What We’re Reading

Each week, members of the WFPL news team will spotlight interesting stories we’ve read over the past week for your weekend reading pleasure:

Gabe Bullard: I finally got around to reading “Wrestling with Moses” by Anthony Flint about Jane Jacobs’ emergence as a leading thinker in urban planning. Her book “Death and Life of Great American Cities” came out in the early sixties, around the time “Silent Spring,” “The Feminine Mystique” and “Unsafe at Any Speed” were all published, marking a new type of activism. But Louisville had its own star of urbanism in Grady Clay, a former Courier-Journal writer (he also did commentary on WFPL for a while). His piece Metropolis Regained came out a few years before “Death and Life” and is credited with coining the phrase “New Urbanism.”  Read “Wrestling with Moses” here. And for more, here’s Jacob’s on WNYC discussing her book.

Erin Keane: The New York Times piece “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Protagonist”  by David Rooney  is a preview of Samuel D. Hunter’s new play “The Whale” (Playwrights Horizons) and it’s also a feature on the playwright, who just won a Whiting Award. Hunter’s an exciting young playwright I’m quite interested in – his play “A Bright New Boise” played at The Bard’s Town Theatre this summer and it was a knock-out, and he has a knack for writing complex characters estranged from mainstream society. “The Whale” is the kind of play that could show up in an upcoming Actors Theatre or Theatre [502] season, too. This is just a nice, tight profile – it tackles religion, the Midwest, and how Hunter is moving up to a new tier of off-Broadway house with his new production. The article also quotes director Davis McCallum, Hunter’s frequent director. McCallum directed Molly Smith Metzler’s “Elemeno Pea” at Actors Theatre’s 2011 Humana Festival (and note in the photo of “The Whale” actress Cassie Beck, one of the leads in “Elemeno Pea”), and I’m interested in keeping up with his work because he obviously works with a lot of interesting younger playwrights and their new work. Read “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Protagonist” here.

Laura Ellis: From “The Island Where People Forget to Die” by Dan Buettner:

“People stay up late here,” Leriadis said. “We wake up late and always take naps. I don’t even open my office until 11 a.m. because no one comes before then.” He took a sip of his wine. “Have you noticed that no one wears a watch here? No clock is working correctly. When you invite someone to lunch, they might come at 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. We simply don’t care about the clock here.”

I can get into this, Plus, the story has a slide show of very cute pictures of centenarians. Read “The Island Where People Forget to Die” here.

Rick Howlett:  I’m working on a radio story about the 100th anniversary of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ first Tarzan book. There’s a party this weekend at the University of Louisville, which houses the world’s largest institutional collection of Tarzan materials. The anniversary celebration has been well underway around Tarzana, California, where Burroughs built a ranch. This story – “Celebrating 100 Years of Tarzan” by Dana Bartholomew – appeared in August in the Daily News of Los Angeles.  Read “Celebrating 100 Years of Tarzan here.

Erica Peterson: This interactive feature by Sierra Magazine (published by the Sierra Club) looks at communities in West Virginia, Michigan and Nevada that are affected by either the extraction, burning, or disposal of coal or coal byproducts. The Sierra Club’s stance on coal is well-known (the organization has poured lots of money into its “Beyond Coal” campaign, working to shut down coal-fired power plants), but I thought the pictures and quotes in this story were worth reading. The Sierra staff made an effort to find people who haven’t been in the spotlight over these issues, and they let them tell their stories in their own words.  Check out the interactive feature here.

Joseph Lord: With years of high unemployment, politicians — including President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney — have touted programs that re-train laid-off workers with new skills. But do those programs actually work? That’s the question posed in “Rare Agreement: Obama, Romney, Ryan All Endorse Retraining for Jobless — But Are They Right?” Read “Rare Agreement” here.

Joseph Lord

Joseph Lord is the online managing editor for WFPL.

@joseph_Lord

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