Books and Authors

Mitch Albom

Dec 3, 2013

What happens to us after we die?  That’s a question many of us ponder.  The characters in Mitch Albom’s novels often have unusual insight into the answer.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Albom about his most recent novel, The First Phone Call from Heaven.  

Candlewick Press

George Bernard Shaw said, “Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.”  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Annie Leonard of The Next Chapter in Knoxville, Sue Davis of River Lights Bookstore in Dubuque and Jerri Heid of the Ames Public Library about the year's best books to be enjoyed by the young and the young at heart.  You can find the full list below.

Picture Books

Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard, Illustrated by David Slonim - "Lots of cute poems and great pictures." - Annie Leonard

Casey Fleser / Flickr

Garrison Keillor once said, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.”  Host Charity Nebbe talks with Jan Weismiller and Paul Ingram of Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City, and Mollie Loughlin of The Book Vine in Cherokee about the best books to give as gifts this year.  We've compiled the list below, along with what our reviewers had to say about each book.

Paul Ingram - Fiction

Bart Teeuwisse

Margaret Atwood has published more than 40 books, achieved critical and commercial success, and touched millions of lives. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Atwood about her latest book, MaddAddam. They also discuss her work, evolution, extinction, her dislike for the term science fiction, and her love of twitter.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio

James Yee spent nearly a year as a military chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He was appalled by the conditions he saw there, including what he describes as humiliating interrogation methods which he says often targeted prisoners' religion.

On his way home in 2003, Yee was detained by the U.S. military and accused of spying. He was held in solitary confinement for 76 days before ultimately being released, cleared of all charges, and honorably discharged.

University of Iowa Press

On a cold February night in 1897, the general store in Walford, Iowa burned to the ground.  The next morning townspeople found charred remains believed to be those of proprietor Frank Novak.  That was, until a local laborer turned up missing.  That discovery launched an investigation and cross-country manhunt.  Host Ben Kieffer gets the gruesome story from author Peter Kaufman.  It's the basis of his book Skull in the Ashes published by University of Iowa Press.

Michael Wellman

The world of publishing has changed dramatically in the past decade.  Charity Nebbe discusses Iowa's commercial publishing industry through the lens of a university press, a small press and a self-publishing author

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. Today on 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.

Amy Tan is part of this year's AViD Author Series, sponsored by the Des Moines Public Library Foundation. She will be in Des Moines on Sunday, November 10 at 3:00 PM at the Hoyt Sherman Place Theater.

Turn Here Sweet Corn

Oct 21, 2013
Univeristy of Minnesota

Through high winds and hail, dry years and wet, and through the pressures of development and corporate interests Atina Diffley and her husband Martin ran one of the first certified organic produce farms in the Midwest.

Diffley has written about her farm and her life in the book, "Turn Here Sweet Corn: Organic Farming Works."

Courtesy of Snyder family

Don Snyder never got to know his mother. She died just sixteen days after he and his twin brother were born in 1950. The truth about her death remained a secret for decades. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Don about discovering his mother’s secret and what he hopes to accomplish by telling her story.

Mark Hirsch

"That Tree" is a lonely Bur oak standing in the middle of a cornfield in Southwest Wisconsin. That Tree is a tree that sparked the imagination of photographer Mark Hirsch. Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Hirsch about what drew him to That Tree and his year long odyssey, taking a picture of the tree every day for a year… and the stunning results.

According to Kate Christensen, she has spent much of her life as, “a hungry, lonely, wild animal looking for happiness and stability.”  In her new memoir “Blue Plate Special" she writes about her life and the food she turned to for comfort as well as sustenance.  Host Charity Nebbe speaks with Christensen about her memoir and life as a writer.

http://almostpioneers.com/

In the fall of 1913, Laura and Earle Smith, a young Iowa couple from Moravia, made the gutsy decision to homestead in Wyoming. After four years of frustration, the Smiths moved back to Iowa and stayed put. Years later Laura wrote a vivid and self-depracating memioir of their time in Wyoming. Scholar John Fry discovered the manuscript, never before published, in the Women's Archives at the University of Iowa. Now, Laura's memoir has been published, titled "Almost Pioneers: One Couple's Homesteading Adventure in the West," edited by Fry.

Before the Great Depression there was the farm recession, and times were tough for farm families in Iowa. This hour, we focus on the lives of rural Iowa women in the early twentieth century.

Host Charity Nebbe talks with author Chris Baker about his grandmother, growing up in rural Davis County in the 1920s. Baker recently published a book including journal entries detailing her life. And, historians Dorothy Schwieder and Katherine Jellison help us understand the times.

House Committee on Education and the Workforce Democrats / Flickr

Host Ben Kieffer sits down with Congressman Dave Loebsack from Iowa’s 2nd District to discuss his thoughts on a potential a military strike on Syria, the stalled Farm Bill, immigration reform, and the next debt ceiling.

The National Guard / Flickr

To most, the word "home" means more than just a place to sleep and store property. This hour Charity Nebbe talks about what home means as well as what it means to lose one's home and find it again with Sally Ooms, author of Finding Home: How Americans Prevail. In her book Ooms profiles people who have been displaced by family pressures, economic pressures, and natural disasters. 

Callum Scott

Madeline L’Engle once said, “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”  Join host Charity Nebbe on Talk of Iowa to hear about the power of books for young readers and to hear about the books that helped to shape you in your youth.  Guests are Maeve Clark and Vickie Pasicnyuk from the Iowa City Public Library, and Coordinator of the Iowa Center for the Book Robin Martin. 

Ben Stanton / IPR

When Otty Schmakal left Austria at the beginning of World War II, she left behind her homeland and a fiancé who was training to be a doctor.  He was conscripted into the German Army and she eventually joined the US Army.  Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe hears the true World War II love story of Otty and Fred Blodi.

Charity also speaks with Tom Morain, of Graceland University, who provides insight on the Women's Army Auxillary Corps in Des Moines, as well as other WWII preparation efforts.

The Curve Of The World

Jul 23, 2013
Bottom Dog Press

Iowa Citian Andy Douglas has published his memoir, The Curve of the World: Into the Spiritual Heart of Yoga. When he was in his 20s, Douglas turned aside from his minister father’s Christian beliefs and took up a life of yoga and meditation, eventually going on to becoming an Ananda Marga monk, leading the organization’s Seoul office. We hear about his life as a monk and his eventual return to the United States to fight Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Bernard and Nancy Picchi Collection / The Willa Cather Foundation

When great American novelist Willa Cather died in 1947, her will made it clear that her letters were never to be published.  That moratorium lasted 66 years and now the public is seeing the late author's letters for the first time in "The Selected Letters of Willa Cather."

Dana Meinch

Where can you find community and acceptance if you are gay or lesbian and a deeply believing Christian? That’s the question journalist Jeff Chu asks in his new book "Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian's Pilgrimage in Search of God in America." Host Ben Kieffer speaks with Chu about his year-long,  28-state journey he took across the U.S. in exploration of how different Christian denominations discuss homosexuality and interact with gay and lesbian members of their congregations.

Grand Central Publishing

Benjamin Percy's new novel "Red Moon" is a coming of age story, with razor sharp political commentary, an inventive rewriting of human history, the science of animal borne pathogens, and good old fashioned horror.  Host Charity Nebbe and Percy discusses his arduous research process which took him to the veterinary labs of Iowa State University and taxidermy shops.

Summer Reading

May 23, 2013
Sarah Boden / IPR

Summer brings with it many pleasures, and one of those pleasures is the time to dig into a great book.  Host Charity Nebbe previews books for summer reading lists with Paul Ingram and Jan Weismiller of Prairie Lights Books in Iowa City and Annie Leonard of The Next Chapter bookstore in Knoxville. 

Courtesy of Michael Kramme

In the early 20th Century entertainment could be hard to come by and a great deal of excitement greeted troops of traveling actors when they arrived in small Iowa towns. As radio, movies and later television became popular, most of these troops disappeared.

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."

Sarah Boden / Iowa Public Radio

"Talk of Iowa" explores the roles of women on the farm in history, literature, popular culture and the present.  We talk with Zachary Michael Jack, author of "The Midwest Farmer's Daughter: In Search of an American Icon." Also joining the conversation, Cheryl Tevis of Iowa Women In Agriculture, and Denise O'Brien, founder of the

Zoobiquity

Apr 9, 2013
Flickr / big-ashb

What happens when doctors look at human medicine through the lens of veterinary medicine? While the gulf between the two disciplines is wide, there are many parallels between humans and our animal counterparts.  Dr.

Cornelius Eady / facebook

When poet Cornelius Eady was a teenager, he carried around a guitar he didn't know how to play. After decades of publishing poetry in many forms, he's making that teenager happy with two new music releases.

Cornelius Eady is the author of eight books of poetry, he is an award winning playwright, and he is also a musician. It is his poetry that has brought him to Iowa this week as part of the Mission Creek festival in Iowa City.

Poor Man's Feast

Mar 27, 2013
Chronicle Books

Elissa Altman's love affair with food started when she was a child, going on covert outings to fancy restaurants with her dad. As she grew so did her love of haute cuisine. Altman's new memoir "Poor Man's Feast: A Love Story of Comfort, Desire, and the Art of Simple Cooking" tells the story of this love affair with food, but it also tells the story of Altman meeting and falling in love with the love of her life; a relationship that profoundly affected her relationship with food.

 

Greta Nettleton

Mrs. Dr. Rebecca Keck of Davenport, IA pulled her family out of poverty by selling her healing tonics in the 1870’s. She also became a pariah of the medical community.  On "Talk of Iowa" we'll explore this history as told in the new book “The Quack’s Daughter," with author and Keck's great-great granddaughter Greta Nettleton.

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