Checking In on the BPP Book Club

What's clicking on the BPP blog, including a conversation with book club moderator Sarah Goodyear.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

The Bryant Park Project blog is turning another page. Here to tell us about it is our web editor Laura Conaway. Hello, Laura.

LAURA CONAWAY: Good morning, Rachel. Welcome back.

MARTIN: Hey, thanks. Nice to be here!

CONAWAY: We've changed the date for our big Bryant Park Project book club.

ALISON STEWART, host:

I forgot to tell you that, yeah. We get an extra weekend, though.

MARTIN: Oh, good. Because I took it with all best intentions of finishing that puppy on my time away, and I didn't. I'm on page 24.

CONAWAY: OK, so we're reading "In the Country of Men" by Hisham Matar, and we were going to have an online meeting about it Friday, March 28th. But we're not.

MARTIN: OK.

CONAWAY: We're now going to have it on Tuesday, April 1st. I haven't started it either.

STEWART: I read quite a bit this weekend.

CONAWAY: How are you feeling about it?

STEWART: I enjoy it very much, although it makes me want to read it next to the computer so I can Google things. I'm having to, like, make little notes in the margins, like go look this up, go look this up.

CONAWAY: I think - it's set in Libya, and I think it's very timely, and it has a lot of substantive stuff to it about stuff that actually happened there.

STEWART: Yes.

CONAWAY: This week we're going to be blogging some sound from people who unlike us have read it, like this guy Dave Hollis(ph) of Hamilton, New York, who read it in a fever state, actually, and here's his pitch for it.

Mr. DAVE HOLLIS (Caller): I was pleasantly surprised. I thought that it was going to be this real, strong, punch-in-the-snout political book, and it isn't. I mean, it's beautifully written, you know, I want to get to the end, but then I don't want it to end as well.

CONAWAY: I think it's probably really lovely, and we're all in for a treat. A bunch of people have read it. I'm hearing from people on the blog that they really like it. If you haven't started it yet, you still have time to start and finish "In the Country of Men" by Hisham Matar before the Tuesday, April 1 online meeting.

STEWART: I will say, set aside a period of time. I tried to start it a couple of times and I had a chunk of time on Saturday, and that's how I got into it.

MARTIN: Yeah, like an hour, two hours.

STEWART: Just dive in.

MARTIN: That's how we all got through college, right?

STEWART: Yeah, exactly.

CONAWAY: We have a slide show coming from Newtown Creek, the story about the oil there, which is hanging around under Brooklyn. I think that Newtown Creek is one of those, sort of, amazing urban settings. New York happens to have a lot of them because we're a very watery place. But it's really quite lovely. Laura Silver put that together, and is cooking it right now as we speak. And I want to talk a little bit about Jill Sobule. Rachel, you weren't here, but Jill Sobule came in and basically left, I thought, the radio in sort of a smoldering heap, really, with the song she did about...

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. JILL SOBULE: (Singing) Deciding, it's a play to cloak and dagger, Snake into a taxi back to your Georgetown condo, And there you play piano in your red stilettos.

CONAWAY: It's kind of like you can't believe it's happening, really, when she gets in there. You're making that facial expression everyone makes when they first hear this.

Ms. SOBULE: (Singing) You put me in a trance, Take off the pantsuit pants. Condoleezza...

CONAWAY: OK.

STEWART: Look at Rachel!

CONAWAY: We're just going to drop it. Jill Sobule is our musical editorialist, she's obviously doing a satire. It's parody, and I just found it amazing and astounding, really.

MARTIN: Oh, my gosh. You know, at first, I thought she was making reference to some Eliot Spitzer thing, but...

CONAWAY: Well, she started it out there...

MARTIN: It's not right.

CONAWAY: But one of the things that really amazes me is that you guys wanted to talk about whether she's too old, whether Jill Sobule is too old to sing this song. That's what people on the blog wrote to say!

STEWART: I just found that really odd. And I'm just going to step out of my - excuse me while I take off my news hat. That's ridiculous! I'm putting my news hat back on.

CONAWAY: Isn't that ridiculous?

MARTIN: I don't even get it. You have to be? You have to - there's an age thing?

CONAWAY: The very first commenter came in and said Jill Sobule, why, she's like 50! She had one hit in 1995. That was 13 years ago. She puts a damper or the BPP's style. I was amazed and astounded by this.

STEWART: Yes, I thought that was a little bit rude.

MARTIN: Discrimination, people.

CONAWAY: Yeah, that's pretty astounding. One new thing out there...

STEWART: But she did have her defenders, I'm going to say!

CONAWAY: She had plenty of defenders. Some of them came on and said we don't talk that way about artists on NPR, which I thought was also sweet. We have a Facebook newsletter, if you want to get the BPP wrapped up for you in a very quick installment once a week, go to npr.org/bppfacebook, get a Facebook account if you don't have one, join our group, we'll send every week a roundup of highlights.

STEWART: All right, Laura Conaway edits our website and our blog. You can find us anytime on npr.org/bryantpark, or twitter.com/bpp. Thank you, Laura.

CONAWAY: Thank you.

MARTIN: That does it for this hour of the BPP. Come back again sometime. I'm Rachel Martin.

STEWART: I'm Alison Stewart. This has been the Bryant Park Project from NPR News.

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