Wednesday we’re talking about chickens, an unassuming animal that emerged from the jungles of Southeast Asia to become a global food, often raised by the millions under industrial conditions. But more and more, people in urban settings are keeping small poultry flocks in their backyards as pets and for eggs and meat. We’ll trace the chicken’s natural history with the help of journalist Andrew Lawler. Urban farmer Novella Carpenter will join us to share the joys and challenges of urban chickens, and we’d like to hear your stories.
Monday, be prepared for a challenge to the conventional wisdom on worldwide population problems. Our guest is the conservative journalist Jonathan Last, who's worried we're not having enough babies. Fertility rates have been dropping for decades with some quirky results: adult diapers are out-selling baby diapers in Japan and in America, pets now outnumber children more than four to one. We'll reach a population peak in about 85 years, but after that, Last says we'll begin an inexorable decline that could have serious consequences. He joins us to talk about what he thinks we can expect when no one's expecting.
Thursday, the journalist George Packer joins us to talk about his new book, The Unwinding. It tells the story of America’s economic transformation since the 1970s through the stories of four average citizens and one average city. It also profiles famous Americans who built their own false empires by selling us promises of prosperity, fame and convenience. All the while, Packer says the structures that shored up the middle class were eroded, only to be replaced by a society of organized money where “winners win bigger than ever…and losers have a long way to go before hitting bottom.”
There's good news for lovers of local, independent bookstores: people still want books. Yes, there are many choices for readers these days, but across the country book sales at neighborhood shops seem to be on the rise. And who better to give advice on the best summer reads than local, expert booksellers? Wednesday, we're asking Salt Lake's own Betsy Burton of The King's English, Ken Sanders of Ken Sanders Rare Books, and Catherine Weller of Weller Book Works for their top picks in fiction and non-fiction for both kids and grown-ups.