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September, 2015

9 AM (Mon-Fri)
 

UNDAUNTED COURAGE
by Stephen Ambrose

Read by Doug Hooker. (31 episodes, 08/03/15 – 09/14/15)


Book jacket illustration.From the bestselling author of Band of Brothers and D-Day, the definitive book on Lewis and Clark’s exploration of the Louisiana Purchase, the most momentous expedition in American history and one of the great adventure stories of all time.

In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a voyage up the Missouri River to the Rockies, over the mountains, down the Columbia River to the Pacific Ocean, and back. Lewis and his partner, Captain William Clark, made the first map of the trans-Mississippi West, provided invaluable scientific data on the flora and fauna of the Louisiana Purchase territory, and established the American claim to Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.

Ambrose has pieced together previously unknown information about weather, terrain, and medical knowledge at the time to provide a vivid backdrop for the expedition. Lewis is supported by a rich variety of colorful characters, first of all Jefferson himself, whose interest in exploring and acquiring the American West went back thirty years. Next comes Clark, a rugged frontiersman whose love for Lewis matched Jefferson’s. There are numerous Indian chiefs, and Sacagawea, the Indian girl who accompanied the expedition, along with the French-Indian hunter Drouillard, the great naturalists of Philadelphia, the French and Spanish fur traders of St. Louis, John Quincy Adams, and many more leading political, scientific, and military figures of the turn of the century.

High adventure, high politics, suspense, drama, and diplomacy combine with high romance and personal tragedy to make this outstanding work of scholarship as readable as a novel.

 

THE NIGHT CIRCUS
by Erin Morgenstern

Read by Laura Keyes. (13 episodes, 09/15/15 – 10/01/15)


Book jacket illustration.The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

 

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10 AM (Mon-Fri)

 

A PLACE ON EARTH
by Wendell Berry

Read by Jim Montgomery. (14 episodes, 08/19/15 – 09/07/15)

Book jacket illustration.The rhythms of this novel are the rhythms of the land. A Place on Earth resonates with variations played on themes of change; looping transitions from war into peace, winter into spring, browning flood destruction into greening fields, absence into presence, lost into found. This brings the revised 1983 edition back into print, the next book in our program to put all of Wendell Berry's fiction into print in revised and corrected uniform editions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION
by Sara Houghteling

Read by Rosemary Scalessa. (8 episodes, 09/08/15 – 09/17/15)

Book jacket illustration.A sweeping and sensuous novel of a son’s quest to recover his family’s lost masterpieces, looted by the Nazis during the occupation.
 
Max Berenzon’s father is the most successful art dealer in Paris, owner of the Berenzon Gallery, home to both Picasso and Matisse. To Max’s great surprise, his father forbids him from entering the family business, choosing instead to hire a beautiful and brilliant gallery assistant named Rose Clément. When Paris falls to the Nazis, the Berenzons survive in hiding, but when they return in 1944 their gallery is empty, their priceless collection vanished. In a city darkened by corruption and black martketers, Max chases his twin obsessions: the lost paintings and Rose Clément.

 

 

 

 

HEARING A DIFFERENT DRUMMER
by Benjamin Hirsch

Read by Maurice Glatzer. (10 episodes, 09/18/15 – 10/01/15)

Book jacket illustration.There is something very special and moving in the telling of author Benjamin Hirsch's life story that is much deeper than just his own memoirs; it is like he is here to remind all of us about events that happened long ago. In his well written and inspirational book, "Hearing A Different Drummer: A Holocaust Survivor's Search For Identity", he becomes another voice for the victims of the Nazi extermination camps. It is clear that his voice is needed in today's world that tries to forget, hide or worse yet--to deny the holocaust ever happened.

Hirsch tells us about his childhood in Germany and how his father was arrested in his own home and taken away by the SS and put in a work camp. His mother sends off her older children--three boys and two girls to France to remain in hiding and eventually to find their way to America. His mother keeps her two youngest children with her so the family is broken apart in many ways and not just physically. The author finds out after the war that both his parents and his little sister and brother have been killed in the Nazi Extermination Camps.

Hirsch ends up in Atlanta, Georgia joining the rest of his surviving siblings. He is raised in a supportive Jewish community but he is an orphan none the less and there is all the emotional pain and loss of not knowing what happened to his family. This story is heart wrenching even though the author himself understates the obvious emotions that must have troubled him in his youth or even today.

The bulk of the book focuses on the author's U.S. Army experiences in Germany and his personal search for what happened to his family. In the course of discovering his family history, he reconnects with his Jewish roots and rediscovers his spiritual life. It is a touching account of a young man alone in Europe finding his old country of Germany. However, it is not a home coming since he remembers so little; having been just 6 years old when he was sent off by train before the out break of WWII.

There are some touching moments of reconnections with others from his past in almost miraculous ways and he reunites with the French couple that took him into their home some man long years before. There is so much more that I wanted to know about this man and his life that he left closed or veiled for public reading; it is my hope that his next book takes us on an inner journey to learn more about this most interesting man who also designed memorials to Jewish holocaust victims.

I found myself on a personal level with his story for two reasons. One reason is that I have a six year old grandson and wondered what life would be like if he was suddenly taken away and sent to another country never to see his parents or grandfather again. The other reason deals with my wonderful experiences in Atlanta in 1968 with an Army buddy from Fort Benning. He had relatives there and had asked me to join him for some Jewish holidays with them. I was accepted into their home and at their temple for services and ate at their table afterwards. I was emotionally made to feel so welcomed and loved. I felt like family. That memory still makes me feel, warm inside remembering it.

This book will make you think, feel and have emotions. It also has some lighter moments and is an easy to read book. If you were only going to read one book this coming year make it this one!

The MWSA gives this book its top rating of FIVE STARS! I also give it my personal endorsement!

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10 PM (Mon-Fri)

 

GOD HELP THE CHILD
by Toni Morrison

Read by Darlene French-White. (5 episodes, 08/29/15 – 09/03/15)

Book jacket illustration.Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child is a searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult. At the center: a woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life; but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love until she told a lie that ruined the life of an innocent woman, a lie whose reverberations refuse to diminish . . . Booker, the man Bride loves and loses, whose core of anger was born in the wake of the childhood murder of his beloved brother . . . Rain, the mysterious white child, who finds in Bride the only person she can talk to about the abuse she's suffered at the hands of her prostitute mother . . . and Sweetness, Bride's mother, who takes a lifetime to understand that "what you do to children matters. And they might never forget."

 

 

 

DREAM BOOGIE
by Peter Guralnick

Read by Tom Jowers. (28 episodes, 09/04/15 – 10/06/15)

Book jacket illustration.One of the most influential singers and songwriters of all time, Sam Cooke was among the first to blend gospel music and secular themes--the early foundation of soul music. He was the opposite of Elvis: a black performer who appealed to white audiences, who wrote his own songs, who controlled his own business destiny. No biography has previously been written that fully captures Sam Cooke's accomplishments, the importance of his contribution to American music, the drama that accompanied his rise in the early days of the civil rights movement, and the mystery that surrounds his death. Bestselling author Peter Guralnick tells this moving and significant story, from Cooke's childhood as a choirboy to an adulthood when he was anything but. With appearances by Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, James Brown, Harry Belafonte, Aretha Franklin, Fidel Castro, The Beatles, Sonny and Cher, Bob Dylan, and other central figures of this explosive era, DREAM BOOGIE is a compelling depiction of one man striving to achieve his vision despite all obstacles--and an epic portrait of America during the turbulent and hopeful 1950s and 1960s. The triumph of the book is the vividness with which Peter Guralnick conveys the astonishing richness of the black America of this era--the drama, force, and feeling of the story.


11 PM (Mon-Sat)

DRIVEWAY DIARIES
by Tim Brooks

Read by Jim Montgomery. (6 episodes, 08/31/15 – 09/05/15)

Book jacket illustration.Tim Brookes, a Brit who discovered American atop a bicycle, settled in Burlington, Vermont with a plumb teaching job at the state university and never left. Now director of the writing program at Champlain College, Brookes has compiled a number of winsome essays about moving with his family thirty-five miles out into the country, to grow intellectually among the pure forces of nature then ultimately rue "the balance of power between order and chaos," as Brookes now ruefully philosophizes.

The Driveway Diaries: a Dirt Road Almanac emerged from a regular column Brookes wrote for a local newspaper, and many of his musings about exurbia have been broadcast on National Public Radio's Sunday Weekend Edition, and most recently excerpted in Harper's Magazine. The book chronicles the first seven years of living just beyond the suavities taken for granted in a city, and as the realities of unassisted living supplant the expectations of harmonious enlightenment, Brookes staves off organic dementia by writing eloquently in sixty-three essays about unimproved existence.

The Driveway Diaries is a good pocket guide for anyone who leaves the pavement for greening pastures, and is especially informative of what is waiting for the ecstatic, rejuvenated immigrants fleeing to La Plata County for a modicum of emotional or financial independence. Open space is lovely, and there are certainly moments of bliss living on the land, but it comes at a cost for which most urbanites haven't budgeted and can ill afford.

At first, for Brookes, just finding the quaint old house perched on a hillside overlooking a wooded Vermont valley was paradisical. "Ten acres. In England, where I spent the first half of my live, you can't have ten acres unless you are an Earl, or are sleeping with an Earl, or the outcome of someone else sleeping with an Earl, Brookes says as he begins his journey. "I barely looked at the house. I looked at the land and saw everything my mother had ever planted in a garden, plus everything that she had always wanted to plant in a garden, but had never had garden enough." Thus starts the infatuation that would creep slowly like a rhizome to envelop Brookes and his young family in a form of intuitive self defense.

Precursors to catastrophe begin right away for Brookes and, likewise, for everyone moving to Bayfield or Breen, if they only saw yesterday what they see today. Drought was the first harbinger Brookes saw after closing the deal on his dream life. In Burlington, a city of thirty-eight thousand, rumor had it that Vermont was becoming a drought state, and as Brookes was readying his move from a rented house in town he noticed that the lawn was turning brown and shriveling up, but . . . "Outside Burlington, it quickly became apparent that drought, like serious snow, begins outside the city limits," Brookes observed solemnly. "On closer inspection, all the interesting (if nameless) little bushes and shrubs skirting the house are now slightly less interesting collections of twigs, with an occasional leathery leaf clinging to a twig like an overcooked nacho chip." Brookes immediately figured out what it means to draw water from a well, a well with a falling water table during a prolonged dry spell.

The dream tarnishes for Brookes and his wife, but not before putting up the good fight with moments of splendor over ridiculously simple rewards like triumphing over the icy driveway, beating back a wasp invasion, overcoming the urban construct to kill everything that stings or bites, steeling enough nerve to paint the house rafters clinging to a ladder on uneven ground, and even apologizing to the trees the landscaper suggested removing to improve the view shed. As the cuts were scaring and new cuts were forming, Brookes began to write about his curiously absurd experiences, reminiscent of a castaway writing a journal to keep from losing his mind. The best of his essays are about dirt roads, if you can imagine such a contemplation, and reason enough to go right to Maria's Bookshop and pick up a copy of this confessional.

 

THE HEARTLESS STONE
by Tom Zoellner

Read by Jay Palmer. (13 episodes, 09/07/15 – 09/21/15)

Book jacket illustration.When he proposed to his girlfriend, Tom Zoellner gave what is expected of every American man--a diamond engagement ring. But when the relationship broke apart, he was left with a used diamond that began to haunt him. His obsession carried him around the globe; from the "blood diamond" rings of Africa; to the sweltering polishing factories of India; to mines above the Arctic Circle; to illegal diggings in Brazil; to the London headquarters of De Beers, the secretive global colossus that has dominated the industry for more than a century and permanently carved the phrase "A diamond is forever" on the psyche. An adventure story in the tradition of Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief, The Heartless Stone is a voyage into the cold heart of the world's most unyielding gem.

 

 

 

 

PRIVATE BERLIN
by Nora Roberts

Read by Marty Kwatinetz. (8 episodes, 09/22/15 – 09/30/15)

Book jacket illustration.Private Berlin has the extraordinary pace and international sophistication that has powered The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Patterson's #1 bestseller The Postcard Killers.

IN EUROPE'S MOST DANGEROUS CITY

Chris Schneider is a superstar agent at Private Berlin, Germany headquarters for the world's most powerful investigation firm. He keeps his methods secret as he tackles Private's most high-profile cases-and when Chris suddenly disappears, he becomes Private Berlin's most dangerous investigation yet.

AN INVESTIGATOR IS SEARCHING

Mattie Engel is another top agent at Private Berlin, gorgeous and ruthlessly determined-and she's also Chris's ex. Mattie throws herself headfirst into finding Chris, following leads to the three people Chris was investigating when he vanished: a billionaire suspected of cheating on his wife, a soccer star accused of throwing games, and a nightclub owner with ties to the Russian mob. Any one of them would surely want Chris gone-and one of them is evil enough to want him dead.

AND SHE'S AFTER MORE THAN THE TRUTH

Mattie's chase takes her into Berlin's most guarded, hidden, and treacherous places, revealing secrets from Chris's past that she'd never dreamed of in the time they were lovers. On the brink of a terrifying discovery, Mattie holds on to her belief in Chris-in the face of a horror that could force all of Europe to the edge of destruction and chaos.

James Patterson has taken the European thriller to a masterful new level with Private Berlin, an adrenaline-charged, spectacularly violent and sexy novel with unforgettable characters of dark and complex depths. Private Berlin proves why Patterson is truly the world's #1 bestselling author.

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12 AM (Tues-Sun)


HARD CHOICES
by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Read by Matt Robbins. (31 episodes, 09/01/15 – 10/06/15)

Book jacket illustration.Military historian Brenner (We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah) brings a cinematic style and considerable expertise to this engrossing tale of a behind-enemy-lines mission during the last year of WWII. Conducted by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the predecessor to the modern CIA), the plan was to cut "a carotid artery of the Third Reich," the infamous Brenner Pass through the mountains between Austria and Italy, leaving the German army in Southern Italy isolated. Arguably one of the war's most dangerous operations, it was led two OSS operatives who never met: Stephen Hall, a combat engineer trained in demolitions, who conceived and sold the plan (and himself) to the newly formed OSS; and Howard Chappell, a Fort Benning paratroop trainer recruited by the OSS to train the team of "shadow soldiers" who would infiltrate Nazi Germany under Hall's command. Unfortunately, the main theater of operations had shifted to France by the summer of 1944, and the team was shorted critical logistical support. With thorough research and new interviews, O'Donnell provides an insightful look into the internal struggles of the burgeoning OSS as well as a real-life espionage adventure of bravery, ingenuity and sacrifice.


2AM (Tues-Sun)

CHALKTOWN
by Melinda Haynes

Read by Tom Jowers. (12 episodes, 09/01/15 – 09/13/15)

Book jacket illustration.From the acclaimed author of Mother of Pearl comes the story of Chalktown, an eerily quiet village in George County, Mississippi, where folks communicate with one another solely through chalkboards hanging from their front porches. Sixteen-year-old Hezekiah Sheehand lives down the road with his reckless sister, Arena, his mentally disabled younger brother, Yellababy, and their often cruel mother, Susan-Blair, whose husband has abandoned the family. The mystery of Chalktown calls to Hez, and one day he sets out with Yellababy strapped to his back, determined to divine the key to the chalk. Meanwhile, his family confronts a tragedy that just might pave an unexpected road toward a hopeful future.

 

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FAIRYTALE INTERUPTED
by RoseMarie Terenzio

Read by Gwen Waymon. (7 episodes, 09/15/15 – 09/22/15)

Book jacket illustration.Talking back to John F. Kennedy Jr. was not anything Rose-Marie Terenzio, a girl from the Bronx, ever imagined herself doing. Nevertheless, this is how her relationship with Kennedy began. And in this candid memoir, Terenzio discusses the professional and personal role she played in the lives of JFK Jr. and his wife, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. Wanting relief from the economic stress of her childhood, Terenzio felt lucky when she landed a job as a junior-level publicist with an upscale Manhattan public relations firm; then Kennedy moved into the same office. When Kennedy left to start a magazine, Terenzio became his personal assistant. In September 1995, Kennedy launched the political magazine, George. Terenzio writes, “I hadn’t even turned thirty yet, and I was working with JFK Jr. at the most intriguing magazine in the country, in what seemed like the absolute center of the universe.” Terenzio deftly reconstructs the wonderfully addictive yet strange and high-pressure world in which she worked and that the young couple navigated daily. Terenzio’s captivating story, told with style and grace, chronicles her time with Kennedy within the glorious but often brutal bubble that encircled his world, and what he taught her about living. (Jan.)

 

BREATHING AND WALKING AROUND
by Kathy A. Bradley

Read by Elizabeth Awamleh. (7 episodes, 09/23/15 – 09/30/15)

Book jacket illustration.A singer whose voice epitomized the Sound of Philadelphia and whose platinum records transcend genres, Teddy Pendergrass is a legend. First as lead singer with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes ("If You Don't Know Me by Now," "The Love I Lost," "Wake Up Everybody"), then in his sizzling solo career ("Close the Door," "Turn Off the Lights," "Love T.K.O."), Teddy proved he was a singular talent. In 1982, at the height of success, 31-year-old Teddy Pendergrass seemed invincible. Then, late one night on a winding Philadelphia road, Teddy's life changed forever. His car crashed, and he was left quadriplegic with limited use of his arms and without, it seemed, a future. Against all odds, though, Teddy miraculously returned: to the concert stage at Live Aid in 1985, to the top of the charts with Joy in 1988, and to the millions of fans around the world who will always love the romantic, charismatic man they call the Teddy Bear. Here, for the first time, Teddy tells the whole story.

 

 

 

 

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