Books and Authors

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.

Benjamin Thomas / flickr

He read all 32 volumes of the Encyclopædia Britannica. He outsourced his life to India. After that he lived for one year according to all the moral codes expressed in the Bible. Today on River to River, a conversation with author A.J. Jacobs. We’ll find out about his year of living biblically and his latest lifestyle experiment - exploring different ways to reach peak health.

Artists are often thought of as creative, while scientists are stereotyped as logical, but the work of artists and scientists have many similarities.  We sit down with author Lawrence Weschler to examine the relationship between art and science.

Also we discuss the modern art of book covers and why some new covers for classic books have causes a lot of controversy. 

Gray Pearl Press

In 1935, seven-year-old Gerhard Loewenberg was on vacation with his family in Italy.  While they were there, they learned that their German citizenship had been revoked because they were Jewish.  Today Loewenberg is a University of Iowa professor emeritus of political science and the former dean of the College of Liberal Arts

"Talk of Iowa" sits down with Loewenberg to talk about the event that changed the course of his and discuss his new memoir "Moved by Politics."

Alfred A. Knopf

Hattie Shepherd is the mother of 11 children.  She is a strong and complicated woman who was brought into this world by Iowa Writer’s Workshop Graduate Ayana Mathis.

"Talk of Iowa" sits down with Mathis to discuss her debut novel “The Twelve Tribes of Hattie.” She explains her artistic process and reveals what it’s like to get a life changing call from Oprah Winfrey, who picked "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" for Oprah's Book Club 2.0 this past December.

Stefan Ray / flickr

Water, it’s there when you turn on the faucet, or the sprinkler, it’s in the plastic bottles at the convenience store and washes away down the storm sewers when it rains.  On today's Talk of Iowa, we give this life giving substance some of the thought it deserves with Charles Fishman, best-selling author of “The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water."

Also, UI assistant professor and researcher, Craig Just, joins us to talk about an effort to monitor river runoff by attaching sensors to river mussels.

In 1862 Private Silas W. Haven marched off to fight in the Civil War.  He left behind his wife and three small children for four long years.  During that time he wrote nearly 200 letters home. Those letters have now been published in the new book, “A Punishment on the Nation: An Iowa Soldier Endures the Civil War.”  I’ll talk with editor Brian Miller.

Iowa's Opera Houses

Feb 6, 2013
The Warren Cultural Center

Though opera houses once meant a town held status, many have since fallen into disrepair. Today efforts are underway to renovate and shed light on Iowa’s opera houses, including Sam Knutson's project, the Iowa Opera House Project, which brings Iowa performers into these antique spaces for locals to experience.

Later, Richard Poole and George Glenn, co-authors of The Opera Houses of Iowa, share the history of the state’s opera houses.

Maid Narratives

Feb 5, 2013
LSU Press

Millions of readers were captivated by the relationships between African American maids and the white families they served in the novel, The Help. Now a new book tells the true stories of people who lived that reality. Host Charity Nebbe talks with the authors and some of the people featured in the book, The Maid Narratives: Black Domestics and White Families in the Jim Crow South.

Joseph Geha

The new novel Lebanese Blonde transports readers to Little Syria, a neighborhood in Toledo, Ohio that is populated by immigrants and first generation Arab Americans. In his first novel, short story writer Joseph Geha shows us our world as it is seen through the eyes of people who came here looking for new opportunities for a new life.

Margaret Wertheim

Last July the president of Peregrine Financial Group, Russell Wasendorf Sr., admitted to stealing millions of dollars from his firm. On the first half of today's River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks about the Wasendorf case and discovers the personal, financial, and societal impact of this type of monetary fraud.

Iowa Library Services

In 2008, Carson and Connie Ode traveled the state of Iowa county by county. In 2010 and 2011 they went to as many Iowa celebrations and festivals as they could.  Host Charity Nebbe talks with the Des Moines couple about their two books on their travels through Iowa called, IOWA—Spaces, Places, Faces and Celebrate IOWA.

Kenny Salwey

On today's Talk of Iowa, we'll listen back to host Charity Nebbe's interview with the "last river rat" Kenny Salwey, who lives along the upper Mississippi River.

He hunts, fishes, traps, and writes; while he lives off the land in a cabin he built with his own two hands. He talks about the river he’s built his life around, and his latest book, "Muskrat for Supper."

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