Books and Authors

The Adventures of Team Super Tubie: Iowan Pens a Book for Kids with Feeding Tubes

Feb 6, 2018
Photo Courtesy of Kristin Meyer

When Kristin Meyer’s son Camden was two years old, he had a feeding tube inserted to make sure that he could get the nutrition he needed to survive and thrive.

To help Camden and his three brothers to understand the tube, Meyer embraced the term "super tubie," which is a term the pediatric medical community uses to refer to kids with feeding tubes.

This also gave Meyer an idea.

Abingdon Press

For white people who are committed to equity and justice, living in a nation that remains racially unjust and still deeply segregated creates unique challenges.  These challenges begin early in life and impact the racial development of white children in powerful ways.

During this Talk of Iowa interview, host Charity Nebbe talks with romance novelist Hector Lareau about his Newsroom Romance series.

Lareau, a novelist and lawyer based in Davenport, draws on his experience in a Des Moines newsroom for his books Love, Local, Latebreaking, and Traffick Report. The high pressure newsroom environment inspired him to write romance. 

Our Lady of the Prairie: Thisbe Nissen

Jan 30, 2018

In this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe is joined by author Thisbe Nissen. Her latest book is Our Lady of the Prairie.  

Thisbe is originally from New York, and she lived in Iowa for eleven years. Although she changes most of the place names, Iowans will likely recognize several eastern Iowa places and communities. It also includes the story of a wedding day tornado.

Minnesota Historical Society Press

 This program originally aired June 9, 2016.

The "Big Marsh" was a source of bounty for wildlife, native people and settlers.  When it was drained it offered up fertile soil, but what was lost?  This hour, we talk to Cheri Register, author of the new book, "The Big Marsh; the Story of a Lost Landscape" (Minnesota Historical Society Press).

New York Times

Although it goes by the humble name "M.910," an ancient manuscript book knows as a "codex" at the Morgan Library in New York City is on its way to a high-tech adventure.  Written in Coptic script by monks somewhere between 400 and 600 A.D., scholars such as the University of Iowa's Paul Dilley are excited that it may soon become legible for the first time.

Daniel R. Blume / http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

Obituaries are not what they used to be. They have gone through many changes since they first started appearing in newspapers, but in recent years they have been radical and rapid. 

Iowa writer Mary Kay Shanley has been studying obituaries and how they've changed; she also teaches people how to write them. During this Talk of Iowa conversation, she talks with host Charity Nebbe. 

Shanley is also the author of Our State Fair: Iowa's Blue Ribbon Story, The Memory Box, and She Taught Me to Eat Artichokes. 

Image courtesy of the Wapsipinicon Almanac

Since 1988, Timothy Fay of Anamosa has published the Wapsipinicon Almanac. The 2018 edition is now for sale. The old-fashioned publication features contributions from 20 people, mostly Iowans, and has become a staple of Iowa literature.

Over the 40 years since its initial release, Fay reflects on those he has loved and lost during his time publishing the almanac.

Michelle Hoover

This program originally aired on April 20, 2016.

In her new novel "Bottomland," (Grove Press), Ames native Michelle Hoover writes about a family's struggles after the disappearance of two of their daughters.  She tells host Charity Nebbe that the story was inspired by a long forgotten photograph of her own family.

Emily Woodbury

Lauren Haldeman is a poet and illustrator who lives in Iowa City. She’s a Writer’s Workshop graduate and the winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry.

On this Talk of Iowa segment, she talks about how her latest poetry collection, Instead of Dying, was inspired in part by the death of her younger brother, Ryan.

Hey Buddy: A Comedian's Letters Home

Dec 21, 2017
Nathan Timmel

Nathan Timmel is a stand-up comedian, which means he can often be away from home on weekends traveling.  Years ago, he decided that time away could include writing letters to reflect on family events and moments.  

After Timmel first became a dad, he wrote letters to his daughter which were published in It's OK to Talk to Animals: (and Other Letters from Dad). Now he is a a father of two kids, and he has been writing advice for a son.  Those letters are published in Hey Buddy: Dubious Advice From Dad.

Charity Nebbe / Iowa Public Radio

UI Writer's Workshop graduate Reza Aslan has been writing and talking about God for most of his career. His newest book God: A Human History follows his last title Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth.

"If we can learn to stop hoisting our own emotions upon God, I think we can pave the path for a much more peaceful religiosity," he says. 

IPR

Twenty years ago, Rick Autry was looking for fables to read with his young children. He wanted stories that taught lessons but without all the violence and sexism found in centuries old fairy tales. When he couldn't find what he was looking for he approached his father, author Jim Autry. The result is "Everyday Virtues: Classic Tales to Read with Kids."

The Best Children's Books to Give in 2017

Dec 4, 2017
Lindsey Moon

Finding just the right book for a child in your life and can be wonderful and challenging! Talk of Iowa is here to help. Host Charity Nebbe talks with Barb Stein of Prairie Lights Books and Sue Davis of River Lights Bookstore about the best new books to give children and teens this year. 

POETRY

Emily Woodbury

If you're looking to update your reading list or need gift suggestions for friends & family, this annual holiday book show has got you covered.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Jan Weismiller and Tim Budd of Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City and Hunter Gillum of Beaverdale Books in Des Moines. They share their top picks for fiction and non-fiction books released this year.

TIM BUDD’S BEST OF FICTION:

Artemis by Andy Weir

Not a Sound: Author Heather Gudenkauf

Nov 8, 2017
Charity Nebbe/IPR

When New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf gets writer's block, she takes her dog, Lolo, on a hike at the Mines of Spain, a vastly wooded recreation area just south of Dubuque. This area is where the inspiration for Gudenkauf's latest novel, Not a Sound, emerged.

It's been called the last great American witch trial: the story of journalist, muckraker and agitator Anne Royall. In 1829, she was convicted as a common scold, essentially for being critical and outspoken. 

During this hour of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with author Jeff Biggers about Royall, and one of the most bizarre trials in our nation's history. 

New Society Publishers

  

Benjamin Vogt is an author and owner of Monarch Gardens LLC, a prairie garden design firm in Nebraska.  This hour, Vogt discusses his latest book, "A New Garden Ethic; Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future." (New Society Publishers)  In it he writes: "While it's our presence in the form of gardens that brings nature to our urban lives, it's the wake or echo of our beliefs that reverberates the longest."

Image courtesy of Gary Kelley

Gary Kelley is an illustrator and painter based in Iowa who works have been published in Time Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly and Rolling Stone. His latest project, illustrating the book Next Year: Hope in the Dust by Ruth Vander Zee, centers around the Dust Bowl, the catastrophic wind storms in the 1930s which displaced native prairie protecting the soil of the Great Plains from wind erosion.

University of Iowa Press

Charity's guest this hour is Susan Futrell, author of "Good Apples: Behind Every Bite."

International Writing Program Turns 50

Sep 20, 2017
Credit Ben Kieffer

The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa is one of the university's signature programs, attracting notable authors from across the world and establishing both the university and Iowa City as paramount to the future of American literature. 

Since 1967, over 1,400 writers from more than 150 countries have come to Iowa. International Writing Program director Christopher Merrill explains how the program came about.

Jon Kerstetter has experienced many "crossings" in his lifefrom a civilian doctor to a medical officer in the Army National Guard, and then, after a career-ending stroke, from a medical provider to a recovering patient.

In this hour of Talk of Iowa, Jon Kerstetter talks with host Charity Nebbe about his life's transformations, detailed in his new book, Crossings: A Doctor-Soldier's Story. 

http://www.mattkuhns.com

The Iowa and Iowa State football rivalry as we know it today only dates back to 1977, but even during the years when the Cyclones never played the Hawkeyes, there was a rivalry between the two schools. And the sports rivalry may pale in comparison to a conflict when Virgil Hancher was the president of the University of Iowa and James Hilton was the President of Iowa State University.  Matt Kuhns has written about those years in the new book Hancher vs. Hilton: Iowa’s Rival University Presidents.

Heather Mill, Penguin Random House

The author of a new book says the race to private space exploration began with Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis. Julian Guthrie wrote How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race and the Birth of Private Spaceflight to tell the story of the Xprize and the teams competing for the $10 million prize.

Bruce Campbell Shares Stories of His Life as a B Movie Icon

Sep 5, 2017
John Pemble

Bruce Campbell has been producing and starring in films since the 1970s, and through work largely with low-budget horror films, he has carved out a niche for himself as an iconic B movie actor. His most recognized role is that of Ash in the Evil Dead film franchise, which has produced three films, six video games, numerous comic books, and a critically-acclaimed TV show on Starz entitled Ash vs. Evil Dead, which was renewed for a third season in 2016. He mentions how his horror movie The Evil Dead received some added credibility from a fellow horror icon.

Rachel.Adams / Flickr

Great advancements in technology certainly assist everyday life, but these advancements often inflict people with dread.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe speaks with two novelists, Benjamin Percy and Alissa Nutting, who reflect these anxieties in their work.

Brian Borland knew that his dad was a phenomenal basketball player as he was growing up. What he didn't know was that his mom, Carolyn Nicholson, was an Iowa high school basketball superstar. 

"I was at my parents condo in 2006, and I heard them talking about going back to Des Moines for the 50th anniversary of Maynard winning the state championship in 1956. And I was like 'what state championship?'" he explains. "She said, 'well me and your aunt Glenda played basketball and we won a state championship when we were younger. Do you want to come with me?'"

W.W. Norton & Co.

This hour, host Charity Nebbe speaks live with two Iowa writers, Inara Verzemnieks and Elizabeth Dinschel.

What's in a Name?

Aug 14, 2017
Image courtesy of Eviatar Bach

Baby names tend to peak in popularity, and then decline over the following years. According to the Social Security Administration, none of the top ten male or female baby names in Iowa from 1960 showed up in the top ten in 2016. Names like David, Mary, Michael, and Lori have been slowly replaced by Oliver, Emma, Owen, and Olivia. Patricia O’Conner, language expert and author, discusses the decline in popularity in the once ever-present names "John" and "Mary."

Lunch Lady Land

Aug 9, 2017
Sandy Dyas Photography

Susan Becker was having a tough time.  Her mother had recently died.  She started feeling like she had made wrong decisions. She wasn't motivated.  She decided there needed to be a change.

She got a job as a lunch lady in Bellevue in northeast Iowa, and she was managing a staff that was many years older than her.  It was challenging, and ultimately it was enjoyable, meaningful, and sparked a renewed outlook on her life.  

"These ladies, what they considered their job...it was service with love."

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