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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 20, 2008

What I'm reading: Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO, PBS Hawaii

By Christine Thomas
Special to the Advertiser

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO, PBS Hawaii.

REBECCA BRYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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What are you reading?

Right now I'm reading "Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why?" by Laurence Gonzales, who's a contributing editor for National Geographic Adventure magazine. It looks at the art and science of surviving challenges in the wilderness, the ocean, mountain climbing, everyday life. It's enthralling storytelling. ... I just finished, "I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company," a novel by Brian Hall about the epic expedition of Lewis and Clark, giving a strong sense of the emotional journey as well as the rigors and wonders of the trip.

What's the allure of non fiction and historical novels?

I like knowing more about the world in which I live. Nonfiction and fact-based novels are often just as interesting and amazing as fiction and more useful. Of course, I can't tell you how I'm going to use all of what I read. For example, I recently finished a string of Philippa Gregory historical novels, involving power struggles in old England. I learned a bit about royal succession and the workings of court life. I can't say the information will ever come in handy, but it's fascinating to see how human nature and real-life human struggles play out in different cultures and at different times in history.

Is it that intimate window into others' lives that most captures you, much like what develops in conversations on your show?

On "Long Story Short," I enjoy getting a sense of what motivates and moves individuals, which is critical to knowing them. A good nonfiction book or historical novel will provide or suggest answers to the questions "why" and "how." I love storytelling in almost all forms and if along the way it helps me understand people and figure out how systems work, all the better.