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All-cakes-considered-book-cover

Making Radio Waves

All-cakes-considered-book-coverA few weeks ago, I found myself dashing into the house yelling “Alexa, play NPR!” As my smart speakers all came to life simultaneously, my husband and I pulled up chairs on the deck to enjoy one of our favorite radio programs, “Live From Here” (formerly “Prairie Home Companion”). While my husband and I enjoy listening to audiobooks and podcasts on our own, we are one of those rare households that still crowd around the radio at appointed times every week to hear our favorite NPR hosts introduce us to new music, keep us updated on current events, share stories, or give us hilarious car repair advice.

I’ve come to realize that public radio is such an important part of my life. I am up earlier than the rest of my family and most days the hosts on “Morning Edition” are the first voices that I hear each day. Jim and Margery from “Boston Public Radio” keep me company as I do short training rides on my lunch break and I look forward to my drive home with Kara Miller from “Innovation Hub” when I work late on Thursdays. Weekends wouldn’t be complete without laughing with the folks from “The Best of Car Talk” and “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me.”

Because we are all such obsessive NPR listeners, I bought tickets for my husband, sister, and me to go see “Live from Here” at Tanglewood in a few days. I am looking forward to the performance, but I wonder how different it will be to add a visual experience to something that is usually just auditory. With that in mind, I did a little research to see if there were other non-radio ways that I could get my NPR fix. As it turns out, there are many!

While I expected to find cookbooks from Milk Street Radio’s Christopher Kimball, I did not expect to find All Cakes Considered: a Year’s Worth of Weekly Recipes Tested, Tasted, and Approved by the Staff of NPR’s All Things Considered by Melissa Gray. This delightful book gives some insight into the favorite confections of NPR staff and one highly recommended recipe for Sweet Potato Pound Cake (among many others). I just can’t wait until the sweet potatoes in my garden are ready to pick so I can give it a whirl.

In poking around the internet in search of books by NPR authors, I realized that I completely forgot about my favorite political commentator, Cokie Roberts. She has written a whole slew of titles, most notably Founding Mothers, Capitol Dames, and Ladies of Liberty. All of these books center around the women that have shaped our nation. Founding Mothers is nothing short of inspiring and is an informative, but genuinely interesting read- perfect for the upcoming Independence Day holiday.

When I really thought about it, there are many, many opportunities to enjoy great radio content outside of the airwaves. Sure, I love listening to “Travel with Rick Steves,” but I haven’t left for a big trip in the last decade without consulting one of his travel guides. Similarly, Will Shortz might be the “Weekend Edition” puzzle master, but the crosswords he writes or edits appear in the New York Times each day.

Once in a while, I find myself having one of those “driveway moments,” where I have arrived at my destination, but need to finish listening to the story before turning off the car. Now that I know there are so many other ways to hear more from these fantastic journalists, I might spend less time sitting alone in the car with my hand hovering over the ignition and more time curled up on the couch with a book.

Alli Palmgren is the Technology Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Alli’s column in the June 28, 2018 issue of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Lydia Sampson

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