“Lucky Man” By The Verve

ZombieAnother music and memory post today!  This is the fifth in my “With Music” series. The others  so far included a song by Ben Folds Five (you can read it here), Sheryl Crow (here), one of the best songs ever by Beth Orton (here) and an embarrassing love for a Dean Martin single (here).  This time, I take on a lost week and a zombie.  Enjoy!

The easiest way to describe radio drama in the United States is to compare it to a zombie.

While in England and other European countries you can still find radio dramas (new and old) on their stations (many time with famous actors and writers supplying the talent), here it is something different. When television came around, the media world couldn’t have dropped it faster and all of the radio celebrities ran from the waves to the boxes.

Here is the thing though; it is not dead… well… not entirely.

It struggles, it grunts and it staggers forward, hands outstretched, craving listeners to bring it back, make it truly alive again. Not brains, ears is what the monster craves. Ears… Ears!

I have always had an obsession with radio plays. I remember the first time I heard The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It was like a revelation. Douglas Adams took his crazy idea and with some sound effects and wonderful actors made a movie in my head that was better than any I could have hoped to have seen. I went from there to The Firesign Theater and then to old time radio. There was an AM station in my area that would play it randomly late at night, and as a kid I would stay up, leaning over the player, ready to press record on my tape deck if a show I loved came on.

There is something awe-inspiring to me about radio plays. They take really little to produce, anything can be a sound effect (Douglas Adams made the sounds of the end of the universe with a bath tub, for example), and you were playing in the mind of someone else. And since radio dramas rarely get bogged down with descriptions, the listener is really an active audience, dressing the characters and the set with their imagination. It’s a personal experience, and the audience can own it as much as the performers.

So when I started to dream of being a writer, my first thoughts were all about radio. I wanted to capture the zombie and give it new life, I didn’t want to be eaten.

Yes, I dreamed of feeding it ears. Continue reading

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New WKAR Book Review: Eight Mile High by Jim Ray Daniels

Current StateOn WKAR’s Current State, I reviewed the new collection of short stories by Jim Ray Daniels. Eight Mile High was also selected this year as one of the Michigan Notable Books.

You can listen to my new review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-jim-ray-daniels-eight-mile-high

If you would rather read my review, you can do so below.

Hey, did you know Current State has a podcast? If you subscribe, you can download episodes and segments (and you can find me every other Thursday). Here is a link to find it on iTunes- https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wkar-fm-current-state/id594609653?mt=2

You can find the novel on Amazon.com here. If you want to check out my other book reviews for WKAR’s Current State, you can do so via links on this pageContinue reading

New WKAR Book Review: Bright Shards of Someplace Else by Monica McFawn

Current StateRecently on WKAR’s Current State, I reviewed the new collection of short stories by Monica McFawn. Bright Shard of Someplace Else was also selected this year as one of the Michigan Notable Books.

You can listen to my new review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-monica-mcfawns-bright-shards-someplace-else

If you would rather read my review, you can do so below.

Hey, did you know Current State has a podcast? If you subscribe, you can download episodes and segments (and you can find me every other Thursday). Here is a link to find it on iTunes- https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wkar-fm-current-state/id594609653?mt=2

You can find the novel on Amazon.com here. If you want to check out my other book reviews for WKAR’s Current State, you can do so via links on this pageContinue reading

New WKAR Book Review: Stephen King’s Revival

Current StateThis week on WKAR’s Current State I took on Stephen King’s latest horror offering Revival.

You can listen to my review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-stephen-kings-revival

You can also read my review below.

If you want to check out Revival for yourself you can find it on Amazon.com here. You can check out my past reviews via this page on my site.

I hope you enjoy my new book review! Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, November 2014

BoredI am suffering the case of the blahs. Oh, this is not a bad thing related to my life or anything, this is related to books. I’ve done the book reviews for my local NPR station now for over a year and half. That is over 30 books. (You can listen and read my reviews via the links on this page of my site.)

See, I’m struggling through a book review by a very popular author. Some people will love the book, I am certain; others will hate it. Me, I’m just mildly disappointed and that is what gives me the blahs.

Let me start this over… I love writing a good book review. There is nothing more fun for me as a reviewer than breaking down a good book, introducing it to a listener/reader and discussing why the high points are the high points. Talking about good books is my soapbox and I like being on it, thank you very much!

I am not Dorothy Parker. She used to take a glee in writing a bad review. Me, I find it disappointing. I can do it certainly, and they are easy to do, but they do not give me pleasure. Also, I like to say more than simply “I don’t like it.” I go out of my way to explain why something doesn’t work. Okay, this could be argued as a second soapbox, but not as big or important as the other one.

But there are no soapboxes when the book is a blah, middle-of-the road, half-a-shoulder-shrug. In a way, I see this blah around me in the environment too, as all the days are gray and getting colder. Of course, the review will be written in a week or so and my life will go on. I can’t guarantee anything regarding the weather.

Let’s move on to happier thoughts! Here are the five things I think are awesome right now. Continue reading

New WKAR Book Review: Gregory Maguire’s Egg and Spoon

Current StateHey I was on the radio again! This time on WKAR’s Current State I review the new young adult book by Gregory Maguire, Egg & Spoon.

You can listen to my review online here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-gregory-maguires-egg-and-spoon-wkar

You can also read my book review below.

If you want to check out this new book by Gregory Maguire, you can find it on Amazon.com here. You can check out my past reviews via this page on my site.

I hope you enjoy my new book review! Continue reading

NEW WKAR Book Review: The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills

Current StateThis time on WKAR’s Current State I review the new book on Harper Lee, The Mockingbird Next Door. This nonfiction work is by Marja Mills.

You can listen to my review online here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-marja-mills-mockingbird-next-door-wkar

You can also read my book review below.

If you want to check out this new book by Marja Mills, you can find it on Amazon.com here.

I hope you enjoy my new book review! Continue reading

For Banned Books Week- A WKAR Review of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Current StateFor Banned Books Week, I decided to do something special for my book review on WKAR’s Current State. This time I am taking on the classic The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, one of the most banned works of fiction out there. I’m really proud of this review, I hope you will check it out.

You can listen to my review online here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-banned-book-week-mark-twains-adventures-huckleberry-finn-wkar

You can also read my book review below.

This is the second time I have been on WKAR around Banned Books Week. You can listen to my previous commentary here. If you would be interested in hearing/reading more of my NPR book reviews, you can do so via links on this page.

I hope you enjoy my new book review! Continue reading

New WKAR Book Review: The Quick by Lauren Owen

Current StateHello readers! (Wow, that sounded corny, sorry.) I am back on WKAR’s Current State with a new book review, this time reviewing The Quick by new novelist Lauren Owen.

You can listen to my book review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-lauren-owens-quick-wkar

You can also read my book review below.

The Quick can be found on Amazon here. If you would be interested in hearing/reading more of my NPR book reviews, you can do so via links on this page.

I hope you enjoy my new book review! Continue reading

NEW WKAR Book Review: Forgiving the Angel by Jay Cantor

Current StateI am back on WKAR’s Current State with a new book review! This time I am looking at the new book by Jay Cantor, Forgiving the Angel.

You can listen to my review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-forgiving-angel

You can also read my book review below.

Forgiving the Angel can be found on Amazon here. If you would be interested in hearing/reading more of my NPR book reviews, you can do so via links on this page.

I hope you enjoy my new book review! Continue reading