TED talks and I’m listening

Are you familiar with TED talks? I know I wasn’t aware of them until one of the book podcasts I follow, Books on the Nightstand, mentioned them in connection with something bookish. That made the book nerd inside of me, finally look them up on the internet, and realize how much I was missing out on! TED is an acronym for Technology, Education and Design, and when the first conference was held in 1984 in Silicon Valley, those three areas were the basis for the talks and the conference, but things have changed a lot since then. TED’s scope is broader and more global now and since 2006 when free access to their videos became available online, there have been over 500 million views of these talks!

Quoting from their website, “The two annual TED conferences, in Long Beach/Palm Springs and Edinburgh, Scotland, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less). “

There really is something for everyone, and what I really appreciate is the time constraint put on the speaker. This forces them to be succinct and grab your attention quickly. Not an easy feat I’m sure, but one that forces them to make every word count.

Recently my daughter made me aware that they have an app. It worked perfectly for my last long flight up to Alaska, because I was able to download half a dozen talks and then watch them on my Ipad with no wifi connection.

One of my favorite book related talks is this one by book jacket designer Chip Kidd,

and one of the most popular talks was by author Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that can’t stop Talking,

But I think my favorite (so far) is this one by Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy,

So, if you ever find yourself surfing the web and have 18 minutes or less to spare, you might just want to visit the TED site and see what they’re talking about!

Childhood Book Memories

Jasmine and I made it home safe and sound early last Thursday morning and it’s taken me a few days to reacclimate to my old surroundings, so I’ve been a little slow in getting something posted. You wouldn’t think that a three-hour time difference would cause jet lag, but I think the combination of that and a red-eye flight took its toll on the pooch and me.

We’ve managed to slowly get back in our old walking routine. It’s terrific to have sidewalks again, very little dust and dirt, and no fear of giant moose hiding behind trees (I do kind of miss Mildred though!). Because I no longer need to be as alert as I was in Anchorage I am finally able to listen to a podcast during our strolls. I sure did miss that part of my routine!

I picked my favorite podcast to listen to first, The Readers! I started with Episode 26, Three Generations of ReadersIn this episode Simon interviews his Nan, Mom and little sister about their reading habits and their love of books. When Simon asked them about what books they loved as children it got me to thinking about mine.

My mom loved reading and I always remember having lots of books around our house. My mom belonged to the Reader’s Digest Book Club and another club that sold only mysteries, her favorite genre. She also loved a bit of poetry and movie star bios.

When I was little we read a lot of Little Golden Books and Dr. Seuss. (all of which I still have, as my mom and dad saved everything!) When I was older I gravitated towards ‘The Bobbsey Twins‘, ‘The Five Little Peppers‘ and ‘Nancy Drew‘, and in junior high and high school I read mostly non-fiction with a sprinkling of fiction thrown in.

The Lonely Doll

The Lonely Doll (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But getting back to childhood books, the books that left a lasting impression on me and were my absolute favorites were ‘The Lonely Doll‘ and ‘Edith and Mr. Bear‘, by Dare Wright.  Both of these books were filled with photographs taken by Ms. Wright using her childhood doll Edith.

I loved Edith and the two bears she lived with, Mr. Bear and Little Bear. The posing of these three dolls in various domestic pursuits fascinated and intrigued me and I would reread them over and over again. Finding them in a box a few years ago brought back so many cherished memories and I marveled at the photographs all over again.

Dare Wright

Dare Wright (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few years ago a biography was written about Wright, The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll: The Search for Dare Wright’. I almost wished I hadn’t read it because it shattered the allusion I had of the beautiful photographer and model pictured on the jacket flap of the book. In reality she had a sad life and a very lonely one. I hope she realized how important her books were to some little girls. I know I’ve never forgotten them!

Are there any books that have remained with you?

The Readers Summer Book Club 2012

I think long, long ago in a house far, far away, I mentioned one of my favorite podcasts, The Readers.

The Readers, is a book podcast with two hosts, Gav of gavreads.co.uk,  and Simon of savidgereads.wordpress.com.  After listening to just one episode of The Readers, I can guarantee that you will be hooked and feel like you’ve known these two gents for years. They are warm, funny, knowledgable and have the most entertaining podcast about books I’ve found anywhere. Though they live in different cities in the UK, and have only physically met once, you can tell that they enjoy bantering about books and we, the listeners, enjoy listening to their bantering!

I think what I love most about their podcasts is the variety that they bring every week and this gives me a nice, but awkward, segue into what I wanted to tell you about.  I’m very excited that The Readers has decided to start a summer reading club!  They’ve picked eight titles that neither of them have read before and they will spend the summer interviewing the authors, skyping with listeners and discussing the books.

Whether you decide to participate in this stupendous book club or not, I hope you will download an episode of The Readers and give them a listen.  If you click on any of the blue highlighted areas on this blog post (this is true of any of my posts) it will link you to their pages and give you more information.

Can you believe we’re already talking about summer?!



Jack Gantos: great author and lousy criminal

Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!

Image via Wikipedia

Wait, Wait…don’t tell me! is an NPR radio show and podcast that looks at the past week’s news in a very humorous way. Every week they have a guest star play a game called, “Not my job”. The game rules aren’t important it’s one of the guests I want to talk about.

Being NPR, the guests are usually politicians, cerebral celebrities and authors. On the July 28, 2012 edition, the guest was children’s author and newly minted Newbery Medal winner, Jack Gantos. A lot of times these guests surprise me with their personalities, but Gantos upped the ante with his revealing revelations and extreme wit and self-deprecating humor.


GantosJPG (Photo credit: messylibrarian)

It seems before Jack Gantos was an award-winning children’s author, he served 18 months in a federal penitentiary for drug smuggling. Big revelation, huh?!

WWDTM’s host Peter Sagal‘s interview with Gantos was one of the best I’ve heard on that program. Gantos’s description of his brief career as a hapless drug smuggler and his eventual capture by the feds had the studio audience, and me, in stitches.

You can listen to the interview here, or read the transcript here.



I think I may have mentioned once or twice that I love a good Podcast. Podcasts have entertained me on planes, trains, and long walks with my pooch Jasmine (you thought I was going to say automobiles, didn’t you?).

This morning I was listening to Radiolab, one of my very favorite podcasts. Hosted by Robert Krulwich and Jab Abumrad and put out through New York public radio station WNYC, this weekly show/podcast is always interesting, fun and informative.

It’s a mix of stories about science, psychology…well here, let me quote from their website and let them describe themselves:

“Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we’ll feed it with possibility.”

This episode I listened to this morning was all about Escape and featured three stories each vastly different from the other. The first was about a Houdini like character that has many jail escapes under his belt. The second was about Isaac Newton and space travel and the third about a blind boy who escaped his difficult life through the telephone.

Have a listen if you’d like!


Also listener contributions are always welcome to help support public radio!

Jorge’s Alcatraz Podcast

Jorge Garcia on the Lost panel at Wikipedia:Co...

Image via Wikipedia

I get a little gobsmacked if I happen to see a celeb in the flesh or if I know someone who knows someone who knows a celeb. I try to be all cool about it but I’m really not at all. So when I found out that one of my favorite actors, on one of my favorite shows had a podcast and blog I was over the moon!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I am a FANatic when it comes to LOST, so I became very excited when I found a podcast and a blog that was put out by one of its stars, Jorge Garcia, during the running of that show. The podcast, Geronimo Jack’s Beard, ceased when the show ended, but Jorge still posts on his blog, Further Dispatches right here on WordPress.

I’m very excited that Jorge and his girlfriend, Beth Shady (Sidekick22) have recently created a new podcast, Diego’s Soul Patch and a blog by the same name to discuss Jorge’s new show, Alcatraz.  It’s a fun podcast where they rehash the latest episode of Alcatraz and Jorge shares some insider scoop from the set. It’s definitely worth a listen!

Shouldn’t be 99% Invisible

English: Podcast or podcasting icon Français :...

I know you have all heard of Bruno Mars, but how many of you have heard of Roman Mars? Well, I hadn’t heard of him either until about 3 weeks ago and now he is my favorite walking companion…..and no he isn’t a pooch! He is the host of one of the most original podcasts I’ve ever tuned into……99% Invisible. The tag line on the website of 99% Invisible says it all….. “A tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.”

Português: Estação Oriente, Lisboa Deutsch: De...

Image via Wikipedia

I honestly have never given much thought to the designs around me, probably because my nose is usually stuck in a book, but this little podcast will open your eyes to the invisible wonders that surround us everywhere we go. Great podcast!

Podcasts are my friend

English: Podcast or podcasting icon Français :...

My first generation IPod Touch sat in the kitchen desk drawer for over a year because I thought it was a glorified palm pilot. It was a freebie my hubby got from his company and neither of us knew what to do with the thing so naturally he gave it to me!

I’m not sure what made me first realize that I had been sitting on a time wasting tool of gargantuan proportions, but I have most definitely made up for lost time. I do a LOT of walking. Dogs and a middle-aged physique make it a necessity and podcasts make the walk much more enjoyable!

One of my new favorite podcasts is THE READERS which is put out by Gav Reads and  Simon Savidge, respectively.  Because they are based in the UK, their weekly chat about books and authors gives me a whole slew of new titles to add to my to-read shelf on Goodreads that I might not otherwise have heard about.
Thanks to Books on the Nightstand for the recommendation!