The best-selling author and humorist has kept journals for 36 years. Those diaries have been the jumping-off point for the personal essays that appear in his collections, including Me Talk Pretty One Day and Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls. (Originally broadcast on April 24, 2013.)
The act of passing on a passion is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Book critic Maureen Corrigan promises that the books on this list — mostly slim, unforgettable volumes about places or things that the writers themselves deeply love — are merrily infectious.
Peabody award-winning independent radio producer Jay Allison. His radio series include "Life Stories", "Lost and Found Sound" (with The Kitchen Sisters) and the "Sonic Memorial Project." He created Transom.org -- an online resource for newcomers to radio production. Along with producer Dan Gediman he created the "This I Believe" series, currently on NPR, modeled after the Edward R. Murrow series. Many of the essays are collected in a new book, and on CD.
Writer Augusten Burroughs is the author of two best-selling, often bitingly funny memoirs. In his first, Running With Scissors, he recalled his mentally ill mother, who gave him away to her equally mentally ill shrink — who then adopted him. Of that experience, Burroughs wrote, "I then lived a life of squalor, pedophiles, no schools and free pills." His second memoir, Dry, was about getting sober in a 28-day stay at a gay alcoholism-rehab center. Burroughs' new book is a collection of stories, Magical Thinking.
Rakoff is a regular contributor to Outside, the New York Times Magazine and public radio's This American Life. One of his peers, writer Paul Rudnick, calls him "a comic saint... an ideal mix of the crabby and the debonair." Rakoff has a collection of essays, Fraud, and he's appearing in an off-Broadway show by Amy and David Sedaris. (Rebroadcast from May 14, 2001.)
Performance poet Sekou Sundiata. He is one of New York's notable spoken word artists, blending lyrics of urban dwelling with music. Born in Harlem, he is a professor of English Literature at The New School for Social Research. He's released several CDs of his work, including The Blue Oneness of Dreams and Urban Music. He's published a new journal (in pamphlet form), Heart: Human Equity Through Art.