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April 28, 2021 @ 7:26 am

Season 4 Ep. 87 A Shot of Bourbon with a Dash of Law with guest Brain Haara 4-28-21

This week we are getting in the “spirit” of the first Saturday of May; a date that is sacrosanct for many Kentuckians because of the running of the Kentucky Derby. A love of horses and bourbon whiskey are high on the list of things that Kentuckians are proud of and want to export to the rest of the world. Bourbon is big business in our region and has had a surge in popularity over the last decade; around 90 percent of all bourbon is produced here in the Bluegrass State. At no other time of the year is bourbon more popular in Louisville KY than during Derby season.

Our guest this week, Brian Haara, is an attorney who developed an interest in bourbon through his work in the industry. He started by writing a bourbon history and law blog and has been featured in bourbon documentaries. His book, Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America, is a deep dive into the history of bourbon law that goes back almost to the founding of our country and highlights how bourbon cases have affected all types of commercial law, including consumer protections and trademark law. He wanted to tell the stories of how our country and bourbon grew up together. He is also a bourbon connoisseur who gives tasting notes on various bourbons on his blog and throughout the book.

He chats with us about how he fell down the literary “Poe” hole as a teen, how Victoria’s Secret benefited from bourbon law, and he gives me and Carrie some suggestions of bourbons to buy for the bourbon drinkers in our life; whether they be newbies or long time fans.

Websites mentioned--

Books mentioned--
1- Bourbon Justice: How Whiskey Law Shaped America by Brian Haara
2- Poe anthology (Edgar Allan Poe)
3- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
4- The Hobbit by J. R.R. Tolkein
5- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D.Salinger
6- Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow
7- The 10,000 Doors of January by Alix Harrow
8- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
9- The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
10- Basketball and Philosophy: Thinking Outside the Paint by Jerry L. Walls (editor)

TV shows mentioned--
The Wire ( 2002-2008)

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April 21, 2021 @ 6:11 am

Season 4 Ep. 86 Turn The Page and Tour the World with guest Melissa Joulwan

COVID has been hard for those among us who like to travel, but one of our favorite ways to assuage that desire is to read books set in different locations. Sweeping meadows. Mountains that touch the sky. Exotic locales. These places can whisk us from our humdrum homes.

A Strong Sense of Place is both a podcast and a website where readers can find interesting bookish conversations with our guest this week, Melissa Joulwan, and her husband David, two expatriates living in Prague located in the Czech Republic. In this week’s episode, she tells us about how they select the places they will visit each season, why place in a book has to meet very stringent specifications, and how roller derby helped her make some big life decisions.

Books Mentioned in this Episode:

Podcasts mentioned--
Strong Sense of Place (

Books mentioned--
1- Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume
2- Forever by Judy Blume
3- The First Deadly Sin by Lawrence Sanders
4- Archy McNally series by Lawrence Sanders
5- Lord of the Flies by William Golding
6- Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
7- My Antonia by Willa Cather
8- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
9- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
10- The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova
11- She Walks These Hills by Sharyn McCrumb
12- The Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood
13- Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
14- Less by Andrew Sean Greer
15- A Room With a View by E.M. Forster
16- The Curse of Jacob Tracy by Holly Messinger

Movies or TV adaptations mentioned in this episode:

1- Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (Amazon)
2- A Room With a View (1985 movie)
3- Jane Eyre (1945 movie with Orson Welles)
4- Jane Eyre (2011 movie with Michael Fassbender)
5- Jane Eyre ( 2006 BBC miniseries with Toby Stephens)

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April 14, 2021 @ 6:37 am

Season 4 Ep. 85 The Bones of a Marriage Laid Bare with guest Christina Consolino 4-14-21

There is a pop psychology theory about left brain and right brain dominance from the 1980s. Supposedly those with strong right brains are the analyzers and those with dominant left brains are the artists. In this scenario, it is a rare person who is lucky enough to have both sides of their brain work harmoniously; their logical and scientific right brain plays nicely with the creative and imaginative left brain. Our guest this week, debut novelist Christina Consolino would be one of those people. Christina grew up creating stories but also loved to read biographies of famous female scientists like the first female physicians in the United States; the Blackwell sisters. She loves to read fiction but decided to make a career in science by pursuing a PHD in physiology and teaching it at the college level. Like a lot of writers, the characters she created in her head wanted to come out; when they got louder, she knew it was time to embrace the life of a full-time author.

Christina’s first book which came out in March is called Rewrite the Stars. It is the story of a military veteran’s PTSD and the havoc it has wrought on his marriage. The reader gets both his version of events, as well as those of his estranged wife, Sadie.

Christina talks to us about how her experience as an editor gave her confidence to write her novel, what disease her veteran character originally had instead of PTSD through 3 drafts until she decided it just didn’t serve her story well, and what name she calls her favorite teaching skeleton.

Books Mentioned in this Episode:
1- Rewrite the Stars by Christina Consolino
2- The Value Tales series
3- A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
4- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
5- The Sisters Blackwell by Janice Nimura
6- Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
7- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
8- Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (audiobook)
9- So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
10- She Wouldn't Change a Thing by Sarah Adlakha
11- Sophie's Choice by William Styron
12- How the Penguins Saved Veronica by Hazel Prior
13- A Polar Affair by Lloyd Spencer Davis
14- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
15- Where'd You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Online magazines mentioned--
1- Literary Mama

Movies mentioned--

1- Write Before Christmas

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April 7, 2021 @ 6:21 am

Season 4 Ep. 84 Book Festivaling All Year Long with guest Sara Woods 4-7-21

Remember in high school or college when you were required to take a certain number of humanities classes? Maybe you groaned or rolled your eyes. But maybe it was the spark that lit an interest in subjects that helped you think critically and creatively. It was in a high school humanities class that Carrie was introduced to and fell in love with E. M. Forster’s novel A Room With a View. For me, an introduction to art history in college opened a whole new world and made me want to travel and see the cultures portrayed in the artwork I learned about. The exposure to subjects like literature, history, philosophy, culture, and religion help us understand the world we live in.

In our state, the organization that promotes the humanities is Kentucky Humanities; a non-profit that is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, DC. It offers lots of cool programs, many of which are focused on books and bringing discussions about them to the Kentucky public at large. This nonprofit serves as the state cheerleader of Kentucky writers’ literary endeavors and one way it does this is through the Kentucky Book Festival which takes place every November. However, there are Book Festival programs that happen all year long including book bundles subscriptions, The Kentucky Reads program, and the School Days initiative that brings children’s book authors into schools to dazzle young readers and put books they can keep into their hands. All of these programs highlight Kentucky authors and put a spotlight on the rich literary talent we have within our border.

This week we talk with Sara Woods, the Kentucky Book Festival director. She brought her experience working with the Western Kentucky University sponsored Southern Kentucky Book Festival to her new position and from there brainstormed some fresh ideas about how to bring books to people even when, especially during Covid, people can’t come to the books.

Sara tells us how her love for her American Girl Doll as a child sparked her excitement for reading, how she is using the talents of a tattoo artist to highlight one of the books in the book bundle subscription service, and where you can get ice cream and beer on a bike trail to vastly increase the fun factor.

Books Mentioned in this Episode:

1- American Doll book sets (Felicity)
2- Illustrated classics (Moby Dick, Great Expectations)
3- The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
4- Essays by Michel de Montaigne
5- Clay's Quilt by Silas House
6- Just a Few Miles South by Ouita Michel
7- Kill All Your Darlings by David Bell
8- Perfect Black by Crystal Wilkinson
9- All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
10- Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry
11- Birds of Opulence by Crystal Wilkinson
12- Duncan the Story Dragon by Amanda Driscoll
13- Haggis and Tank Unleashed: Digging for Dinos by Jessica Young
14- Nat Turner's Rebellion by Shawn Pryor
15- The Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
16- The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
17- The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
18- Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow
19- Bunny by Mona Awad
20- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
21- The Vine that Ate the South by J. D. Wilkes
22- A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost
23- Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
24- Let Love Rule by Lenny Kravitz
25- Yes, Please by Amy Poehler

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April 1, 2021 @ 11:32 am

REPLAY Ep. 71 A Heroine Rocks the Boat with Tori Murden McClure 3-32-21

Our guest this week, Tori Murden McClure, is a Renaissance woman. She has a law degree, a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard as well as a Master of Fine Arts from Spalding University, the institution where she currently serves as President. She was the first woman and first American to ski 750 miles to the geographic South Pole. She worked as an assistant to Muhammad Ali at the Ali Center, and has served as a chaplain in Boston area hospitals. But what she is most known for is her solo journey to successfully row a boat across the Atlantic Ocean in 1999. Ten years later, she published her memoir about that experience, A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Now, a little over ten years after publication, her book and story have a new life. A musical about her experience has been created, and her boat is part of the Frazier Museum’s Cool Kentucky exhibit.

The book, which we discuss with Tori in this week’s episode, has a lot to do with 2020 in a roundabout way because it is about her battle with feelings of helplessness stemming from her childhood. And who in this world hasn’t been experiencing feelings of helplessness during this global pandemic? We can all relate to wanting to do something but not being able to.

Tori talks to us about why memoir is in its own way is just another type of fiction, what completely different pieces of advice she received from her writing mentors during her MFA program that shaped her book, how her desire to write a book about a hero’s journey as a woman can be tricky and hasn’t been done often, and why we didn’t see her memoir as an Oprah book club selection.

If you would like to see Murden’s sailless and motorless plywood boat The Pearl, it is on exhibit at the Frazier Museum in Louisville KY. This is a permanent exhibit but several items are on short-term loan.

The album Row is a concept album about Tori’s journey rowing across the Atlantic written by Dawn Landes. It can be found on Amazon music. These songs are part of the musical Row which will be available via Audible in the Spring of 2021. Tori Murden McClure’s memoir can be found at your favorite bookstore or library.

Books mentioned in this episode:

1- A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure
2- When Memory Speaks: Reflections on Autobiography by Jill Kerr Conway
3- Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
4- Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
5- A Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
6- Essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson
7- Shakespeare's plays
8- Iliad and Odyssey by Homer
9- Dante's Inferno
10- Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
11- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
12- Hildegard of Bingen: The Woman of Her Age by Fionna Maddocks
13- Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession
14- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
15- The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

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