Lee Smith

Guests on Earth

Original air date: March 28, 201491KUYGqvp3L._SL1500_

“Guests on Earth is set at Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, N.C., during the years 1936-1948, the year of the terrible fire in which Zelda Fitzgerald perished along with eight other women patients in a locked ward on the top floor. Her body was identified only by her charred ballet slipper—for the brilliant Zelda was still a talented dancer and choreographer as well as a writer and a visual artist. In this novel I offer a solution for the unsolved mystery of that fire, along with a group of characters both imagined and real, and a series of events leading up to the tragedy.” – from LeeSmith.com

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Therese Anne Fowler

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald

Original air date: March 21, 201416002030

“When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.

What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.

Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott’s, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda’s irresistible story as she herself might have told it.”
- from thereseannefowler.com

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Pat Shipman

Femme Fatale:
Love, Lies, and the Unknown Life of Mata Hari

Original air date: March 7, 2014mata

In 1917, the notorious Oriental dancer Mata Hari was arrested on the charge of espionage; less than one year later, she was tried and executed, charged with the deaths of at least 50,000 gallant French soldiers. The mistress of many senior Allied officers and government officials, even the French minister of war, she had a sharp intellect and a golden tongue fluent in several languages; she also traveled widely throughout war-torn Europe, with seeming disregard for the political and strategic alliances and borders. But was she actually a spy? In this persuasive new biography, Pat Shipman explores the life and times of the mythic and deeply misunderstood dark-eyed siren to find the truth. – from HarperCollins.com

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Kate Buford

Native American Son:
The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe

Original air date: February 28, 2014Jacket_-_buf_re-330

The first comprehensive biography of the legendary figure who defined excellence in American sports: Jim Thorpe, arguably the greatest all-around athlete the United States has ever seen.

With clarity and a fine eye for detail, Kate Buford traces the pivotal moments of Thorpe’s incomparable career: growing up in the tumultuous Indian Territory of Oklahoma; leading the Carlisle Indian Industrial School football team, coached by the renowned “Pop” Warner, to victories against the country’s finest college teams; winning gold medals in the 1912 Olympics pentathlon and decathlon; defining the burgeoning sport of professional football and helping to create what would become the National Football League; and playing long, often successful—and previously unexamined—years in professional baseball.

But, at the same time, Buford vividly depicts the difficulties Thorpe faced as a Native American—and a Native American celebrity at that—early in the twentieth century. We also see the infamous loss of his Olympic medals, stripped from him because he had previously played professional baseball, an event that would haunt Thorpe for the rest of his life. We see his struggles with alcoholism and personal misfortune, losing his first child and moving from one failed marriage to the next, coming to distrust many of the hands extended to him. Finally, we learn the details of his vigorous advocacy for Native American rights while he chased a Hollywood career, and the truth behind the supposed reinstatement of his Olympic record in 1982.

Here is the story—long overdue and brilliantly told—of a complex, iconoclastic, profoundly talented man whose life encompassed both tragic limitations and truly extraordinary achievements. - from RandomHouse.com

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Sean Wilentz

Bob Dylan in America

Original air date: February 21, 2014Bob-Dylan-in-America-hi-res

“A panoramic vision of Bob Dylan, his music, his shifting place in American culture, from multiple angles. In fact, reading Sean Wilentz’ Bob Dylan in America is as thrilling and surprising as listening to a great Dylan song.”
Martin Scorsese

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David J. Garrow

Bearing the Cross:
Martin Luther King Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Original air date: February 7, 20149780060566920_p0_v1_s260x420

Winner of the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, this is the most comprehensive book ever written about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Based on more than seven hundred interviews with all of King’s surviving associates, as well as with those who opposed him, and enhanced by the author’s access to King’s personal papers and tens of thousands of pages of FBI documents, this is a towering portrait of a man’s metamorphosis into a legend.

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David O. Stewart

The Lincoln Deception

Original air date: January 31, 2014the-lincoln-deception
“Set in 1900, this impressive debut novel from historian Stewart (American Emperor) opens with Jamie Fraser, an Ohio country doctor, agonizing over the cryptic deathbed revelation of 85-year-old John Bingham, the respected statesman who tried the conspirators in the 16th president’s murder: Mary Surratt, an accomplice to assassin John Wilkes Booth, privately confessed to Bingham a secret that threatened “the survival of the republic.” Along with Speed Cook, a black ex-baseball player and aspiring newspaperman, Fraser obsesses over parsing this secret, which could reveal a conspiracy that reaches beyond Booth to the higher powers of the Union and the Confederacy. Traversing New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., the amateur sleuths confront henchmen of the shadowy Sons of Liberty, racist mobs, and powerful financiers, whose cotton-trading connections are somehow tied to the fateful night at Ford’s Theater.” - Publisher’s Weekly

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Tony Vanderwarker

Writing with the Master

Original air date: January 24, 20141391638147-9781626365520_p0_v2_s260x420

With seven unpublished novels rotting away on Tony’s hard drive, John Grisham took Tony under his wing and taught him the secrets of novel writing. Soon to be published, Writing With The Master is the story of working with the famous writer to craft a thriller, titled Sleeping Dogs. With Grisham’s actual critiques and margin notes, the book pulls back the curtain on Grisham’s amazing plot development techniques and gives the reader an inside look on what makes Grisham one of the all-time bestselling novelists.

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Cassia Leo

Pieces of You

Original air date: January 10, 201417397495

New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she’s not watching reruns, she’s usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading.

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Jeff Simmermon

And I Am Not Lying

Original air date: January 3, 2014Jeff Simmermon2

Jeff Simmermon is a writer and storyteller who regularly appears at shows around New York. He has written for Vice Magazine, appeared onstage at The Moth’s GrandSlam, on the Moth’s podcast, and on This American Life. He produces, hosts and performs in And I Am Not Lying, a comedy storytelling burlesque sideshow that has appeared around NYC, at SXSW 2012 and most recently at the Black Cat in Washington, DC. The show is based on a blog packed full of stories, art, and other weirdness at www.andiamnotlying.com.

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