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Word S11.7 — Stoicism with Donald Robertson, Chicano Frankenstein with Daniel Olivas, and good reads

Donald J. Robertson is a cognitive behaviorial psychotherapist and author of "“Marcus Aurelius: The Stoic Emperor.”
Vadim Daniel/Montreal QC Canada
Donald J. Robertson is a cognitive behaviorial psychotherapist and author of "“Marcus Aurelius: The Stoic Emperor.”

On this penultimate episode for Season 11 of Word, everything old is new when it comes to a Roman Emperor who practiced Stoicism. Plus, we offer a new spin on a gothic literary classic. And, we propose a couple of adult fiction summer reading suggestions.

Donald J. Robertson lives in Canada and has a new book of biographical history titled, “Marcus Aurelius: The Stoic Emperor.”

While this may seem like a really heady topic to open a show, Robertson describes the modern relevance of the ancient philosophy of stoicism in layman’s terms, and its practical applications for cognitive behavioral therapy.

According to a publicity release, “Through meticulous analysis of Marcus's own reflections in the Meditations and correspondence, Robertson unveils the nuances of the emperor's psyche. From his relationships with key figures to his struggles with the moral quandaries inherent in governance, every facet of Marcus's life is scrutinized with scholarly precision. Of particular intrigue are the examinations of Marcus's stance on slavery, his treatment of adversaries, and his response to the burgeoning Christian community—a testament to the timeless relevance of his ethical deliberations. At its core, "Marcus Aurelius: The Stoic Emperor" serves as a testament to the enduring relevance of Stoic philosophy in navigating the vicissitudes of existence.”

“Marcus Aurelius: The Stoic Emperor” is by Donald J. Robertson.
Yale University Press
“Marcus Aurelius: The Stoic Emperor” is by Donald J. Robertson.

There’s a new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic, “Frankenstein.”

It was penned by California-based attorney, Daniel Olivas who is a prodigious author outside of his day job.

His treatment of Shelly’s work is titled “Chicano Frankenstein.”

Daniel Olivas is author of "Chicano Frankenstein."
Susan Formaker
Daniel Olivas is author of "Chicano Frankenstein."

According to a release, the book centers on “an unnamed paralegal, brought back to life through a controversial process. He maneuvers through a near-future world that both needs and resents him. As the U.S. president spouts anti-reanimation rhetoric and giant pharmaceutical companies rake in profits, the man falls in love with lawyer Faustina Godínez.

With elements of science fiction, horror, political satire and romance, ‘Chicano Frankenstein’ confronts our nation’s bigotries and the question of what it truly means to be human.”

Olivas, the grandson of Mexican immigrants, is author of 12 books and editor of two anthologies, according to his website bio. “His books include “My Chicano Heart: New and Collected Stories of Love and Other Transgressions,” “How to Date a Flying Mexican: New and Collected Stories,” “Crossing the Border: Collected Poems,” and “Things We Do Not Talk About: Exploring Latino/a Literature through Essays and Interviews.”

Daniel Olivas is author of "Chicano Frankenstein."
Forest Avenue Press
Daniel Olivas is author of "Chicano Frankenstein."

The official start of summer is near, and as we’ve often done in the past, we pulled a librarian into our studio for a quick chat about a couple of reading recommendations.

Christopher Orf works for the Rio Salado College Library in Tempe.

As the son of a school teacher, his love of reading was instilled in him at a young age.

He kicked off our recent discussion briefly describing his role at the library, which is open not only to students, but anyone who resides in Maricopa County.

His two recommendations for adult fiction summer reads are: “The Peacock and the Sparrow,” by I.S. Berry. It’s the winner of The Edgar Award for best first novel. The second selection is “Table for Two,” by Amor Towles.

Plus, Orf drops some news about his wife, author Jen McKinlay. She just released her latest novel titled, "Love At First Book."

Christopher Orf works at the Rio Salado College Library in Tempe, AZ.
Tom Maxedon/KJZZ
Christopher Orf works at the Rio Salado College Library in Tempe, AZ.

Word returns June 25, 2024 for the final episode of the season.

Thanks so much for supporting public radio!

On this penultimate episode for Season 11 of “Word,” everything old is new when it comes to a Roman Emperor who practiced Stoicism. Plus, we offer a new spin on a gothic literary classic. And, we propose a couple of adult fiction summer reading suggestions.

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Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.<br/>