Books

"The Physics of Life" by Adrian Bejan
Adrian Bejan

What is life and its meaning?

That question has perplexed philosophers and other theoretical scientists for centuries.

They have sought both spiritual and intellectual guidance to come up with intricate conclusions for what it means to be alive.

But mechanical engineer Adrian Bejan says there is a much simpler conclusion: physics.

Photo of Samuel Buell
Duke Law School - Duke Photography

In 2001, Enron Corporation, which was once the sixth-largest energy company in the world, filed for bankruptcy.

It has since become one of the most notorious examples of accounting fraud and corporate crime. However, incidents of corporate crime persisted after the Enron scandal and led to further economic turmoil in the 2008 financial crisis.

headshot of Whitney Way Thore
Deborah Feingold

This is a rebroadcast of a program that originally aired on June 27, 2016.

Whitney Way Thore knows how much she has weighed at every point in her life.

And for decades, deconstructing the size and shape of her body consumed much of her mental and emotional energy. She struggled with an eating disorder, compulsive exercise, and eventually was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome.  

Book cover of "Magic in Islam"
Michael Muhammad Knight

People of faith will argue that magic and religion are not the same thing; magic is often condemned as dark and unsacred, while religion is characterized as morally sound and pure. In his new book “Magic in Islam” (Tarcher Perigee/2016), Michael Muhammad Knight resists the notion that the two are incompatible.

He argues that through looking at the histories of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, it is clear that the boundary between magic and religion has been blurred time and time again. He looks at examples including the use and interpretation of the Quran, astrology, and mythological figures of multiple religions.

photo of Steve Michell, Tom Campbell, Sarah Goddin, Linda-Marie Barrett and Erica Eisdorfer
Courtesy of Deonna Kelli Sayed/Jon Mayes/Lance Richardson

Summer is the time of year when vacationers look for good books to take to the beach or their backyard hammocks.

These books can be the ones that are light, frivolous and enjoyable, or simply the ones that you never had the chance to finish before.

photo of Stuart Albright
Stuart Albright

Why do some students succeed while others do not? This question has stumped teachers, school administrators, and education policy professionals who try to stop students from falling through the cracks.

The Last Good Girl

May 26, 2016
photo of "The Last Good Girl" by Allison Leotta
Allison Leotta

The statistics about campus sexual assault are staggering: one in five women is assaulted during her time on campus, and the vast majority of these assaults go unreported.

Advocates and survivors across the country have pushed to bring the issue to the forefront, and in the past few years, there has been increased attention paid to how universities are responding to students' needs.

Learning To Cope With Extreme Narcissism

Nov 27, 2015
Joe Burgo has practiced psychotherapy for more than 30 years and has noticed an increase in narcissism in society.
Kathy Stanford

Note: This is a rebroadcast from earlier this year.

For more than 30 years, Joe Burgo has practiced psychotherapy. In that time, he noticed an increase in narcissism in society.

He sees it in the “selfies” people take or the idolization of celebrities with “me-first” attitudes.

Learning To Cope With Extreme Narcissism

Sep 23, 2015
Joe Burgo has practiced psychotherapy for more than 30 years and has noticed an increase in narcissism in society.
Kathy Stanford

For more than 30 years, Joe Burgo has practiced psychotherapy. In that time, he noticed an increase in narcissism in society.

He sees it in the “selfies” people take or the idolization of celebrities with “me-first” attitudes.

Narcissism exists on a spectrum from the benign qualities most people show from time to time to the diagnosable Narcissistic Personality Disorder, according to Burgo.

Image of Eric Wilson, who is a professor of English at Wake Forest University and the author of 'Keep It Fake.'
Wake Forest University

Eric Wilson argues that the often-said phrases "shoot straight from the hip," "tell it like it is," and "keep it real" are all fallacies.

We regularly create less-than-authentic identities, whether it is through Facebook profiles, plastic surgeries, or tuning into a news channel that simply verifies our opinions, according to Wilson.

But he also says we should embrace the ways we choose to show ourselves, even if they are "fake." After all, if everything is fake, then everything is real, too.

Book cover to 'The Cold Dish' which was the first instalment of the Longmire Mystery Series.
craigallenjohnson.com

Walt Longmire is a fictional Wyoming county sheriff who returns to work after his wife's death. Assisted by his friends and his daughter, Longmire investigates major crimes within his jurisdiction while campaigning for re-election.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Longmire creator Craig Johnson about the Longmire Mystery Series and about the books becoming a popular television show on A&E and now Netflix. Johnson reads Saturday at 11 a.m. at McIntyre’s Books in Pittsboro and Sunday at 3 p.m. at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh.

University of South Carolina Press

In his 13 years at the Raleigh News and Observer, J. Peder Zane says he tried to perfect the art of the newspaper column. 

Zane came to North Carolina in 1996 to be the paper's book review editor after years as a reporter for the New York Times. His journalism experience informed the way he would tackle his own commentary: by connecting today's newsmakers to the complex characters in American literature.

Author and activist Eileen Flanagan
She Writes Press

At 49, author and environmental activist Eileen Flanagan hardly recognized herself.

Her large home, her stocks in a hydraulic fracturing company and her family's multitude of unnecessary gadgets all seemed at odds with the way she lived three decades ago as a young Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana. 

Domestic Garden

Apr 30, 2015
John Hoppenthaler's new book of poems is an exploration of age and marriage.
Annie Hogan / Carnegie Mellon University Press

When John Hoppenthaler wrote his newest book of poetry, Domestic Garden (Carnegie Mellon University Press/2015), he was experiencing change in his personal life.

The poet and professor at East Carolina University married just before turning 50 years old, and he also became a stepfather. At the same time, his mother’s health was declining. 

The transitions became the backbone of his intimate and vulnerable poetry.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Hoppenthaler about his life, work and poetry.

Born To Run And Natural Born Heroes

Apr 28, 2015
Author Christopher McDougall
chrismcdougall.com

The myth of the modern hero is someone with exceptional abilities and extraordinary strength.

But author Christopher McDougall says becoming a hero is just a matter of tapping into the body's capability for natural movement. 

  Rather than hitting the gym, McDougall told Frank Stasio of WUNC's The State of Things, people should be exercising outdoors through activities that echo the movements humans evolved to do as hunter-gatherers.

Ursula Vernon's "Self-portrait."
Ursula Vernon

Ursula Vernon considers herself a “creator of oddities,” but she fell into this career by accident.

Her mother was a professional artist, so the artistic lifestyle held no mystery or appeal to her; she wanted to be a scientist. But after taking one art class in college she realized that art was her true calling.

Vernon has since authored a long-running text and graphic novel children’s book series called Dragonbreath and an award-winning adult comic called Digger.  

Host Frank Stasio talks to Ursula Vernon about her career, artistic style, and latest book “Castle Hangnail” (Dial Books for Young Readers/ 2015).

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun's smiling self-portrait.
Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun / Wikimedia Commons

A white-toothed smile is a gesture that many likely engage in dozens of times a day without thought. Historian Colin Jones traced the history of the smile and found a toothy smile is a relatively young phenomenon. 

In his recent book, "The Smile Revolution In Eighteenth Century Paris," he argues that the white-tooth smile emerged in 18th century Paris in conjunction with the cult of sensibility and the creation of modern dentistry.

North Carolina College Eagles, 1943-1944, from left to right: George Parks, Aubrey Stanley, James “Boogie” Hardy, Floyd Brown, Henry “Big Dog” Thomas.
Alex Rivera

On a Sunday morning in March 1944, most of Durham, North Carolina, was in church. That's the way basketball coach John McLendon wanted it when his all-black college team from North Carolina Central University (then the North Carolina College for Negroes) faced off against an all-white team from Duke University’s medical school. 

N.C. State University professor Rupert Nacoste's latest book is "Taking on Diversity."
makinggumbo.com

Rupert Nacoste served in the U.S. Navy during military race riots in the 1970s.

His commanding officers chose him to facilitate conversations about race relations among his fellow sailors. The experience prompted him to pursue a career as a social psychologist. 

Katherine Stewart's book investigates a Bible study club with chapters in thousands of U.S. schools.
PublicAffairs

In 2009, journalist Katherine Stewart heard that something called The Good News Club was coming to her daughter’s public elementary school in Santa Barbara, California.

At first she thought its mission seemed benign, but once she began to look into the organization and how it operated, she felt compelled to dig in further.

Patrik Henry Bass is from Laurinburg, North Carolina and now he's the editorial projects director for Essence Magazine.
http://www.essence.com/

Patrik Henry Bass has spent the last 49 years searching for the extraordinary moments in life. 

As a child he found those moments in the books he devoured at the library—the stories he read carried him far beyond his hometown of Laurinburg, North Carolina. His love of literature led him to a career in journalism. Today he's an award winning writer and the editorial projects director of Essence Magazine.Host Frank Stasio talks with Bass about his life journey and the many careers that led him to his dream job in New York City as a curator in the literary world. 

The John Hope Franklin Young Scholars worked together to write and published a novel about a Durham teenager.
David Stein

More than 30 Durham Public School students recently published a novel that combines fact, fiction and illustration.

“Running For Hope” (John Hope Young Franklin Scholars Program/ 2015) is a creative attempt to explore the life story and impact of historian John Hope Franklin while documenting the modern-day challenges of growing up as a teenager living in a diverse community. It interweaves the fictional story of 9th grader Kendrick Parker with illustrated scenes from Mirror to America, an autobiography by John Hope Franklin. 

North Carolina writers share how their state inspires them in "Amazing Place: What North Carolina Means to Writers."
UNC Press

From Thomas Wolfe to Lee Smith, the state of North Carolina is home to a wealth of literary greats.

But what is it about the Tarheel State that inspires these authors? That's the prompt Marianne Gingher asked 21 North Carolina writers. Their answers form a new creative nonfiction collection called Amazing Place: What North Carolina Means to Writers (UNC Press/2015).

N.C. author Liza Wieland
East Carolina University

For North Carolina author Liza Wieland, three separate narratives converged to her new book, Land of Enchantment.

The novel traces the experiences of three multiracial women in three different parts of the country. The characters share common themes around love, loss, racial identity and art. 

Host Frank Stasio talks with writer and English professor at East Carolina University Liza Wieland.

David Joy's new book tells the story of a young man working for his father's meth ring in rural North Carolina.
David-Joy.com

Jacob McNeely grew up in the mountains of North Carolina.

A life of crime as an employee of his father's meth ring is the only one he has ever known. But a violent event and a reunion with his first love offer McNeely the possibility of escape. 

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