Skip to main content

Readers Radio: Read Globally, Talk Locally on KAFM 88.1

CMU's Reference & Distance Services Librarian Laureen Cantwell has a monthly community affairs hour radio show on Grand Junction's KAFM (88.1) where she brings on local guests and talks about recently-published non-fiction.
  • Guest(s): Dr. Megan Henley (CMU's Sociology program)
  • Listen to the episode! (01.21.2019)
  • Book blurb: In You Play the Girl, Chocano blends formative personal stories with insightful and emotionally powerful analysis. Moving from Bugs Bunny to Playboy Bunnies, from Flashdance to Frozen, from the progressive ’70s through the backlash ’80s, the glib ’90s, and the pornified aughts—and at stops in between—she explains how growing up in the shadow of “the girl” taught her to think about herself and the world and what it means to raise a daughter in the face of these contorted reflections. In the tradition of Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, and Susan Sontag, Chocano brilliantly shows that our identities are more fluid than we think, and certainly more complex than anything we see on any kind of screen.

feminasty by erin gibson book cover

(cover image and this link will take you to the Amazon page for the book)

 

  • Guest(s): Dr. Alero Nanna (General Surgeon, Colorado Surgical Affiliates)
  • Listen to the episode! (02.18.2019)
  • Book blurb: A gifted surgeon illuminates one of the most profound, awe-inspiring, and deeply affecting achievements of modern day medicine—the movement of organs between bodies—in this exceptional work of death and life that takes its place besides Atul Gawande’s Complications, Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies, and Jerome Groopman’s How Doctors Think. When Death Becomes Life is a thrilling look at how science advances on a grand scale to improve human lives. Mezrich examines more than one hundred years of remarkable medical breakthroughs, connecting this fascinating history with the inspiring and heartbreaking stories of his transplant patients. Combining gentle sensitivity with scientific clarity, Mezrich reflects on his calling as a doctor and introduces the modern pioneers who made transplantation a reality—maverick surgeons whose feats of imagination, bold vision, and daring risk taking generated techniques and practices that save millions of lives around the world.

when death becomes life book cover

(cover image and this link will take you to the Amazon page for the book)

 

  • Guest(s): Sylvia Rael (Director, CMU's Tomlinson Library)
  • Listen to the episode! (03.28.2019)
  • Book blurb: On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual fire alarm. As one fireman recounted, “Once that first stack got going, it was ‘Goodbye, Charlie.’” The fire was disastrous: it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who? Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before.

(cover image and this link will take you to the Amazon page for the book)

  • Guest(s): Dr. Christi Sanders Via (CMU's Business program)
  • Listen to the episode! (04.15.2019)
  • Book blurb: 

    Apple orchards in bucolic Washington state. Office parks in Southern California under cover of night. The home of an elderly man in Miami. These are some of the workplaces where female workers have suffered brutal sexual assault and shocking harassment at the hands of their employers, often with little or no official recourse. In this harrowing yet often inspiring tale, investigative journalist Bernice Yeung exposes the epidemic of sexual violence levied against women farmworkers, domestic workers, and janitorial workers and charts their quest for justice in the workplace.

    Yeung takes readers on a journey across the country, introducing us to women who came to America to escape grinding poverty only to encounter sexual violence in the United States. In a Day’s Work exposes the underbelly of economies filled with employers who take advantage of immigrant women’s need to earn a basic living. When these women find the courage to speak up, Yeung reveals, they are too often met by apathetic bosses and underresourced government agencies. But In a Day’s Work also tells a story of resistance, introducing a group of courageous allies who challenge dangerous and discriminatory workplace conditions alongside aggrieved workers—and win. Moving and inspiring, this book will change our understanding of the lives of immigrant women.

(cover image and this link will take you to the Amazon page for the book)

 
  • Guest(s): Dr. Tracii Friedman (CMU's Mathematics program)
  • Listen to the episode! (05.20.2019)
  • Book blurb: Without calculus, we wouldn’t have cell phones, TV, GPS, or ultrasound. We wouldn’t have unraveled DNA or discovered Neptune or figured out how to put 5,000 songs in your pocket. Though many of us were scared away from this essential, engrossing subject in high school and college, Steven Strogatz’s brilliantly creative, down‑to‑earth history shows that calculus is not about complexity; it’s about simplicity. It harnesses an unreal number—infinity—to tackle real‑world problems, breaking them down into easier ones and then reassembling the answers into solutions that feel miraculous. Infinite Powers recounts how calculus tantalized and thrilled its inventors, starting with its first glimmers in ancient Greece and bringing us right up to the discovery of gravitational waves (a phenomenon predicted by calculus). Strogatz reveals how this form of math rose to the challenges of each age: how to determine the area of a circle with only sand and a stick; how to explain why Mars goes “backwards” sometimes; how to make electricity with magnets; how to ensure your rocket doesn’t miss the moon; how to turn the tide in the fight against AIDS. As Strogatz proves, calculus is truly the language of the universe. By unveiling the principles of that language, Infinite Powers makes us marvel at the world anew. 

(cover image and this link will take you to the Amazon page for the book)

 

  • Guest(s): Tom Benton (CMU's Innovation Center)
  • Listen to the episode! (06.17.2019)
  • Book blurb: What do James Bond and Lipitor have in common? What can we learn about human nature and world history from a glass of water? In Loonshots, physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behavior that challenges everything we thought we knew about nurturing radical breakthroughs. Drawing on the science of phase transitions, Bahcall shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them, just as flowing water will suddenly change into brittle ice. Mountains of print have been written  about cultureLoonshots identifies the small shifts in structure that control this transition, the same way that temperature controls the change from water to ice. Using examples that range from the spread of fires in forests to the hunt for terrorists online, and stories of thieves and geniuses and kings, Bahcall shows how this new kind of science helps us understand the behavior of companies and the fate of empires. Loonshots distills these insights into lessons for creatives, entrepreneurs, and visionaries everywhere. Over the past decade, researchers have been applying the tools and techniques of phase transitions to understand how birds flock, fish swim, brains work, people vote, criminals behave, ideas spread, diseases erupt, and ecosystems collapse. If twentieth-century science was shaped by the search for fundamental laws, like quantum mechanics and gravity, the twenty-first will be shaped by this new kind of science. Loonshots is the first to apply these tools to help all of us unlock our potential to create and nurture the crazy ideas that change the world.
     

(cover image and this link will take you to the Amazon page for the book)

 

  • Guest(s): Dr. Nate Perry (CMU's Business/Economics program)
  • Listen to the episode! (08.19.2019)
  • Book blurb: Most people wouldn't expect an economist to have an answer to these questions--or to other questions of daily life, such as who to date or how early to leave for the airport. But those people haven't met Allison Schrager, an economist and award-winning journalist who has spent her career examining how people manage risk in their lives and careers. Whether we realize it or not, we all take risks large and small every day. Even the most cautious among us cannot opt out--the question is always which risks to take, not whether to take them at all. What most of us don't know is how to measure those risks and maximize the chances of getting what we want out of life. In An Economist Walks into a Brothel, Schrager equips readers with five principles for dealing with risk, principles used by some of the world's most interesting risk takers. For instance, she interviews a professional poker player about how to stay rational when the stakes are high, a paparazzo in Manhattan about how to spot different kinds of risk, horse breeders in Kentucky about how to diversify risk and minimize losses, and a war general who led troops in Iraq about how to prepare for what we don't see coming. 
    When you start to look at risky decisions through Schrager's new framework, you can increase the upside to any situation and better mitigate the downside.

     

(cover image and this link will take you to the Amazon page for the book)

 

  • Guest(s): Prof. John Nizalowski (CMU's English program)
  • Listen to the episode! (09.19.2019)
  • Book blurb: Just as a basket's purpose determines its materials, weave, and shape, so too is the purpose of the essay related to its material, weave, and shape. Editors Elissa Washuta and Theresa Warburton ground this anthology of essays by Native writers in the formal art of basket weaving. Using weaving techniques such as coiling and plaiting as organizing themes, the editors have curated an exciting collection of imaginative, world-making lyric essays by twenty-seven contemporary Native writers from tribal nations across Turtle Island into a well-crafted basket. Shapes of Native Nonfiction  features a dynamic combination of established and emerging Native writers, including Stephen Graham Jones, Deborah Miranda, Terese Marie Mailhot, Billy-Ray Belcourt, Eden Robinson, and Kim TallBear. Their ambitious, creative, and visionary work with genre and form demonstrate the slippery, shape-changing possibilities of Native stories. Considered together, they offer responses to broader questions of materiality, orality, spatiality, and temporality that continue to animate the study and practice of distinct Native literary traditions in North America.
     

(cover image and this link will take you to the Amazon page for the book)

 

  • Guest(s): Dr. Timothy C. Winegard (CMU's History & Political Science programs)
  • Listen to the episode! (10.19.2019)
  • Book blurb: Why was gin and tonic the cocktail of choice for British colonists in India and Africa? What does Starbucks have to thank for its global domination? What has protected the lives of popes for millennia? Why did Scotland surrender its sovereignty to England? What was George Washington's secret weapon during the American Revolution? The answer to all these questions, and many more, is the mosquito. Across our planet since the dawn of humankind, this nefarious pest, roughly the size and weight of a grape seed, has been at the frontlines of history as the grim reaper, the harvester of human populations, and the ultimate agent of historical change. As the mosquito transformed the landscapes of civilization, humans were unwittingly required to respond to its piercing impact and universal projection of power. The mosquito has determined the fates of empires and nations, razed and crippled economies, and decided the outcome of pivotal wars, killing nearly half of humanity along the way. She (only females bite) has dispatched an estimated 52 billion people from a total of 108 billion throughout our relatively brief existence. As the greatest purveyor of extermination we have ever known, she has played a greater role in shaping our human story than any other living thing with which we share our global village. Imagine for a moment a world without deadly mosquitoes, or any mosquitoes, for that matter? Our history and the world we know, or think we know, would be completely unrecognizable. Driven by surprising insights and fast-paced storytelling, The Mosquito is the extraordinary untold story of the mosquito’s reign through human history and her indelible impact on our modern world order.

(cover image and this link will take you to the Amazon page for the book)

 

  • Guest(s): Dr. Chris Dieni (CMU Biochemistry faculty)
  • Listen to the episode! (11.21.2019)
  • Book blurb: A deeply human story, Fentanyl, Inc. is the first deep-dive investigation of a hazardous and illicit industry that has created a worldwide epidemic, ravaging communities and overwhelming and confounding government agencies that are challenged to combat it. “A whole new crop of chemicals is radically changing the recreational drug landscape,” writes Ben Westhoff. “These are known as Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) and they include replacements for known drugs like heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana. They are synthetic, made in a laboratory, and are much more potent than traditional drugs”―and all-too-often tragically lethal. Drugs like fentanyl, K2, and Spice―and those with arcane acronyms like 25i-NBOMe― were all originally conceived in legitimate laboratories for proper scientific and medicinal purposes. Their formulas were then hijacked and manufactured by rogue chemists, largely in China, who change their molecular structures to stay ahead of the law, making the drugs’ effects impossible to predict. Westhoff has infiltrated this shadowy world. He tracks down the little-known scientists who invented these drugs and inadvertently killed thousands, as well as a mysterious drug baron who turned the law upside down in his home country of New Zealand. Westhoff visits the shady factories in China from which these drugs emanate, providing startling and original reporting on how China’s vast chemical industry operates, and how the Chinese government subsidizes it. Poignantly, he chronicles the lives of addicted users and dealers, families of victims, law enforcement officers, and underground drug awareness organizers in the U.S. and Europe. Together they represent the shocking and riveting full anatomy of a calamity we are just beginning to understand. From its depths, as Westhoff relates, are emerging new strategies that may provide essential long-term solutions to the drug crisis that has affected so many.

(cover image and this link will take you to the Amazon page for the book)

 

  • Guest(s): Prof. Holly Buglewicz (CMU's Speech/Communication Sciences program)
  • Listen to the episode! (11.21.2019)
  • Book blurb: How did Fidel Castro fool the CIA for a generation? Why did Neville Chamberlain think he could trust Adolf Hitler? Why are campus sexual assaults on the rise? Do television sitcoms teach us something about the way we relate to each other that isn't true? While tackling these questions, Malcolm Gladwell was not solely writing a book for the page. He was also producing for the ear. In the audiobook version of Talking to Strangers, you'll hear the voices of people he interviewed--scientists, criminologists, military psychologists. Court transcripts are brought to life with re-enactments. You actually hear the contentious arrest of Sandra Bland by the side of the road in Texas. As Gladwell revisits the deceptions of Bernie Madoff, the trial of Amanda Knox, and the suicide of Sylvia Plath, you hear directly from many of the players in these real-life tragedies. There's even a theme song - Janelle Monae's "Hell You Talmbout." Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don't know. And because we don't know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.

(cover image and this link will take you to the Amazon page for the book)

 

(click image above or this link here to access the 2018 episode archive of Readers Radio)

(click the image above or this text here to access the 2017 episode archive of Readers Radio)

Image result for kafm 88.1