Category: Bookclub Podcast

An audio bookclub. Our geeks read and discuss new and classic works in the policy field – fictional and non. Social justice, tech, politics, policy … we cover it all and more. We want to get at the heart of what it means to be in community today.

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Get Involved: Join the conversation about each episode on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. Or email us at bedrosian.bookclub@usc.edu.

January 31, 2017
December 22, 2016
November 30, 2016
August 29, 2016

Wade Graham’s latest book Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World< is ostensibly about the architects the seven big ideas that have shaped contemporary cities across the world. Our discussion centers on whether Graham has fulfilled that mission or whether he's trapped in the confines of an under 350 page book for this massive introduction to urban planning and city history. The answer may lie in the reader rather than the book, listen to the conversation for a lively jaunt through recent architectural history.

July 25, 2016

This month’s book is both poetry and criticism, Citizen: An American Lyric. Rankine’s piece is a revolution. A political, a poetic, complex revolution in 169 pages. We look at it through an unusual lens – what should we take away from works of art as we think about governance in America?

June 27, 2016

The Nine is Jeffrey Toobin’s reveals the lives of post-WWII Supreme Court Justices. He explores the notion of ideology and politics within the role of the judicial branch. We’ve chosen this 2007 title as a general look at the Supreme Court in order to discuss rule of law, personal politics, and the judicial branch more broadly.

May 27, 2016

Michael Storper, co-author of our latest book club pick, The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies said recently in an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times: “To succeed in the new economy … Southern California has to face its mistakes over the last 30 years.” The claim is that the Bay Area has been “better” at doing business than we have in SoCal.

April 25, 2016

Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife looks at our use and manipulation of water and water rights in the US and brings us to an ultimate conclusion.

March 28, 2016

Evicted is written by Harvard sociologist and MacArthur “Genius” Award winner Matthew Desmond. It is being hailed as a “landmark work of scholarship and reportage that will forever change the way we look at poverty in America.”

February 26, 2016

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist imagines what it means to be empathetic within the institutional violence of our system and the violence humans can commit against each other. Listen to our discussion about power and the necessity of protest within our democratic structure, and how protests should, and can, peacefully engage to solve the world’s “wicked problems.”

January 25, 2016

What is the great tragedy in The Tragedy of Richard II? What makes a good leader – a king, a president? Can Shakespeare inform political discussions today? Listen and see what our guests think.

December 21, 2015

Alan Ehrenhalt argues that the demographics of the urban and suburban landscape are in the midst of a grand change in the book The Great Inversion. After the great sprawl of the 50s, the affluent are reclaiming urban spaces while minorities and immigrants are moving to the edges. New urbanism is winning and Ehrenhalt uses several examples to prove his point. Find out if our readers agreed with the thesis.

December 15, 2015

Part memoir, part history, Treuer writes about reservations within the boundaries of the United States. This book should be an essential read for all Americans. Find out why Treuer decided to write the book, some challenges he faced along the way, and what might be coming next.

November 25, 2015

In Rez Life David Treuer spirals in and out of personal story, interviews, and historical narrative to paint a full picture of life as an Ojibwe from Leech Lake Reservation. An important book about the power of individual and collective action, the power of place, and how history lives on in our (collective) lives today.

October 26, 2015

What I Saw at the Revolution is a political memoir for those who don’t usually read political memoirs, a testimony to the power of language in politics. Noonan was a speechwriter for President Reagan, in both of his terms. Join us for a conversation on the power of language in politics and for a look at how our Federal government works.

September 29, 2015

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is ostensibly a letter to his son about growing up a black male in America. This prize winning correspondent of The Atlantic tackles the very big questions of our time.

September 2, 2015

Walter Mosley, most known for his LA crime fiction, tackles aging and agency in this beautiful novel, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey.

July 29, 2015

The US has used the War on drugs to create a racial caste system: a successor to the Jim Crow days we thought we left behind. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander is one of the most important American books in the last decade. Alexander systematically explores the policy changes from the days of Nixon through the present – exploring how each decision has created and allowed a system which criminalizes blackness, brownness, otherness in way that both creates new racial biases and confirms them by incarcerating millions of young black and brown men (and to a lesser extent, black and brown women).