Reader's Corner

Reader's Corner

From Boise State Public Radio

Subscribe to Readers Corner, a weekly radio show hosted by Boise State University President Bob Kustra that features lively conversations with some of the nations leading authors about issues and ideas that matter today.More from Reader's Corner »

Most Recent Episodes

Marine Biologist Terrie Williams And The Inspiring "Odyssey Of KP2"

Terrie Williams is the author of The Odyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal, a Marine Biologist, and the Fight to Save a Species. The book, which was Boise State's Campus Read in the 2014/2015 academic year, tells the story of a monk seal pup who was abandoned on a sandy Hawaiian beach in 2008, and who went on to capture the hearts of locals and tourists alike. When local fishermen objected to the seal's presence on the beach, officials made an unprecedented decision to move him across the ocean to the lab of Ms. Williams, a marine biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In The Odyssey of KP2, Terrie Williams writes with humor, passion and insight about what it was like to study the endangered young monk seal, and about the unique bond she formed with him. Today, KP2 is an exuberant 8-year old living and playing at the Waikiki Aquarium in Honolulu, Hawaii. Meanwhile, Ms. Williams continues to study some of the most endangered mammals to walk on land or swim in the oceans. Among

Diplomat/Novelist Matthew Palmer And His Latest Book "The Wolf Of Sarajevo"

Novelists do their best to take you inside the worlds they create for their narratives and characters. Today's guest, Matthew Palmer, has lived inside his novels as a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service. Mr. Palmer has worked as a diplomat all over the world. His ties to the Balkans are especially deep. He served as the desk officer for Yugoslavia through the end of the 1999 Kosovo conflict. He was posted twice to the American Embassy in Belgrade, initially as a first-tour officer at the height of the war in Bosnia and, more recently, as political counselor. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has written two other political thrillers "The American Mission," set in the Congo, and "Secrets of State," that focuses on India and Pakistan relations. His many experiences in the region served as inspiration for his latest book, "The Wolf of Sarajevo." In it, we meet Eric Petrosian, a journalist-turned-diplomat at the American embassy in Sarajevo who is working

Diplomat/Novelist Matthew Palmer And His Latest Book "The Wolf Of Sarajevo"

Lynn Sherr Tells The Story Of The First American Woman In Space, Sally Ride

When Sally Ride flew into orbit aboard the space shuttle Challenger in 1983, she made history. As the first American woman in space, Ride helped change perceptions about what women could accomplish and inspired a new generation of girls to literally reach for the stars. But Ride was more than an icon for the U.S. space program – she also was a complex, private woman with singular talents and skills, who continued to contribute to science and education until her death from pancreatic cancer in 2012. Today's guest, Lynn Sherr, tells the remarkable story of America's first woman in space in her book, "Sally Ride." It's now out in paperback. Ms. Sherr is an award-winning author and broadcaster who spent more than 30 years at ABC News. She covered NASA's space shuttle program for ABC News from 1981 to 1986, where she had the opportunity to report on the integration of women into the male-dominated space program and befriend one of its brightest stars, Sally Ride.

Lynn Sherr Tells The Story Of The First American Woman In Space, Sally Ride

Historian John Bieter On The People, Land And Myths Of The Owyhee Canyonlands

Owyhee County is Idaho's second largest county and yet one of its least populated. Despite its emptiness, Owyhee County has a rich history, one that has been thoroughly explored and documented by today's guest, John Bieter. Bieter is a professor of history at Boise State University who specializes in immigration and Basque studies. His new book, Showdown in the Big Quiet, explores the region's historical and political history. The Big Quiet, as it's sometimes known, is a place where miners battled to make their fortunes in Idaho's largest gold mines, frontiersmen and cattle ranchers came to tame the land, and Basques emigrated to try their hand at sheepherding. It is a county that has attracted fugitives like convicted murderer Claude Dallas, and government agencies looking to build new bombing ranges. Even though nearly 80 percent of the land in Owyhee County is owned by the federal government, there is an enduring belief that individual rights reign supreme. Bieter won a 2015 Idaho

Historian John Bieter On The People, Land And Myths Of The Owyhee Canyonlands

Best-Selling Author Erik Larson On The Sinking Of The Lusitania In 1915

On May 1st, 1915, crowds lined New York's harbor to bid farewell to nearly 2,000 family, friends and crew aboard the world's fastest civilian liner — the Lusitania. The luxurious British ship was bound for Liverpool, England, more than 3,000 miles away. World War I was entering its 10th month, but civilian ships and their passengers were widely considered off-limits from enemy assault. Although the great liner would pass through waters patrolled by German U-boats off the coast of Britain, few worried about the dangers. Just six days later, on calm seas, the Lusitania was hit by a single torpedo. The ship sank to the ocean floor in just 18 minutes, taking with her 1,198 people, including 128 Americans. How this could happen, despite a wealth of intelligence pinpointing the whereabouts of an enemy submarine, has been the topic of speculation and discussion for a century. Today's guest, Erik Larson, unravels the many forces that led to this disaster in his book, Dead Wake: The Last

A True Story Of Espionage In The Cold War With Best-Selling Author David E. Hoffman

At the height of the Cold War, a seemingly unassuming Soviet electronics engineer reached out to several Americans he encountered in Moscow and offered his services. While he was initially ignored, the engineer, Adolf Tolkachev was eventually accepted by the CIA's Moscow station as a volunteer spy for the United States. Over a number of years, and under the nose of the ever-watchful KGB, Tolkachev passed on highly classified information about Soviet military technology to U.S. intelligence operatives. The documents he shared were of immense strategic value at a time when tensions between the two superpowers were at their peak. Today's guest, David Hoffman, tells this riveting story –which reads like a spy novel but is in fact nonfiction — in his bestseller, The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal. It's now out in paperback. Mr. Hoffman is a contributing editor at The Washington Post. From 1995 to 2001, he served as Moscow Bureau Chief, and later as

A True Story Of Espionage In The Cold War With Best-Selling Author David E. Hoffman

Pamela Newkirk Tells Of The Shameful Treatment Of Ota Benga In The Early 20th Century

In 1906, an African native known as Ota Benga was displayed in a cage in the monkey house at the Bronx Zoo. Thousands came to view the sensational exhibit. They shouted, pointed fingers, and laughed at the man, who stood 4 feet 11 inches in height and weighed 103 pounds. A sign outside the cage described him as an African Pygmy from the Congo Free State, and announced that he would be exhibited each afternoon during September. An orangutan shared the space with Benga, at times perching on his shoulder. The cage was littered with bones to suggest cannibalism, even though Benga was not a cannibal. This story may sound too shocking and unbelievable to be true. But according to research conducted by today's guest, Pamela Newkirk, the historical record shows these events occurred. Dr. Newkirk is the author of Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga. The book documents the story of a young African man who was brought to America from Central Africa in 1904. Ota Benga was first featured

Pamela Newkirk Tells Of The Shameful Treatment Of Ota Benga In The Early 20th Century

Jonathan Katz And Jason Herbeck Survived The 2010 Haiti Earthquake And Now Talk About Its Aftermath

Jonathan Katz talks more about his award-winning book, The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster. Mr Katz was the only full time U.S. news reporter in Haiti when the quake struck. His on-the-ground reporting for the Associated Press helped inform the world about the scope of the disaster, and he stayed in Haiti in the months that followed to document how and why well-meaning world relief efforts fell short. Also a guest on this episode of Reader's Corner is Jason Herbeck, a Boise State University French Professor who was also in Haiti in 2010 when the quake rocked the island nation. He has since visited the country to continue his research and also has insight into how literature is helping the country come to terms with the tragedy and its tumultuous political history.

Jonathan Katz And Jason Herbeck Survived The 2010 Haiti Earthquake And Now Talk About Its Aftermath

Why Relief Efforts After The 2010 Haiti Earthquake Created Disaster With Author Jonathan Katz

On a hot January afternoon in 2010, reporter Jonathan M. Katz heard a loud rumbling outside his home in the hills above Port-au-Prince, Haiti. At first, he thought it was a water truck. Then the bed began to vibrate, bottles shimmied on a nearby table, and the floor started to move. The roar increased as the deadliest earthquake in the history of the Western Hemisphere unleashed its full force. Mr. Katz survived. Thousands upon thousands of others were not so lucky. Mr. Katz tells the story of the earthquake and its complicated aftermath in The Big Truck that Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster. The book, now out in paperback, has won many honors, including the Overseas Press Club of America's prize for the year's best book on international affairs. In 2011, Mr. Katz was awarded the prestigious Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism for his work in Haiti. He now works as a freelance journalist covering international and domestic affairs.

Why Relief Efforts After The 2010 Haiti Earthquake Created Disaster With Author Jonathan Katz

Author Clive Thompson On How Technology Can Benefit Intelligence

Every new technology has its critics. Whether it's a fancy new digital gadget with a seemingly endless number of functions, or an addictive new app for your Smart Phone, the latest and greatest inventions can sometimes give us reason to pause. Years ago, Clive Thompson was pessimistic about the impact of new technologies like the Internet on modern life, too. But over time, his opinion changed as he observed how new digital tools enabled people to be more creative and effective. In his book, Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing our Minds for the Better, Thompson lays out a pretty convincing case for the potential these new technologies hold. Properly used, they can enhance our ability to remember, connect us in meaningful ways and even spark a widespread new interest in writing, according to his book. Thompson is a longtime contributor to The New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired and he also writes for Mother Jones and Smithsonian. Copyright 2016 Boise State

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