Books and Authors

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

Hilda Rupp lived a tough life. She lost her own mother when she was only 17 and helped raised her 10 brothers and sisters through the Great Depression after her mother died. She went on to raise eight children of her own.

Hilda’s daughter, Joyce Rupp, writes about her mother and the lessons she learned from watching her resiliency in her new book Fly While You Still Have Wings and Other Lessons My Resilient Mother Taught Me.

Photo by John Pemble

McCoy, You’re Going Straight to Hell – that’s the title of State Senator Matt McCoy’s new book. In it, Iowa’s highest-ranking openly gay elected official shares personal stories and opinions sent to him on both sides of the same-sex marriage debate.

"Not only was I going straight to hell, but I was bringing the souls of innocent Iowans with me...all these souls that would be lost as a result of marriage equality," he says.

In this River to River interview, Ben Kieffer talks with Sen. McCoy about the book, as well as his future political ambitions.

Claudia McGehee / Sasquatch Books

Claudia McGehee uses scratchboard illustrations to bring her readers into nature.

"A picture of a heron is going to tell [children] one thing, but I can show the heron just about to eat a frog in a way that maybe they wouldn't see in a photograph," she says.

McGehee is an illustrator and author whose recent children's book My Wilderness: An Alaskan Adventure recounts the 1918–1919 winter spent on Alaska’s Fox Island from the point of view of nine-year-old Rocky, son of the painter Rockwell Kent.

Okki via Wikimedia Commons

Over his writing career spanning more than 30 years, W.P. Kinsella has become one of the finest storytellers in baseball’s history. He is also an acclaimed satirical author.

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Kinsella about his writing and his new book, "The Essential W.P. Kinsella",  a collection of some of his best short stories over the years.

Couresty of Robin Lillie

In July of 2007 construction was beginning for a new housing development in Dubuque. That's when someone found human remains.  

Mohamed Somji / Flickr

In parts of Afghanistan, some families without sons pick a daughter to dress and live as a boy - a practice known as bacha posh.

Courtesy of Robert Waggoner

In his new book, author Robert Waggoner argues that lucid dreaming is not only useful, but also simple to learn.

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

Lillian Darr has stood in picket lines, hugged President Barack Obama and rubbed elbows with stars who were smeared by Hollywood’s Black List in the 1950s. 

Wikimedia Commons

You can significantly increase your ability to influence others by making very small shifts. 

Ronald van Holst

In her best-selling novels, Amy Tan has explored mother-daughter relationships that resonate across all cultures.

In her latest novel, The Valley of Amazement, she does it again. In this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Tan about her latest novel, the photo that inspired it, and writing her very first sex scenes.

Wikimedia Commons

Do you have a young bookworm on your Christmas list?

Clare Roth / Iowa Public Radio

If book-buying is on your to-do list this season, Jan Weismiller and Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights Books are here to help.

South Dakota Historical Society Press

Laura Ingalls Wilder completed the original draft of her autobiography, Pioneer Girl, in the spring of 1930. It was never published, but it led to one of the most beloved series of books of all time.

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography is finally in print. Editor Pamela Smith Hill has painstakingly researched that original draft, sharing light on the events that Wilder wrote about, and painting a picture about a remarkable family that lived through momentous times.

AP

Billy Collins has been called "America's favorite poet," and the former Poet Laureate will be visiting Iowa.

Courtesy of Colin Woodard

Why do we classify states or regions as “red” or “blue”? How did certain areas of the country gain particular political reputations? 

Terry Ballard

Mark Twain was an incredibly prolific writer. He published more than 30 books and pamphlets, and thousands of newspaper and magazine articles.

stpaulgirl / flickr

New York Times bestselling author and Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate, Justin Cronin, takes us into the post-apocalyptic world he’s created in the newly released second book of his highly-acclaimed vampire trilogy.

TEDxYouth@Austin / flickr

When Alex Sheen’s dad died he made a promise to do something to keep his father’s legacy alive.

Courtesy of June Melby

What did your childhood summer consist of? Swimming pools, games of frisbee, putt-putt golf? For June Melby, a Decorah resident, it was the latter - and only the latter. 

C Zellmer / Wikimedia Commons

Chief Flight Attendant Jan Brown remembers the approximately 40 minutes between engine failure and crash-landing with crystal clarity.

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

Jane Smiley’s newest novel is the first in a trilogy that will follow one Iowa family over the course of 100 years.

Merritt Tierces’ debut novel, Love Me Back, was inspired in part by her own struggle with “body politics.”

Lindsey Moon / Iowa Public Radio

Reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books is a rite of passage for millions of children. 

Rev. Superinteressante / Wikimedia Commons

Science often runs in the family. And while the Albert Einstein we all know studied particle physics, his first son, Hans Albert Einstein, studied rivers.

In her latest book, New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf shows how one small mistake can have life-altering consequences.

University of Iowa Professor Kembrew McLeod is organizing what he calls a "Million Robot March Against Pink Locker Rooms" in protest of the university's painted pink locker room for visiting football teams.

Wikimedia Commons

We’ve all been asked for letters of recommendation. At the end of the day, what’s the point? 

Kurt Ullrich / University of Iowa Press

A new photography book sets out to capture what the author describes as, "the joy of the Iowa State Fair."  It's Kurt Ullrich's first book, and IPR's Katherine Perkins traveled to Jackson County to find out what inspired this fresh look at an event that's 160-years-old.

Emily Woodbury / Iowa Public Radio

Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald lived hard and died young. But while their wild lifestyle did not endure, the novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald continue to captivate modern readers.  Today on Talk of Iowa we'll talk with R. Clifton Spargo, author of "Beautiful Fools: The Last Affair of Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald."

C Zellmer / Wikimedia Commons

Chief Flight Attendant Jan Brown remembers the approximately forty minutes between engine failure and crash-landing with crystal clarity.

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