Read Learn Live is your book club discussion taken to the next level. Join host Jon Menaster as he takes a deep dive with an author and a book they've written to learn about their writing process, the how and the why of the book itself, and learn some lessons about life along the way. Jon speaks with fiction and non-fiction authors of all book genres. Learn about your world from a new perspective. Find new books to read. Fall in love with literature again.
The Women’s History of the Modern World – Ep 85 with Rosalind Miles
The internationally bestselling author of Who Cooked the Last Supper? presents a wickedly witty and very current history of the extraordinary female rebels, reactionaries, and trailblazers who left their mark on history from the French Revolution up to the present day.Now is the time for a new women’s history — for the famous, infamous, and unsung women to get their due — from the Enlightenment to the #MeToo movement.Recording the important milestones in the birth of the modern feminist movement and the rise of women into greater social, economic, and political power, Miles takes us through through a colorful pageant of astonishing women. The women range from heads of state like Empress Cixi, Eugenia Charles, Indira Gandhi, Jacinda Ardern, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to political rainmakers Kate Sheppard, Carrie Chapman Catt, Anna Stout, Dorothy Height, Shirley Chisholm, Winnie Mandela. Also included are STEM powerhouses Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Rosalind Franklin, Sophia Kovalevskaya, Marie Curie, and Ada Lovelace, revolutionaries Olympe de Gouges, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Patyegarang, and writer/intellectuals Mary Wollstonecraft, Simon de Beauvoir, Elaine Morgan, and Germaine Greer. Women in the arts, women in sports, women in business, women in religion, women in politics—this is a one-stop roundup of the tremendous progress women have made in the modern era.A testimony to how women have persisted — and excelled — this is a smart and stylish popular history for all readers.
Rosalind Miles is the award-winning author of the international best-seller I, Elizabeth, a novel recreating the life of Queen Elizabeth I in her own words, and twenty-five other books of fiction and non-fiction, including the highly acclaimed Who Cooked The Last Supper?
Mental Illness and Graphic Novel as Memoir – Ep 84 with Joshua Kemble
Josh thought he was living the artist’s dream. The young, ambitious comic book creator had a hip Portland apartment, an affectionate fiancé, and his whole life ahead of him. Until the night he finds himself on Burnside Bridge, willing himself to jump. How did he get here? Two Stories is a confessional graphic memoir that grapples with questions of faith, mental illness, depravity, and, ultimately, redemption in a fallen world.
Here’s a great trailer for the book:
Joshua Kemble is a full-time art director, freelance illustrator, and Xeric Award-winning cartoonist. His illustration clients have ranged from Scholastic to Random House. Joshua was born in 1980 in Tarzana, California, and grew up in the Antelope Valley. He received his BFA and MFA in Illustration from California State University of Long Beach and resides in Lancaster, CA, with his wife and fellow artist, Mai S. Kemble, and son Benjamin. He has taught college art courses in design and illustration, and co-hosts both The Artcasters and 48-Hour Art Check. You can see Josh’s work at www.joshuakemble.com.
Don’t Judge a College Athlete by Their Cover – Ep 83 with Corey Sobel
The Redshirt challenges tenacious stereotypes, shedding new light on the hypermasculine world of American football. Over the course of their first year playing for a Division One college football program that is willing to win at all costs, roommates Miles Furling and Reshawn McCoy are forced to choose between their true selves and the selves that have been imposed on them by the game.
Corey Sobel’s debut novel, The Redshirt, was published by the New Poetry & Prose Series at the University Press of Kentucky on October 13, 2020. The Redshirt is a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and is one of NPR’s Favorite Books of 2020. Sobel also has non-fiction published by or forthcoming from The Wall Street Journal’s book section, Esquire, Largehearted Boy, and HuffPost, and he edits the column “Music for Desks” at Epiphany Magazine.
Corey was born in Colorado and spent his childhood moving around the United States with his family of seven. He attended Duke University on a football scholarship and has since researched HIV/AIDS in North Carolina and Kenya, documented wartime human rights abuses on the border of Burma and Thailand, and served as a researcher for international development organizations around the world. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and their dog and cat.
A Mayan Creation Story – Ep 82 with Ilan Stavans
Popul Vuh: A Retelling is an inspired and urgent prose retelling of the Mayan myth of creation by acclaimed Latin American author and scholar Ilan Stavans, gorgeously illustrated by Salvadoran folk artist Gabriela Larios and introduced by renowned author, diplomat, and environmental activist Homero Aridjis.
The archetypal creation story of Latin America, the Popul Vuh began as a Maya oral tradition millennia ago. In the mid-sixteenth century, as indigenous cultures across the continent were being threatened with destruction by European conquest and Christianity, it was written down in verse by members of the K’iche’ nobility in what is today Guatemala. In 1701, that text was translated into Spanish by a Dominican friar and ethnographer before vanishing mysteriously.
Cosmic in scope and yet intimately human, the Popul Vuh offers invaluable insight into the Maya way of life before being decimated by colonization-their code of ethics, their views on death and the afterlife, and their devotion to passion, courage and the natural world. It tells the story of how the world was created in a series of rehearsals that included wooden dummies, demi-gods, and eventually humans. It describes the underworld, Xibalba-a place as harrowing as Danta’s hell-and relates the legend of the ultimate king, who, in the face of tragedy, became a spirit that accompanies his people in their struggle for survival.
Ilan Stavans is Lewis-Sebring Professor of Humanities, Latin America and Latino Culture at Amherst College and the publisher of Restless Books. He is a prolific translator, author, and public intellectual.
Stories From a Syrian Refugee – Ep 81 with Perween Richards
Drawn from her experiences of growing up as a young woman in the ‘world’s largest prison’—Gaza—Nayrouz Qarmout’s stories in The Sea Cloak (translated by Perween Richards) stitch together a stirring patchwork of perspectives exploring what it means to be a Palestinian today. Whether following the daily struggles of orphaned children fighting to survive in the rubble of recent bombardments, or mapping the complex tensions between political forces vying to control Palestinian lives, these stories offer a rare insight into one of the most talked about but least understood cities in the Middle East. Taken together, they afford us a local perspective on a global story, always rooted firmly in that most cherished of things, the home.
Perween Richards is a literary translator of Arabic-language stories. She attended translating classes at City summer school in London in 2016, and was one of the two winners of the school’s annual translation competition, sponsored by Comma Press. She was awarded an English PEN Translates grant to translate The Sea Cloak.
You Ought To Do A Story About Me – Ep 80 with Ted Jackson
You Ought To Do A Story About Me: Addiction, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Endless Quest for Redemption is the heartbreaking, timeless, and redemptive story of the transformative friendship binding a fallen-from-grace NFL player and a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist who meet on the streets of New Orleans, offering a rare glimpse into the precarious world of homelessness and the lingering impact of systemic racism and poverty on the lives of NOLA’s citizens.
Author Ted Jackson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist and the author of YOU OUGHT TO DO A STORY ABOUT ME, an unlikely tale that began thirty years ago when a homeless man boasted about playing in three Super Bowls. The story was true.
Beginning in 1984, Ted started photographing assignments for The Times-Picayune in New Orleans and globally, exploring politics, environmental issues, conflict and the indomitable human spirit. He has appeared on CBS, ABC, CNN, Fox News, NBC and NPR. He and his wife live in Covington, Louisiana.
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Insightful book discussions
Great discussions of several ideas related to books in various genres. Host Jon Menaster is extremely well-read and adept at generating insightful questions and connections. A podcast that will make you want to read the book discussed and inspire you to get more out of your reading.
I was interviewed by Jon for this podcast, and was blown away by his preparation. If you're looking for a nuanced, thoughtful conversation about a book, this is your spot. So many hosts never read the material that they're discussing in advance, which leads to a subpar dialogue. But with Jon, he digs into the meat right away. Big virtual hug to Jon for putting so much time and energy into this!
I love Read Learn Live because of the “curiosity quench” I get after listening to an episode! I always want to know what authors are thinking as they write, what inspires them and a general peak into their world. My favorite one so far is Mike Reiss, The Simpsons and Springfield Confidential Ep.41. I now know about the rule of 3 in comedy writing, how many rewrites a scene or movie might take and writers often don’t get credit for the work they do. Excited and curious for more!