Another Week to Join the 'BPP' Book Club

What's clicking on the BPP blog, including an update on this month's book club selection, Aryn Kyle's The God of Animals.

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RACHEL MARTIN, host:

I'm still trying to get that out of my head. "It's over, Johnny! It's over!"

MIKE PESCA, host:

No! Nothing is over!

MARTIN: It's not over for Laura Conaway! She's in studio. The Bryant Park Project blog is one wild kingdom, and Miss Conaway is here to sort through some flora from fauna. Hi, Laura.

LAURA CONAWAY: Good morning. Can you tell flora from fauna? Do you know the difference?

MARTIN: No.

PESCA: Yeah. It's not hard to tell. One eats the other.

CONAWAY: It's so true.

MARTIN: Sometimes in the wild kingdom things get a little murky.

CONAWAY: Well, the flora is always obvious because that has such a close relation with the word "flower," but fauna, now that's...

PESCA: It means animals.

CONAWAY: Yeah. It means animals.

PESCA: So, an elephant or a hippo would be mega-fauna.

CONAWAY: Mega-fauna. That's right. The big stuff. All right, so we have this unusual sound on the blog today, and I just want to see if people can figure out what's making this particular noise. When I play this tape in just a second, there's a lot of ambient sound, and I'm not talking about the obvious stuff like banging on things and steps. I mean the noise noise, and I think you'll hear it.

(Soundbite of yelping)

MARTIN: What is that?

PESCA: It's like that yelping kind of sound.

CONAWAY: Yeah.

PESCA: All right. So, let's narrow it down. Is it animal, vegetable, or mineral?

CONAWAY: Mineral, guy.

PESCA: It's mineral.

CONAWAY: It's mineral in its natural habitat.

PESCA: It's not mineral. You're lying.

CONAWAY: Well, I don't know. It could be a mineral we don't know about yet. Check out - just one more time. See if you can year it.

(Soundbite of yelping)

MARTIN: That is not a mineral.

PESCA: No.

CONAWAY: It could be flora!

PESCA: It ain't.

CONAWAY: It could be a Venus flytrap eating a fly. All right, check it out. It's on the blog. It's incredibly cute. The sound is hiding there, and I think you'll like seeing it.

MARTIN: You're not going to tell me what it is?

PESCA: Do you know what it is?

MARTIN: No!

PESCA: OK. Cool. Just guess. Guess. I know what it is.

MARTIN: It sounds like a tormented child.

PESCA: OK. It could be.

CONAWAY: A tormented child? That's pretty good, Rachel. I got to say. That's actually pretty good. Speaking of tormented children...

MARTIN: Where are we going here?

CONAWAY: We we're wrapping up for the Bryant Park Project Book Club meeting. It's happening on Friday, but already people have already started talking about Aryn Kyle's "The God of Animals."

MARTIN: Great book.

CONAWAY: Yeah. We're going to have a check in from a listener. It's going to go up on the blog later today. I don't want to play sound from it. I really - we want to hold our powder, if we can, until Friday when the big meeting really happens, but I just want to know, Rachel, how far are you to the end here?

MARTIN: I've got about 20 pages to the end. I was spacing it out over the time. You know, because I didn't want to finish too early, and then kind of forget the major themes or little details. Tricia is nodding in the studio.

PATRICIA MCKINNEY: Yeah. I've been listening to the audio-book version of it, so I just finished it the other day because I was doing the same thing. I got so into it I was like, I've got to stop. I've got to stop or I'll forget this whole book before we ever have to talk about.

MARTIN: It's really good, though.

MCKINNEY: But I have to say, I just want to give one hint. I was driving around in my car listening to this book, and at one point I had to put my hands over my face. Something happened that was so graphic, and just horrifying to me.

PESCA: Oh. I know what it is. I know nothing about the book. I figured out what it is. I'm not going to guess.

MCKINNEY: I just was like, oh, no!

MARTIN: I know, I just read that part!

MCKINNEY: It's good, though. It really is.

CONAWAY: So, I have to admit, I have 150 pages to go, so I'm cranking. I'm going really fast. I don't know if I got to that part. I'll know when I get to that part?

MARTIN: Oh, you have not gotten to that part!

CONAWAY: You didn't get to that part, no.

PESCA: By the way, does listening count as reading?

CONAWAY: We did a whole segment about this, Mike Pesca, and the answer from an audio-book publisher is, yes, it counts as reading.

PESCA: Oh, you mean someone trying to sell audio books?

MARTIN: Tricia did that whole segment to justify when she listens to audio books.

PESCA: Every so often on the Bryant Park we tell Tricia she's good enough, smart enough, and people like her.

MCKINNEY: All right, you guys, here's the deal. This way, I actually absorb the content of a book without falling asleep, because that's - if I sit and read with an open book on my lap, I'm done. I'm toast. It's over.

PESCA: Yeah.

CONAWAY: All right. We are having later today - I hope to have it up in time, actually, for the noon-day snack, the luncheonette, a rock, scissors, paper video. There's apparently some new way to play it. I sat in the room while Jacob Ganz and Ian Chillag did this, and I still don't really understand what it is.

MARTIN: New way to play it? How can you reinvent this game?

PESCA: Well, let me try to make an analogy, because I saw them do it. It's like they build upon the foundation of rock, paper, scissor, and they riff off that, and they invent - actually they invent a new game. So, think of like a game within a game. Think of - put it this way.

Let's say baseball used to just be homerun derbies - bunch of guys hitting - and then someone said, hey, let's have bases. Let's do some other things. Let's build on the premise. And that's what the new version is, and Jacob's a lot better than Ian.

MARTIN: Interesting.

CONAWAY: OK. Mike Pesca, open mic, sell me your Beetle Bailey cartoon blog item. Ten seconds.

PESCA: Yesterday, we reported on the story out of Fort Bragg where horrible conditions were shown in the Army training facilities, and commenting on that very story, I believe, was beloved comic strip Beetle Bailey. It has to be read to be believed, and what I do is I provide my analysis, and I bring listeners along. You'll be with me by the end.

CONAWAY: Check it out.

MARTIN: All right. Thanks, Laura. You can check us out online at npr.org/bryantpark and don't forget to sign up for the book club. Send an email to nppbookclub@npr.org, and that's it for this hour of the BPP, but we're always online, don't you know, npr.org/bryantpark. I'm Rachel Martin.

PESCA: And I'm Mike Pesca. This is the Bryant Park Project from NPR News.

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