Reader's Corner

KBSX News: Friday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. | KBSW News/Classical: Friday at 6 p.m.

Welcome to Reader’s Corner, a weekly radio show hosted by Boise State University President Bob Kustra that features lively conversations with some of the nation’s leading authors about issues and ideas that matter today. Join us each week at Reader’s Corner for thoughtful interviews centered around books and articles that help shape our world.

Coming up on Reader's Corner:

  • April 18 & 20 "The Genius of Earth Day" by Adam Rome
  • April 25 & 27 "The Smartest Kids in the World" by Amanda Ripley
  • May 2 & 4 "All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr
  • May 9 & 11 "The Parties V The People" by Mickey Edwards

Listen to Reader's Corner podcast on your iPhone or iPad with the free app.

Subscribe to the Reader's Corner email podcast.

For questions about Reader's Corner, or to access 2003-2010 interviews, please contact Janelle Brown, producer.

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Reader's Corner
2:27 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

An Interview With "Frozen In Time" Author Mitchell Zuckoff

In November of 1942, a U.S. cargo plane on a routine flight crashed into the Greenland ice cap, setting in motion an extraordinary chain of events. Four days after the crash, a B-17 searching for the missing cargo plane also went down in a blinding storm. All nine crewmembers survived the crash, and an amphibious Grumman Duck was sent on a daring rescue mission to bring them home. After picking up one member of the B-17 crew, the rescuers of this third flight flew into a severe storm and vanished.

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Reader's Corner
12:51 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Two Journalists Civil War Odyssey With Author Peter Carlson

History books are full of stories about the dangers and deprivations endured by soldiers who fought in the Civil War. What may be less well known are the challenges faced by journalists of the day who risked everything to get to the front lines of battle.

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Reader's Corner
1:26 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Author Adam Makos Tells An Incredible Story Of Chivalry In The Skies Of WWII

On December 20th, 1943, a crippled B-17 bomber desperately headed for the safety of the German coast and the North Sea. Piloted by a 21-year-old American airman on his first combat mission, it had been strafed by enemy fire after dropping a bomb load on the German town of Bremen. With half its crew dead or injured, its tail nearly blown away and gaping holes in its fuselage, the besieged bomber struggled to stay aloft.

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Reader's Corner
7:43 am
Fri March 14, 2014

The Real History Of Bunker Hill With Nathanial Philbrick

On June 17th, 1775, a ragtag army of colonial patriots faced off against the most powerful army of the 18th century. Their goal was to prevent the British regulars from occupying the hills surrounding Boston in order to put an end to a months-long siege of the city. What ensued proved to be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution, and marked a tipping point for the colonists.

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Author Ian Buruma On 1945 And The World After WWII

Stories about the heroics of World War II are deeply embedded in our popular culture. But the Hollywood storyline seldom reflects on the struggles of those left to survive amid the ruins of what was likely the most destructive war in human history.

In his new book “Year Zero: A History of 1945,” Ian Buruma examines the desperation and upheaval left in the wake of the war’s near complete rending of society’s fabric across large swaths of Europe and Asia.

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

An Historic And Lonely Crusade For Wildlife With Stefan Bechtel

In 1886, William Temple Hornaday set out for the untamed West to collect American bison specimens for the U.S. National Museum. Just a few years earlier the bison herds of North America had been estimated in the millions.

But Hornaday had a hunch that had changed. He was right. The taxidermist was barely able to find enough specimens to preserve for the museum, and the rapid slaughter of America’s bison herds would drive him try to fight for their survival and that of other wildlife for the rest of his life.

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Literacy Educator Jeffrey Wilhelm Says Let Kids Read What They Want

Research shows that kids who read well do better in school and have a distinct advantage in developing communication and logical thinking skills. Avid readers also tend to be more engaged in the world around them.

But how do you get young people to want to read? Today’s guest, Jeffrey Wilhelm, believes that kids and adolescents should be allowed to choose at least some of the books they read for school, so that their reading adds meaning to their lives.

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Reader's Corner
12:26 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Remembering Bethine Church And Her Passion For People And Politics

Bethine Church was widow of Senator Frank Church and would have turned 91 on Feb. 19 2014, she died on Dec. 21, 2013 at her home in Boise. Bethine was one of Idaho’s sweethearts and a political powerhouse in her own right. Her contributions to Idaho and its institutions are numerous and include being the founder and chair of The Frank Church Institute at Boise State University.

Shortly after the launch of this weekly radio show in 2003, Bethine Church was a guest and we spoke about her new memoir, “A Lifelong Affair: My Passion for People and Politics.” 

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Why American Kids Aren't The Smartest In The World With Author Amanda Ripley

Preparing students to excel in a fast-changing world is a concern for many nations.  Some countries, including our own, have implemented a variety of education reforms over recent decades, only to see piddling results. Others, including  Finland, South Korea and Poland, have realized major gains.

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Reader's Corner
3:06 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Author Christian Caryl On 1979 And The Birth Of The 21st Century

Pick up a newspaper or turn on the radio, and it’s likely you’ll learn about the latest fluctuation in world financial markets, or about a protest or uprising tied in some way to religion. 

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Reader's Corner
10:38 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Interview With 'How Algorithms Came To Rule Our World' Author Christopher Steiner

Each day, our lives are increasingly driven by the unseen force of data that is harnessed, organized and focused by complex sets of mathematical formulas known as algorithms. These Information Age tools play a huge role in everything from the safety and efficiency of our cars, to the kind of music we hear on the radio, to the split-second trading on Wall Street that drives our economy.

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Ranching Ecology And Wolf Reintroduction With 'Badluck Way' Author Bryce Andrews

During the summer of 2007, a city kid from Seattle lived out an adventure most wannabe cowboys only dream of.

Bryce Andrews spent a year working on the Sun Ranch — an expansive area of rangeland in the breathtaking wilderness of southwest Montana — mending fences, riding horses, roping cattle and transforming himself into a true ranch hand. It fulfilled his heart’s desire to live among the wild. And, as Andrews writes, it “might have been a simple, pretty story, if not for the wolves.”

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Reader's Corner
8:38 am
Fri January 10, 2014

'Blackett's War' And Operational Research In WWII With Stephen Budiansky

During World War II, a small group of British and American scientists worked tirelessly to defeat the German U-boats that were wreaking havoc on allied commerce. Armed with a dogged determination and a fair amount of mathematics, physics and probability theory, they forged the new field of operational research and forever changed how wars were fought and won.

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

The Business Success Of LEGO With Author David Robertson

It’s hard to image a world without LEGO’s. The plastic building blocks have been a foundation of children’s imaginative play for nearly 60 years. But back in 2009, LEGO nearly was no more.

After enjoying years of success, the company found itself in the midst of a digital revolution that had changed the nature of play and made the company’s most reliable customers — 10-year-old boys — a lot more fickle. Global competition also had heated up, and in 1998 LEGO suffered its first major loss in company history.

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Part 2: An Interview About "The Boys In The Boat"

The second part of an interview with Daniel James Brown, Author of "The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics"

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

An Epic Quest For Rowing Gold At The 1936 Berlin Olympics

In the summer of 1936, in the midst of the Great Depression, the world was transfixed by the grandeur of the Olympic Games in Berlin, and by a determined group of young Americans who were giving their all to bring home the gold.

In front of high-ranking Nazi officials, including Adolf Hitler, they overcame impossible odds to snatch victory from both the German and Italian crews in the Games’ signature rowing event.

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Reader's Corner
12:57 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Interview With "In The Garden Of Beasts" Author Erik Larson

When President Franklin Roosevelt selected mild-mannered University of Chicago history professor William Dodd to serve as America’s ambassador to Nazi Germany in 1933, neither man had an inkling of the coming terror. In fact, Dodd accepted the post in part because he believed his light duties would allow him time to complete his exhaustive history of the American South.

The reality of Hitler’s Germany, as experienced by Dodd and his family during his four years as ambassador, is detailed in a book by today’s guest, Erik Larson.

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Reader's Corner
3:42 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Author Explores WWII Story "Frozen in Time"

In November of 1942, a U.S. cargo plane on a routine flight crashed into the Greenland ice cap, setting in motion an extraordinary chain of events. Four days after the crash, a B-17 searching for the missing cargo plane also went down in a blinding storm.

All nine crew members survived the crash, and an amphibious Grumman Duck was sent on a daring rescue mission to bring them home. After picking up one member of the B-17 crew, the rescuers of this third flight flew into a severe storm and vanished.

Read more
Reader's Corner
4:23 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Football And Concussions: An Interview With 'League Of Denial' Author Steve Fainaru

“Iron Mike” Webster was one of the most revered and beloved Pittsburgh Steelers of all time. The Hall of Fame center was a tough, hardworking and disciplined player who gave everything he had to football.

But after retiring from the NFL in 1990, he suffered a severe decline in both physical and mental health. When he died 12 years later at age 50, his body made one of its most significant contributions to the sport, and to the fellow players he loved.

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Reader's Corner
12:37 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Vatican Expert Talks Change In Papacy

As the former Rome bureau chief for Catholic News Service, few understand the inner workings of the seat of Roman Catholicism better than John Thavis. His book reveals that Vatican City’s public image of power, hierarchical authority and reverence for the past often masks a disorganized, inept and uncertain organizational culture.

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