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Mapping the Brain, The Astor Orphan, Billy Ray Cyrus, Madame Bovary on the Book Club

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dr. Eric Kandel talks about the Obama Administration’s plans to jump start efforts to map the human brain. Alexandra Aldrich, a direct descendent of John Jacob Astor, talks about her eccentric, fractured family. Billy Ray Cyrus describes his family and how his turbulent childhood led him to country music. Lydia Davis joins us for this month’s Leonard Lopate Show Book Club to discuss her translation of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.

Mapping the Brain

Dr. Eric Kandel, Director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science and co-director of the Mind Brain Behavior Institute at Columbia University Medical Center, discusses the federal brain mapping project that President Obama announced this month, aimed at understanding problems like  epilepsy, autism, and Alzheimer's disease. He’ll explain the challenges of brain research and discuss whether this project will advance brain science.

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The Astor Orphan, a Memoir

Alexandra Aldrich, a direct descendant of John Jacob Astor, discusses her eccentric, fractured family. In her memoir, The Astor Orphan, she reaches back to the Gilded Age, when the Astor legacy began to come undone, leaving the Aldrich branch of the family penniless and squabbling over what was left.

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Update from Boston

Los Angeles Times reporter Andrew Tangel joins us from Boston, where he’s covering the aftermath of the explosions at the Boston Marathon yesterday.

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Billy Ray Cyrus and His Hillbilly Heart

Country music star Billy Ray Cyrus talks about his life and finding his own way to faith, family, and music. His memoir Hillbilly Heart tells of his turbulent childhood in Kentucky, where he sought refuge in music and sports after his parents’ divorce. When he heard a voice telling him to get a left-handed guitar and start a band, he found his cause. Cyrus looks back at his stratospheric breakthrough with “Achy Breaky Heart.”

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April's Book: Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary, Translated by Lydia Davis

Madame Bovary, one of the most celebrated novels ever written, defined the novel as an art form when it was published in 1875. Lydia Davis’s landmark translation of Flaubert’s work breathes new life into it. When it was first published, Madame Bovary was embraced by bourgeois women who felt it illuminated the frustrations of their lives. It tells the story of Emma Rouault, whose dreams of a passionate life crumble when she marries a dull, provincial doctor Charles Bovary. She struggles to escape the tedium of her days as a wife and mother. She has a series of disappointing affairs and spends money getting into debt, with tragic consequences for her husband and daughter.

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Guest Picks: Billy Ray Cyrus

Billy Ray Cyrus was on the Leonard Lopate Show recently to talk about his family, his career, and yes, his "Achy Breaky Heart." He also told us what he's a fan of!

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