Books & Music Review Archive

Timeline --Alan Cheuse reviews Timeline the new novel by Michael Crichton, the author who audiobrought us Jurrasic Park. Cheuse says it's a fast-moving mix of science fiction, history and romance. (1:45)

Gram Parsons --Will Hermes reviews "Return of the Grievous Angel." The recording is a tribute to the singer and songwriter Gram Parsons, who was the spark behind the melding of rock and country music. His partner for many of the recordings he made was Emmylou Harris. On this tribute recording, Emmylou has helped put together artists Cowboy Junkies, Gillian Welch, audioElvis Costello and Beck among others. Hermes thinks its the best look back at a great American songwriter. (6:30)

Keeping House -- Linda speaks with author Cheryl Mendelson about her book, Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House. Mendelson is a lawyer, philosopher and sometime professor who has used her research skills to learn the truth about the history of house keeping. The book also provides audio instruction in tasks from making a good fire in a fireplace to tuning a piano. (5:30)

World Playground Banning Eyre reviews a new compilation CD for kids called World Playground. It features various artists from around the world singing kid-friendly songs in many languages. Infectious rhythms and kid-written liner notes are only part of the appeal of this lively collection. World Playground: A Musical Adventure for Kids is audio on Putumayo World music, catalog number PUTU 154-2. (4:00)

The Story of a Million Years --Alan Cheuse tells us about a new novel, The Story of a Million Years, by David Huddle. It's a story of a secret love affair between a 15-year-old girl audio and the husband of her mother's best friend, and the impact it has on them later in life. (2:00)

audioPersonal Injuries -- Alan Cheuse reviews Scott Turow's new book "Personal Injuries." (FSG) (2:30)

All Souls -- Noah talks to Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of All Souls: A Family Story from Southie (Beacon, 9/99). MacDonald talks about his book about growing up in an Irish housing project in Boston. He recounts how the busing riots were followed by years of violence in his neighborhood, which claimed the lives of four of his siblings. He grew up to be an anti-violence activist, audio and helped spearhead a gun buy-back program in Boston. (12:30)

A View From the Bridge -- Jackie Northam of member station WBEZ Radio in Chicago reports that on Saturday the Lyric Opera of Chicago unveiled its' world premiere of A View From the Bridge. The production is an adaptation of Arthur Miller's play of the same name. Bringing this classic theatre work to main stage opera represents a collaboration between Miller, the opera's composer, William Bolcom, and its' librettist, Arnold Weinstein. The three men worked closely for several years deciding what to leave in from the theatrical piece, what to leave out and audio how the music of the opera should enhance the original play. (7:30)

Hearts in Atlantis -- Alan Cheuse reviews Hearts in Atlantis, Stephen King's latest effort, which is a collection of five stories audio about American life from the 1960s to the 1990s. (2:00)

Waiting -- Alan Cheuse reviews Waiting, by Ha Jin. It's a love story audio set in modern China. (1:15)

Kol Nidre Variations --Robert speaks with award-winning composer and pianist Ben Zebelman, who is perfoming his own Kol Nidre Variations tonight at Edridge Street Synagogue in New York City. Kol Nidre has been sung on the eve of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur for hundreds of years. Zebelman's four movement arrangement lasts nearly 40-minutes, and may audio be the longest version of Kol Nidre to date. (5:30)

Hitler's Niece --Reviewer Alan Cheuse tells us about Ron Hansen's new novel Hitler's Niece. This historical fiction is built around Hitler's bizarre audio relationship with his niece and her violent death at the age of twenty three. (2:00)

Fountains of Wayne --"Fountains of Wayne" is the name of a shop in Wayne, New Jersey. But it's also the name of a New York quartet. Mark Jenkins reviews the band's new recording Utopia Parkway. audio Utopia Parkway is available from Wea/Atlantic. (4:30)

Mozart and Brahms --Music critic Tom Manoff listens to a new CD of Clarinet Quintets. The works are by Mozart and by Brahms performed by David Shifrin and the Emerson String Quartet. Manoff says he's heard these works many times, and was very pleased audio by the intimacy and passion in the performances. (5:15)

First Snow on Fuji --Book reviewer Alan Cheuse tells us about the first English translation of a collection of short stories by Nobel Prize winning Japanese writer Yasunari Kawabata Cheuse says the 1958 book First Snow on Fuji audio broaches the topics of marriage and adultery, with the descriptive language of a master. (2:30)

Flowers in the Dustbin -- Noah speaks with James Miller, author of Flowers in the Dustbin: The Rise of Rock and Roll, 1947-1977 Miller discusses the very early days of rock, audio and the influence of the song "Good Rockin' Tonight." Flowers in the Dustbin is published by Simon and Schuster. (8:00)

The Lonesome Organist -- David Greenberger reviews Cavalcade, the new CD by The Lonesome Organist. The Lonesome Organist is the name used by multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Jacobsen, who lives in Chicago. He plays all the instruments on the CD, including organ, toy piano, steel drums, saws, harmonicas, melodica, pots and pans, whistle, and guitar. audio He would play many of these simultaneously and then layer the different recordings himself with his four-track recorder. (3:45)

Until The Real Thing Comes Along -- Reviewer Alan Cheuse says a novel by Elizabeth Berg puts a modern twist on the concepts of true love, and finding a mate. audio Until The Real Thing Comes Along is published by Random House.(2:00)

Cesaria Evora -- Charles de Ledesma reviews a new CD from singer Cesaria Evora. Atlantico, is her third album. Evora from the Cape Verde islands off the coast of West Africa. Her music is sort audio of a blend of blues, creole and folk. (4:00)

Look Homeward, Angel -- Book reviewer Alan Cheuse, has been re-reading some classic American fiction this summer, audio including Thomas Wolfe's novel, Look Homeward, Angel. (3:00)

Broke Heart Blues -- Joyce Carol Oates takes reader back to high school in the sixties in her new novel set, as many of her books, in western New York. This audio one is entitled Broke Heart Blues. Alan Cheuse has a review. (2:00)

Veloso -- Tom Moon reviews the CD "Livro" by Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso. Caetano Veloso was one of the musical pioneers who created the Tropicalia style in the late 60's. Tropicalia combines traditional Brazillian rhythms with contemporary popular songwriting. Moon audio says that Veloso offers an update on the Tropicalia style on his new CD. (3:30)

Kandia Kouyate -- Banning Eyre reviews the first international release by Malian singer Kandia Kouyate. She is a "griot" singer, entrusted with the oral history of her people. On this wide-ranging recording, Kouyate sings some traditonal material, but also shows off her powerful audio voice in her first departure into dance and pop music. (3:30)

From Senegal to Setesdal -- Banning Eyre reviews a new CD called From Senegal to Setesdal, featuring musicians from Norway and West Africa. Norwegian traditional singer Kirsten Braten Berg and Senegalese kora player Solo Cissokho met backstage at a music audio festival and found that their music had a lot in common. (4:00)

A Wish -- Banning Eyre reviews the new CD A Wish by Hamza El Din. Hamza is a Nubian musician, from southern Egypt. His village was flooded in 1964 when the Aswan High Dam was completed. Although he has lived in the US since that time, he has continued to play the traditional music of Nubia. audioOn this gorgeous recording, he sings and plays both drum and oud, and invites an array of select musicians to accompany him. (4:30)

Chemical Brothers -- Charles de Ledesma reviews the latest CD from the Chemical Brothers, called Surrender. It's in the same vein as their previous two albums -- rich, multi-layered, electronic dance music, with many high-profile guest vocalists including Bernard Sumner from New Order and Noel Gallagher from Oasis. The Chemical Brothers are credited as the pioneers of "electronica," audio and Ledesma says this CD once again proves their talent for pushing electronic dance music in bold new directions. (4:00)

The Reason for Wings -- Reviewer Alan Cheuse examines The Reason for Wings, a novel by audio Joyce Reiser Kornblatt about several generations of a Jewish family. (2:15)

Every Man Whose Soul is Not a Clod Hath Visions -- Poet Gray Jacobik, who teaches at Eastern Connecticut State University, reads her poem "Every Man Whose Soul is Not a Clod Hath Visions." audioIt's about the owner of a purple martin birdhouse in southern Illinois. (3:00)

Reading Lists

  • Alan Cheuse Summer Reading List
  • The Top 100 Books Since 1900