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Listen to 2012 Author Readings and Library Events

Each year the Library hosts readings, lectures, and discussions by authors and other public figures. You may listen to many of these programs by subscribing to the Library's authors & events podcast in iTunes or by downloading one of the audio programs listed below.


See the Calendar of Events & Classes for a complete list of upcoming programs.


Audio Archive

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Clay Jenkinson presents a debate between Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt

Humanities scholar and Chautauquan,  Clay Jenkinson presents a debate between Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, and Theodore Roosevelt, 26th president of the United States, as part of the McLellan/O'Donnell Living History Series. -- This podcast features a three-part Chautauqua performance. First, Jenkinson appears in costume in the persona of his characters, speaking as Presidents Jefferson and Roosevelt. Next he opens the floor to questions from the audience. Finally, he breaks character and answers questions as a scholar, based on his research.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 43.2 MB]


Steven Roby discusses 'Hendrix on Hendrix: Interviews and Encounters with Jimi Hendrix'

'Hendrix on Hendrix' includes the most important interviews from the peak of Jimi Hendrix's career, carefully selected by one of the world's leading Hendrix historians, Steven Roby. -- In Roby's book, Hendrix recalls for reporters his heartbreaking childhood. He explains that his concept of "Electric Church Music" is intended to wash their souls and give them a new direction. And in his final interview, just days before his death, he discloses that he wants to be remembered as not just another guitar player. -- 'Hendrix on Hendrix' (released near what would have been Hendrix's 70th birthday) includes new transcriptions from European papers, the African-American press, and counterculture newspapers; radio and television interviews; and previously unpublished court transcripts.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 22.2 MB]


Thomas Ricks discusses 'The Generals: American Military Command from World War II to the Present'

Thomas Ricks explores why history has been kind to the American generals of World War II and less kind to the generals of the wars that followed. -- This is the story of a widening gulf between performance and accountability. During World War II, scores of American generals were relieved of command simply for not being good enough. Today, as one American colonel said bitterly during the Iraq War, "As matters stand now, a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war." -- "Combining lucid historical analysis, acid-etched portraits of generals from 'troublesome blowhard' Douglas MacArthur to 'two-time loser' Tommy Franks, and shrewd postmortems of military failures and pointless slaughters such as My Lai, the author demonstrates how everything from strategic doctrine to personnel policies create a mediocre, rigid, morally derelict army leadership ... " Publisher's Weekly starred review.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 21.1 MB]


Mark Bowden discusses 'The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden'

Mark Bowden presents a gripping account of the hunt for and elimination of Osama bin Laden. -- With unprecedented access to key sources, Bowden tells about the highest profile special-forces operation ever to have been undertaken. 'The Finish' is his page-turning narrative of how the man behind 9/11 was finally brought to justice. 

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 34.1 MB]


Jack Nisbet discusses his latest book 'David Douglas, a Naturalist at Work'

Jack Nisbet shows images and discusses his latest book, 'David Douglas, a Naturalist at Work: An Illustrated Exploration Across Two Centuries in the Pacific Northwest.' -- From 1825 to 1834, David Douglas made the first systematic collections of flora and fauna over many parts of the greater Pacific Northwest. Despite his early death, colleagues in Great Britain attached the Douglas name to more than 80 different species, including the iconic timber tree of the region. -- 'David Douglas, a Naturalist at Work' is an illustrated collection of essays that examines various aspects of Douglas' career, demonstrating the connections between his work in the Pacific Northwest of the 19th century and the modern landscape. This volume is the companion book to a major museum exhibit at the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Spokane.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 27.6 MB]


Cartoonist Ellen Forney discusses her book 'Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me.'

Shortly before her thirtieth birthday, Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Flagrantly manic and terrified that medications would cause her to lose creativity and her livelihood, she began a years-long struggle to find mental stability while retaining her passion and creativity. -- Searching to make sense of the popular concept of the crazy artist, Forney finds inspiration from the lives and work of other artists and writers who suffered from mood disorders, including: Vincent van Gogh, Georgia O'Keeffe, William Styron and Sylvia Plath. She analyzes the clinical aspects of bipolar disorder as she struggles with the strengths and limitations of a parade of medications and treatments. -- Forney's graphic memoir provides a visceral glimpse into the effects of a mood disorder on the artist's work. Her story seeks the answer to this question: If there's a correlation between creativity and mood disorders, is an artist's bipolar disorder a curse... or a gift?

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 25.6 MB]


Readings by 12 local writers in the 2012 Jack Straw Writers Program

Washington Center for the Book and Jack Straw Productions presents readings by 12 literary artists, selected for the program by curator Shawn Wong. -- The purpose of the Jack Straw Writers Program is to introduce local writers to the medium of recorded audio, encourage the creation of new literary work and provide new venues for the writer and their work. The program was created in 1997. Each year, a single curator selects 12 writers/writing teams out of dozens of applicants based on artistic excellence, diversity of literary genres and a cohesive grouping of writers. The 2012 participants are:  Kathleen Alcalá, Stacey Bennetts, Kaia Chessen, Gabriela Denise Frank, Sharon Hashimoto, Lacey Jane Henson, Carol Light, Sally Neumann, Claudia Rowe, Johanna Stoberock, Mitsu Sundvall, and Nick Wong.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 38.3 MB]


Seattle Times' food writer Nancy Leson leads a discussion on how to run a successful restaurant with five local chefs and restaurateurs

Seattle Times' food writer Nancy Leson leads a discussion on how to run a successful restaurant with five local chefs and restaurateurs. How do you turn a passion for food into a profit? Listen in as our panel of five local restaurateur discuss their experiences.  The panel includes:  Tom Douglas of Etta's, Dahlia Lounge, Serious Pie and many other eateries; Ethan Stowell of How to Cook a Wolf, Tavolata, Anchovies & Olives, and Staple & Fancy; Maria Hines of Tilth and Golden Beetle; Donna Moodie of Marjorie; and Zak Melang of Matador.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 38.0 MB]


Gary Stroutsos presents a tribute to the tradition of song and story in the Zuni, Navajo and Salish cultures

Gary Stroutsos will share time-honored songs on his traditional American Indian flutes. -- The event also includes a screening of the film "Remembering the Songs," which offers a glimpse of the music-makers of the Diné, Zuni and Salish communities. This 30-minute film features Zuni song keeper Fernando Cellicion; friend and mentor to Stroutsos, Navajo flute maker Paul Thompson; and Lucy Vanderburg, daughter of Jerome Vandenburg, one of the last Salish men who made and played traditional flutes. 

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 28.6 MB]


A-P Hurd discusses and reads from her new book, 'The Carbon Efficient City'

Seattle-based system dynamics and complex system architecture author, A-P Hurd, discusses a concrete action plan for a carbon-efficient city. -- 'The Carbon Efficient City' is Hurd's vision of a path through neighborhoods, new buildings, upgraded buildings, bicycle networks and transit systems that might produce carbon efficient cities. The book describes an economic and regulatory environment in which the DNA of sustainable buildings and cities can be successfully expressed.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 27.1 MB]


Camille Paglia reads from 'Glittering Images: A Journey Through Art from Egypt to Star Wars'

Camille Paglia's latest book takes readers on a journey through Western art's defining moments, from the ancient Egyptian tomb of Queen Nefertari to George Lucas' digitally enhanced duel in "Revenge of the Sith." 'Glittering Images' looks at more than two dozen seminal images: paintings, sculptures, architectural styles, performance pieces and digital art that have defined and transformed our visual world.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 43.9 MB]


Gregory Martin reads from 'Stories for Boys'

Gregory Martin reads from his memoir about a father and a son finding a way to build a new relationship with one another after years of suppression and denial are given air and light. -- The author struggles to reconcile a father he thought he knew with a man who has just survived a suicide attempt; a man who had been having anonymous affairs with men throughout his 39 years of marriage; and who now must begin his life as a gay man.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 30.6 MB]


Thrilling Tales: A Story Time for Grown-Ups

This week's featured story is: 'Confession' by Algernon Blackwood. To a shell-shocked veteran of the Great War, the Foggy London streets teem with phantoms ... and worse. -- Love a good story? Come to the scene of the crime, the edge of adventure and timeless realms of wonder. Sit back, relax and escape from the everyday as we bring you gripping short stories expertly read and well-calculated to keep you in suspense!

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 20.2 MB]


Tamara Murphy and John Howie discuss the process of creating a cookbook

Join the creative team of local custom publisher ShinShinChez and chefs Tamara Murphy and John Howie for a lively conversation about the journey of creating a cookbook. The authors, photographer, food stylist, copy editor and entire creative team will share their story from idea to printed book and beyond.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 27.6 MB]


Spencer Quinn reads from 'A Fistful of Collars,' the latest in his bestselling Chet and Bernie mystery series

A movie studio comes to town to film a big-budget Western featuring Thad Perry, a movie star with a history of substance abuse and a reputation for getting into trouble. The mayor hires Chet the Dog and Bernie, his private investigator companion, to keep an eye on Perry. -- The detective team discovers that Perry has a mysterious connection to the town, and the only people who might know what it is keep turning up dead before they can talk. Worst of all, Perry is a self-proclaimed cat person, and his feline friend Brando takes an instant dislike to Chet.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 22.9 MB]


Junot Díaz reads from 'This Is How You Lose Her'

'This Is How You Lose Her,' is his first book since winning the Pulitzer Prize for 'The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.' -- Díaz's stories center on Yunior de las Casas, a Dominican-born, Jersey-raised writer and chronic womanizer. "Often caught between hopeless romanticism and flippant machismo, Díaz's characters are as vulnerable and maddening as they are endearing and sexy. ... Raw and honest, these stories pulsate with raspy ghetto hip-hop and the subtler yet more vital echo of the human heart." (Publishers Weekly)

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 34.1 MB]


Martin Amis reads from 'Lionel Asbo,' a satire of modern society and celebrity culture

By the age of 21, Lionel Asbo (self-named after the English acronym for anti-social behavior order) is a petty criminal and thug who raises pit bulls and terrorizes his seedy Liverpool neighborhood. Desmond Pepperdine, Lionel's orphaned teenaged nephew (smart, bookish and half black) lives with him. While in a London prison for starting a brawl at a wedding, Lionel learns he has just won the National Lottery. He becomes a multimillionaire, living large in luxury and becoming a favorite target of the tabloids. Des is anxiously protecting a family secret.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 27.9 MB]


Ivan Doig reads from his latest book, "The Bartender's Tale"

'The Bartender's Tale' tells the story of a father and son left on their own in a shifting world. -- Bartender-bachelor Tom Harry and son Rusty ("who had been an accident between the sheets") make an odd kind of family, with the bar their true home. They manage just fine until the summer of 1960, the year Rusty turns 12, when two women enter their lives. -- "Doig poignantly captures the charm and pathos of Rusty's efforts to understand this complicated and often baffling adult world. Doig is famous for celebrating the American West, and he also beautifully captures the cadences and details of daily life in this Montana town." (Publishers Weekly)

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 26.6 MB]


Khac Chi, August 9

Canadian duo Khac Chi combines the traditional folk music of Vietnam with lively new arrangements, light-hearted humor and creative stage antics for a show that is sure to delight young and old alike! For ages 4 and up.

Thrilling Tales: A Story Time for Grown-Ups

This week's featured story is "Spurs" by Tod Robbins. This tale of love and revenge in the Circus side-show was the basis for Tod Browning's infamous cult movie, "Freaks."

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 20.1 MB]


Gerald Chertavian reads from 'A Year Up'

Year Up founder Gerald Chertavian tells how a pioneering program is redefining urban young adults as economic assets, not deficits. -- During Chertavian's many years as a Big Brother, the former technology entrepreneur realized that the opportunity divide strands millions of young, disadvantaged, yet motivated workers at the bottom of the job ladder. In 2000, he created Year Up to address the challenges. Today, Year Up serves more than 1,400 students annually in nine cities across the United States, including Seattle. Chertavian's book follows a Year Up class from admissions through graduation, letting students share, in their own words, the challenges, failures, and personal successes they've experienced before, during, and after their program year.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 23.1 MB]


Kirsten Grind discusses 'The Lost Bank: The Story of Washington Mutual -- The Biggest Bank Failure in American History'

As a reporter for the Puget Sound Business Journal in 2009, Grind wrote a series of investigative stories about Washington Mutual. Her coverage would name her a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the Gerald Loeb Award. -- Based on that reporting, Grind's new book 'The Lost Bank' offers a look at the human failings that lay at the root of the Great Recession, the personalities caught up in good times and easy money, a seriously deluded industry and an entire culture ultimately undone by financial collapse. -- She describes WaMu's unprecedented bank runs and unveils the details of its purchase by JPMorgan Chase and the controversial actions taken by federal regulators in closing the bank. Grind also traces the last 20 years of WaMu's existence, focusing on the people who led the bank through its spectacular rise and fall.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 29.1 MB]


Sing Along with Caspar Babypants

Dance, wriggle and laugh during this live musical performance of funny songs that feature sing along elements and call and response themes.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 21.9 MB]


Daniel Silva in conversation with Warren Etheredge

Listen to Daniel Silva in conversation with popular cultural commentator, Warren Etheredge, as they discuss Silva's latest book, 'The Fallen Angel.' Silva writes an internationally-bestselling literary espionage series featuring Gabriel Allon (an Israeli art restorer, spy and assassin).

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 29.2 MB]


Karen Thompson Walker reads from "The Age of Miracles," a debut speculative & coming-of-age fiction

On an ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia and her family awake to discover that an earthquake has caused the Earth's rotation to slow dramatically. Days grow longer, gravity is affected, and the environment is thrown into disarray. As she struggles to navigate an ever-shifting landscape, Julia remains a typical young girl, making her way through adolescence, coping with the normal disasters of everyday life. -- "While the apocalypse looms large, has in fact already arrived, the narrative remains fiercely grounded in the surreal and horrifying day-to-day and the personal decisions that persist even though no one knows what to do. ...[T]he story also feels eerily plausible, as if the problems we've been worrying about all along pale in comparison to what might actually bring our end." -- Publishers Weekly starred review.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 22.4 MB]


Chris Cleave reads from from his novel, 'Gold'

We welcome back 2011 Seattle Reads author Chris Cleave for an exclusive Seattle appearance for his new novel. "Gold" tells the story of Kate and Zoe, who first met at age 19. Now 32, in what they know will be their last race, each desperately wants to win the 2012 Olympic gold medal for speed cycling. -- Kate and Zoe are coached by Kate's husband, Tom, who barely missed his own gold medal in 1968. Their eight-year-old daughter, Sophie, is fragile, fighting a recurrence of leukemia. She dreams of the Death Star and of battling alongside the Rebels as evil white blood cells ravage her personal galaxy. The question for everyone is, what would you sacrifice for those you love, if it means giving up the thing that is most important to you?

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 36.2 MB]


Joy Harjo reads from 'Crazy Brave'

Joy Harjo reads from her memoir: a story about family, a hardscrabble youth, young adulthood, and her journey to become an award-winning poet and musician. -- Joy Harjo was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she grew up with an abusive stepfather. She attended an Indian arts boarding school, where she gained an appreciation for painting, music, and poetry; gave birth while still a teenager; and struggled on her own as a single mother, eventually finding her poetic voice.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 31.5 MB]


Eth-Noh-Tec Asian Story Theater, July 11

Eth-Noh-Tec's collection of stories casts a magical spell of starlight, fantasy and imagination on the young and young-at-heart.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 18 MB]


Kate Wilhelm, June 29

Author Kate Wilhelm reads from her new book, "Whisper Her Name."

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 15 MB]


Terry Tempest Williams, June 22

Terry Tempest Williams ponders the meaning of her mother's journals full of blank pages in a new memoir, "When Women Were Birds: 54 Variations on Voice."

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 26 MB]


Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, June 18

Acclaimed sociologist Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot looks at the moments both large and small that define how we transition through our lives.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 30 MB]


Frank Deford, June 14

The celebrated sportswriter looks back on a remarkable career in which he has chronicled the heroes and the characters of just about every sport in nearly every medium.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 22 MB]


Aimee Phan, June 12

Aimee Phan talks about her new novel "The Reeducation of Cherry Troung," the story of a young woman who journeys back to Vietnam in search of her brother and uncovers her family's decades-old secrets.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 21 MB]


Richard Ford, June 4

Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Richard Ford reads from his much anticipated new novel, "Canada."

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 20 MB]


Thrilling Tales, May 21

Today's story is "The Interruption" by W.W. Jacobs. He had seen his wife safely to her grave, and yet his troubles were just beginning.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 19 MB]


Thomas Graham Jr, May 20

Thomas Graham Jr. discusses "Unending Crisis: National Security Policy After 9/11," which examines the George W. Bush administration's foreign policy.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 33 MB]


John Irving, May 17

John Irving reads from "In One Person," a portrait of the life and loves of a bisexual man, and the mutability of gender and desire.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 35 MB]


Lucia Perillo, May 12

Lucia Perillo reads from from new poetry and debut fiction, "On the Spectrum of Possible Deaths" and "Happiness Is a Chemical in the Brain: Stories."

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 22 MB]


Steve Coll, May 9

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Coll goes deep inside the largest, most powerful private corporation in the U.S. Steve Coll discusses 'Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power' at the Central Library.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 32 MB]


Amy Waldman, May 5

Amy Waldman's acclaimed debut novel asks hard questions about the American values of tolerance, diversity, and community. Amy discusses "The Submission" at the Ballard Branch as part of Seattle Reads.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 21 MB]


Amy Waldman, May 4

Amy Waldman's acclaimed debut novel asks hard questions about the American values of tolerance, diversity, and community. Amy discusses "The Submission" at the Central Library as part of Seattle Reads.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 28 MB]


Book-It Repertory Theatre staged readings from 'The Submission'

Book-It Repertory Theatre presents staged readings from Amy Waldman's "The Submission," adapted by Rachel Atkins and directed by Book-It director of touring, Annie Lareau.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 29 MB]


Sydney Dobson, April 25

Sydney Dobson shows images and describes the process of developing the Oklahoma City Memorial.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 30 MB]


Julia Alvarez, April 20

Julia Alvarez talks about her travel memoir "A Wedding in Haiti" that details trips to Haiti, to attend her young friend Piti's wedding and later to see if the family survived the earthquake.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 32 MB]


Sa'ad Ansari, April 12

Sa'ad Ansari and Steve Scher, host of KUOW's "Weekday," for an onstage conversation about Park51 Community Center. In 2010, plans for this Islamic community center two blocks from ground zero exploded into controversy.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 30 MB]


Judy D. Simon, April 4

Judy D. Simon, April 4
You don't have to spend your entire budget to eat healthy foods -- get tips on how to buy good-for-you foods on a tight budget. Judy D. Simon, a dietitian & nutritionist at the UW Medical Center, gives practical and nutritional tips that stretch your pocket book and expand your healthy food choices.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 24 MB]


Daniel Okrent, April 2

Daniel Okrent, April 2
The 2012 A. Scott Bullitt Lecture in American History. Historian and journalist Daniel Okrent discusses "Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition" onstage with KUOW Public Radio's Steve Scher.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 30 MB]


Douglas Adkins, March 28

Douglas Adkins explores the history of Dorade, the most famous ocean racing yacht in the world.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 29 MB]


Geoff Dyer, March 16

Geoff Dyer explores the mysteries of a film that has haunted him ever since he saw it 30 years ago.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 24 MB]


Jodi Picoult, March 8

New York Times bestselling novelist Jodi Picoult reads from her newest novel, "Lone Wolf" -- a taut, engrossing family drama exploring ethical dilemmas.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 30 MB]


Jay and Maureen Neitz, March 7

Colorblindness can mean job loss for those in professions that require color vision, including police, firefighters, pilots and food inspectors. However: doctors Jay and Maureen Neitz, a husband-and-wife team of ophthalmologists at the UW Medicine Eye Institute, believe a cure for color blindness is on its way.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 31 MB]


Thrilling Tales, March 2012

Need a mid-day break? Every first and third Monday, you can laugh, gasp and shudder to live readings of captivating short stories from a wide range of popular and literary authors. This week's featured stories are: "The Queen of Spades" by Alexander Pushkin and "The Bet" by Anton Chekhov.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 19 MB]


Jim Yardley, February 21

Author Jim Yardley discusses "Brave Dragons: A Chinese Basketball Team, an American Coach, and Two Cultures Clashing" with basketball coach Bob Weiss.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 29 MB]


J.A. Jance, February 15

J.A. Jance talks about "Left for Dead," her 44th published mystery.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 25 MB]


Eric Liu, February 7

Join Eric Liu for a lively civic discussion of "The Gardens of Democracy: A New American Story of Citizenship, the Economy, and the Role of Government."

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 39 MB]


Dermot Fitzgibbon, February 1

Dermot Fitzgibbon,, will teach you what modalities are used to manage pain for surgery and cancer, as well as to improve your quality of life.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 35 MB]


Stewart O'Nan, January 30

Stewart O'Nan reads from his new novel, "The Odds: A Love Story," a bittersweet look at a married couple struggling in uncertain times and trying to give their love a second chance.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 21 MB]


Xi Chuan, January 9

Xi Chuan reads selections from a new chapbook, "Yours Truly & Other Poems," "Notes on the Mosquito: Selected Poems" (forthcoming in 2012) and other works.

Download Audio (mp3) [file size: 35 MB]


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