Books and Authors

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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

Melanie Hoffert / melaniehoffert.com

Melanie Hoffert grew up on a farm in North Dakota.  Like so many others, she left.  But now she feels torn between the land and people she loves and the freedom to live an authentic life.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Hoffert about her memoir Prairie Silence: A Rural Ex-Patriot's Journey to Reconcile, Home, Love and Faith.  In that book, she describes the month she returned to her family farm to help her father and brother during harvest.  They also discuss what it was like to grow up as a gay woman in rural North Dakota.

Emily Woodbury / Iowa Public Radio

A clerihew is a four-line biographical poem invented by Edward Clerihew Bentley. Paul Ingram, who buys books for Prairie Lights Book Store in Iowa City, says he’s been writing them down for years “when they come to him.”

You know Paul Ingram, Prairie Lights is his Kingdom, Where the lost shopper stands While Paul talks with his hands - Charity Nebbe

He’s just published many of those in his first book “The Lost Clerihews of Paul Ingram.” He talks with Charity Nebbe during this Talk of Iowa interview about clerihew as a form of verse and also shares some of his favorites. 

  Romance novels are now the top-performing category on the best-seller lists, generating nearly $1.5 billion dollars in profits for the publishing industry each year.   Almost every state has a Romance Writers of American chapter, including Iowa.  

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Summer brings with it many pleasures, and if you’re lucky one of those is the time to dig into a great book.  During this hour on Talk of Iowa, Jan Weismiller and Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights Book Store in Iowa City and Annie Leonard of The Next Chapter in Knoxville join host Charity Nebbe. 

FICTION:

 My Name is Resolute by Nancy E. Turner

Norwegian by Night by Derek E. Miller

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