Chuck Collins was 26 years old when he decided to give away his half-million-dollar family inheritance. He's the grandson of Oscar Mayer, and Chuck felt that he was getting too easy a ride through life.

In the several decades since then, Chuck has become a leading voice in debates about equality. That includes taxes, equal opportunity, privilege, and more. His new book is called Born On Third Base, and it's a call to the 1% to see how much their fortune is due to circumstance. It's also a call to the 99% to avoid wealth bashing, and starting looking to create alliances.

Collins is in Rochester on Monday, and he's our guest in the first hour.

Brian Alexander set out to write a book about how modern corporate culture destroyed his hometown of Lancaster, Ohio. What he ended up finding was a town reeling from corporate raiders, but still proud to vote for Donald Trump -- who has hired one of the men who helped gut the town's biggest employer, Anchor Hocking. It's the story of white working class America, struggling to maintain its identity as longtime jobs disappear.

Alexander tells us what he learned in his research, and what lessons we all might draw from his book, Glass House.

We continue our annual Connections tradition by talking to community leaders about their favorite books of the year. We also get insight into how they think, what they read, and why. Our guests:

  • Melanie Funchess, director of Community Engagement for the Mental Health Association of Rochester (This Bridge Called My Back by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa)
  • Dr. Eric Caine, chair of the department of psychiatry at the University of Rochester (The Last Policeman by Ben Winters)
  • Rowan Collins, education coordinator for the LGBTQ Academy at the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley (What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi)
  • Andrea Holland, communications coach, and event speaking and group learning strategist (Launch: An Internet Millionaire's Secret Formula to Sell Almost Anything Online, Build a Business You Love, and Live the Life of Your Dreams by Jeff Walker
  • Van White, president of the Rochester City School Board (Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? by Martin Luther King Jr.)
  • Holly Anderson, executive director of the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester (Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hagerty)
  • Kent Gardner, chief economist with the Center for Governmental Research (The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War by Robert J. Gordon; On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller by Richard Norton Smith; The Power Broker by Robert Caro; The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg)
  • Mona Seghatoleslami, host and producer, Classical 91.5 FM (The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin)
  • August Deimel, winemaker at Keuka Spring Vineyards (Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates)
  • Dr. Elizabeth Murray, assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Golisano Children’s Hospital (The Nancy Drew Files by Carolyn Keene)

We continue our annual Connections tradition by talking to community leaders about their favorite books of the year. We also get insight into how they think, what they read, and why. Our guests:

  • Marvin McMickle, president of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (Black Prophetic Fire by Cornel West)
  • David Ryder, pastor at Flour City Church (Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis)
  • Evvy Fanning, English teacher at Pittsford Sutherland High School (Day by Elie Wiesel)
  • Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester (The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World  by Andrea Wulf)
  • Matt Haag, member of Rochester City Council (Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard)
  • Gary Craig, reporter with the Democrat and Chronicle (The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead)
  • Mark Cuddy, artistic director for Geva Theatre Center (Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow)
  • Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, president of Rochester Downtown Development Corporation (The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson)
  • Caitlin Meives, preservation planner for the Landmark Society of Western New York (Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha by Tara Brach)

Former journalist Rachel Barnhart has released a book about her experience in politics. The title is a nod to the book's exploration of the role of gender in politics. It's called Broad, Casted. Barnhart has said that even after years covering politics, she was not prepared for the sexism she encountered. Her critics -- particularly critics in the Democratic Party -- argue that she has misjudged some common political tactics as being sexist. We discuss that, along with her career and her future.  

We talk to the two authors selected for this year’s Debut Novel Series at Writers & Books. Garth Greenwell and Hannah Tennant-Moore have both crafted stories around protagonists with self-destructive tendencies, who search for identity through relationships.

We talk to the authors about their craft, how their lives influenced their work, and the challenges of the publishing world. Our guests:

Connections: Read Local

Sep 23, 2016

Like the local food movement, Read Local is a program that seeks to get readers to enjoy books grown right in their own back yard. It is a book club and event series, highlighting books published by publishing houses based right here in Rochester. The idea is to read the book, meet the author, and support local businesses along the way. 

We meet author Josefine Klougart, and we discuss a range of issues, including translations and foreign books, the health of publishing, and more. Our guests:

David Denby is a writer and a lover of classic literature who wanted to know if modern students could be taught to love and value great books. Maybe it's a question that's been around for centuries: How can we make kids love books? But it's more challenging, seemingly intractable now. Kids read texts. They rarely read books.

Denby set out to know whether it's possible to bring the classics into the hearts and minds of students in Manhattan, and Westchester, and an impoverished district in Connecticut. He found inspiring teachers, and he found students slowly unlocking the mysteries in books like The Scarlet Letter. He's our guest for the hour, discussing his book, Lit Up, with a focus on how to preserve literature in the digital age.

Best-selling author Todd Moss joins us to talk about his new book, Ghosts of Havana. It's the third book in his Judd Ryker thriller series.

Moss is a Pittsford Mendon graduate who worked for the U.S. State Department in 2007 and 2008, focusing on African affairs. He now works for a think tank, the Center for Global Development.

We talk to him about his book and American relations with Cuba after the so-called "normalization" process. We cover assassination plots and more, and how he sees our relationship with Cuba now.

Sunday is Father’s Day, and we spend the hour talking about the influence of fathers – specifically one daughter’s life with and without her dad.

Author Rebecca Rene Jones discusses her new book, Broken for Good: How Grief Awoke My Greatest Hopes.