Happy Book Launch Day Vikram East!

Congrats to Vikram East today as he launches his debut novel, Fun in Ancient Greece. The book manages to do for homework what homework never did for books: make learning fun!

The assignment? Convince the elementary school principal to take the third grade class to one of four civilizations: Rome, Greece, Egypt, or China.

Fascinated by gods and warriors, Vikram chose to head off to Ancient Greece.

Stop by later for an audio edition and an interview with the young author. Enjoy!

Can Zeus and friends save the day?

Ms. Hollier’s school will be shut down if she doesn’t take the third grade back to ancient Greece. She has the students build a flying surfboard to take them there so they can gather the information—and an artifact—they need to save the school. Will the class make the discoveries in time to keep Collie Cosher Elementary open?

“Fun in Ancient Greece had me gripping my chair in amazement. This debut is one exciting adventure!”                                    -Shirkus Reviews

this is what i do when… #4

Summer fantasy surf quest 


In Episode 4 of this is what i do when i should be… we recap skateboard and bike camp, move operations up to the beach, and take a stab at that notorious dragon, Smaug. True to form the conversation allows escape from what we really should be doing, which is reviewing Brian Booker’s outstanding collection of short stories about broken minds and their cure: Are You Here for What I’m Here For? (Bellevue Literary Press, 2016). We should also be out catching as many waves as possible off New Jersey’s Long Beach Island in this week of perfect wind. Appropriately, the sea features prominently in Booker’s work, but the weather’s too hot and the waves too shapely for such a mental exercise.

Instead we riff on The Hobbit and contemplate E.B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan, our audio book selection over the course of two long summer road hauls. It’s been a great season for reading, biking, and surfing—both land and sea.

NB: Between recording and publishing this episode, Vikram found his sea legs and stood up on the old man’s 7’6″.

this is what i do when… #3

Papa, Pirates, & Pork Booty


In Episode 3 of “this is what i do when i should be…” we explore Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, not far from Hemingway’s boyhood haunt of Walloon Lake near Petoskey. Other side of Mackinac Bridge in Lake Huron lie Les Chenaux Islands, where we were graciously hosted by Nina Abnee, daughters Louise Keshaviah & Ellen Abnee, & son-in-law Mayank Keshaviah—who also happens to be a cousin and L.A.-based playwright.

We passed a week on the channel between U.P. & La Salle Island in a legendary family cabin called Big Cottage among the good company of LCI regulars (most notably Uncle Duker and his campfire pancakes, & Peter Allen & Susan Heuck who lodged above Captain Bing in the nearby boathouse to make room for our large gathering of cousins, nieces, nephews… & Bocci champs).

best 10 minute playsIn this episode Vikram speaks “Giddish”, recounts a treasure hunt, and narrates a fish tale, while Mohan tells us how pirate booty can be used to make pig booty. The literary discussion at minute 4 turns to a production of “The True Story of the Big Bad Wolf” as written, directed, & performed by the younger cousins, and at minute 10 Mayank K. tackles difficult questions on the life of a playwright. What is the process, how long does it take, and what role do actors play in the final version of a work? Mayank’s success so far includes bringing six of his plays to production, and seeing three published in The Best Ten Minute Plays series (2012, 2013, 2015, Smith and Kraus, Inc).

Hope you enjoy this week’s podcast, “this is what i do when i should be… leaving Cedarville” (complete with breakfast background noise). As always, we welcome your feedback and look forward to responding in the next episode.

This is what i do when i should be… 2

Welcome to the second installment of “This is what i do when i should be…”

the-bfg-roald-dahl-wall-stickerThis week the author’s family gathers in the kitchen to answer fan mail from Mysuru (Mysore) in India and from both coasts here in the U.S. Mohan describes our podcasting layout while Vikram talks about his diorama of The Indian in the Cupboard.

At minute four the literary discussion turns to the film treatment of Roald Dahl’s The BFG. Hope you enjoy our late night episode of “This is what i do when i should be… Getting ready for bed!”

And Don’t miss the program’s first installment, in which we discuss MatildaAs always, comments, feedback, and questions for the producers are welcome. We hope to feature your content in the next episode!

This is what i do when i should be…

Books & News launches its maiden podcast “This is what i do when i should be…”, 15 minutes of banter about books, writing, and other stuff.

MatildaCoverThis week Ben, Vikram, and Mohan discuss Roald Dahl’s Matilda in anticipation of a trip to the cinema to see The BFG and a future discussion of that book’s transition to the silver screen.

Vikram, age 8, opines on the MLB All Star break while Mohan, 5, shares a few poses he learned in summer Yoga camp—including the sushi pose (watch out the Fleshlumpeater doesn’t get you!)

The literary discussion begins at minute 4 and our surprise guest, an alluring voice of obvious clarity and reason, joins us just before the end at minute 14.

Comments, feedback, and questions for the producers are welcome.