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life

Book cover for "The Comfort Book"
Penguin Life / Penguin Life

The New York Times bestselling author of "The Midnight Library," Matt Haig, joins us to discuss his new collection of essays for anyone in search of hope, looking for a path to a more meaningful life, or in need of a little encouragement. The latest is "The Comfort Book."

Matt Haig is well-known for his thoughtful perspectives on modern life and mental health. In addition to "The Midnight Library," Haig is the author of "Reasons to Stay Alive," a memoir chronicling his struggle with depression, and "Notes on a Nervous Planet."

"The Comfort Book" is a collection of notes, lists, and stories written over a span of several years that originally served as gentle reminders to Haig’s future self that things are not always as dark as they may seem.

Book cover for "Punch Me Up To The Gods"
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Brian Broome is a poet and screenwriter, and K. Leroy Irvis Fellow and instructor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh. He has been a finalist in The Moth storytelling competition and won the grand prize in Carnegie Mellon University's Martin Luther King Writing Awards.

His debut memoir, “Punch Me Up to the Gods” is available today. It begins in his early years - growing up in Ohio as a dark-skinned Black boy harboring crushes on other boys. The book is framed around Gwendolyn Brooks’s poem “We Real Cool” and is earning rave reviews.

Book cover for "Everybody" by Olivia Laing
W. W. Norton & Company

The body is a source of pleasure and of pain, at once hopelessly vulnerable and radiant with power. In her ambitious sixth book, Olivia Laing charts an electrifying course through the long struggle for bodily freedom, using the life of the renegade psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich to explore gay rights and sexual liberation, feminism, and the civil rights movement.

Drawing on her own experiences in protest and alternative medicine, and traveling from Weimar Berlin to the prisons of McCarthy-era America, Laing grapples with some of the most significant and complicated figures of the past century—among them Nina Simone, Christopher Isherwood, Andrea Dworkin, Sigmund Freud, Susan Sontag, and Malcolm X.

Members of the Makkah congregation - men half-bowing in a room with a tiled floor
Jonathan Young/Nutopia/PBS

Beginning tomorrow, PBS will premiere the first of a four-part series, co-hosted by Steven Johnson titled Extra Life: A Short History of Living Longer. The series and the companion book are set in the context of today’s COVID-19 crisis and explores the lessons learned from previous global pandemics and reveals how a public health revolution was launched.

Johnson looks at the milestones of this progress from the discoveries of vaccines and antibiotics, to the introduction of things that are now commonplace.

Johnson also turns his keen analytical eye to the present: Do we risk regressing in life expectancy as our public health systems face unprecedented challenges such as the one we’re living through? Are we overlooking any current technologies or field of research that will enable us to live even longer than we do now?

Book cover artwork for "Rooted"
Little Brown, Spark

In "Rooted," cutting-edge science supports a truth that poets, artists, mystics, and earth-based cultures across the world have proclaimed over millennia: life on this planet is radically interconnected. Our bodies, thoughts, minds, and spirits are affected by the whole of nature, and they affect this whole in return. In this time of crisis, how can we best live upon our imperiled, beloved earth?

Award-winning writer Lyanda Lynn Haupt’s highly personal new book is a brilliant invitation to live with the earth in both simple and profound ways—from walking barefoot in the woods and reimagining our relationship with animals and trees, to examining the very language we use to describe and think about nature.

Book cover for "Life's Edge"
Dutton

We all assume we know what life is, but the more scientists learn about the living world, the harder it is to define. Whether it’s a fertilized egg or a tree, scientists have had a hard time agreeing on a definition that would universally apply.

In his new book, "Life's Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive," New York Times bestselling author and columnist Carl Zimmer takes readers on a journey from Mother Nature’s most awe-inspiring creations to the most cutting-edge research in search of an answer.

Book cover for Hieroglyphics
Provided: Algonquin Books

Jill McCorkle’s latest novel “Hieroglyphics” has been called a triumph, one that explores the physical and emotional imprints that make up a life. It reveals the difficulty of ever really knowing the intentions and dreams and secrets of the people who raised you.

Book cover artwork for "Social Chemistry"
Dutton / Dutton

Human connection has become even more digital in 2020 due to social distancing measures and other pandemic precautions. Despite this major shift: personal and professional networks have arguably become more important than ever before. How can we reap their benefits?

In the new book, "Social Chemistry: Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection," Marissa King, a pioneer in the field of networks and social relationships, reveals how the quality and structure of your real-life network have the greatest power to transform your life and strengthen your relationships.

King has studied what people's social networks look like, how they evolve, and why that's significant for the last fifteen years. She demonstrates how you can apply her many years of cutting-edge research and insights to your own life.

Book cover for "Badass Habits"
Provided: Penguin Life

"Badass Habits" by best-selling author Jen Sincero, looks at how our habits make us who we are, from the measly moments that happen in private to the resolutions we loudly broadcast on social media.

Habit busting and building goes way beyond becoming a dedicated flosser or never showing up late again--our habits reveal our unmet desires, the gaps in our boundaries, our level of self-awareness, and our unconscious beliefs and fears.

The new book, "A Wonderful Life," is a series of essays that explore the notion of what brings significance to our existences, clarifying why we have this longing beyond the present moment and an insatiable dissatisfaction with where we are, scholar Frank Martela tackles the subject of finding meaning in life.

An Ocean Without a Shore" from the best-selling, critically acclaimed author Scott Spencer, known for "Endless Love" and "Man in the Woods", is an exploration of that timeless of human dilemmas the one in which your love is left unreturned. Since their college days, Kip Woods has been infatuated with Thaddeus Kaufman, who, years later, is a married father of two children and desperately trying to revive a failing career. Kip’s devotion to Thaddeus has been life-defining and destiny-altering, but it has been one that Thaddeus has either failed to notice or refused to acknowledge. Scott Spencer is the author of 12 novels, including "Endless Love", "Waking the Dead", "A Ship Made of Paper" and "Willing". 

Bart D. Ehrman is a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity, and the author or editor of more than thirty books, including the New York Times bestsellers "Misquoting Jesus," "How Jesus Became God," and "The Triumph of Christianity."

A Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he has created eight popular audio and video courses for "The Great Courses." He has been featured in Time, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post, and has appeared on NBC, CNN, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, BBC, and NPR.

His most recent book is "Heaven and Hell."

Terry Tempest Williams is renowned for her singular body of literature on the environment and our experiences of home which makes her a perfect guest for this 50-th Anniversary of Earth Day Celebration.

Her last book “Erosion: Essays of Undoing,” explores this connection, particularly to her home state of Utah, as an evolutionary process and how our undoing of the self, self-centeredness, extractive capitalism, fear, tribalism can also be our becoming, creating room for change and progress.

Terry Tempest Williams is the award-winning author of numerous books, including Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place and When Women Were Birds. She is the co-editor of Library of America’s brand-new: American Birds: A Literary Companion. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she is currently the Writer-in-Residence at the Harvard Divinity School.

Jim Davies is a professor at the Institute of Cognitive Science at Carleton University. He is the director of the Science of Imagination Laboratory. His new book, “Imagination,” is the first-ever book on the science of imagination, which sheds light on both the complex inner-workings of our mind and the ways in which we can channel imagination for a better life.

Doreen Dodgen-Magee, PsyD, is a psychologist with over twenty-five years of experience working with individuals and groups in Portland, Oregon. Her main passion is engaging people about how the new digital landscape is shaping humanity.

In her new book, "Deviced!: Balancing Life and Technology in a Digital World," Dodgen-Magee uses personal stories, cutting edge research, and anecdotes from youth, parents, and professionals to highlights the brain changes that result from excessive technology use and offers an approach to the digital world that enables more informed and lasting change and a healthier long-term perspective.

Most of us prefer to talk about anything other than death or, at best, talk about it euphemistically. While death is inevitable, only 10-20% of us die without warning and so most of us, if we choose, can prepare for it.

"A Beginner's Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death" was written to help readers feel more in control of an experience that so often seems anything but controllable. B.J. Miller, MD and Shoshana Berger join us.

Meredith May recalls the first time a honeybee crawled on her arm. She was five years old, her parents had recently split and suddenly she found herself in the care of her grandfather, an eccentric beekeeper who made honey in a rusty old military bus in the yard. That first close encounter was at once terrifying and exhilarating for May, and in that moment she discovered that everything she needed to know about life and family was right before her eyes, in the secret world of bees.

The bees became a guiding force in May’s life, teaching her about family and community, loyalty and survival and the unequivocal relationship between a mother and her child. Part memoir, part beekeeping odyssey, "The Honey Bus" is a story about finding home in the most unusual of places, and how a tiny, little-understood insect could save a life.

Kate Baldwin, Kyle McArthur and cast of "Superhero" at Second Stage where the show runs through 3/21/19
Joan Marcus

“Superhero” is a new musical featuring a book by Tony winner John Logan and a score by Tony and Pulitzer winner Tom Kitt. Directed by Tony nominee Jason Moore, the show runs at Second Stage’s Tony Kiser Theatre through March 31.

In “Superhero,” Charlotte and her high-school aged son, Simon, are at an impasse after two years of grief and mourning after Charlotte’s husband, Simon’s father, was killed unexpectedly. Charlotte wants to talk about what happened, Simon prefers to escape into the world of comic books.

Two-time Tony Award nominee, Kate Baldwin, plays Charlotte. Baldwin most recently played Irene Malloy in “Hello, Dolly” starring, Bette Midler, Donna Murphy, and Bernadette Peters in the title role during the show’s 500+ performance run. Kate’s previous Broadway credits include “Big Fish,” “Finian’s Rainbow,” “Wonderful Town,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” and “The Full Monty.” She’s also appeared with some regularity with Berkshire Theatre Group in their productions of “A Little Night Music,” “Bells are Ringing,” and “Constellations.”

In our increasingly networked and image-saturated lives, the notion of disappearing has never been both more enchanting. A lifelong student and observer of the natural world, Akiko Busch, set out to explore her own uneasiness with this arrangement. Her new book, “How to Disappear: Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency.”

Former White House social secretaries Lea Berman, who worked for George and Laura Bush, and Jeremy Bernard, who worked for Michelle and Barack Obama, have collaborated on the book "Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life."

Their daily experiences at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue taught them valuable lessons about how to work productively with people from different walks of life and points of view. These Washington insiders share what they’ve learned through first person examples of their own glamorous (and sometimes harrowing) moments with celebrities, foreign leaders and that most unpredictable of animals - the American politician.

Madeleine Kunin is the former three-term governor of Vermont, who served as the deputy secretary of education and ambassador to Switzerland under President Bill Clinton.

In her new book, “Coming of Age: My Journey to the Eighties,” the topic is aging but she looks well beyond the physical tolls and explores the emotional ones as well.

John Leland is a reporter at The New York Times, where he wrote a yearlong series that became the basis for the book "Happiness Is a Choice You Make," and the author of two previous books, "Hip: The History" and "Why Kerouac Matters: The Lessons of “On the Road” (They’re Not What You Think)." Before joining the Times, he was a senior editor at Newsweek, editor in chief of Details, a reporter at Newsday, and a writer and editor at Spin magazine.

In 2015, when the award-winning journalist John Leland set out on behalf of The New York Times to meet members of America’s fastest-growing age group, he anticipated learning of challenges, of loneliness, and of the deterioration of body, mind, and quality of life. But the elders he met took him in an entirely different direction.

Despite disparate backgrounds and circumstances, they each lived with a surprising lightness and contentment. The reality Leland encountered upended contemporary notions of aging, revealing the late stages of life as unexpectedly rich and the elderly as incomparably wise.

Pam Houston is the author of the memoir, "Deep Creek: Finding Hope In The High Country." In it, she delivers her most profound meditations yet on how "to live simultaneously inside the wonder and the grief to love the damaged world and do what she can to help it thrive."

On her 120-acre homestead high in the Colorado Rockies, Houston learned what it means to care for a piece of land and the creatures on it. Elk calves and bluebirds mark the changing seasons, winter temperatures drop to 35 below, and lightning sparks a 110,000-acre wildfire, threatening her century-old barn and all its inhabitants. Through her travels from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska, she explores what ties her to the earth, the ranch most of all.

Alongside her devoted Irish wolfhounds and a spirited troupe of horses, donkeys, and Icelandic sheep, the ranch becomes Houston's sanctuary, a place where she discovers how the natural world has mothered and healed her after a childhood of horrific parental abuse and neglect.

Houston will be at Northshire Bookstore in Manchster Center, Vermont on February 24.

Your career has wound down, the kids have moved, and your schedule is clear.

In your youth, you cared about people and planet earth, and you had grand visions of changing the world. At some point, those passions and that sense of purpose got buried under diapers and the 9-5. Still, that old you remains alive. Now, with the rest of your life ahead, you can be the change and make this next stage of your life the most powerful yet.

But where to start?

Helen Wilkes, a retired professor and activist, takes readers on an inspiring journey to find renewed purpose in retirement. Along the way she helps readers navigate the transition to a post-work identity by fanning the embers of lost passions and developing new interests. Her book is "The Aging of Aquarius: Igniting Passion and Purpose as an Elder."

What does hope look like? How do we find and hold onto it in the midst of personal turmoil, communal suffering, global chaos and the everyday challenges of being alive in this world?

Best-selling author Anne Lamott looks to answer these questions and more in her new book, "Almost Everything: Notes on Hope."

Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Kiese Laymon, Ottilie Schillig Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi, is the author of the novel "Long Division" and a collection of essays, "How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America."

In his new book, "Heavy: An American Memoir," he writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to his trek to New York as a young college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and ultimately gambling.

By attempting to name secrets and lies he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding, Laymon asks himself, his mother, his nation, and us to confront the terrifying possibility that few in this nation actually know how to responsibly love, and even fewer want to live under the weight of actually becoming free.

Elizabeth Emens is Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. She was a working mother with two young children, swamped like so many of us, when she realized that this invisible labor was consuming her. Desperate to survive and to help others along the way, she conducted interviews and focus groups to gather favorite tips and tricks, admin confessions, and the secrets of admin-happy households.

Her book, "Life Admin," tackles the problem of admin in all its forms, from everyday tasks like scheduling doctors appointments and paying bills, to life-cycle events like planning a wedding, a birth, a funeral.

Tommy Orange and book cover for "There There"
Author Photo - Elena Seibert

Tommy Orange’s powerful and urgent Native American voice has exploded onto the landscape of contemporary fiction. His debut novel, “There There,” interweaves the experiences of twelve people who gather in Oakland for a pow wow. It is a multigenerational story about violence, recovery, hope, and loss.

In his sequel to the "New York Times" #1 bestseller The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom tells the story of Eddie's heavenly reunion with Annie, the little girl he saved on Earth, in the novel of how our lives and losses intersect. His new book The Next Person You Meet in Heaven

In Gary Shteyngart’s new novel, “Lake Success,” he tells the story of a hedge fund manager who throws in the towel and flees on a Greyhound bus for a simpler life with his childhood sweetheart. On the road, he looks to flee his problems and search for many things, including himself.

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