Books and Authors

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."

Saving International Adoption: Mark Montgomery and Irene Powell

Feb 8, 2018
Photo Courtesy or Mark Montgomer and Tinker Powell

International adoption hit an all time low in 2o15, with adoption rates down by more than half since 2004. Yet around the world, millions of orphaned and vulnerable children need permanent homes, and thousands of American and European families are eager to take them in. Why is the current system of international adoption collapsing?

Killer Choice by Tom Hunt book cover

Imagine that the love of your life will certainly die soon from an aggressive cancerous brain tumor. There is a experimental treatment that has a good chance of treating it, but it's far too expensive. A strange man contacts you and says he will give you all the money you need. You just have to agree to kill a person that he wants dead.

Author Tom Hunt's main character in Killer Choice, Gary Foster, must make this decision. Even in the process of trying to decide whether to do it, he has to make other choices, and some of them require deception.

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. 

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.

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."

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