Desideratum

Desideratum

A desideratum is an essential thing. This pod celebrates storytelling as essential. Join Emmy Award winning journalist Theresa Bakken for scenes from intriguing audiobooks and in depth (no spoiler) conversations with the authors and narrators making waves in today's audiobook world. Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/theresa-bakken/support

Episodes

February 22, 2024 29 mins

This is a story about a family on the Lower East Side of Manhattan a hundred years ago. Their lives in the densely populated tenements offer a glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of immigrant life in early 20th-century America.  We’re talking to author Gail Lehrman about her novel Across Seward Park.

I found so many essential things in this conversation. For me this is not just a chat about a historical fiction; it's a mir...

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Ever wondered what makes a story both romantic and riotously funny? This episode invites you into the minds of a creative couple who turned a series of "what ifs" into a comedic and heartfelt narrative. Learn how they intertwined their personal experiences with a fictional couple's chaotic journey, reflecting on the deep connections and empathy that arise from shared struggles. As they dissect their characters' mi...

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This is a mystical story about a magical circus.  Not the kind of magic that involves pulling rabbits out of hats, but the kind where individuals' inner talents manifest into genuine magical abilities—known as sparks. These sparks choose to use their gifts not for conquest but to inspire and bring joy to those who need it most. But, this story is not all whimsy and light. This historical fantasy takes place in the hopeful but o...

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October 19, 2023 38 mins
This is a story about a woman using all her abilities to complete a spy mission and also get exactly what she wants. We’re talking to Helen Day about the sexy and determined characters she narrated as Hedra Knight for the Regency Romance The Duke in Question by Amalie Howard. I loved learning how Helen physically gets into character, how she performed so many different action and spicy scenes, and how performing world tours with ...
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This is a thriller. It’s the story of an FBI agent and a homicide detective working together to catch a serial killer with a chilling perspective on killing.

You'll hear narrator Erin deWard bringing all the chills and characters to life in your ear. We'll talk about why and how she does it, and you'll hear author Leanne Kale Sparks talk about how she maps out and finds the 'woulda, coulda, shoulda' in her ...

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October 6, 2023 23 mins

This is a story about a beautiful, powerful woman who captured the imagination of historical fiction author Shana Abè.

We’re talking about Arabella Huntington, the intriguing woman at the heart of An American Beauty: A Novel of the Gilded Age Inspired by the True Story of Arabella Huntington Who Became the Richest Woman in the Country.

This week we return to a favorite author of mine. Shana Abè first wowed me with her story about t...

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September 28, 2023 35 mins

This is a murder mystery. It's the second book in a 1920s series starring the prim, poor but clever, Annalee Spain - a fan of Sherlock Holmes - who solves murder and crime in Colorado's dangerous Klan era.

We’re talking with Colorado author Patricia Raybon about race and faith, why we love a good mystery, and how transparency is essential.

I want to thank The Colorado Sun for shining their light on Patricia’s work. I list...

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September 22, 2023 50 mins

This is a real life story set in a vast land, the San Luis Valley of Colorado. It’s a huge flat prairie flanked by mountains, and it's far off the beaten path. Author Ted Conover takes us there in this Desideratum.

A desideratum is an essential thing and this story got me thinking about lots of essential things - like wide open spaces, what to do with a rattlesnake, the peace you find in silence, and the need for connection.

T...

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September 14, 2023 31 mins

This is a story about a young woman running away and finding her home. It begins with the moment she decides to run, when she faces a painful truth about her boyfriend. 

We’re talking about A LIGHT IN THE FOREST - a Colorado Book Award Finalist - on this Desideratum.

A Desideratum is an essential thing. I’m audiobook narrator Theresa Bakken and I think this story is full of essential things.  This week we’re talking about being a w...

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September 5, 2023 33 mins

Have you heard the story about the author who was in a grocery store, set up with a little table and a folding chair, selling his books one book at a time... when something life changing happened.

We’re talking about the crazy experience author Shawn Warner is having with his debut novel Leigh Howard and the Ghosts of Simmons Pierce Manor - how a small act of kindness from a stranger set off a ripple effect of good will for Shawn....

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This is a story about a group of women in the late 1960’s. Their shared love of art and some unusual coincidences bring them together. Author Linda Rosen decided to anchor her fiction to a real event in New York City in 1970 that ended up being more relevant today than she first imagined. From Black Rose Writing, with the audiobook published by Tantor Audio, we're talking about The Emerald Necklace. You'll hear a scene from narrat...
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This is a story about a woman who slips through time..  

It's the day before Casey's 40th birthday, and her acting career and personal life are a disaster. Frantic to escape her own emptiness, she hops a plane to England and heads to the countryside to hide.

That’s when a lightning strike, a skidding car and a horse that might be magical send her through a gap in time to the Dark Ages.

We’re talking to author and narrator P...

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August 18, 2023 33 mins

This is a story about a struggling writer who gets invited to a writing retreat. She's thrilled because it's a once in a lifetime opportunity with a famous horror novelist. The retreat takes place at a remote estate, where even the house has a dark and storied past. We’re talking about the NY Times bestseller The Writing Retreat, with author, therapist and creative coach Julia Bartz.

Thanks to Simon and Schuster Audio for ...

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August 11, 2023 43 mins

This is a story about a detective, a cold case forensics expert named Elise. But this isn’t just a cold case, crime solving detective story. This story begins with our detective caught in the middle of an active crime scene. She fires her weapon for the first time. She takes a man’s life to save another man. Then, the saved man disappears from the scene, and Elise is drawn to him looking for answers. What she finds when this man en...

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This is a story about movies - classic films - that a psychology professor at Yale University adored, explored and built a long standing popular college course around. Author and Professor Dr. James Charney brings you the Yale course that explores the portrayal of mental illness in films in his book Madness at the Movies. The audiobook is narrated by Golden Voice (too many awards to list, more than a thousand titles to his name) Gr...
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This is a scary story. A classic horror story - with a haunted house, a monster, and unflinching violence. But, there’s something else here too…  we’re talking about Everything the Darkness Eats by Eric LaRocca with narrator Andrè Santana.  This episode is sponsored by Dreamscape Media, an independent award-winning audiobook publisher. Dreamscape produces a wide range of titles from motivational self help to mysteries, thrillers an...

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This is a story about a life - a beautiful life - lived across 4 countries, with struggle, multiple languages and loves.  We’re talking about Elizabeth Graver’s new novel Kantika and we begin with home recordings she made decades ago with her grandmother Rebecca. You’ll also hear some of narrator Gail Shalan’s skillful and delightful narration.  She is an incredible guide as the story takes us from Istanbul, to Barcelona, to Havana...
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This is a story set in the Wild West in the early 1900’s. The story centers around a woman named Ruby who is living a mostly quiet and mostly lawful life… when out of the blue her past comes hustling into town and takes her and us on a journey filled with missteps and mayhem. We’re talking about KT Blakemore’s Wild-Willed Women of the West series - book one is called The Good Time Girls. I hope you get on the road with The Good T...

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This is a story about a remarkable woman. She was trusted by American presidents and generals. Her impact on our nation can still be felt today. But, you’ve probably never heard of her, and you might never have if not for a high school history teacher. We’re talking about the first biography written about the incredible Anna Marie Rosenberg (appropriately titled The Confidante) by teacher and debut author Christopher C. Gorham on ...
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This is a story about a family.  It is a close up look at a father and daughter, at two sisters, at a husband and wife. But, it’s also this huge story about tradition and patriarchy and freedom. It felt like poetry to me at times.. and this conversation about it was so rich. We’re talking about In the Time of our History with author Susanne Pari on this Desideratum. 

The narrator Mozhan Marnò is an Iranian-American film and televi...

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