Chattering Class


Teju Cole Examines Pairing Pictures and Prose in ‘Blind Spot’

Teju Cole is a true polymath. His novel, 'Open City,' won the PEN/Hemingway award. And he writes about photography in a column for The New York Times Magazine, which makes sense since he also exhibits his own photography around the world. His new book, 'Blind Spot,' combines all these pursuits into one publication. talks with Brendan about what he learned about himself in the process.


’30 for 30′ Team Tease a Tale of a Gambler Scorned

ESPN recently launched a sports podcast called "30 for 30," based on their celebrated documentary series of the same name. Each episode is dedicated to a different sports story. Brendan sat down with editor Jody Avirgan and producer Rose Eveleth to talk about an upcoming episode featuring an unassuming woman who took sweet revenge on casinos by utilizing the decorative patterns on the back of cards to her advantage.


Piet Mondrian: Genius Modernist and Party Animal

The Hague's Gemeentemuseum has the world's largest collection of paintings by modernist master Piet Mondrian — and this month, for the first time ever, they put them all on display. Listen as Rico visits the museum and gets schooled on the life and work of the surprisingly hard-partying artist.


Who Was Gertrude Bell? ‘Letters from Baghdad’ Highlights the Explorer’s Unsung Legacy

Archaeologist and diplomat T. E. Lawrence's involvement in the Middle East during World War I was legendary, but another person of equal influence has kind of been forgotten in the history books (and on-screen). Her name was Gertrude Bell, and the directors behind a new documentary called "Letters From Baghdad" explain why she is the most important explorer you've never heard of.


Anne Lamott Tells Us How to Be Merciful to Ourselves

Anne Lamott's spunky, soul-bearing non-fiction has made her a best-selling author many times over. Her books sometimes investigate spiritual themes and sometimes they're about very human triumphs and tribulations, like overcoming alcoholism or raising a son as a single mother. In her new book, she celebrates a virtue that seems to be in short supply these days: mercy.


Why Rorschach’s Inkblots Are Still the Best Blots Around

Our topic for Chattering Class this week: Psychology's infamous Rorschach test. And our teacher is author Damion Searls. His new book, "The Inkblots," is all about Hermann Rorschach, an artistically-inclined Swiss psychiatrist who in the 1910s learned he could diagnose patients just by asking them to describe what they saw in abstract blots on paper. He talks with Rico about Hermann's history and what made the Rorschach's blots so effective and unique.


‘Gleason’ Offers a Glimpse at the Real Struggles of Living With ALS

NFL star Steve Gleason was a safety for the New Orleans Saints. But not long after retiring from the NFL, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. He began recording video diaries for his son, which has been assembled into a documentary by director Clay Tweel. Clay shares candid moments from making the doc and explains the decision behind its honest portrayal of life with the disease.