Whether you’re nobly looking to broaden your knowledge or simply looking to impress your friends or colleagues at the next gathering, check out Smarty Pants, the new Podcast from “The American Scholar” (sponsored by Phi Beta Kappa). Guaranteed to make you smarter with every listen. As their website explains (https://theamericanscholar.org/podcast/#), “Tune in every two weeks to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books.”
Before Smarty Pants, I hadn’t known what a podcast really was, but from what I’ve experienced, it’s a radio show that can be downloaded and listened to at one’s own convenience. Perfect for me as I tend to only have time to listen to snippets of each 30-45 minute episode. To find it, I use the Podcasts App on my iPhone to search for “Smarty Pants” and download the episodes from there. You can also search for and listen to them at Americanscholar.org.
Smarty Pants delivers with incredible diversity! Yesterday, I listened to an interview with Madeleine Thien, author of the Man Booker Prize Short-Listed novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing. This is the story of three musicians in China, before, during and following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. I know I came across this title a short time ago, and considered reading it. Not only did I get the chance to hear the author speak about her book (her speaking is as lyrical as her writing), but some of the musical pieces mentioned in the book were played. A wonderful introduction to this book. I’ve just added it to my holds list.
Let me give you a sense of the diversity of topics I’ve learned something about over the last few months–research regarding the Zika Virus and other nasty bugs, the best films of John Wayne and Errol Flynn (from a self-noted amateur film critic), the experience of reading Lolita with inmates in a maximum security prison, and a beautiful reading of the poem “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich. All of these topics (and more!) are expertly choreographed by the host of Smarty Pants Stephanie Bastek. I am grateful to her for bringing us such a fine production every two weeks that broadens my knowledge of the world.
Take a listen! It’s free!
Happy Holidays and see you in the Library in 2017!