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:

  • October 24 & 26 "The Genius of Dogs" by Brian Hare
  • Oct 31 & Nov 2 "The Good Assassin" by Rod Gramer
  • November 7 & 9 "A Higher Call" by Adam Makos
  • November 14 & 16 "A Dangerous Wandering" by Matt Richtel

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
6:00 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Pulitzer Prize Winner Isabel Wilkerson On "America's Great Migration"

For decades after slavery ended, African Americans continued a mighty struggle against a caste system grounded in racism. Pervasive discrimination kept many blacks from building decent lives in the southern states they called home. Faced with few choices, they undertook one of the largest migrations in our nation’s history, with more than 6 million making their way to Midwestern, Western and Eastern cities between 1915 and 1970.

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Author Douglas Brinkley On Teddy Roosevelt's Crusade For America's Wilderness

As America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, it’s a fitting time to remember the man who helped lay the early groundwork for the idea of wilderness as a national treasure.  President Theodore Roosevelt’s dedication and perseverance led to the preservation of some of our greatest national parks, forests, monuments and wildlife sanctuaries.

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

A Year On The Ragged Edge Of The West With Author Bryce Andrews

This Reader's Corner interview initially was broadcast in January, 2014.

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
5:56 pm
Fri September 26, 2014

Pulitzer Prize Winner Dan Fagin And The Story Of 'Toms River'

When the chemical company Ciba purchased a huge swath of forested land in Toms River, New Jersey, back in 1949 and laid plans to build a major factory on the site, the local citizenry mostly thought it was a good thing.

During the ensuing years, that positive opinion pretty much remained in place, as the town grew, property values increased and good-paying jobs at the plant strengthened the local economy.

But as the plant continued to generate an increasing amount of hazardous waste, there were early signs something might be amiss.

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Reader's Corner
5:00 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

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

This Reader's Corner interview originally was broadcast in July of 2013

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.

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Author Peter Stark On Astoria, The First Colony Of The West Coast

The rugged coastline of the Pacific Northwest is dotted with historic cities and sea ports. But today’s well-established metropolises belie the imagination and tenacity that it took to settle this wild and remote region.

In 1809, John Jacob Astor -- a young, ambitious New York businessman -- saw the potential of the Northwest coast as a great trading emporium for the western half of the United States. Astor dispatched a land and sea party that he hoped would arrive at what is now Astoria, Oregon. The plan was to set up a Jamestown-like colony and establish a fur trading empire.

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Reader's Corner
4:00 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

The Business Success Of LEGO With Author David Robertson

This is an encore broadcast of the interview with David Robertson.  The conversation was originally broadcast in January of 2014.

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.

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Imagining A Post-Antibiotic Future With Maryn McKenna

Antibiotics are ubiquitous in modern human life. Along with their well-known medical applications, they also are routinely used in agriculture, including our increasingly industrial production of meat.

But as resistant strains of bacteria continue to emerge, health authorities around the world are growing alarmed at the increasing impotence of antibiotics to fight disease. In fact, they worry we are on the verge of a total breakdown in the overall usefulness of these drugs. It’s a scenario of horrifying scope to those who understand the implications for human health.

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Understanding Russia's Modern History With Author Daniel Treisman

Generations of western leaders have puzzled over how to manage their nation’s relationship with Russia – and headlines in recent months, especially from Ukraine, have only deepened this long-standing challenge.

But Daniel Treisman, in his book "The Return: From Gorbachev to Medvedev," argues that western notions about Russia as an antagonistic and autocratic behemoth are, at best, oversimplified.

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Reader's Corner
4:06 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

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

This Reader's Corner interview was first broadcast in January, 2014

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
6:36 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Author Christine Bader On Corporate Idealism

When an oil rig explodes, a factory building collapses, or a water supply is tainted, the finger pointing often starts and stops with the multinational corporation behind the operation.

In recent years, big business has been implicated in a plethora of scandals and accidents that have cost lives and damaged the environment. We tend to think of these corporations as monolithic entities that march in lockstep and have singular goals, but as today’s guest points out, that’s hardly the case.  

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Talking About Commitment With Idaho Author Heidi Reeder

Businesses seeking to increase productivity, athletes striving to improve their performance, and couples intent on strengthening their relationship share this in common: To get what they’re after, they’ll need more than motivation. They’ll need commitment.

Heidi Reeder is an expert on how commitment enables organizations and individuals to reach their goals. Her new book, "Commit to Win," unpacks 40 years of research by psychologists and economists to bust the many myths about commitment and explain why it’s important.

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Part 2 Of An Interview With Daniel James Brown About "The Boys In The Boat"

This interview was originally broadcast in December, 2013:

This is 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 July 18, 2014

An Epic Quest For Rowing Gold At The 1936 Berlin Olympics

This interview for Reader's Corner was originally broadcast in December of 2013:

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
6:00 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

The Legacy Of Photographer Edward Curtis With Author Timothy Egan

It took Edward Curtis just a few years after arriving in the small town of Seattle in 1887 to establish a reputation as one of its finest portrait photographers. Uneducated and self-taught, he quickly became one of the most respected lensmen in America and was summoned to capture images of President Theodore Roosevelt and even the president’s daughter’s wedding.

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Reader's Corner
5:00 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

A Conversation With 'The Last Great Senate' Author Ira Shapiro

Ask just about anyone their opinion about politics and the federal government and two words you are likely to hear in response are: dysfunction and gridlock.    

But Ira Shapiro, knows firsthand of an era not all that long ago when big personalities in the U.S. Senate worked together to solve big problems.

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Reader's Corner
5:38 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Part 2: Idaho Author Anthony Doerr On Promoting 'All The Light We Cannot See'

In May, Anthony Doerr visited Reader's Corner to talk about his new novel, "All the Light We Cannot See." Ten years in the writing, the book tells the stories of a blind French girl and a German boy during World War II and how their lives eventually intertwine.

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Reader's Corner
3:00 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

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

"This program is an encore and was originally broadcast in November of 2013"

“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
6:00 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Author Justin Vaughn On The Heroic Expectations Of The American President

The office of the President of the United States is among the most highly visible institutions anywhere in the world. The person who occupies the office is subject to intense scrutiny – and while some of that is negative, the president oftentimes also serves as a symbol of the hopes, dreams and aspirations of a diverse American citizenry.

But what happens when there is a disconnect between the high expectations Americans have for what their president can accomplish, and the reality of how the office functions in today’s Washington?

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Reader's Corner
11:23 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Author Robert K. Fitts On American Baseball's 1934 Tour Of Japan

The power of sports to mend rifts between nations and establish bonds of friendship and understanding was put to the test in 1934, when a group of Major League baseball players, including Babe Ruth, traveled to Japan to play a series of 18 exhibition games in 12 cities.

The Americans squared off against their Japanese rivals in contests that drew thousands of enthusiastic spectators. The crowd’s biggest cheers often went to Ruth, who was revered in Japan as the jovial demigod of baseball.

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