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November 24, 2020 @ 8:15 pm

Ep. 70 A Christmas Carol For The Ears with Amy Wegener 11-25-20

If there is anything consistent about 2020, it is how inconsistent it is. We’re not doing the things the way we always have, whether it is doing curbside pickup, outside-only masked visits with friends, or book clubs via Zoom. The same can be said of the performing arts--to stay relevant, they are doing things differently, including shows that they’ve done more or less the same for over 40 years. Actors Theatre of Louisville’s run of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens has become a beloved holiday tradition to so many families in the region over the years, including mine. This year, theater lovers will experience the journey of Ebenezer Scrooge and the three ghosts in an imaginative radio play.

While the in-person Christmas Carol performance has long been a feast for the eyes, the radio program will be a feast for the ears. Our guest this week, Amy Wegener, will give us the scoop on how we can interact with The Christmas Carol in a whole new exciting way. She is the literary director and a dramaturg at Actor’s Theater.

Amy tells us why rereading Dickens’ A Christmas Carol helped her find the humor in Dickens’ writing that she had forgotten, why she finds constraints to be a spark for her creativity, and why theater is a unique art form based on its ability to transform depending on who interacts with it.

To Access The Play:
To buy a ticket for The Christmas Carol, simply go to their website at After your purchase, you’ll be sent an email with a link to listen to the project. Click the link to get to the streaming site. Once there, simply press play and you are ready to go! The play begins November 24 and you will have until December 31 to finish listening. This play is also a pay what you can event. The website offers you different levels from $15 - $100, based on how many people may stream this play with you.

According to the Actor’s Theater website, The Christmas Carol is a completely audio-based experience—like a podcast or radio show on your drive to work. Gather your loved ones to share the story or just pop your headphones into your ears and press play.

Books and Plays mentioned in this Episode:

1- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
2- Dracula by Bram Stoker
3- Patron Saints of Nothings by Randy Ribay
4- How to Be an AntiRacist by Ibram X. Kendi
5- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
6- Girl Waits With Gun (Kopp Sister #1) by Amy Stewart
7- Humana Festival anthologies
8- Detroit 67 by Dominique Morisseau (play)
9- Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau (play)
10- Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau (play)
11- Beast on the Moon by Richard Kalinoski (play)

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November 17, 2020 @ 7:33 pm

Ep. 69 A Voice From Cherokee with Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle 11-18-20

When it comes to Native American heritage, most Americans have woefully inadequate knowledge. They may have heard of Squanto or Sacajawea, but that is the extent of their understanding. A 2018 research project conducted by The First Nations Development Institute and Echo Hawk Consulting found that most Americans think there aren’t many Native Americans left in the country, which just isn’t true. There are close to 600 federally recognized tribes in the United States.

November is National Native American Heritage Month so we want to introduce you to some Native authors to add to your TBR all year long including our guest today, who is a new voice in fiction.

Our guest this week is Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle, a member of the Eastern Tribe of Cherokee Indians, who is deeply rooted in the Cherokee community in North Carolina. She has been a high school English and Cherokee Studies teacher for the past 10 years. But she is also a novelist whose debut historical fiction novel, Even As We Breathe, was published this past September by a new literary imprint called Fireside Industries, a collaboration between The Appalachian Writers Workshop and the University Press of Kentucky.

Annette talks to us about the James Baldwin quote that inspired her to write about a clean bone which has significance in her writing practice as well as her novel, what things she learned from her editor, well-known Kentucky author Silas House, and how she wants to use her influence of being a Cherokee novelist to educate the wider public that Native Americans are something very different from what they see in old Westerns and popular culture.

Books Mentioned in this Episode:
1- Even As We Breathe by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle
2- Beverly Cleary books
3- Babysitters Club series
4- The Prettiest Star by Carter Sickels
5- F*ckface: And Other Stories by Leah Hampton
6- Going to Water by Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle
7- Myths of the Cherokee by James Mooney (and other books)
8- Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
9- Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford
10- When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry by Joy Harjo
11- Horsepower by Joy Priest
12- City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
13- Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie
14- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
15- Calypso by David Sedaris
16- A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

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November 11, 2020 @ 6:59 am

Ep. 68 Shakespeare and the Soldier’s Soul with Amy Attaway and Stephen Montgomery 11-11-20

November 11 is a day on which we celebrate and honor veterans. It was on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month that the armistice to end World War I occurred. Although the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June of 1919, the temporary end of hostilities had happened six months prior.

Of course, veterans have long played a central role in storytelling and literature. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey tell the stories of men in the midst of battle and what happens to them once they are off the fields. From Ireland to India, war and the warriors who fight them have been integral to the stories that have been passed down through time.

Shakespeare, too, in his works has examined the humanity of soldiers in all its various forms. Kentucky Shakespeare started an outreach program 5 years ago called Shakespeare with Veterans which is like a reading club, theater troupe, and support group all rolled into one.

We have two guests this week, First we have Amy Attaway who is the associate artistic director of Kentucky Shakespeare and runs the Shakespeare with Veterans program. Then later on in the show, we will be joined by Stephen Montgomery who is a Vietnam veteran who served in both the Army and Navy and was a career intelligence officer until his retirement several years ago. He is a member of the Shakespeare with Veterans group.

General George C. Marshall once said, “The soldier’s heart, the soldier’s spirit, the soldier’s soul are everything.” So on this Veteran’s Day we talk to Amy and Stephen about why Shakespeare’s plays speak to the experience of military veterans in a way other literature does not, what veterans find in the group that reminds them of their time in the military, and how this group enriches their hearts, spirits, and souls.

Books or plays mentioned in this episode:

Shakespeare Plays:
1- The Merchant of Venice
2- Henry IV
3- Henry V
4- Macbeth
5- Hamlet
6- Pericles, Prince of Tyre

1- The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick
2- Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
3- Nothing But the Truth by Avi
4- I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search For the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
5- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
6- Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
7- Mindhunter: Inside The FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas

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November 4, 2020 @ 7:25 am

Ep.67 Buy Books Before the Bedlam with Sam Miller 11-4-20

It isn’t unusual for shops to begin playing Jingle Bell Rock or Baby, It’s Cold Outside about a minute after summer ends, which shoppers either love or abhor. 2020 has been weird in numerous ways, and shopping for the winter holidays, whether it is Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Christmas, is going to prove to be unusual.

Our little goblins and ghouls may still be counting their candy from Halloween and Thanksgiving is still several weeks away but small businesses including bookstores are encouraging shoppers to start grabbing those gifts early this year for multiple reasons. So today we talk to our favorite bookseller, Sam Miller of Carmichael Books in Louisville, about what books and gifts readers may want to check out this holiday season.

Sam tells us why independent bookstores across the country called October the new December, which new books will be hot this holiday season and what books that came out earlier in 2020 have had staying power. Finally Sam gives some suggestions to shoppers about what they can do, in addition to buying their gifts from local businesses, to help stores financially through this weird weird year to still keep their doors open in 2021.

Books Mentioned in this Episode:
1- A Promised Land by Barack Obama
2- The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris
3- The Lost Spells by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris
4- Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
5- Shit, Actually: The Definitive, 100% Objective Guide to Modern Cinema by Lindy West
6- Shrill by Lindy West
7- Ottolenghi Flavor: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ixta Belfrage
8- Modern Comfort Food: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten
9- This Will Make It Taste Good: A New Path to Simple Cooking by Vivian Howard
10- Black Sun (Between Earth and Sky) by Rebecca Roanhorse
11- Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
12- The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
13- To Hold Up The Sky by Cixin Liu
14- The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson
15- Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow
16- Pirenesi by Susanna Clarke
17- Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke
18- Secret Santa by Andrew Shaffer
19- We Are Santa by Ron Cooper
20- A Literary Holiday Cookbook by Alison Walsh
21- The Official Downton Abbey Cookbook by Annie Gray
22- A Cloud a Day by Gavin Pretor-Pinney
23- Men to Avoid in Art and Life by Nicole Tersigni
24- Stranger Planet by Nathan Pyle
25- The Louisville Anthology edited by Erin Keane
26- A Charity Anthology for COVID -19 by Neil Gaiman
27- The Call Me Ishmael Phone Book: An Interactive Guide to Life-
28- Changing Books by Logan Smalley and Stephanie Kent
29- Estranged by Ethan Aldridge
30- The Changeling King by Ethan Aldridge
31- Olive, Mabel & Me by Andrew Cotter
32- The Searcher by Tana French
33- Metropolitan Stories by Christine Coulson
34- The One & Only Bob by Katherine Applegate
35- The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
36 - Dreyer's English by Benjamin Dreyer
37- The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
38- Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath by Heather Clark
39- All Adults Here by Emma Straub
40- The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
41- Three-Martini Afternoons at the Ritz: The Rebellion of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton by Gail Crowther
42- Literary Rogues: A Scandalous History of Wayward Authors by Andrew Shaffer
43- This House is Haunted by John Boyne
44- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
45- The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
46- Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan
47- The Daily Coyote by Shreve Stockton
48- The Milk Lady of Bangalore by Shoba Narayan
49- The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
50- Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker by Gregory Maguire
51- Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor
52- The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
53- The Guest List by Lucy Foley
54- Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher
55- Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

Games Mentioned:
1- Dreyer's Board Game
2- Bowie Bingo
3- Bless Your Heart


Movies Mentioned:

1- The Lemon Drop Kid

2- It Happened on Fifth Avenue

3- A Christmas Story

4- Love Actually

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