The Agony Column

Author Interview: John Markoff

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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

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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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Author Interview: Stephen Witt

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witt-how_music_got_free-400Rick Kleffel speaks with reporter Stephen Witt about his book How Music Got Free: The End of an Industry, the Turn of the Century and the Patient Zero of Piracy.

He followed an electronic trail that led him from the most powerful man in American music, to a temporary factory worker and a German genius.

The untold story of the remaking of modern music…

Author Interview: Karen Joy Fowler

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fowler_w_coverRick Kleffel is joined by national bestselling writer and Man Booker Award nominee Karen Joy Fowler to discuss Black Glass, her collection of short stories.

Dr. Michael Gazzaniga

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Neuroscience legend Michael Gazzaniga who as a student, discovered the split between the left and right halves of the human brain, discuss his science memoir, Tales from Both Sides of the Brain.

Plus, National Geogrpahic’s Dan Buettner on The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People.

Interview with John Waters: Going His Way

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John Waters at KUSP. Photo: Rick Kleffel

John Waters at KUSP. Photo: Rick Kleffel

Interview From the first sentence on, John Waters shares his excitement as well as the pitch for ‘Carsick.’ You know it well before reading this review. At the age of 66, John Waters decided he would hitchhike from his doorstep in Baltimore to his doorstep in San Francisco, and share his adventures with readers. That alone is reason enopugh to makie this book worth reading.

There’s more than a bit of non-fiction. Before he tells us what really happened on his journey, Waters offers us two fictional versions; a best-case scenario and a worst-case scenario. Some readers may have trouble distinguishing between the two, though both are markedly different from reality. What remains the same is Waters’ lust or life, his joyful celebration of everything that is human. This is a fun, funny book that offers a potent, often-poignant glimpse of America. It’s quite irreverent but never irrelevant.

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Interview with Barney Frank

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Rick Kleffel with Barney Frank

Rick Kleffel with Barney Frank

Humor, power and politics — inside the sausage factory.  Representative Barney Frank discusses his book, Frank.

Then, author Jon Ronson on the horror of Internet embarrassment in his new book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed.

Interviews with Authors Patrice Vecchione and Daniel Handler

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book-step-into-natureAuthor of Step Into Nature: Nurturing Imagination and Spirit in Everyday Life, Patrice Vecchione joins Rick to discuss her new book.

Rick also spoke with Daniel Handler AKA Lemony Snicket, about his new book We Are Pirates.

Then, Geoff Dyer has Another Great Day At Sea: Life Aboard the George HWW Bush.

Three Unique Authors: Okey Ndibé, M.O. Walsh and Kelly Link

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Three unique authors take the stage: Okey Ndibé discusses his life in Nigeria and his novels Arrows Off Rain and Foreign Gods, Inc; debut novelist M.O. Walsh brings on the Southern gothic in My Sunshine Away; And Kelly Link reveals the reality behind her tale of the surreal and the supernatural.

Authors: Laurie R. King; Mark Bittman

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Laurie R. King discusses her new Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novel, Dreaming Spies.

And in the second part of the program, food activist and cookbook author Mark Bittman talks about his books, Food Matters and How to Cook Everything Fast.