Wednesday, March 17, 2010

TTBOOK Explores the Fascinating Nooks and Crannies of Living and Thinking

This post isn't about the library.

I'm breaking form to sing the praises of a most stimulating new show on Vermont Public Radio, To the Best of Our Knowledge. It's the creation of a team of very bright people in Wisconsin, one of which is the daughter of our patrons Edmond and Susan Strainchamps, interesting people in and of themselves, as so many NPL patrons are. That's the lovely, lively, and very bright Anne Strainchamps in the photo.

You can catch To the Best of Our Knowledge, (shortened to TTBOOK for acronymic convenience)at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoons. If you find yourself away from the radio on Saturday afternoon, you can catch the podcast at your convenience through ITunes.

TTBOOK, which features Jim Fleming as the anchor and Anne Strainchamps and husband Steve Paulson as principal interviewers, organizes episodes around themes. Yesterday I did my quilting to a show organized around physics, and another on the hive mind. This morning I listened to a podcast on writers and writing.

The physics show focused on physics in all directions--the necessity of physics knowledge for the President of the US, a profile of the family of High Everett, who hatched the theory of parallel universes, a discussion of eccentric physicists, and physics-based literature, including a novel on Newton and physics poetry.

The Hive Mind featured everything from an expert on honeybees to swarm intelligence to a critique of the hive mind in a culture impacted by communications technology. An episode on the writing life featured an interview with John Cheever's biographer, an interview with novelists Elizabeth Strout and Marilynne Robinson, and one with writing workshop diva Natalie Goldberg. Great stuff!

I've subscribed to TTBOOK's podcasts. They're wonderfully enriching and energizing. Anne, Steve, and Jim are able interviewers, and I both admire their skill and envy them the opportunities they create for themselves in pursuing such fascinating topics.

Susan and Edmond, you must be terribly proud. As for me--I'm addicted.

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