Magic Gardens: The Memoirs of Viva Las Vegas- Episode 14 of The Biography Podcast

Liv Osthus- aka Viva Las Vegas- is not only a Portland institution but also a friend of mine. She has been writing for a long time and this, her first memoir, is not only the story of a bright young woman discovering her art, but also a bit of a paen to a Portland that is sadly passing into history. This is another show I did in studio. One of the benefits of doing a show in studio is being able to see the other person. So many of my shows are done on line and I have enough experience to get...

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Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector- Episode 13 of The Biography Podcast

I had never heard of the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector before I saw the blurb for this this book on a website. She struck my fancy; here is a female Brazilian author, essentially unknown here in the States, and early reviews were very strong. Benjamin Moser really makes her come to life and definitely whets the appetite to read more of her work. So, from August 15, 2009, Benjamin Moser talks about his book, Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector

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Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson- Episode 12 of The Biography Podcast

Hunter S. Thompson. Our age cries out for your brand of extremely weird and powerful journalism. Bill McKeen lets us into Hunter’s life and provided me with a line I still use today; it’s when I ask him about the difference between Hunter and his brother, an insurance man who never left Louisville. And so, from July 30, 2009, William McKeen talking about his book, Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson.

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The Magnificent Mrs. Tennant- Episode 11 of The Biography Podcast

Ah, The Magnificent Mrs. Tennant. I have to come clean; I am big fan of biograpies of people who really aren’t that well known and doubly so if those people led colforul lives. I think it makes for a better show. In this episode, we are introduced to Gertrude Tennant, The Hostess of Victorian London, and how her parties shaped social life for the upper classes within the city of London. David Waller, who will come back again later in the run, does a great job of both...

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The Chris Farley Show- Episode 10 of The Biography Podcast

I actually try to stay away from a lot of Hollywood biographies, which is a little difficult, since there is always interest in them. What drew me to The Chris Farley Show was that it was written by his brother, Tom Farley, Jr.. And I am happy to say, it is as far away from being a salacious tell all as you can get. It is not hagiography- Tom speaks quite directly about the demons that Chris was, sadly, not able to overcome, but the book overall is infused with a warmness...

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Byron in Love- Episode 9 of The Biography Podcast

I am inveterate reader of the weekend Financial Times, an endeavor that is far more difficult in this town than it should be. So imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I discovered that Edna O’Brian was the subject of Lunch with the FT. Ms. O’Brian was very gracious to speak with me about her- not quite biography of Lord Byron, as she really focuses on his love affairs. So, from June 15, 2009, Edna O’Brian on her book, Byron in Love.

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Paul Newman: A Life- Episode 8 of The Biography Podcast

For those who don’t know, I live in Portland and we are very lucky to have many good writers within our city limits. When we did this interview, the suthor, Shawn Levy, was the film critic for our local newspaper, The Oregonian. His biography of Paul Newman really takes up behind the scenes of the life of a wonderful actor who was known to make some questionable decisions about his health. This show is also notable because it is one of the three times during the run of the show that I was...

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Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal and the Invention of Modern Journalism- Episode 7 of The Biography Podcast

I think it is a fair question to wonder how much the editorial standards of the WSJ have changed since the time of its most illustrious editor, Barney Kilgore. In his book, Restless Genius, Richard Tofel takes us back to the time when the WSJ was still largely a local New York paper with a readership outside the NY metro adrea of mostly financial workers. So, from May 15, 2009, Richard Tofel talking about his book, Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal and the...

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Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor- Episode 7 of The Biography Podcast

I will come clean; I don’t read a lot of fiction. I am not sure if one can so neatly divide the world between fiction and non fiction readers, but I find that my own tastses run almosst exclusively to non-fiction. And that makes this book an odd choice. Though Brad Gooch did a remarkable job with this biography of the southern writer Flannery O’Connor, I had no real background to her work before this show. I think I picked it for that reason. So, from April 30, 2009, Brad Gooch talking...

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A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy- Episode 5 of The Biography Podcast

This was the first time I spoke with someone who had written their own memoir. Most of the time, I intereview straight up biographers who are writing about someone utterly unrealted to them. With Thomas Buergenthal, A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy, couldn’t have been more personal. As far as I am concerned, he is a hero for surviving hell on earth and I am proud to have given his book a bit of of publicity. So, from April 15, 2009, Thomas...

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