Classic Titles Narrated By Top Actors ~ Show July 18 and 19

FEATURED BOOKS PREVIEWED

“Go Set A Watchman” by Harper Lee: performed by Reese Witherspoon
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee: performed by Sissy Spacek
“The Member of the Wedding” by Carson McCullers: performed by Susan Sarandon
“Being There” by Jerzy Kosinski: performed by Dustin Hoffman
“The Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad: performed by Kenneth Branagh
“The Sheltering Sky” by Paul Bowles: performed by Jennifer Connelly
“The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene: performed by Colin Firth

INTERVIEW
Marja Mills, Author

TUNE INTO THE PROGRAM FOR
Elaine spotlights new performances of classic titles narrated by Hollywood’s top actors. Marja Mills shares her experiences as Harper Lee’s neighbor – timed to coincide with the Lee’s release of “Go Set a Watchman.”

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Argentina Is World Capital Of Bookstores

ARGENTINA IS WORLD CAPITAL OF BOOKSTORES
All across Argentina’s capital, lodged between the steakhouses, ice cream shops and pizzerias, is an abundance of something that is becoming scarce in many nations: bookstores. From hole-in-the-wall joints with used copies of works by Jorge Luis Borges, Miguel de Cervantes and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to elegant buildings with the latest children’s books in several languages, Buenos Aires is filled with locales that pay homage to print.

The city has more bookstores per capita than any other major city in the world, according to a recent study by the World Cities Cultural Forum, an organization that works to promote culture. With a population of 2.8 million people within the city limits, there are 25 bookstores for every 100,000 people, putting Buenos Aires far above other world cities like London, Paris, Madrid, Moscow and New York. The closest is Hong Kong, which has 22 bookstores per 100,000 people.

“Books represent us like the tango,” said Juan Pablo Marciani, manager of El Ateneo Gran Splendid, an immense bookstore in the affluent Recoleta neighborhood where 7,000 people visit each week. “We have a culture very rooted in print.” Behind the high number of bookstores, 734 by last count, is a combination of culture and economics. Culture boomed along with the economy in the early part of the 20th century, and even if the economic path grew rocky, ordinary Argentines embraced and stuck to the habit of reading. To this day, many across the region call the Argentine capital the “Paris of Latin America” thanks to its architecture, wide streets and general interest in the arts. During the Spanish civil war in the 1930s, many top writers fled to Argentina, further cementing the country as a literary capital and powerhouse for printing.

In 2014, there were 28,010 titles in circulation and 129 million books were printed in the country, according to the Argentine Book Chamber, making it one of the most prolific book printers in Latin America. Many stores carry rare books that are hundreds of years old. At Libreria Alberto Casares, bookworms can gaze at a collection that includes a French translation of Spanish poet Garcilaso de la Vega from 1650 and Gregorian chants on papyrus dating to 1722.

In buses and subways, parks and cafes, it’s common to see people flipping pages of whodunits, histories and poetry, or most recently, new books about the mysterious death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, a case that has rocked the country since he was found shot dead in his bathroom Jan. 18. “I was born with paper books and I’ll die with paper books,” said Aida Cardozo, 65. “Computers are for responding to emails and using Facebook, but not to read a novel,” she said.

Books also receive help when it comes to staving off the digital deluge. There are no sales taxes on books, notable in a country where most products get 21 percent slapped on top of the sticker price. And heavy import taxes on books, and electronics such as e-readers, help keep the local printing industry strong. While Argentines are increasingly glued to their mobile devices, customers who want to use foreign retailers like Amazon have to pay a 35 percent surcharge on their peso-denominated credit cards. The use of e-readers like the Kindle is still relatively low. Less than 10 percent of the 1.2 million people who attended the city’s annual book fair last year said they used electronic devices to read books, according to a fair survey.

Ignacio Iraola, the Southern Cone editorial director for publishing house Grupo Planeta, said the economic factors make printed books an attractive business for bookstores and make books a popular gift in tight economic times. “A book costs 200 pesos ($23) compared to 400 pesos $46 for a shirt,” said Iraola. “And the perceived value of a book is much higher.”

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

People Who Changed Our World ~ Show July 11 and 12

FEATURED BOOKS PREVIEWED

“Elon Musk” by Ashlee Vance
“The Virgin Way” by Richard Branson
“Becoming Steve Jobs” by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli
“Madison’s Gift” by David Stewart
“Strategy: A History” by Lawrence Freedman
“Napoleon: A Life” by Andrew Roberts
“Alibaba’s World” by Porter Erisman

INTERVIEW
Senator Gary Hart

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A spotlight on entrepreneurs, politicians and statesmen who changed our world. Elaine speaks with Senator Gary Hart about his new title, “The Republic of Conscience.”

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

Get To Know The New James Beard Hall Of Famer

The James Beard 2015 Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards have just been awarded, and the Cookbook Hall of Fame award went to Barbara Kafka. If her name isn’t familiar to you, you’re not alone. Many cooks have never heard of her.

Kafka is a cookbook author, journalist and teacher. She has taught with James Beard, consulted for many fine restaurants, written for The New York Times, and contributed to Gourmet magazine with her regular column “The Opinionated Palate.” And that’s just a sampling of her professional accomplishments.

Her award, however, was not for teaching or restaurant consulting or columns. It was for her cookbooks, which according to the James Beard Foundation website are “a series of remarkable books.” In each she starts from scratch, coming up with interesting questions and then figuring out answers, never working from received wisdom. The result is a body of work that, book by book, has transformed the culinary landscape.

Kafka’s first best-seller was the 1987 “Microwave Gourmet.” She was the first major food writer to dedicate a cookbook to microwave cooking. The book is not just a recipe book. It also includes a dictionary of foods and techniques that explains how different foods react in the microwave. Kafka introduced a high-temperature roasting technique in the 1995 “Roasting: A Simple Art” that “completely changed the way we think about that subject,” according to Naomi Duguid who wrote the biography for Kafka on the James Beard site. Other books include 1992’s “Party Food,” 1998’s “Soup, A Way of Life,” and 2005’s “Vegetable Love.” Kafka published her latest cookbook, “The Intolerant Gourmet” in 2011 with recipes for those with food intolerances including gluten.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

James Patterson Donates $100,000 To Bookstores In Australia And New Zealand

JAMES PATTERSON DONATES $100,000 TO BOOKSTORES IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

In his first visit to Australia in 11 years, Patterson announced a $100,000 donation from which Australian and New Zealand book sellers with dedicated children’s sections could apply for cash grants of up to $5000. The donation was timed for Patterson’s arrival in Sydney for a series of Writers’ Festival events and promotion of Rafe’s Aussie Adventure, his Middle School pre-teens collaboration with writer-illustrator Martin Chatterton.

The greatest challenge facing society, warned Patterson, was getting bright children to read more broadly and at-risk kids reading competently. One in three Australian high school students could be considered functionally illiterate. Patterson’s hope was that Australia might follow Germany’s lead and set up a ministerial foundation to support and acknowledge the importance of independent booksellers as missionaries of children’s literacy. Were Amazon to locate its operations in Australia, Patterson predicts half the local bookstores would close.

Patterson has been one of the loudest voices in the book world warning about the pressure of online discounting and e-book retailing on the local bookstore. Retailers, who applauded Patterson’s assistance, have been lobbying for the imposition of GST for all online purchases and a review of international parcel delivery agreements.

Patterson holds the Guinness Book of Record for Number One New York Times bestsellers. Total worldwide sales exceed 300 million, of which he has sold 4.5 million copies in Australia.

A former copywriter, Patterson’s prodigious output includes one or two standalone thrillers each year in his name and seven or eight books which he commissions by way of detailed 50 to 80 page synopsis, edits and, if necessary, rewrites. To criticism of his methods, “my answer is Simon and Garfunkel, Lennon and McCartney, Stephen King and Peter Straub and the Coen brothers”.

As a commissioning editor and co-author, Patterson has branched into the genre of young-adult and children’s fiction, collaborating in six children’s book series. Chatterton describes his partnership as a “pain-free” experience, and Patterson as a precise and conscientious editor. “I strive for the highest common denominator,” Patterson says.

Patterson’s passion for child literacy began with his son’s reluctance to read. One summer he cancelled Jack’s chores and told him his only obligation was to read for one hour a day. “Give them stories that they’ll gobble up like chocolate pudding and ask for more,” says Patterson of the secret to enthusing reluctant readers. The only bad book was one that put a child off reading for life.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

Signed Gabriel Garcia Marquez Masterpiece Stolen

Colombian police are investigating the theft of a valuable first edition copy of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s masterpiece, “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” The book disappeared in early May from a guarded display case at Bogota’s book fair, which this year is honoring the late Nobel prize-winning author.

The first edition is one of only 8,000 copies published in 1967 by an Argentine editorial house, Sudamericana. A signed copy like the one stolen in Bogota can command as much as $23,000 online. But the book’s owner, Alvaro Castillo, says the true value is sentimental. The rare-book collector says he spent years hunting for the copy before finding one in Uruguay. He then managed to get Garcia Marquez, who died last year in Mexico City, to sign a dedicatory note. “It’s a very painful loss,” Castillo said on Monday after pulling the rest of his book collection from the fair.

Police cannot explain how the book was taken from the locked case. They are looking for clues on the recordings of a single video camera at the entrance to the Macondo pavilion, named in honor of the fictitious Caribbean town where “One Hundred Years of Solitude” takes place. The chief prosecutor’s office called the robbery a “serious attack on the cultural heritage” of Colombia and warned those responsible for the crime faced between six and 20 years in prison. Anyone who bought the stolen book could also face years behind bars. Meanwhile, the book fair’s organizers are apologizing and pleading with thieves to return the book, which they said would be next to impossible to resell because of its distinctive characteristics.

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

Washington DC ~ Show July 4 and 5

FEATURED BOOKS PREVIEWED

“The Georgetown Set” by Gregg Herken
“The President’s Shadow” by Brad Meltzer
“The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan” by Rick Perlstein
“King Suckerman” by George Pelecanos
“Citizens of the Green Room” by Mark Leibovich
“S Street Rising” by Ruben Castaneda
“Secrets of State” by Matthew Palmer

INTERVIEW
Brad Meltzer, Author

TUNE INTO THE PROGRAM FOR
A literary celebration of the 4th with the spotlight on our nation’s capital. Elaine focuses on new fiction and non-fiction titles with Washington at their core. Brad Meltzer stops by the program to speak about his new political thriller, “The President’s Shadow.”

A Lost Dylan Thomas Notebook To Go On Display

A lost Dylan Thomas notebook, rediscovered after lying forgotten in a drawer for decades, is to go on limited public display later this month. The notebook, which came to light recently, is one of five used by Dylan Thomas — the other four are in the State University of New York in Buffalo.

The notebook was bought by Swansea University, after being put up for auction at Sotheby’s. It is to be kept in the Richard Burton Archives. Around 200 members of the public will get the chance to see the notebook to mark the inaugural International Dylan Thomas Day. The free viewing will take place in the council chamber, Singleton Abbey.

It will be complemented by an exhibition including original Dylan Thomas photographs, Dylan’s first ever published poem, and rare proof copies of several of his works, generously on loan from Dylan’s Bookstore. The notebook will be on display in a protective glass case throughout International Dylan Thomas Day with plasma screens showing the whole of its contents.

Jeff Towns, owner of Dylan’s Bookstore and Dylan Thomas Society chairman, who successfully bid at the auction on behalf of the university, said: “The falling of the gavel at Sotheby’s last December was the beginning of a journey which culminates on International Dylan Thomas Day with this incredible, previously unseen poetry notebook on view for the first time here in the town where it was written, to be marvelled at, studied and enjoyed.”

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

The Real Mr Darcy Uncovered?

Jane Austen fans have long speculated about who could have inspired the character Mr. Darcy in “Pride and Prejudice,” but rumors have never led to a truth universally acknowledged. British historian and author Susan C. Law is hoping to change that with a new book about sex scandals in 19th century England. In her book, “Through the Keyhole,” Law claims Darcy was based on John Parker, 1st Earl of Morley, a British aristocrat who served in the House of Lords, and who was “involved in a sordid sex scandal that led to divorce” in 1809.

Morley’s second wife was a friend of Jane Austen, and her brother Henry knew the earl in college. Law notes that Morley looked the way that Austen described Mr. Darcy — handsome and “very intense.” Law says she can’t conclusively prove that Morley was the inspiration for the beloved character, played on screen by actors including Colin Firth, Laurence Olivier and Peter Cushing, but she’s still fairly sure she has the right man.

“It can be very frustrating and it is like trying to piece together a jigsaw,” Law said. “It has been fascinating and I have been longing to find that cast iron bit of evidence. But after spending so long on it, I am pretty convinced.”

“Pride and Prejudice” might not have been the only Jane Austen novel inspired in part by Morley, who had illegitimate children with a mistress, causing a scandal that gripped the press at the time. “There was a media frenzy over this,” Law said. “The original adultery is generally believed to have been behind the adultery plot in ‘Mansfield Park.”

Listen to The Book Report at your convenience. Go to https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-book-report/id540205917?mt=2, or at bookreportradio.com, click on Archived Shows

The James Beard Cookbook Award Winners Just Announced

THE JAMES BEARD COOKBOOK AWARD WINNERS JUST ANNOUNCED

Here’s a list of winners in all delicious categories:
Cookbook Hall of Fame: Barbara Kafka
Cookbook of the Year: “Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition” by David Sterling
American Cooking: “Heritage” by Sean Brock
Baking and Dessert: “Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole & Ancient Grains, Nuts & Non-Wheat Flours” by Alice Medrich
Beverage: “Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail” by Dave Arnold
Cooking from a Professional Point of View: “Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes” by Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns
Focus on Health: “Cooking Light Mad Delicious: The Science of Making Healthy Food Taste Amazing” by
Keith Schroeder
General Cooking: “The Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes, Kitchens & Tips to Inspire Your Cooking” by Faith Durand and Sara Kate Gillingham
Photography: “In Her Kitchen: Stories and Recipes from Grandmas Around the World” by Gabriele Galimberti