90.5 WESA's Speaking Volumes

  • Hosted by Josh Raulerson

Speaking Volumes was a weekly conversation on books and reading with interesting people from all walks of life here in Pittsburgh.

Beth Navarro

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the publication of "The Great Gatsby" – the height of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary fame. But a new novel suggests that some of Fitzgerald’s best work came much later, at a time of loss and personal struggle.

Ryan Loew / 90.5 WESA

Kevin Acklin is the chief of staff for Pittsburgh’s Mayor-elect Bill Peduto. To get ready for his new position, Acklin has been brushing up on some political non-fiction.

Michael Weber, “Don’t Call Me Boss: David L. Lawrence, Pittsburgh’s Renaissance Mayor

Courtesy photo

President of the Pittsburgh Technology Council Audrey Russo talks about the books she keeps piled on her nightstand and drawing inspiration from strong female role models.

Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

In celebration of what would have been jazz legend Billy Strayhorn's 98th birthday, janera solomon, executive director of the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, talks about her insights from his biography and legacy.

Sheryl Sandberg, “Lean In”

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Forest Hills) likes page-turning crime dramas and thrillers with a political bent. He has a unique vantage point on novels set in Washington, which — as it turns out — are more true to life than you might think.

David Baldacci, The Forgotten

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Braddock Mayor John Fetterman speaks on the lessons he has learned from literary accounts of history. 

Joshua Wolf Shenk, “Lincoln’s Melancholy

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Not all Ayn Rand fans are small-government conservatives. Take Allegheny County Controller and self-professed liberal Democrat Chelsa Wagner, for example …

Wally Lamb, “She’s Come Undone

In this extraordinary coming-of-age odyssey, Wally Lamb invites us to hitch a wild ride on a journey of love, pain, and renewal with the most heartbreakingly comical heroine to come along in years.

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Paper editor Chris Potter takes his social commentary with a little ironic distance and a healthy dose of the absurd.

Chuck Palahniuk, "Lullaby"

Courtesy PublicSource

Freelance reporter Leah Samuel writes about social and environmental issues for PublicSource and others. As a journalist, and as a reader, she finds the lessons of history are best learned from the margins.

Philip Beard, "Dear Zoe"

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Essayist and improv comedian Andrea Laurion reads an eclectic mix of non-fiction, but all of her picks remain grounded by a strong narrative voice.

Rona Jaffe, The Best of Everything

courtesy Kathy Newman

Carnegie Mellon University professor Kathy Newman offers a look at six novels that changed America with their ability to cross genres and transcend their original forms.

Harriett Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin

fawzihaimor.com

What does a good novel have in common with an orchestral score? More than you might think, says Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra assistant conductor Fawzi Haimor.

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Young people these days. Too busy to read books. Too worldly to seek meaning in fiction. Too addled by social media to read anything critically. Right?

Wrong.

J.R.R. Tolkein, The Hobbit

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Steve Tuell studies Hebrew and the Old Testament at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. As a theologian and a scholar of ancient languages, he has a special appreciation for the fantasy fiction of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

President of the World Affairs Council in Pittsburgh Steve Sokol describes his picks in both nonfiction and fiction.

Peter Bergen, Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad

Pittsburgh writer and librarian Tom Sweterlitsch has wide-ranging reading interests in fiction. 

Stewart O'Nan, Songs for the Missing

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Gary Terner of Mt. Lebanon was blown away by the new short story collection from George Saunders.

George Saunders, Tenth of December

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Lori Jakiela is a poet, a memoirist and a devotee of sparse, unsentimental prose.  

A few of the books you might encounter in her writing class at Chatham or Pitt-Greensburg:

Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Councilman Patrick Dowd started out as a historian, and while he's no longer in academia, his reading still reflects that background. These days Dowd reads historical nonfiction mixed with fiction "with a serious historical bent." 

Edwin Coddington, The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures executive director Jayne Adair's reading list is as rich and varied as her schedule of speakers.

Nathaniel Philbrick, Bunker Hill

All For One, One For All

May 6, 2013
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Matthias Sundberg, from Point Breeze, likes action and adventure stories tinged with social realism. 

Dan Baum, Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans

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Writer and Mt. Lebanon resident Mary Frailey Calland does intensive research for her Civil War era novels. In between deep dives in the archives, she reads contemporary fiction.

James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom

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Dr. Mario Fischetti is a clinical psychologist with the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center, and the moderator of its ongoing "Reading Fiction with Freud" discussion series. 


Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

When Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb isn't busy minding the city's books, he's reading history and genre fiction. 

Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

North Sider Betsy O'Neill admits: "In a previous life, I probably lived in the 19th century." In her present incarnation, she spent the summer of 2012 immersed in Melvilliana.

Bob Kosturko

As the popular British drama "Call the Midwife" returns for a second season on PBS, Morgantown-based author and certified nurse-midwife Patricia Harman offers recommendations for readers with an interest in the practice.

Jennifer Worth, The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times

Vantagen

As President of the Forbes Funds, Kate Dewey is interested in how nonprofits can adapt along with changing technology. 

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Don Block runs the Greater Pittsburgh Literary Council, and practices what he preaches...

Andy Warhol Museum

Warhol Museum director Eric Shiner's reading interests are eclectic in a way that Andy would surely appreciate.

Colleen McKenna

As a former teacher, parent, and author of children's and young adult novels, Colleen McKenna values fiction for young readers that doesn't insult their intelligence.

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