Ok, I confess, I am addicted to NPR, especially Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and one of my all-time favorite things is StoryCorps. Listening Is an Act of Love, edited and with an introduction by David Isay, is a compilation of selected stories from the more than 10,000 recorded sessions done at StoryCorps, either at their stationary sites at Grand Central Station or the World Trade Center booths or at one of the mobile booths that travel the country. While Iowa City has not yet hosted a mobile booth, it was in Ames two years ago.
The stories are brief and often moving. (The full 40-minute interviews are filed at the Library of Congress). Quite often the stories are related to families – a grandson interviewing a grandfather or two sisters reminiscing. Or it can be neighbors talking something special that happened in the past or friends telling a story to each other. Some of the stories are profound, some are sweet and some are heartbreaking. An added benefit of the book is the inclusion of pictures of each of the interviewees. As a radio listener you create a picture in your mind of what the person might look like and to actually see their faces is always interesting. If you like oral history these very personal snapshots of life in the United States are well worth reading.
An additional book based on a NPR series is This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women by Dan Geidiman might also be enjoyable. You can also listen to the pieces at This I Believe.