Books And Ideas

Spinning on Air

The Improbable Delights of Industrial Musicals

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Steve Young, a writer for The Late Show with David Letterman, and musician/writer/artist Sport Murphy have been marveling at and collecting Industrial Musical LPs for years, and now they've created a lavish, humorous coffee table book titled Everything's Coming Up Profits: The Golden Age of Industrial Musicals. David Garland welcomes Young and Murphy to the WNYC Studio to talk about and play examples of this music from a time when corporations wooed, soothed, and inspired their workforce with staged, costumed musicals featuring bouncy, razzle-dazzle songs about selling, buying, silicone, tractors, bathroom fixtures, air conditioners, or whatever was most germane.

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Studio 360

English Class: Hold the Literature?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Many teachers are afraid classic works of fiction are about to lose ground to nonfiction in English classes, replaced by historical documents, newspaper articles, and even instruction manuals.  That fear is a result of the Common Core Sate Standards Initiative, a new set ...

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David Mitchell ‘Pole Vaults’ to Cloud Atlas

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Praised for being inventive and original, the 2004 novel Cloud Atlas written by David Mitchell tells a story through six separate but related narratives, each set in a different time and place, and written in a different style. He spoke with WNYC's Leonard Lopate about the inspiration behind the book.


WQXR Features

Six Summer Reads for Classical Music Fans

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


Summer is prime season for reading. Whether you are headed to the beach or to your backyard, here are six recommendations for new music-related books to bring with you:

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The Brian Lehrer Show

The Maid's Daughter

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mary Romero, professor of Justice Studies and Social Inquiry at Arizona State University and author of The Maid's Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream, tells the story of Olivia, who comes to the U.S. to live with her mother, and encounters the difficulty of growing up around privilege she doesn't share.  

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Context and a Movie: "The Help"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Help, based on the popular book by the same name, opened in movie theaters yesterday. Sheri Parks, professor of American studies at the University of Maryland and author of Fierce Angels: The Strong Black Woman in American Life and Culture, and David Edelstein, film critic for New York magazine and NPR's Fresh Air, provide historical and cultural context for the book and new feature film.

Listeners: Did you see the movie yet? Did you read the book? What are your thoughts about "The Help"? Call us or comment here!

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Talk to Me

Talk To Me: A Happy Beginning for Happy Ending

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Happy Ending Music & Reading Series June 8 performance at Joe’s Pub marked the launch of Happy Ending’s partnership with Yaddo, an artists’ working community based in Saratoga Springs, New York.


Talk to Me

Talk to Me: New Orleans as Paradox

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


New Orleans manages to leave a mark, good or bad, on its tourists, natives, and those who've decided to take up roots there. Most people who visit have a great time, but many can attest to how the city's unique insular culture, history and traditions can be as frustrating as they are fascinating. As part of the 2011 Pen World Voices Festival of International Literature, five distinguished New Orleans writers — Sarah Broom, Richard Campanella, Nicholas Lemann, Fatima Sheik and Billy Sothern — recently read selections from their published books and essays.



I'll Take 'New York City Public Schools' For $500

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two New York City public school teachers, Matt Polazzo of Manhattan's Stuyvesant High School and Catilin Milat of Brooklyn's Achievement First Apollo Elementary School, have been selected to compete against 13 contestants in a national two-week teachers' trivia contest on "Jeopardy!"

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The Takeaway

Upcoming 'Huckleberry Finn' Edition Replaces 'N-Word'

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A new edition of Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" is being published in February, replacing the "n-word," which shows up 219 times in the original edition. Instead the publisher, New South Books, uses the word "slave." New South's editor-in-chief, Randall Williams, told The Takeaway that removing the racial slur isn’t censorship.


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The Takeaway

Predictor of Financial Crisis Dispenses Bite-Sized Wisdom

Monday, December 13, 2010

Nassim Taleb is the philosopher and former trader who correctly predicted that the mathematical models Wall Street used to measure risk would lead to a massive financial crisis. His new book, ‘The Bed of Procrustes,’ scrutinizes the economy, as well as human knowledge and values. The book features "practical and philosophical aphorisms," and includes fortune-cookie sized sentences that attempt to "expose self-delusions you have been living with but have never recognized."


Selected Shorts

Great Expectations

Sunday, December 12, 2010

In this week's episode of Selected Shorts, we have three stories to offer that center around the theme of parental expectations—two by outstanding American short story writers, and one by a leading figure in the new generation of Israeli writers.

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Talk to Me

Writers Discuss Dreams and Ambitions at Happy Ending

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The work of Jennifer Egan, Julia Holmes, Teddy Wayne and Elizabeth and the Catapult was on display at the Happy Ending Music & Reading Series last month.



Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia

Monday, November 29, 2010

WNYC interviews Novelist Michael Korda about his new biography of T. E. Lawrence, "Hero."

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The Takeaway

For Children of Immigrants, 'Home' is a Complex Concept

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

As part of our week-long series, we speak with two immigrant writers whose parents were forced to flee their homelands because of political unrest, and came to rest in America. Both live outside the U.S. now, and both say their notion of "home" has become ... portable.



Newsweek and The Daily Beast Announce Merger

Friday, November 12, 2010

American news institution, meet bright reporting Web site. Tina Brown will be the editor-in-chief of the newly-formed Newsweek Daily Beast Company.


The Takeaway

George Washington: A New History

Friday, October 08, 2010

Ron Chernow has written about big names in American history, including Rockefeller, JP Morgan, Alexander Hamilton. His latest book examines one of the biggest names in American history: George Washington. The book is called "Washington: A Life," and in it, Chernow illustrates a man of conscience, humility and duty.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Plane Living

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Writer and philosopher Alain de Botton discusses his new book A Week at the Airport and what he learned as "writer-in-residence" at Heathrow airport.


The Takeaway

Summer Reading: Mona Simpson's 'My Hollywood'

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

We're continuing our summer reading series with a look at modern parenthood and childcare. Mona Simpson's new book, "My Hollywood," looks at the relationship between modern parents and the nannies they hire to take care of their kids. 


The Takeaway

The Evolution of E-Books and Our Literary Future

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What would our world look like without paperback books? One publishing company has taken one step closer to the reality of eliminating paperback books entirely. Dorchester Publishing has decided to change its printing schedule, focusing first on e-books, followed by a print-on-demand run of paperbacks. The question is: will this be the trend for paperback book publishers to follow?

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