Speaking Volumes

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

Speaking Volumes as a regular feature ended in December, 2013 but occasional specials may pop up.  Subscribe to the podcast to not miss a new one!

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Arts & Culture
7:06 am
Fri April 18, 2014

A 17th Century Emoticon? CMU Professor Who Originated The 'Smiley' Responds

Credit Edward Everett Hale, 1904 (via Wikimedia Commons)

An online debate broke out earlier this week over two otherwise unremarkable lines in a 1648 poem by the English poet Robert Herrick:

Tumble me down, and I will sit / Upon my ruins, (smiling yet :)

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Arts & Culture
6:23 am
Wed March 5, 2014

ACLA Now Boarding for TransAtlantic Flight

Colum McCann
Credit Brendan Bourke

National Book Award winner Colum McCann will speak to Pittsburgh-area high school students Monday as featured author for the Allegheny County Library Association (ACLA)'s 2014 "One Book, One Community" program.

McCann will appear at Woodland Hills High School to discuss his 2013 novel TransAtlantic, which combines historical research with fictional elements in a story that spans centuries, continents, and multiple generations of characters.

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Speaking Volumes
11:03 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Closing the Book on Speaking Volumes (For Now)

Josh Raulerson

For more than a year and a half, the Speaking Volumes project has brought 90.5 WESA listeners weekly conversations about books and reading with Pittsburghers from all walks of life.

As Speaking Volumes moves from a weekly series to a more occasional segment, host and producer Josh Raulerson shares his recent reads with 90.5 WESA's Larkin Page Jacobs.

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon December 16, 2013

The Power of Being Magnanimous with Kevin Acklin

Kevin Acklin
Credit 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

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Revisiting the Classics with Audrey Russo

Credit 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"

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Speaking Volumes
12:06 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

At Work in America With Dave Newman

Pittsburgh-area novelist and poet Dave Newman
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

Dave Newman worked as a house painter, a truck driver, a bookstore manager and a college teacher before taking on his latest job as an award-winning novelist. As in his own fiction, Newman's reading interests reflect both his working-class background and an interest in life at the margins of the Rust Belt.

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Speaking Volumes
7:31 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Reflections on Billy Strayhorn with janera solomon

Credit 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”

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Speaking Volumes
3:18 am
Mon November 18, 2013

The Values of Genre Fiction with Teacher Justin Aion

Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Woodland Hills math teacher Justin Aion uses young adult novels in the classroom and enjoys genre fiction in his downtime. Lately he's been reading:

Orson Scott Card, “Ender’s Game

Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon November 11, 2013

The Density of Short Fiction with Mason Radkoff

Credit Courtesy Braddock Avenue Books

Author and Pittsburgh native Mason Radkoff  talks down and out characters, fatherhood, day-to-day reality in writing, and the comeback of the short story.

Richard Russo, “The Risk Pool

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Speaking Volumes
3:27 am
Mon October 21, 2013

Leaving an Imprint on History with Rep. Dan Frankel

When he's not busy representing Pittsburgh's East End in the state House of Representatives, Rep. Dan Frankel enjoys pleasure-reads about the political process. To him, it never feels like work.

Robert A. Caro, “The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. 4

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Speaking Volumes
3:19 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Reconciling Theory and Practice with Tim Cook

Tim Cook, founding director of the nonprofit The Saxifrage School, speaks about grounded ideas, finding the fantastic wherever we are, reserving winter for fiction and "gift-like" value.

William Carlos Williams, “A Sort of Song

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Arts & Culture
3:00 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Speaking Volumes: Mike Doyle

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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Speaking Volumes
3:30 am
Mon September 30, 2013

Adapting Truth into Visual Drama with Karen Dietrich

Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Karen Dietrich is the author of a memoir, "The Girl Factory" (Globe Pequot Press, 2013).  She earned an MFA in poetry from New England College.  Her writing has appeared in Bellingham Review, Smokelong Quarterly, Specter, PANK, Joyland, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and elsewhere. 

She recently joined the faculty of the online creative writing MFA program at University of Arkansas at Monticello.  She lives in Greensburg, Pa.  Visit her online at karendietrich.net

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Getting to Know Places Through Fiction With Brian O’Neill

Credit Courtesy Brian O’Neill

Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer and author of "The Paris of Appalachia: Pittsburgh in the Twenty-First Century," muses on the value of location-based writing, fiction set in Pittsburgh, writing about sex and appreciating poetry as a bad poet.

Kaui Heart Hemmings, “The Descendants

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Learning from the Things We Don't Talk About with John Fetterman

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman
Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

 

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

Joshua Wolf Shenk, “Lincoln’s Melancholy

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon September 9, 2013

A Literary Delivery with Mr. McFeely

Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Entertainer David Newell — better known to audiences as "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" resident deliveryman Mr. McFeely — talks with Speaking Volumes about biographies, his own literary future and the reading habits of his lifelong friend Fred Rogers.

Lee Child, “Killing Floor

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon August 26, 2013

The Literary Influence of Andy Warhol with Warhol Museum Director Eric Shiner

Credit Andy Warhol Museum

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

Grace Coddington, “Grace: A Memoir

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon August 19, 2013

From Rand to Friedan: Recommendations from AC Controller Chelsa Wagner

Credit 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.

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon August 5, 2013

Finding Meaning in Frivolous Times

Credit 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"

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Larger Realities from Smaller Perspectives

Investigative reporter Leah Samuel says journalists would do well to emulate the curiosity of children.
Credit 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"

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Speaking Volumes
3:05 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Interesting People and Fascinating Interactions

Credit 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

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Speaking Volumes
3:14 am
Mon July 15, 2013

American Stories: Cycles of Adaptation and Reinterpretation with CMU's Kathy Newman

CMU English professor Kathy Newman reads history through the lens of literary adaptation.
Credit 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

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Words and Music with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's Fawzi Haimor

Credit 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.

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Pleasure Reading: Alive and Well on RMU Campus

Robert Morris University sophomores Mark Polcha, Marulla Quirk, and Annie Kandray (left to right) are all proud members of RMU's Honors Book Club.
Credit 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

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Speaking Volumes
3:30 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Lewis, Tolkien and the 'True Myths' of Faith

Steve Tuell is a professor at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.
Credit 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.

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Speaking Volumes
3:00 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Around the World and Beyond with Steve Sokol

Steve Sokol is the president of the World Affairs Council in Pittsburgh.
Credit 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

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Speaking Volumes
7:28 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Weird and wonderful fiction picks from Tom Sweterlitsch

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

Stewart O'Nan, Songs for the Missing

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Speaking Volumes
3:30 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Yes, George Saunders is that good

Gary Terner likes edgy contemporary fiction and Gonzo-style sports writing.
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

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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Speaking Volumes
3:21 am
Mon May 27, 2013

A Moveable Feast of Language

Poet Lori Jakiela says the culture is ripe for a Hemingway revival.
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

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:

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Speaking Volumes
3:30 am
Mon May 20, 2013

A history lesson with Prof. Patrick Dowd

Book recommendations from Councilman Patrick Dowd
Credit 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

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