Pop Culture Happy Hour

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Smash' Talk And Getting Serious About Reading

two splashing glasses i i
iStockphoto.com
two splashing glasses
iStockphoto.com

We kick off this week's show (our 75th!) exactly where you'd expect to find us: having a thorough debate about the merits and demerits of NBC's heavily hyped new series Smash, which will debut on regular television on Monday night, but which you can find on Hulu or iTunes right now, if you're curious (and if those services are available to you). How's the music? How's the acting? How's American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee? We ask all these questions and more, and we let you hear some of the music.

In our B segment this week, we turn a microphone over to new PCHH pal and new-ish NPR.org books editor Parul Sehgal, who introduces herself with perhaps the greatest first words in the history of PCHH. She helps us talk about the hierarchy of book publishing and the entire matter of reading fiction thoughtfully and with your senses and reading (as some of us — cough — do) with the sense that you're supposed to be finding the right answer and might be failing. (If you've never read Monkey See's coverage of reading Moby-Dick, you'll hear us refer to it, and you can find both the goofy and ponderous sections in the archives.) Parul also has an actual book recommendation for you, although you'll have to wait a bit to read it.

As always, we wrap up with what's making us happy this week, including the return once again of Stephen's increasingly culturally adroit children, Twitter accounts we hope are real, casting a seemingly familiar political figure, and lots more.

Remember to find us on Facebook — that's where we try to answer questions and follow up on your thoughts from the show. And of course, you can follow us on Twitter: me, Stephen, Trey, Glen, Mike, and our new smarty-pants pal, Parul.

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