Joan Jacobs Brumberg – An Intimate History of American Girls

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The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls

Advertising has had a major effect on how we view our bodies and on our individual self-image. The history of how this advertising has come to affect American girls as they pass through menarche and adolescence is presented in a book called “The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls.” This book describes the historical roots of acute societal and psychological pressures that girls feel today. It shows how the female adolescent experience has changed since 1895. The author, Joan Jacobs Brumberg, is a Professor of History and Women’s Studies at Cornell University in New York. In this two-part program, I spoke Professor Brumberg in October of 1997 and asked her what drew her to write “The Body Project.”

Joan Jacobs Brumberg recommends “Learning to Bow,” by Bruce Feiler & “The Grass Link,” by May Vinchi.

Originally Broadcast: October 14, 1997 & October 21, 1997

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Blanche Boyd – Self-Styled Outlaw Lesbians

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Terminal Velocity

The concept of memoir versus fiction leads many authors to transform their personal experiences and life to fiction. Blanche Boyd is a native of South Carolina and a Professor of Literature at Connecticut College. She is also the author of the book entitled, “Terminal Velocity.” This is a book about a group of self-styled lesbian outlaws in the 1970s. We discussed the relationship of memoir and fiction, and how it applies to her work.

Blanche Boyd recommends “Cathedral” & “To the Waterfall,” both by Raymond Carver.

Originally Broadcast: August 19, 1997

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Amy Bloom – Love as Creator

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Love Invents Us

Amy Bloom is a Connecticut-based author and psychotherapist and the author of a novel entitled “Love Invents Us.” This book, the enactment of psychological theory about human behavior, also traces the intimate details in the life of Elizabeth Howe from her childhood to middle age. I spoke with Amy Bloom by phone while she was on tour to discuss ‘Love Invents Us” and asked her, “how does love invent us?”

Amy Bloom recommends “Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream,” by John Derbyshire.

Originally Broadcast: February 12, 1997

Osborn, John Jay, Esq.:  A Marriage as a Separate Entity

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“Listen to the Marriage” is a novel by John Jay Osborn, a retired lawyer and law professor. The story centers a marriage counselor and a recently separated couple with demanding jobs and two small children.  All thirty-one short chapters take place in the therapist’s office and reveal the angst, anger, and hidden love that the couple Gretchen and Steve, have for each other. Sandy, the therapist guides the sessions, while keeping her thoughts about her clients to herself.  An empty green chair representing their marriage sits between Gretchen and Steve during each visit.

“Listen to the Marriage” is Osborn’s sixth novel, the first one being “The Paper Chase,” published in 1971, a year after he graduated law school.  “Listen to the Marriage” is based in part on the experience Osborn and his wife had with a marriage counselor beginning about ten months after they separated in the mid 1980s.  They remain happily married.

John Osborn visited the Radio Curious studios by phone from his home in San Francisco, California, on December 14, 2018. We began our conversation with his description of the therapist’s goal: To get the couple to look at the marriage they created as being separate from themselves.

The book John Jay Osborn recommends is “Happy All the Time,” by Laurie Colwin.

The program was recorded on December 14, 2018.

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Freed, Lynn — Reflections on a Life

 

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The personal journal is often not meant for the eyes of anyone but the writer. When a stranger’s journal is read, the reader often becomes a voyeur to the innermost secrets of another. And whether it is a true journal or one of fiction, who cares? Often, it remains a good story. Lynn Freed, originally of Durban, South Africa, wrote the fictional journal of Agnes LaGrange, entitled “The Mirror,” which reveals the thoughts, feelings, and loves of Agnes, starting when she arrived in South Africa to work as a housekeeper, and ending 50 years later.

Lynn Freed recommends “Misfit,” by Jonathan Yardly, “Essays,” by George Orwell & “Last Days in Cloud Cukooland Dispatches,” by Graham Boynton.

Originally Broadcast: December 12, 1997

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Hollenbeck, Holly — Sex Lives of Wives

How to ignite sexual passion from a woman’s perspective is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious, as we talk with Holly Hollenbeck, a former attorney from Omaha, Nebraska, and author of, “Sex Lives of Wives, Reigniting the Passion, True Confessions and Provocative Advice from Real Women.” Holly Hollenbeck says her book is not so much directed at how to please your mate, but how to please yourself by pleasing your mate. Take a look at her website devoted to helping women find passion and inspiration in their long-term relationships.

I spoke with Holly Hollenbeck from her home in Nebraska, in mid September 2006, and asked her to describe what motivated her to write, Sex Lives of Wives.

The book Holly Hollenbeck recommends is “Adults Only Travel: The Ultimate Guide to Romantic and Erotic Destination,” by David West and Louis James.

Originally Broadcast: September 20, 2006.

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Silha, Stephen — The Puckish Whimsical Life of James Broughton

The puckishly whimsical life and times of poet and film maker James Broughton is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious in a visit with Stephen Silha, the producer and director of “Big Joy,” a biographical film of the life and times of James Broughton.

Broughton believed that in order to live an authentic life we each should follow our own weird. He says:

“I don’t know what the left is doing said the right hand.

But it looks fascinating.”

And:

“I may be infecting the whole body

said the Head

but they’ll never amputate me.”

Stephen Silha and I visited by phone from his home near Seattle, Washington on Mother’s Day, 2014.  He began our conversation by telling us what drew him to make a film about his friend James Broughton.

The book Stephen Silha recommends is “The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon,” by Tom Spanbauer.

The music in this week’s edition of Radio Curious is “Twirl” by Norman Arnold, from the movie, “Big Joy.”

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Miller, Geoffrey — Does What You Buy Make You Happier?

Why do you buy what you buy? What do you hope to gain from it and will it make you a happier, sexier and more successful person? In these days of economic downturn many of us may be questioning whether we really need all this “stuff” and how it impacts our lives?

In this edition of Radio Curious we meet Geoffrey Miller, a tenured professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of New Mexico, and the author of “Spent: Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behaviour.” During our visit we discuss how our purchasing choices are driven by thousands of years of evolution, how marketers can take advantage of this and how we might try to better understand our consumer instincts.

I spoke with Geoffrey Miller from his home in Australia on May 29, 2009 and began by asking him to define his field of evolutionary psychology.

The book Geoffrey Miller recommends is “The Life You Can Save: Acting Now To End World Poverty,” by Peter Singer. 

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Basta, Michael — Relationship Warning Signs

Why some couples get along and others don’t, sometimes to the extent of terminating their relationship, is a curious question, the answer to which is likely to bring both pleasure and unhappiness to each of us. Michael Basta has been a licensed clinical social worker based in Sonoma, County California, since 1988. He is trained and certified as a Gottman Couples’ Therapist. This training identifies the traits and behaviors of couples that are useful to predict how long their relationship will last. Michael Basta visited Radio Curious on May 21, 2010, and began by describing the negative traits and behaviors that indicate a dark future for the relationship.

The book Michael Basta recommends is “The Female Brain,” by Dr. Louann Brizendine.

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Samson, Don — The Creative Imagination of Playwright Don Samson

The creative imagination of playwright Don Samson is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.  In May 2015, I had the good fortune of seeing a ten minute play entitled “Blind Date,” written by my long time friend, who lives in nearby Willits, California.  For many years prior to becoming a playwright, Don Samson researched and wrote legal briefs for criminal defense attorneys, an experience we also discuss in this program. 

After seeing the local production of “Blind Date,” I was curious about the circumstances that came to Don Samson’s mind when he created this play, so I invited him to visit the Radio Curious studios.  We met on May 22, 2015 and began our conversation with his description of those circumstances. 

Don Samson recommends the book, which is also a play, “Antigone,” by Sophocles.  

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