17-22 Segment 1: The Lost Art of Writing Letters

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Everyday, we send and receive emails, but when’s the last time you wrote or received a handwritten letter? We talk to a writer and editor about the more romantic, considered communication style of abandoning modern technology and writing physical letters.

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17-22 Segment 2: From Fan to Collaborator: How Richard Chizmar wrote a novella with Stephen King

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Richard Chizmar is an author, publisher, and Stephen King fan. He joins the show to discuss his career, his process, and his opportunity to write a novella with one of the world’s biggest authors.

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Culture Crash 17-22: Stephen King’s Mastery of Storytelling

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture, what’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

On the dedication page before the novel It, Stephen King writes, “Kids, fiction is the truth inside the lie, and the truth of this fiction is simple enough: the magic exists.”

Horror has never been my thing, so growing up, I generally avoided Stephen King books. The extent of my knowledge of king was watching the Shawshank Redemption and Stand By Me. Sure, and I love those movies but I thought they were the exception and that the rest of his catalogue was cheap thrills, monsters, and gore. But there’s a reason he’s one of the best-selling authors ever, and it’s not just chance.

Several years ago, I was finally brought fully into the world of Stephen King by my girlfriend and, more specifically, her father. Ignoring my distrust of horror media, I dipped my toes into the King library. I read Carrie and Salem’s Lot, then, I dove all the way in – Night Shift, It, The Stand, on and on.

Here’s what I discovered. First: there’s more to King than black cats and stormy nights. 11/22/63, The Green Mile, Joyland, Different Seasons, and many more of his works manage to be page-turning reads without being horror.

Even when he is writing horror, King writes deeply realized characters who we really care about. Yeah, he creates terrifying universes – in Christine, an evil car controls a high schooler, in The Shining, a hotel transforms a father into a monster, and in It, a clown hunts down children.

But when you get past the fantasy, you can see that they’re really parables: of addiction, of losing your innocence, and growing up and moving on. They’re scary, but they’re relatable. King writes about things we’ve all experienced. He just externalizes them as the boogeyman. It’s fiction. But like he said, fiction is the truth inside the lie.

Stephen King allows us to feel with his characters, get inside their heads, and understand what they’re thinking.

800-some pages into It, King writes: “maybe there aren’t any such things as good friends or bad friends- maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you’re hurt and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they’re always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for.”

It’s passages like that where King really shines.

And that’s not so scary, right?

The magic exists.

I’m Evan Rook.

17-21 Segment 1: Video Game Evolution

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Video games have long been seen as child’s play, but now they are the source of massive TV ratings and legitimate artistic expression. We talk to author Andrew Ervin about the transformation.

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17-21 Segment 2: The Gift of Numbers

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As hard as it is to imagine, before an Italian mathematician we know as Fibonacci came to the scene, most people didn’t use numbers. We talk to mathematician and author Keith Devlin about Fibonacci’s mammoth contribution to mathematics and our daily lives.

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Culture Crash 17-21: Rap with a Message

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture, what’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.

Suicide and depression are hard topics for anyone to discuss. But the rapper Logic recently wrote a song about it called 1-800-273-8255. The unconventional title is for a good reason. That’s the number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Logic recently explained the genesis behind writing a suicide prevention anthem to the lyrics analysis site genius.com, He says he was inspired by conversations he’s had with his fans.

The song, which features Alessia Cara and Khalid, is a single off of Logic’s album titled, Everybody, and has a structure designed to confront suicide and depression as frankly as possible.

In the first verse, Logic raps the thoughts of someone who has called the lifeline with suicidal thinking . In the second, he speaks from the point of view of the lifeline worker explaining some of the reasons why suicide is not the answer, and at the end, he returns to the caller, suddenly with a new perspective on life and no longer in crisis.

The song is raw and emotional and, Logic hopes, it could help save some listener’s lives.

1-800-273-8255 is on Spotify and Apple Music. Logic’s album Everybody is available now.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 to anyone considering suicide at 1-800-273-8255. That’s 1-800-273-TALK.

I’m Evan Rook.

17-20 Segment 1: The Most Wanted Man on Wall Street: The Fed’s pursuit of SAC Capital

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The financial world was shocked when the FBI began investigating Wall Street big shot Steve Cohen and his company SAC Capital. We discuss what they were looking for, what they found, and what it all means going forward.

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