herbal healing, of negotiation. We witness Lakshmi’s evolution as a business woman. Every character in the book goes through some degree of transition, often an arc of redemption. Alka Joshi is an overnight success 10 years in the making. “The Henna Artist” is her debut novel, which was part of her work toward an MFA in creative writing. It quickly became a book club favorite with a contract for an episodic TV series. Within a year of publication, Joshi wrote the sequel – and this story is ripe for a couple of sequels.
59 minutes | Jul 22, 2020
Devi Laskar - The Atlas of Reds and Blues
Devi Laskar’s debut novel, “The Atlas of Reds and Blues,” is an account of systemic racism. The plot unfolds through a series of random memories and observations. They are the final thoughts of a woman of color who is shot in her driveway in suburban Atlanta. The story loosely reflects Laskar’s experience of a raid on her home.
60 minutes | Jun 24, 2020
Irene Butter - Shores Beyond Shores
In the memoir "Shores Beyond Shores," children of war maintain a bit of innocence in spite of the horror they witness. Irene Butter recalls the warmth of family even during the worst part of the Holocaust. In her early childhood, Irene’s family voluntarily moved to Amsterdam to escape Nazi Germany. Later they were forced to move to prison camps at Westerbork in The Netherlands and Bergen-Belsen in Germany. Through a series of what she calls “miracles,” the family of four stayed together through the war and their imprisonment. In 1945, Irene moved to the U.S. and was followed six months later by some other members of her family. After 40 years of silence, Irene began to discuss her story. Now in her late 80s, she makes presentations to young people who relate to her experience.
39 minutes | Jun 4, 2020
Julia Flynn Siler - The White Devil's Daughters
Julia Flynn Siler illuminates San Francisco history with a profile of the residents of a building near Nob Hill. We follow the managers and residents of Mission Home from 1848 through the 1960s. They survived an earthquake and fire, plague and pandemic, political and gang corruption, and racism. “The White Devil’s Daughters” combines history and biography with photos and descriptions culled from diaries, newspaper articles, and state archives. The stories of resilience are centered in an address on the edge of one of San Francisco’s most prestigious neighborhoods.
4 minutes | May 28, 2020
What to Read - Finding Compassion
Editor’s Note: As Californians continue to stay at home during the Coronavirus crisis, CapRadio Reads has had to postpone some of its live author interviews. Like the rest of the world, we're unsure when those events will return, but in the meantime, we know that books can provide an escape or comfort in trying times. Join Host Donna Apidone as she talks with authors and others about the books that keep us going. Last week, I featured books about compassion and inspiration by well-known authors. These week’s titles are on similar topics, but the writers are not household names.
3 minutes | May 21, 2020
What to Read - Inspired By Simplicity
Editor’s Note: As Californians continue to stay at home during the Coronavirus crisis, CapRadio Reads has had to postpone some of its live author interviews. Like the rest of the world, we're unsure when those events will return, but in the meantime, we know that books can provide an escape or comfort in trying times. Join Host Donna Apidone as she talks with authors and others about the books that keep us going. Sometimes we stumble upon what we need.
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