Episode 92 – June 26, 2016
Clara Bingham has a real page turner in Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Registers, Vets, Hippies And The Year America Lost Its Mind and Found Its Soul. Bingham, the former White House Newsweek correspondent, shares her riveting oral history of American society in the turbulent years of 1969-1970 as told by the people right in the middle of it, which can be compared to today’s “movement moment,” which have their roots in the late sixties. Bingham weaves together original interviews and gives firsthand narrative of that period via first-person testimony of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn of the Weather Underground; Daniel Ellsberg, the erstwhile Defense Department employee who released the Pentagon Papers; feminist theorist Robin Morgan; actress and activist Jane Fonda, and many others. These are the powerful personal stories that capture the essence of an era: how the massacre at Kent State turned a strait-laced social worker into a hippie; how the civil rights movement gave birth to the women’s movement; how opposition to the war in Vietnam transformed college students into fugitives, veterans into peace marchers, and intellectuals into bomb throwers.
Our favorite middle-schooler, avid reader and writer Ava Ratcliff (13 years old!), tells us which YA (young adult) books caught her attention for the summer.
Jessica Anya Blau’s new book, The Trouble with Lexie, tells the story of Lexie James, a counselor at a prestigious New England prep school who’s about to marry the nicest guy she’s ever known. As her wedding date nears, Lexie starts to have doubts fueled by the tumultuous childhood she thought she outran. Full of fun and heart, Blau’s novel looks at the choices we make to leave the past behind us and the choices we make that shape our futures.
Dan Cluchey’s novel, The Life of the World to Come, tells the story of Leo Brice, a once-promising law student who falls fast and hard for an aspiring soap star. When she leaves him to fulfill her own dreams, Leo is left with pieces of a life that would never be. Now a junior each row advocate, the fate of a Georgia inmate hangs in the balance as both men grapple with the concept of afterlife, and its up to Leo to save them both, even if neither one really wants salvation.