Tag Archives: NPR

The Monday Podcast

conservative liberal bookstoreSorry, team, that the blog has been so lagging of late. I’m on a heavy crochet schedule, and have two book proposals in. (More on those later, no ink on signature lines yet.)

Meanwhile, because down time is precious, my reading has been confined to after I’m in bed, and more often than not the book hits me in the face to signal nighty-night.

While crocheting, however, there is only so many streamed TV shows and movies one can watch before one feels brain cells dying, so I turned in desperation to “Best Podcasts of 2019.” And found a gem.

EMBEDDED is in-depth reporting on specific issues of timeliness. Police shootings, Trump stories (some of which are hysterical – check out the one about his golf courses), and a five-part, amazingly even-keeled examination of Mitch McConnell’s political career. The dry humor, unwillingness to express opinions, and the timelag (they recorded some information as far back as 2012) make for great deep dives. Those who want to find bias probably can, but since it could cut in any direction, I’m thinking there’s not a lot of it.

Although individual programs can be as insightful as they are diverse (the one on Inuit suicide rates in Greenland, for example) EMBEDDED does its best work in serializing. Someone on that team is doing some great advising, because the sensitivity of the four-part series on Coal in Appalachia was amazingly accurate. I felt seen. That is very unusual for a network known for elitist urban attitudes. Their coverage of “Trump County” was also even-handed, in-depth, and devoid of cheap shots.

EMBEDDED makes me feel informed, and wiser, and it delivers both with a fair sense of humor. While it won’t take sides, it does deliver jokes. No small feat in a program working not to politicize its own programming.

Highly recommended, whether you think NPR is a liberal bastion of condescension or the last remaining news source of integrity in America. I never felt condescended to in their coverage of rural – and they actually covered rural blight with equal dignity to stories of urban school closures.

Two big crocheting thumbs up for EMBEDDED; I finished an entire afghan and am moving on to the Christmas snowflakes. Heh heh. No pun intended.

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Filed under between books, book reviews, crafting, humor, Life reflections, out of things to read, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch

The Other Side of the Microphone

Jack’s weekly guest blog

 

DSCN1013Both Wendy and I have some experience of radio broadcasting; in my case that covers BBC Radio Scotland,  ‘Scene Around’ on Heartland fm in Scotland, and ‘Celtic Clanjamphry’ on WETS fm out of Johnson City in Tennessee.

But when Wendy’s The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap was published we suddenly found ourselves on the other side of the microphone. Some of these interviews were on local NPR stations ahead of book signing events, others nationally syndicated shows like ‘Weekend Edition’. It was fascinating to see how other presenters worked and the studios were set up, from very relaxed and laid back to pretty frenetic.

Interviews get repeated from time-to-time and we don’t always know that will happen; messages or emails or phone calls from someone say they heard us as they were driving through some remote part of the country. Which is fun.

Even more fun is that for once we do know ahead of time. The widely broadcast NPR program ‘With Good Reason’ interviewed us in 2013, and it was probably the one we remember most fondly. Very relaxed and long enough to cover our road trip to small towns across America, seeking out bookstores and talking about our experiences with Little Bookstore.

‘With Good Reason’ is broadcast in many states at different times. Find your local listening time and station here: Where and When to Listen

Or, if you’d like to listen to it any time during the week. the podcast link is – Little Bookstore Nov. 28 – Dec. 4

We hope you enjoy listening – we had a lot of fun making the program!

 

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Scotland, shopsitting, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA

Country Cousins: 3 Books About Rural Living

Today’s blog is Wendy’s essay up on NPR Books. You can see it on the NPR page at the link below.

http://www.npr.org/2012/12/12/166479169/country-cousins-3-books-about-rural-living

December 12, 2012 7:00 AM

As a small-town girl, I love depictions of rural living when they’ve got a little style and sass in their makeup. Replete with enough quirks and quaintness to choke a mule, small towns are timelessly fertile ground for writers. But the best authors ignore — or even play with — stereotypes to tell truly compelling stories.

Cold Comfort Farm

Cold Comfort Farm

by Stella Gibbons

Paperback, 233 pages

Stella Gibbons has plenty of sass. She was writing in the 1930s, when the “local color” movement glossed all things rural with sentiment, and farms were described without even a whiff of manure. Her comic novel Cold Comfort Farm stuck a pin in the balloon of idyllic country living. Featuring the Starkadder family, the cast includes oversexed farmhands Seth and Reuben, crazy Great Aunt Ada in the attic, and their sensible city-dweller cousin Flora Poste, who is capable of “every art and grace save that of earning her own living.” In one of the loveliest meta-storytelling devices ever, Gibbons marks her best passages with one or two asterisks, for the reader’s enhanced enjoyment. This book makes me laugh out loud every time I read it, which is at least once a year.

Homestead

Homestead

by Rosina Lippi

Paperback, 210 pages

Fewer laughs and more tears come from Rosina Lippi’s Homestead. A series of linked stories, it chronicles six generations of women in an Austrian mountain village, starting about 1909. Her characters are drawn with casual grace, and her understated writing is insightful and beautiful. In one tale she describes the interaction between a man and a woman negotiating sexual politics, as “Francesco had feared to ask too much of her, and saw, too late, that he had asked too little.” Quiet stories, and gentle ones, they depict the inner longings and outer strength of mountain women everywhere.

Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed

Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed: The Story of the Village of Le Chambon and How Goodness Happened There

by Philip P. Hallie

Paperback, 303 pages

Through the influence of the charismatic pastoral couple Andre and Magda Trocme, the isolated village of Le Chambon became a “city of refuge” for Jewish people in Vichy France. Philip Hallie tells the story in academic language peppered with anecdotes and first-person interviews. Any small town has rivalries and factions, and these played into simultaneously creating sanctuary while dooming some rescuers. Le Chambon is part of that era’s larger story: the daily interactions of one small town set against the backdrop of hell come to earth.

These three writers reached into the enclaves of mountain villages, subsistence farms and human hearts — and gave us funny, sweet, sorrowful insights into small-town lives lived large.

Wendy Welch is the author of The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap.

Three Books…is produced and edited by Ellen Silva and Rosie Friedman with production assistance from Annalisa Quinn.

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Filed under book reviews, folklore and ethnography, humor, publishing, small town USA, Uncategorized

MY NPR INTERVIEW

Jack and I traveled to Charlottesville, VA a couple months ago to do a radio program on my forthcoming book and the Booking Down the Road Trip, when we visited 38 or so used bookstores across 10 states. Here is the link to listen to the program (With Good Reason, with host Sarah McConnell). You can only hear it through March 24th, so enjoy it while you can! (BTW the fabulous photo of our cat Val-kyttie in the bookstore was taken by Wise County’s famous photographer Elissa Powers. She has lots of photos on facebook at a page called elp6n. She does lovely animal portraits.)

http://withgoodreasonradio.org/2012/03/the-little-bookstore-of-big-stone-gap/

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Filed under book reviews, humor, small town USA, Uncategorized