book reviews

Lots of time at home these days...for so many of us...as we continue to shelter in place, for the safety of ourselves and everyone else, in the Age of Coronavirus. On this installment of ST, we have tips regarding books to read as well as videos to watch during these days of prolonged self-isolation. Our guests are Rebecca Howard with the Tulsa City-County Library and Chuck Foxen with the Circle Cinema.

In recent days, per our year-end custom, we've been offering The Best of StudioTulsa -- i.e., encore presentations of interviews from throughout 2018 across a range of topics and themes. Here's a guide (complete with on-demand audio links) regarding what we have re-aired of late, and when we've re-aired it. On 12/26/18, we offered our February 2018 chat with the author of "Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissan

Nancy Pearl is our guest on ST. An editor, novelist, literary critic, retired librarian, and internationally acclaimed reading and literacy advocate, Pearl used to live and work in Tulsa -- way back in the day -- and that's when she started appearing occasionally on our radio show. Pearl returns today (by phone) to share several bookish gift-giving ideas.

Our guest on ST is the locally based photographer and writer, Rhys Martin, who joins us to discuss his new book: "Lost Restaurants of Tulsa." The book is just out, and it reveals the histories of dozens of restaurants from T-Town's past -- family sagas, culinary wonders, beloved diners, edge-of-town favorites, popular hang-outs, and more. It's a book that's sure to appeal to those who can lip-smackingly recall the likes of Pennington's, Shotgun Sam's, Villa Venice, The Golden Drumstick, The Razor Clam, St. Michael's Alley, The Louisiane, et al.

Photo by The Daily Beast

Our guest on ST is the celebrated British writer Hilary Mantel, who is the newest recipient of the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award, which is given annually by the Tulsa Library Trust. Mantel is the author of several books, including the historical novels "Wolf Hall" and "Bring Up the Bodies," which both recount the life of Thomas Cromwell, the "political fixer" best known for his tenure in the court of Henry VIII. Mantel speaks with us about these and other of her very popular works.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in August.) Our guest is the award-winning British author and journalist William Atkins, whose latest book -- a dense and engrossing blend of history, memoir, geography, and travel writing -- is called "The Immeasurable World: Journeys in Desert Places." It's a work that, per The Wall Street Journal, "courts comparisons with the capaciously learned nature writing of John McPhee. But there's also an open-ended spiritual quest to Mr.

Our guest is Teresa Miller, the local author and Director Emerita of the Center for Poets and Writers at OSU. Miller is also the co-editor of a new anthology, which she tells us about: "Love Can Be: A Literary Collection about Our Animals." It's a gathering of about thirty acclaimed authors, all of them celebrating pets, animals, creatures, and other forms of life: cats, birds, frogs, butterflies, bears, dogs, raccoons, horses, etc.

(Note: This interview first aired back in June.) Our guest is Allen Gannett, the founder and CEO of TrackMaven, a software analytics firm whose clients have included Microsoft, Marriott, Home Depot, Aetna, and Honda.

(Note: This interview first aired back in May.) On this edition of ST, an interesting discussion with Hannibal B. Johnson, the Tulsa-based attorney, local historian, and prolific author. He joins us to talk about his book, "The Sawners of Chandler: A Pioneering Power Couple in Pre-Civil Rights Oklahoma." As is noted of this eye-opening book at Mr.

(Note: This show originally aired back in February.) "Bobby BlueJacket: The Tribe, The Joint, The Tulsa Underworld" is a well-researched book exploring little-known aspects of American crime, Native American identity, and smalltown politics in the 20th century. It's also an engrossing biography of a real and remarkable person: Bobby BlueJacket, born in 1930, who grew up in Tulsa amid teenage rumbles, mean streets, dangerous pool halls, and Midwest safecracker crews -- and who actually went from being a career thief to a prison journalist to a Eastern Shawnee Indian activist.

Looking for a great book or three to relax with this summer? Of course you are. We've got lots of surefire suggestions on that score from Nancy Pearl, our longtime book reviewer here on StudioTulsa. A widely beloved literary critic, editor, author, and now-retired librarian -- and a former resident of Tulsa -- Nancy shares with us new and recent works of fiction, mystery, history, and more. Here, in order, are the books that she chats with us about:

1) "1947: Where Now Begins" by Elisabeth Asbrink

2) "Mozart's Starling" by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

On this edition of ST, we listen back to an interview from October of last year. At that time, we spoke with Jennifer Egan about her novel, "Manhattan Beach," which is just now out in paperback. As was noted of this book in a starred review in Kirkus: "After stretching the boundaries of fiction in myriad ways...Egan does perhaps the only thing left that could surprise: she writes a thoroughly traditional novel.

On this broadcast of ST, we learn about a new book called "Art Deco Tulsa" -- and our guests are the two people who created it: Suzanne Fitzgerald Wallis wrote the text, and Sam Joyner made the photographs. As is noted of this book at its publisher's website: "Transformed from a cattle depot into the Oil Capital of the World, Tulsa emerged as an iconic Jazz Age metropolis. The Magic City attracted some of the nation's most talented architects, including Bruce Goff, Francis Barry Byrne, Frank Lloyd Wright, Joseph R.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Richard Russo, the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of such popular novels as Empire Falls and Nobody's Fool. Also known for his short stories and autobiographical writings, Mr. Russo has a new book out, his very first collection of personal essays, which he tells us about. It's called "The Destiny Thief." Note: Mr. Russo will soon do a free-to-the-public reading and signing here in Tulsa; on Thursday the 17th, beginning at 7pm, he'll be at the TCC Center for Creativity.

(Note: This interview originally aired last year.) On this edition of ST Medical Monday, Dr. David Palma is our guest. He is a Canadian radiation oncologist and cancer researcher who focuses on the treatment of lung, head/neck, and metastatic cancers -- and he tells us about his new book, which is just out: "Taking Charge of Cancer: What You Need to Know to Get the Best Treatment." As was noted by Dr. Tony Mok of the Chinese University of Hong Kong: "If you use a guidebook for a journey, you will need [this book] for a cancer journey.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we speak once again with our longtime book reviewer, Nancy Pearl. A retired librarian, bestselling author, literary critic, and former Tulsan, Nancy, now based in Seattle, is a well-known reading advocate who was named the 2011 Librarian of the Year by Library Journal.

"To have great poets," as Walt Whitman once noted, "there must also be great audiences." And great cities, it would seem, likewise require great bookstores. On this edition of ST, we learn all about Magic City Books -- an indie bookstore owned and operated by the non-profit Tulsa Literary Coalition (or TLC) -- which will soon, at long last, open for business in downtown Tulsa. Indeed, after a series of construction-related delays, Magic City Books will open on Monday the 20th at 9pm...with Mayor G.T.

On this edition of ST, we chat with the New York-based author and journalist Jennifer Egan, whose newest novel, the much-praised "Manhattan Beach," is just out. As was noted of this book in a starred review in Kirkus: "After stretching the boundaries of fiction in myriad ways...Egan does perhaps the only thing left that could surprise: she writes a thoroughly traditional novel. Realistically detailed, poetically charged, and utterly satisfying: apparently there's nothing Egan can't do." And further, per Dwight Garner in The New York Times: "Immensely satisfying....

On this edition of StudioTulsa Medical Monday, Dr. David Palma is our ghuest. He is a Canadian radiation oncologist and cancer researcher who focuses on the treatment of lung, head/neck, and metastatic cancers -- and he tells us about his new book, which is just out: "Taking Charge of Cancer: What You Need to Know to Get the Best Treatment." As was noted by Dr. Tony Mok of the Chinese University of Hong Kong: "If you use a guidebook for a journey, you will need [this book] for a cancer journey.

On this edition of ST, we welcome the Tulsa-based author Jennifer Latham back to our show. Her recently published YA novel, "Dreamland Burning," is a suspenseful narrative about the Tulsa Race Riot. As was noted of this book in an appreciative review from School Library Journal: "Latham follows up 'Scarlett Undercover' with a rich work that links past and present in a tale that explores racial prejudice. After the remains of a skeleton are found in her Tulsa, OK, backyard, 17-year-old Rowan Chase becomes consumed with finding out the story behind the death.

Our guest on this installment of ST is author Ladee Hubbard, who joins us to discuss her first novel, which is just out. It's called "The Talented Ribkins." It's a creative and widely acclaimed book about race, class, politics, and America itself...and it focus on, of all things, a family of super-heroes. And per a starred review of this novel by Kirkus: "Crafty and wistful.... Hubbard weaves this narrative with prodigious skill and compelling warmth. You anticipate a movie while wondering if any movie could do this fascinating family, well, justice.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in April.) On this installment of ST, the bestselling writer Jonathan Lethem is our guest. He's known for such celebrated novels as "Dissident Gardens," "The Fortress of Solitude," and "Motherless Brooklyn." He joins us to discuss his latest book, which is a gathering of nonfiction pieces. It's called "More Alive and Less Lonely: On Books and Writers," and it's an impressive collection of 50+ essays, some of them previously published and some newly written.

On this edition of ST, we welcome the award-winning Oklahoma writer Rilla Askew back to our show. Her new book, just out, is her first-ever nonfiction volume; it's a collection of nine linked essays entitled "Most American: Notes from a Wounded Place." In this timely and reflective work, she argues that the State of Oklahoma -- whether we are talking about police violence, gun culture, race relations, secret history, religious fervor, spellbinding landscapes, or brutal weather -- is actually a "microcosm" of the United States.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in March.) Our guest is Chris Cleave, the British novelist whose bestselling WWII-era yarn, "Everyone Brave Is Forgiven," is now in paperback. As was noted of this book by an Amazon critic: "We've been wondering lately: What is the secret sauce that makes novels like Anthony Doerr's 'All the Light We Cannot See' and Kristin Hannah's 'The Nightingale' so popular, stories set against the backdrop of WWII? Whatever it is, it made me approach Chris Cleave's 'Everyone Brave Is Forgiven' with a particularly wary eye.

On this installment of StudioTulsa, we are pleased to welcome back to the show Nancy Pearl, our longtime book reviewer. A former Tulsa resident, Nancy is a retired librarian, best-selling author, literary critic, and tireless reading advocate -- as well as a frequent book reviewer for NPR's All Things Considered. She joins us to offer some can't-miss reading suggestions for the summer months. Here are the books she tells us about:

Peter Blauner, "Proving Ground"

Jamie Harrison, "The Widow Nash"

Stephen Mack Jones, "August Snow"

Joseph Kanon, "Defectors"

On this installment of ST, we speak with Nancy Pearl, our longtime book reviewer. She's a Seattle-based bestselling author and retired librarian, and she used to work as a bookseller (decades ago) here in Tulsa. A tireless book advocate and literary critic -- and perhaps the only librarian ever to be fashioned and sold as an action figure -- Nancy can also be heard occasionally recommending books on NPR's Morning Edition. She talked with us about the following titles, all of which she thinks would make great gifts this holiday season:

On this edition of our show, we offer a conversation with author Hisham Matar. His first novel, "In the Country of Men," was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Guardian First Novel Prize, and his latest book, his third, is a memoir entitled "The Return." This work tells the story of his father's kidnapping by Muammar Qaddafi's government -- and of the fallout endured by Matar and his family over the ensuing decades.

On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we talk with Alan Schwarz, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated investigative reporter who (until recently) was on the staff at The New York Times. He joins us to discuss his groundbreaking new book, "ADHD Nation: Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic." It's a detailed report on why the widespread misdiagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has become a sad yet undeniable fact of American life.

On this edition of ST, we welcome back Tulsa City-County Library CEO Gary Shaffer. He joins us to describe in detail the TCCL's newly renovated Central Library, which will re-open to the public tomorrow morning (October 1st) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. For the past two years or so, the Central Library branch -- which originally opened in 1965 near Fifth and Denver in downtown Tulsa -- has been getting a complete overhaul, both its exterior and interior.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we listen back to a 2008 discussion with author and journalist Steve Lopez about his bestselling nonfiction account, "The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music." At that time, this book -- which explores themes of mental illness, homelessness, artistic inspiration, and creativity -- had just come out; it was later the basis for major motion picture of the same title.

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