The Agony Column

Author Interviews: Sarahjoy Marsh



Sarahjoy Marsh talks about yoga, neuroscience, body image and addiction and her book Hunger, Hope and Healing: A Yoga Approach to Reclaiming Your Relationship to Your Body and Food.

Also national Book Award Winner William T. Vollman discusses his epic novel of the Nez Perce War, They Dying Grass; and John Kounios and Mark Beeman explore the neuroscience of creativity.

Author Interview: John Markoff


markoffHost Rick Kleffel discusses the history of artificial intelligence with John Markoff, and his book “Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots”.

Author Interview: Susan Casey


casey-voices_in_the_ocean-homeSusan Casey discusses her new book Voices in the Ocean: “A Journey Into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins”.

She talks about new developments since the book that show how dolphins heal themselves in an amazing and almost inexplicable manner.

Rick Kleffel writes about Susan Casey’s new book:

Science, Empathy and Self 

Science is an art; writing about science requires both literary skill and scientific acumen, as well as an inner source of interest. Susan Casey has a deep, intuitive connection to our planet’s oceans. Her ability to write so well about them comes from a personal connection that cannot and need not be explained.

This is the unspoken power underlying her latest book, ‘Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins.’ Casey merges scientific and emotional logic to craft books that are striking intellectually and spiritually, and her examination of our relationship with this selection of sentient beings who live in the ocean finds her at her finest. This is not a book about “what.” This is a book about “who.”

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Felicia Day Knows ‘You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)’

Felicia Day at KUSP studios. Photo: Rick Kleffel

Felicia Day at KUSP studios. Photo: Rick Kleffel

While Felicia Day is busily entertaining readers with hilarious stories about her youth in a prose that’s engagingly honest and raw, another storyline emerges. The home-schooled youth, the early-adopting gamer girl, the girl genius in college at the age of 16, the violin prodigy, all of these stories create a framework for what’s underneath You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) – a crisp vision of how computer technology can transform our lives.

Day’s autobiography is just as fun to read as you’d expect. If you’re a fan of her online persona, her many appearances in a variety of television series, her online series The Guild or her new entertainment juggernaut Geek & Sundry, you’ll find a lot to love here. If you’ve never experienced any of the above, the book will make you want to do so. The book is written with a clarity and unconscious style that will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading pretty much any sort of book.

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Senator Claire McCaskill: ‘Plenty Ladylike’


On this episode of the Agony Column, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri discusses her new memoir Plenty Ladylike. She honed her political skills in high school and used the same smarts to achieve re-election when it was predicted that she would certainly lose.

Plus, William MacAskill — no relation — discusses his book Doing Good Better and his work in Effective Altruism, which uses statistics to measure just what helps the most people achieve the best outcomes.

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Dr. Mel Pohl: Understanding Pain


What is pain? How do we experience pain and what part do our emotions play in the experience of pain? KUSP’s Rick Kleffel speaks with Dr. Mel Pohl about chronic pain, the opiate epidemic and how an understanding of pain can diminish its effects.

Conversations with the Late Alan Cheuse

Author and literary scholar, Alan Cheuse. Photo: Peter Hedlund / flickr

Author and literary scholar, Alan Cheuse. Photo: Photo: Peter Hedlund-flickr-

Author and critic Alan Cheuse died last week at age 75. He regularly participated in interviews with KUSP Rick Kleffel. On this week’s Agony Column Literary Magazine show, listen back to a selection Cheuse’s insightful interviews.

Author Don Winslow


920x920Enter the hearts and minds of those fighting on both sides of the war on drugs as host Rick Kleffel speaks with author Don Winslow about his novel The Cartel.

Winslow explores the intersection of economics, politics, crime and law enforcement the drive a conflict that has little visibility and offers few prospects for resolution

Author Interview: Robert Kurson


shadow-diversThe waters off the coast of the Dominican Republic — and New Jersey — are home to wrecks lost to history. But those who explore U-Boats and pirate ships are not just there for treasure; there’s something more that brings them to the brink of death.

Robert Kurson discusses his books Shadow Divers and Pirate Hunters with host Rick Kleffel.

Authors: Robert Repino, Emily Schultz, Ernest Cline






This week on The Agony Column, it’s all apocalypse, all the time.

Author Robert Repino brings on Mort(e), in which your housecat becomes your executioner; Emily Schultz brings on The Blondes and Ernest Cline explains our fascination with video games and science fiction with his book Armada.