The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The narrator of Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist may be unreliable as he tells his American experience before and after 9/11 with an unknown American dinner guest, but we wonder if he is any more unreliable than the voice inside all of us. We discuss the East/West conflict, the relationship between fundamentalism and nostalgia, the narrator’s reluctance and fundamentalism, the narrator’s love of America and Erica, as well as puzzle over the ending as we delve into this deep and short novel.

To listen to the Bedrosian Book Club discussion of The Reluctant Fundamentalist click the orange arrow in the Soundcloud player at the top of this post. Or you can download it and subscribe through iTunes, Soundcloud, or Google Play

Cop in the Hood

We ask how to define “good” policing, as we discuss sociologist Peter Moskos’ Cop in the Hood: My Year Policing Baltimore’s Eastern District. What expectations do we put on police officers? How do police departments measure success? What should we measure for success? What does “law and order” mean? Do police receive the right kind of training to deliver the service communities want them to provide? How does Baltimore differ from Los Angeles? We also discuss the epic policy failure of the War on Drugs and the idea of legalization.

American Gods

The novel is a fascinating exploration of the meaning of ethnicity, modernism, memory, and community in which we are reminded of the many ethnicities that make up America, but also their amalgamation into a secular American society with few gods. As multiple characters remind us, America is a hard place to be a god. This is a quintessential American novel from a quintessential British storyteller – it’s a sprawling road trip into the vast highways and byways of the American landscape, it’s a horror novel, a mystery, a romance, a western, a fantasy, and ultimately a look into the heart of America.

This podcast features Caroline Bhalla, Raphael Bostic, Lisa Schweitzer, and David Sloane


Featuring Caroline Bhalla, Raphael Bostic,Elizabeth Currid-Halkett, and Richard Green

Junot Díaz made his debut with Drown, ten interconnected short stories in 1997. These coming-of-age stories grant the reader a brief glimpse into the lives of immigrants, their lives in poverty in the Dominican Republic through migration to life on the edges in New Jersey. “Diaz evokes a world in which fathers are gone, mothers fight with grim determination for their families and themselves, and the next generation inherits the casual cruelty, devastating ambivalence, and knowing humor of lives circumscribed by poverty and uncertainty.”