This week: Oscar-nominated filmmaker David France on plagues and platforms… Pulitzer-finalist Karen Russell sinks her teeth into a new story collection… Bestseller queen Jackie Collins tells you how to (mis)behave… Alex Karpovsky (“Girls”) goes meta… We dip into chip history… Why religion matters to atheists… Plus Graveyard humor, cheating via satellite, and “Entertainment” provided by Phoenix.
Graveyard Gets Hot
From Russia with Love... Lost
Richard Lawson, Senior Editor for The Atlantic Wire, shares a high-tech story from Russia with love…lost.
Skinny Phone Books and the Tropical Tom Collins
This week back in 1878, a new type of book was published that you would never want to read cover-to-cover.
Alex Karpovsky in the Meta Spiral
Alex Karpovsky plays the edgy coffee-shop boss Ray in the hit HBO series “Girls.” He’s also an award-winning - and prolific - indie filmmaker.
David France Acts Up
Esteemed journalist David France's debut documentary, “How to Survive A Plague" - about the activist group Act Up, which in the 1980s and 1990s focused the world on the AIDS crisis and arguably helped bring about today’s treatments for the virus - was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Karen Russell Gets Right to the Juicy Bits
Karen Russell’s debut novel “Swamplandia!” was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer prize. Her new book - the entrancing, Gothic-tinged story collection “Vampires in the Lemon Grove” - has been receiving similarly rapturous reviews.
Crunchy, Crunchy History
Lately, there’s been a veritable explosion of fancy chips: plantain chips, kale chips, soy chips. The current craze inspired Sam Dean to write a history of the chip for Bon Appetit.
Jackie Collins Goes on a Power Trip
Jackie Collins’ sexy romps have sold over 500 million copies. Her latest offering, The Power Trip, brings together a few billionaires and beauties on (where else?) a luxury yacht, and throws in some murder for good measure.
Alain de Botton Believes in Non-Belief
Chattering Class, Guest of Honor
Alain de Botton has penned a string of bestsellers exploring the nature of Architecture, Philosophy, Work, Status, Love, and Religion. But, y’know, maybe one of these days he’ll try to focus on something actually important.
Phoenix is Bankrupt - but Entertaining
Here’s a contradiction: the band Phoenix hails from Paris. Here’s another: their 2012 album “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” went gangbusters, and this April’s follow-up is called “Bankrupt.” So it’s nice to know that the lead single - “Entertainment” - is precisely what it claims to be.
Playlist: Episode 189
Music from this week's show.