Books and Authors

Leonardo da Vinci was a certifiable genius, but historical evidence suggests that he was something of a late bloomer. Mike Lankford, author of the biography Becoming Leonardo: An Exploded View of the Life of Leonardo da Vinci,  uses archival details and a lot of imagination to bring the legend to life.

Courtesy of the UI International Writing Program

Just across the street from the University of Iowa’s famed Writer’s Workshop is the Shambaugh House, the hub of the UI International Writing Program.

 

As part of the program’s 12-week residency, authors from every continent gather in Iowa City to do readings, lectures, translate literature into their native languages, and travel across the United States. Sometimes, Iowans invite residents into their homes to dine with transnational guests, says the director of the International Writing Program, Christopher Merrill.

 

Carlos Diaz

 

Jacqueline Woodson is the 2018-2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, recipient of the 2018 Astrid Lindgren memorial Award and the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award. She's the author of two new books.

 

“The Day You Begin,” illustrated by Rafael Lopez is a picture book that’s perfect for any child or adult who has felt nervous or different in school,and “Harbor Me,” a middle grade novel, shares the stories of a diverse group of Brooklyn 5th graders.  

 

Phil Roeder

Long-time Iowa City resident and retired teacher Mark D. Wilson never expected to write a book about his hero Nile Kinnick, but when someone mentioned to him that this year is the 100th anniversary of the renowned football player's birth, he felt he had to do it. The result is the newly published The Way of Nile C. Kinnick, Jr: Insights, Images, and Stories of Iowa's 1939 Heisman Trophy Winner

Makedocreative / Wikimedia Commons

Trying to slow down floods or filter out pollution? Hoping to capture more water for agriculture? Worried about erosion or wildfire? It turns out that one creature can help with all these problems and more - the beaver. 

According to Ben Goldfarb, the author of a new book about beavers, the beaver is as useful of an animal as it is interesting. The beaver's iconic tail, for example, has many purposes. 

"A beaver's tail, it's a fat storage mechanism. Like bears put on fat for the winter, beavers put on fat in their tail," says Goldfarb. 

Photo Courtesy of Amber Rowley

Linden is a town of about 200 people, and Bagley is not much bigger with a population of just around 300 in west-central Iowa. The last two weeks, however, have been like Christmas in August for both small town libraries. 

Shane T. McCoy / Wikimedia Commons

 

Fear can often instigate a rippling feeling of helplessness, but what if this same emotion could be converted into empowerment? Brandon Webb, former Navy SEAL, joined Ben Kieffer on River to River to talk about his experience with grappling with his own fears in his latest book, "Mastering Fear: A Navy SEAL's Guide"

wikimedia.org

Long before more than two million women and allies gathered in Washington D.C. for the 2017 Women’s March, and before almost daily protests against the current presidential administration spalshed across national headlines, Americans were organizing and mobilizing acts of resistance, dating back to the very founding of the nation.

Creative Commons: Pixnio

 

Malinda McCollum and Anthony Varallo are both graduates of the Iowa Writers Workshop, enthusiasts of the short story form, and authors of their own, new story collections. They’re also married to each other.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks to McCollum and Varallo about what draws them to short stories, both as writers and readers, and how the pair successfully manage writing projects, full teaching loads at the College of Charleston, and parenting

NPS Photo

 

25 years ago, author Elizabeth Leiknes moved away from her family in Truesdale, Iowa, though she looks upon her home state with great fondness. Her latest book, The Lost Queen of Crocker County, is an ode to the Midwestern identity.

It’s a story inspired by Leiknes' drive home from work one day. While driving, she felt a thump under her car.

“Is it a kitten? Is it a dog? What had happened?” Leiknes remembers asking herself. She went back and found nothing, but it got her thinking.

Scribner publishing

 

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate Tom Macher talks with host Charity Nebbe about his debut memoir Halfway. He reflects on his childhood, growing up in a commune and a boys home, and the path that led him towards alcoholism.

“I felt like [alcohol] was the thing that I had been missing my whole life,” Tom says. “It wasn’t that I was missing a relationship with my father, or whatever other hole we feel inside ourselves.”

Politics and Prose

Humans are naturally social animals, but convention and routine have made many of our gatherings stale and meaningless, at least according to author Priya Parker. 

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Parker, founder of Thrive Labs, about her new book The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters. Parker shares tips for how to use your next gathering to cultivate community and bring people together in meaningful ways.

Library of Congress

Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate Nick Dybek’s latest book tells a mysterious story set in the aftermath of one of World War I’s most horrific encounters, the Battle of Verdun.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Dybek about his new book, The Verdun Affair: A Novel, about the battle and its aftermath.

LWYang, Creative Commons / Flickr

When a well known writer, actor, filmmaker or musician gets accused of inappriopriate or even criminal behavior, especially in cases of sexual misconduct, what happens to their body of work? Has the art created lost its value? Should we stop teaching texts or bodies of work because of an uncovered wrong? 

These are some of the questions being asked in the wake of #MeToo. Alfred Martin, professor of communication studies at University of Iowa says we’re asking these questions because we want to feel like something is being done in response.

exezippdf/Flickr

Suffering is part of the human condition, but hardship isn’t distributed equally. For centuries humans have tried to make sense of suffering, personal suffering, and the pain of others.

In his latest book, Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering, philosophy professor Scott Samuelson brings together the ideas of some of the world’s greatest philosophers, as well as his own thoughts and lessons he has learned from his students at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City.

Constancia Huff Roling

An extended voyage down the Mississippi River in a kayak hasn't always been high on Barb Geiger's list of things she wanted to do. But one Sunday morning in 2013, after weeks of preparation, Barb and her husband set off in a self-built kayak for an epic five month journey of paddling and service work. 

Katherine Perkins

Summer is a great time to crack open a book and escape into worlds both imaginary and real. During this episode of Talk of Iowa, Jan Weismiller and Tim Budd of Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City and Kathy Magruder of Pageturners Bookstore in Indianola join host Charity Nebbe to share their favorite reads for your summer list.

Da Capo Press

A former University of Northern Iowa English professor who recounted her 42-year friendship with the author Kurt Vonnegut in a 2009 memoir died May 8th at the age of 86. Loree Rackstraw taught English at the University of Northern Iowa for 30 years, was fiction editor of the North American Review and a well-known supporter of the arts.

Vintage Books

For more than 25 years, U.S. TV viewers have been captivated by "reality television," watching "real people" in supposedly unscripted events.  Author Lucas Mann is not immune to this guilty pleasure.

Zenith Bookstore

North Dakota is home to fewer than a million people but boasts a billion dollar budget surplus thanks to the Bakken oil fields, which contain the largest oil deposit in the United States. The 2006 discovery of these oil reserves coupled with the rapid development of fracking technology meant that this sparsely populated state suddenly became a land of great opportunity.

Barry Phipps

Multimedia artist Barry Phipps has been traveling the state and taking photographs for the last six years. Now we can see Iowa through his lens in the new book Between Gravity and What Cheer: Iowa Photographs.

On this Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe sits down with Phipps to learn what attracted him about Iowa small towns and how his work offers a counter-narrative about rural America.

Iowa Public Radio

During graduation season, many parents will be looking back and thinking about all the milestones their children have achieved on their way to this major rite of passage. The new picture book Sometimes You Fly captures this moment.

On this Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe is joined by Newbery Award-winning author Katherine Applegate, best known for her book The One and Only Ivan. Sometimes You Fly is illustrated by Iowa City-based artist Jennifer Black Reinhardt, who also joins the conversation. 

Harper Collins

Robert de la Rochefoucald was captured by the Nazis three times during World War II. He was an aristocrat, educated in Europe's finest schools, turned Special Operations Executive in the French resistance. The stories of his escapes sound like something straight from an Ian Fleming novel, except they're true.

Charity Nebbe / Iowa Public Radio

When poet Stephen Kuusisto was 38 years old, he found himself unemployed, legally blind, and lonely. He made a decision that would radically change his life: he got a seeing eye dog.

On this Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Kuusisto about how his dog, Corky, opened up the world to him. His latest memoir, Have Dog, Will Travel, details Kuusisto's transformative decision to work with a guide dog after 38 years of downplaying his limited vision. 

Marc-Antony Payne

Train derailments, oil spills, bankruptcies, medical errors, and data breaches - every week, the news gives us glaring examples of how mistakes in these complex systems can blossom into massive failures. 

On this River to River segment, host Ben Kieffer talks with Chris Clearfield, the co-author of MELTDOWN: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It. In the book, he reveals the surprising ways in which these occurrences of modern life are connected, as well as how to prevent these sort of breakdowns. 

In 2014, Bassem Yousseff, commonly described as the Jon Stewart of the Arab World, was forced into exile after being accused of and arrested for criticizing the Egyptian government. His show "El Bernameg," which translates to "The Show" ran from 2011 to 2014; before that, he worked as a heart surgeon. 

Getty Images

With March Madness in full swing, college basketball and its top players have been a hot topic of conversation.

On this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks to former professional basketball player Paul Shirley about his experience playing college basketball for the Cyclones and his latest memoir The Stories I Tell on Dates

Shirley's book draws from both his time playing professional basketball around the world and from his childhood in rural Kansas.

Raccoons Stole My Baby Jesus: Iowa's Dr. Jennifer Doll

Mar 6, 2018
Amazon.com

After 26 years in practice, the last 19 in Iowa, veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Doll of Solon has met and wrangled her share of feral cats, black bears, cougars, giant pythons, and crocodilians.

Aaron Burden

Many fans are excited about the new film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, and many are rereading the mind-bending. heart-warming book in anticipation.

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with author and bookseller Sarah Prineas and Jerri Heid, Youth Services Manager at the Ames Public Library, about literary touchstones, like A Wrinkle in Time, that shaped young readers.

Andrew Marinkovich / 7 S MGMT

For Nate Staniforth, a coin trick was his gateway to magic. He was 9-years-old and living in Ames.

"I just was captivated by the idea that I could perfect this and make it look like I made a coin disappear. That's all I wanted."

So, he did the trick on the playground. "The kids didn't laugh. They didn't clap. They just started shrieking and ran away."

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