Craig Venter on Synthetic Genomics; Director Costa-Gavras; Boz Scaggs on "Memphis"; Peter Carey

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Craig Venter was the first person to sequence the human genome. On today’s show: He talks about creating life in the new field of synthetic genomics. Oscar-winning director Costa-Gavras discusses “Capital,” his fast-paced film set in the high-stakes world of global finance. Boz Scaggs on his new album, “Memphis,” which is a kind of love letter to that city. Peter Carey joins us for this month’s Book Club! We’ve been reading his 1988 Booker Prize-winning novel, Oscar and Lucinda.


J. Craig Venter on Synthetic Genomics and the Future

Renowned scientist J. Craig Venter explains the new field of synthetic genomics, detailing its origins, current challenges and controversies, and projected effects on our lives. In 2010, scientists led by Venter became the first to successfully create “synthetic life,” and  he looks at how it can lead to chemical and energy generation, health, clean water and food production, and possibly even our own evolution. In Life at the Speed of Light, Venter presents a study of this emerging field from the inside.

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Costa-Gavras on "Capital"

Academy Award winning director Costa-Gavras discusses his latest film, “Capital,” a high-paced drama set in the world of global finance. It’s a pointed commentary on how the Darwinian world of contemporary capitalism, and stars Gad Elmaleh, Gabriel Byrne, and Liya Kebede. “Capital” opens October 25 at the Paris and Regal Union Square.

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Boz Scaggs on "Memphis"

Rock legend Boz Scaggs talks about his latest album, "Memphis," a love letter of sorts to the album's namesake city that showcases both original songs and choice covers.  William Royce “Boz” Scaggs began a long and storied career in 1965 with the release of his first solo recording “Boz.” He developed into an iconic singer songwriter, playing with Steve Miller and honing his rock and R&B chops working with the likes of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and Duane Allman.


October's Book: Oscar and Lucinda, by Peter Carey

Oscar and Lucinda is Peter Carey's Booker Prize-winning 1988 novel, that tells the story of an unusual romance in 19th-century Australia. Oscar is a nervous Anglican minister, and Lucinda is an heiress who impulsively buys a glass factory, and the two share a guilty passion for gambling. The story culminates in a crazy expedition to transport a glass church across the Outback.

Buy, borrow, or download the book today and start reading now so you can join the conversation with Peter Carey! You can leave your thoughts and questions about the book as a comment, below.

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Guest Picks: Boz Scaggs

Legendary musician Boz Scaggs was on the Lopate Show on October 21 to talk about his latest album, "Memphis." He let us know who he's been listening to lately.


Questions for Peter Carey

What are your favorite books/who are your favorite authors?

     The library is too big for favorites. Recently I have enjoyed Donna Tartt's new novel, John Ralston Saul's Voltaire's Bastards, David Graeber's Debt, Chris Adrian's The Children's Hospital.


What authors or works do you think are underappreciated or overlooked?

     The Great Australian writer Helen Garney. Go out and buy The Spare Room now.


Do you have any writing rituals or habits? Where, when, and how do you write?

     Clean teeth. Put on shoes. Make coffee. Write with my nose.


Do you have favorite or least favorite words? What are they and why?

     MBA words of any sort—incentivise for instance. Ultilitarian, ugly words like "de-glove."


Are there certain kinds of characters or stories you’re drawn to in your own work?

     Obsessive people, angry people, anyone with dangerous levels of energy.


What's the last great thing you read/saw/listened to?

     Rachel Kusher's The Flame Throwers.


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