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books

Flickr Photo/Lorie Shaull (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/YMoFff

Little House on the Prairie is a classic American children’s series. The books follow the life and challenges of the Ingalls family as told by their daughter Laura. They chronicle the frontier life of white settlers who pushed far into the West and struggled to farm land. They were comforting stories of blazing hearths and bedtime fiddling, of family love overcoming locusts and blizzards and prairie fires. But behind Laura Ingalls Wilder's positive depiction of prairie life was a darker story. It's one Caroline Fraser chronicles in her book 'Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder.' She talks with Bill Radke about what you do with a series like Little House on the Prairie.'

Nico Walker is in jail for robbing banks.

He can use the pay phone for 15 minutes at a time, and then he has to wait a half-hour. It took a while to do an interview.

That's also sort of the way he wrote his debut novel, Cherry — on a typewriter, with a hundred-or-so other guys looking over his shoulder.

"It was something that I was doing when I was locked up," he says. "Something to pass the time. But I didn't — I wasn't planning to write a novel, you know, autobiographical or anything like that."

Courtesy of Penguin Random House

Northwesterners and people around the world have been inspired by Bill McKibben’s prolific environmental activism. McKibben took some time off from his global warming work recently to write his first novel, “Radio Free Vermont: A Fable of Resistance.” He admits he was inspired by one of his heroes, Edward Abbey — so you know things will get weird.

Photo of poet Diana Khoi Nguyen (left) and her family. The negative space in the foreground used to be an image of her brother Oliver, who sliced himself out of the photos with a utility knife. Oliver would go on to commit suicide.
Courtesy Diana Khoi Nguyen.

Denver poet Diana Khoi Nguyen's family is haunted by bees. 

It's easier for them to speak about the bees than it is to speak about her brother's suicide. But in her new book of poems, "Ghost Of," Diana is talking.

Graves
Flickr Photo/Noah Stride (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/XeDZdw

Ross Reynolds talks to Zen Buddhist and palliative-care nurse Sallie Tisdale, about death, grieving, and her new book, "Advice For Future Corpses: A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying."

File photo: Bee
Flickr Photo/westpark (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/5bmhnw

It seems there’s a "how things work" theme on Speakers Forum recently. Last week it was tides, this week, bees.

Our guide is Thor Hanson, an uber-biologist who seems to really love what he does. He’s also a fine and animated storyteller. His new book is “Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees.”

A massive US law enforcement investigation eventually gave a red card to FIFA's corruption.
Flickr Photo/Marco Verch (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/26qkDCV

You probably remember the World Cup last month. But you might not remember the previous major FIFA event: a massive string of arrests for money laundering and bribery that took place in 2015.


Courtesy of Jonathan White

Before you listen to this talk by Jonathan White, you might want to be somewhere by the sea as the moon rises or sets. That would be ideal. If not that, be somewhere where you can search maps of all the far-flung places he’ll talk about. You’ll likely have that urge.

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2016 file photo, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington during a House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee hearing on The Flint Water Crisis.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File

The city of Flint, Michigan represents the height of American ingenuity, productivity and economic progress — and also the mirror opposite. 

A book spoted on a log in English Bay
Flickr Photo/Kyle Pearce (CC BY-SA 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/oakKcD

Summer. 

When the days are long and vacations are taken.

A time to pull out the books that give you pleasure and let you escape from the world.

The books you read during the summer do not have to be “easy reads” or “fluffy,” “light,” or “frothy.” They should be something you get lost in while at the beach or on a flight or long car ride.

Author Robin DiAngelo
Courtesy of Beacon Press

The term “white fragility” was coined by the Seattle-based educator and author Robin DiAngelo.

She defines it as “a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence and leaving the stress-inducing situation.”

Ben Rhodes at the Seattle Public Library Central Library
KUOW Photo/John O'Brien

Ben Rhodes was a 24-year-old aspiring writer living in New York on 9/11. What happened that day made him want to be part of the response.  As you’ll hear in this talk, when his visit to an Army recruiter didn’t pan out, he looked for a way to get involved politically. 

Courtesy of Haymarket Books

Michael Bennett is a man who needs little introduction. He is famous as a professional football player, a philanthropist and an activist. Now, add author to the list. Bennett’s first book, written with journalist Dave Zirin, is ‘Things That Make White People Uncomfortable.’

Terrance Hayes.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

"In a second I'll tell you how little writing rescues." That promise, from the opening poem of Terrance Hayes' "American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin", is only partially kept. 

The poems in the book are in constant motion. They shuttle back and forth between Emmett Till and Maxine Waters, slavery and hip hop, the nation's future and the past it can't bear to look at. 

Roxane Gay speaks at TEDWomen2015 - Momentum, May 27-29, 2015, Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California, USA.
Flickr Photo/TED-Marla Aufmuth/TED (CC BY-NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/ybtHLA

Recent polling shows that almost half of American women say they’ve been sexually assaulted.

With that startling statistic in mind, KUOW presents this talk with author Roxane Gay, who compiled a collection of personal essays called, “Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture.” It addresses a misogynistic culture in which victims of violence are often discredited, mocked or shamed for their assault.

A division of the American Library Association voted unanimously Saturday to strip Laura Ingalls Wilder's name from a major children's literature award over concerns about how the author referred to Native Americans and blacks.

The Association for Library Service to Children says the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award will now be known as the Children's Literature Legacy Award.

Orcas in the Puget Sound.
Flickr Photo/tifotter (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/7SJy6t

In honor of Orca Awareness Month in Washington state, here are three facts about orcas we didn't know before, courtesy of a talk by Prof. Jason Colby of the University of Victoria. 

Cartoonist Ellen Forney.
Photo by Jacob Peter Fennell.

When cartoonist Ellen Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the 90s, she knew she wanted to use her art to make sense of her new reality.

This resulted in a graphic memoir called "Marbles" that told the story of her experience and linked it to other creators. Her new book, "Rock Steady", offers advice gleaned from the lessons she's learned along the way.

kid tantrum
Flickr Photo/WickedVT (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/QjpMNk

Bill Radke talks with author Katherine Reynolds Lewis about her new book, "The Good News About Bad Behavior: Why Kids Are Less Disciplined Than Ever — And What to Do About It."

Mars Hill Church pastor Mark Driscoll in 2011.
Flickr Photo/Mars Hill Church Seattle (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/9CHiMZ

What happened during the creation and growth of Mars Hill Church made waves in Seattle and beyond. A charismatic minister, Mark Driscoll, preached in a daring, new way. He sought to make his ministry “culturally relevant,” bringing a hipster attitude to conservative theology. His methods drew people to the church in growing numbers.

Three generations of Garbes women: Angela, Josie, and baby Ligaya.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

When Seattle writer Angela Garbes first became a mom, she wrote a piece on breastfeeding that went viral. It remains the most-read article The Stranger has ever published. The hunger for knowledge behind that response was part of what fueled Garbes to write the new book "Like a Mother." She joined Bill Radke in the studio to discuss it, along with her mom Josie Garbes and three-month-old daughter Ligaya.

Courtesy of Penquin Random House

Perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the author of “The Botany of Desire” chose to experiment with and write about psychedelic drugs. They are edible after all. Still, like many people, Michael Pollan wasn’t exactly keen to fool around with mind-altering experiences.

Courtesy of Libby Lewis Photography

Viet Thanh Nguyen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. He was awarded that honor in 2016 for his debut novel “The Sympathizer.” Then he received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2017.

"I want The Three Bears!"

These days parents, caregivers and teachers have lots of options when it comes to fulfilling that request. You can read a picture book, put on a cartoon, play an audiobook, or even ask Alexa.

Courtesy of Beowulf Sheehan and Leslie Jamison

On her website, Leslie Jamison writes: “I've worked as a baker, an office temp, an innkeeper, a tutor, and a medical actor. Every one of these was a world; they're still in me.” On her way through those worlds, Jamison dealt with alcohol addiction. She tracked that experience —  from inception to recovery — in her new memoir “The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath.”

Economist and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

'If you can't explain the economy in a language young people can understand, you are clueless yourself.'

So says former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, whose book "Talking to My Daugher About the Economy" is a testament to his own mastery of the subject. 

The Swedish Academy, responsible for handing out the annual Nobel Prize in literature, says it will not present the award this year as it struggles to contain the damage from a sex abuse scandal.

Rebecca Soffer and Gabi Birkner, cofounders of the Modern Loss website and coauthors of the eponymous book.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

How are you?

If you’ve lost a loved one, that may have conjured up memories of a heavy hand on your shoulder, a precisely angled head tilt, a Hallmark card with tulips in all white.

Courtesy of M. Sharkey

There’s a thing at talks around Seattle. Often enough, you can feel it when the crowd gets restless if the event goes to a certain length. You can see the people looking for a chance to exit. One bolts, and others rush to follow.

There was no restlessness at author Alexander Chee’s reading on Monday night. Even though the room was a tad warm, no one left. They hardly stirred.

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian Intelligence Activities.
AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Ross Reynolds talks with Kathy Loedler, a 23-year veteran of the FBI and now CEO of the Rampart Group, and Carolyn Woodbury, former supervisory special agent in Seattle who spent more than 20 years with the FBI. They discuss former FBI Director James Comey's book tour and what it means for the FBI's reputation.

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