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February 24, 2021 @ 7:23 am

Season 4 Ep. 79 Breaking Barriers with Black Theater with guest Sidney Edwards 2-24-21

February is Black History month and while we believe Black authors should be read any and all times of the year, this month can sometimes be the impetus readers need to help them discover new-to-them Black writers. Not only can you experience Black art through literature, you can see it in the theater where a play is brought to life and someone else’s reality is laid bare before the audience.

Our guest this week is Sidney Edwards, the new, young and vibrant director of the African American Theatre Studies program at the University of Louisville which includes both a minor and a graduate certificate. The University’s graduate certificate program is the only accredited program in the country for African American Theater. The unique thing about this program is its flexibility. It can be part of a graduate degree in theater or the certificate can be done separately and online; it’s perfect for professionals like teachers or community leaders who want to become more familiar with black culture and art as a whole.

Sidney talks about her journey to becoming a performer, a professor, and the head of the program. She tells us how the Battle of the Books program for school students in North Carolina sparked her competitiveness and love of reading as a child, how the subject matter for many plays written by black playwrights hasn’t changed that much in the last century even though the format has evolved, why theater jobs behind the curtain are a relatively untapped job area for African Americans, and why elementary and middle school students are some of the toughest audiences out there.

Books/Plays/Authors mentioned in this Episode:
1- A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
2- August Wilson
3- Rachel by Angelina Weld Grimke
4- Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau
5- Lynn Nottage
6- Moonlight by Tarell Alvin McCraney
7- Choir Boys by Tarell Alvin McCraney
8- Slave Play by Jeremy O. Harris
9- Brandon Jacob Jenkins
10- Nikkole Salter
11- Blood Line Rumba by John Chenault
12- The Round House by Louise Erdrich
13- There, There by Tommy Orange
14- Home by Sam Art Williams
15- A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston by Robyn Crawford
16- For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf by Ntozake Shange
17- The Lost Man by Jane Harper
18- The Dry by Jane Harper
19- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
20- Dust Tracks on the Road by Zora Neale Hurston
21- Maybe You Never Cry Again by Bernie Mac (audiobook)
22- The Decision by Kevin Hart (audiobook )
23- Pryor Convictions by Richard Pryor (audiobook)

Shows mentioned--
1- Bridgerton - Netflix
2- P-Valley (penned by black playwright Katori Hall)- Starz
3- Euphoria - HBO
4- Snow Piercer - TNT
5- Blind Spotting - movie

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February 17, 2021 @ 7:26 am

Season 4 Ep. 78 Spinning a Good Yarn with Books and Brew with guest Susan Thomas 2-17-20

This week we travel to Eastern Kentucky to the town of Morehead in our quest to explore cool independent bookstores in our region. Morehead is home to a little over 7,000 residents and Morehead State University. The university as well as the regional medical center in town give the community a diverse makeup. And it’s location inside Daniel Boone National Forest and the head of the Sheltowee Trace Trail make it a tempting destination for folks who like to hike, hunt, fish, and soak up nature.

Our guest, Susan Thomas, is a managing partner and owner of CoffeeTree Books and the Fuzzy Duck Coffee Shop which have been a family business for over 20 years. It has morphed several times and is now housed in the town’s old single screen movie theater on Main Street. They have transformed the space to include a coffee shop in the old concession area, event space at the stage, and a business office in the old projector room, not to mention everything you would expect to see in a bookstore. But they have been creative with their space and have included a store within a store. CoffeeTree is also a destination for locals looking for supplies for fiber arts like knitting. They carry high quality yarns and classes for knitters. Susan is a knitter herself and wanted to offer products she used to have to travel over an hour to purchase. And while there weren’t initially many knitters in Morehead, Susan and others have nurtured a whole crop of townspeople anxious to learn and create.

Susan tells us why books and yarn aren’t the strangest store within a store concept in town, why she has an affinity for books about bees, and why moving back to her hometown after 16 years in Nashville is a decision she hasn’t once regretted.

Books mentioned in this episode:
1- The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
2- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
3- Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
4- Vesper Flights by Helen Macdonald
5- The Storied Life of A J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
6- The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
7- Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin
8- Outliers by Malcom Gladwell
9- The New One: Painfully True Stories From a Reluctant Dad by Mike Birbiglia and J. Hope Stein
10- The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr
11- We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker
12- Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston
13- Good Talk by Mira Jacob
14- Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia
15- The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage, and a Girl Saved by Bees by Meredith May
16- Goat Song: A Seasonal Life, A Short History of Herding, and the Art of Making Cheese by Brad Kessler
17- The E Myth: Why Most Businesses Don't Work and What To do About It by Michael E. Gerber

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February 10, 2021 @ 7:37 am

Season 4 Ep. 77 Romance Language with guest Tiffany Reisz 2-10-21

This coming Sunday, February 14, is Valentine’s Day, and we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to talk about the genre of romance.

If you are of a certain age, you may most associate romance novels with Fabio, the long-haired king of Romance novel covers. But romance is a very wide umbrella. There are historical romances like the books that inspired the Netflix series Bridgerton, classical romances (think Jane Austen books), and queer romances. Some romances are just about the emotional aspects of love, while others venture into the erotic beyond just a little kiss.

Our guest this week, Tiffany Reisz, is a Louisville-based erotic romance writer who started writing her first romance novel while a seminary student. She left seminary, though, to follow her love of writing and is now a USA Today bestselling author of over 28 books including the Original Sinners series and The Red. She has a dedicated fan base all over the world. I recently saw a FB fan club for her based in Italy.

Tiffany gives us a “romance for dummies” crash course on the differences between romance, erotica, and smut. She also talks about how her preference for fantasy books as a child morphed into writing a different kind of fantasy, why she doesn’t let preconceived notions against her genre bother her, and why being married to another writer is a “two heads are better than one” situation.

Books Mentioned in this Episode:

1- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
2- A Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
3- The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
4- Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
5- Star Trek: The Next Generation novels
6- Return of the Jedi (novelization)
7- Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
8- Lives of the Mayfair Witches by Anne Rice (series)
9- Sleeping Beauty series by Anne Rice
10- The Vintner's Luck by Elizabeth Knox
11- The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox
12- The Siren (The Original Sinners series) by Tiffany Reisz
13- Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey
14- Love Story by Erich Segal
15- The Story of O by Anne Desclos (pen name Pauline Reage')
16- The Chateau by Tiffany Reisz
17- The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz
18- The Red by Tiffany Reisz
19- The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz
20- The Pearl by Tiffany Reisz
21- The Auction by Tiffany Reisz
22- Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
23- Nothing Lasts Forever (Die Hard) by Roderick Tharp
24- The Whisper Man by Alex North
25- The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans
26- Sea People: The Power of Polynesia by Christina Thompson
27- A Polar Affair by Lloyd Spencer Davis



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February 3, 2021 @ 7:59 am

Season 4 Ep. 76 Braille Broadens Opportunities with guests Gary Mudd and Jayma Hawkins 2-3-21

If you are listening to this podcast, you probably appreciate a good book. You can pick up a paperback or read a digital copy on your e-reader whenever you have spare time. But imagine if you didn’t have the ability to see the words on the page? Blindness doesn’t make a person any less of a book lover but it sure does make reading them more complicated.

We assumed that technology would make things easier for people with visual impairment, and while it can help, it can also complicate things. Even recording our podcast took on unique challenges when we realized that one of our guests wouldn’t be able to read the questions we sent in the same ways that our former sighted guests did. When there was a snafu with recording and we thought to text our guests, we had to remember that the text might have to then go to audio format. How long would that take? Was that immediate or was there a delay? Would the remote recording technology pick up not only our guest’s voice but also the voice dictation from the computer at the same time?

Though sighted, Carrie and I were definitely blind to some of the complications that life with visual impairment can mean when it comes to the world of reading.

Our guests this week, Gary Mudd and Jayma Hawkins, from the American Printing House for the Blind, generously recorded with us twice to work through complications. Gary, who became blind at the age of 12, has recently retired from his role as VP of Government and Community Affairs and Jayma is the National Prison Braille Director.

Gary and Jayma talk to us about how braille books are produced as well as many other products that help visually impaired students be successful, how braille production programs in prisons produce braille books for students but also create newfound skills and confidence in inmates, and how one blind mother’s desire to read books to her sighted children helped create the Braille Tales program in coordination with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

Books Mentioned in this Episode:

1- Katie the Catsitter by Colleen A. F. Venable
2- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
3- Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani
4- Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

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