January 8th: Lisa Knopp, author of Bread: A Memoir of Hunger.
Lisa and I had a great conversation about her book. This compelling memoir, at once a food and illness narrative, explores the forces that cause eating disorders and disordered eating, including the link between those conditions in women, middle-aged and older, and the fear of aging and ageism.
February 19th: Racy Ladies: Women Writing About Sex with LeeAnn Pancharoen
LeeAnn has been an educator with Planned Parenthood for over 10 years. She and I had a great conversation about sexuality as a normal, healthy part of life. There are great books out there for kids to learn about their changing bodies and health.
We briefly talked about the following books. It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex & Sexual Health by Robie Harris & Michael Emberley – this book includes LGBT individuals and people with disabilities. The illustrations are drawn and show mixed race couples. The book also has sections for how to handle yourself online and in the event of sexual abuse. American Girl’s The Care & Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls doesn’t go into sexual health as much but handles issues like bullying, puberty and periods. My Body, Myself for Boys by Lynda Madaras & Area Madaras handles puberty, masturbation, ejaculation & more. All are good books for parents to give to their kids – or to help get those important conversations started.
We moved on to talk about feminism, sex in our culture, how some modern families look. Books discussed were Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist, 50 Shades of Grey, and Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts.
March 19th: Paper or Plastic: Books into Movies with Cindy Elder
Cindy majored in Film Studies at UNL. We talked about the intimacy of reading and the communal aspects of seeing a film in the theater. We discussed film adaptations such as Harry Potter, Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, Hidden Figures, The Help, Persepolis and The Handmaid’s Tale.
April 23rd: National Poetry Month with Barbara Schmitz
Barbara has several books of Poetry: How to Get Out of the Body, The Upside Down Heart, How Much Our Dancing Has Improved, What Bob Said, and Always the Details. She is also the author of the memoir, Path of Lightning: A Seeker’s Jagged Journey, and her work has been included in many anthologies.
On the radio, we talked about her Catholic girlhood, her study with Allen Ginsburg, meeting Bob and writing poems for $1 each. Barbara told great stories and read some of her poems, including “Pretty Sure” and “Just Outside.”
May 21st: Young Adult Literature with Susan Steider
Susan, librarian at Eiseley Branch, does all the Lincoln City Libraries’ ordering for books geared toward 5th – 12th grade. We talked about the library’s Summer Reading Program (kids, teens & adults), which runs through 7/31. Patrons can sign up anytime. She had many recommendations. Jason Reynolds, whose writing describes an urban experience, is one of her favorite authors. Look for When I Was the Greatest, The Boy in the Dark Suit, As Brave as You & others. Along those lines, also find The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. For those who like a scary thrill: Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell or books by Mary Downing Hahn. The library has a Teen Science Fiction book club reading these titles: The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher, Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch and Virals by Kathy Reichs. Other noteworthy authors include Nancy Farmer, Tamora Pierce, Diana Wynn Jones, Holly Black & Maggie Stiefvater. Fans of Lord of the Flies will enjoy the twist on that story provided in Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, when a plane full of pageant contestants is stranded on a remote island. There is also a Teen Graphic Novel Book Club this summer. GN fans will enjoy: El Deafo by CC Bell, March by Congressman John Lewis, This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova, Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson & Shannon Watters – and Nimona by Noelle Stevenson.
June 11th: Science Fiction Undercover: Female Writers who used Male Pseudonyms with Scott Clark
Scott, a venerable part of the Lincoln City Libraries team, and I talked a lot about the library’s programs for readers like the Just Desserts Mystery Book Club. For a look at those groups, visit Library Book Groups. We also talked about the Science Fiction group Star Base Andromeda, which is a private group but open to all. To find out more and get book recommendations, visit SBA Book Discussions. There are many female authors who wrote under male pseudonyms or ambiguous names. Ursula K. LeGuin, PL Travers, Andre Norton and JK Rowling are just a few of them. We focused much of our talk on Alice B. Sheldon, who wrote under the pen name, James Tiptree Jr. Her life included time in Africa, a doctorate in Psychology and a stint as a CIA agent.
July 23rd: Music Mavens with Kerry Gallagher Semrad
Kerry, KZUM’s General Manager and vocalist in the local band, The Bottle Tops, and I had a great conversation. We talked about the following books: Billie Holiday’s Lady Sings the Blues, Loretta Lynn’s Coal Miner’s Daughter, Patti Smith’s Just Kids and M Train, Chrissie Hynde’s Reckless: My Life as a Pretender, and Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl. We touched on topics like songwriting, inspiration – and whether or not female musicians have a responsibility to advocate for other women. Is there a difference between entertainer and artist? We hope this sparks other good conversations for listeners.
August 13th: Broad Knowledge: Women in the World of Books with Pat Leach
Pat, Director of Lincoln City Libraires, and I had a great conversation about some of the inspiring women in the world of books. We talked about Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, Joyce Mesikis, who fought a legendary court battle about customer privacy as owner of The Tattered Cover in Boulder, and Sylvia Beach, who famously opened the famous bookstore Shakespeare & Company, right after World War I. Books we discussed include Shakespeare & Company by Sylvia Beach, Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollestonecraft and Mary Shelley, Charlotte Gordon. and Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams by Louisa Thomas.
September 17th: Sweet Sweet Jane: Celebrating Jane Austen with Carolyn Nolte
Carolyn has been an English Instructor at SCC and Adjunct Faculty at Wesleyan. We talked about Jane Austen’s time and some of our favorite Austen novels, which include: Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma, and Northanger Abbey. We also talked about some adaptations of her novels – both in film and book form. We both like the BBC Pride & Prejudice mini-series and the version of Sense & Sensibility for which Emma Thompson won screenwriting honors. Bridget Jones’ Diary and Clueless were both lots of fun – and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies was pure cinematic gold. (Haha!)
October 22nd: Karen Stork, author of Screw the Eggshells: Finding My Self After Verbal and Emotional Abuse
Karen and I had a great conversation about “hidden abuse” and how abuse can slowly and almost invisibly progress. She read several sections of her book and offered advice and resources for others who are in abusive relationships.
November 12th: Favorite Cookbooks with Maggie Pleskac
Maggie, owner of Maggie’s Vegetarian Cafe and author of the book, Dueling Chefs: A Vegetarian and a Meat Lover Debate the Plate, and I had a great conversation about beloved cookbooks and the importance of good food. Books we talked about: The Spice Box: Vegetarian Indian Cookbook by Manju Shiuraj Singh, Wild Women in the Kitchen: 101 Rambunctious Recipes & 99 Tasty Tales, A Woman’s Place is in the Kitchen: The Evolution of Women Chefs by Ann Cooper, I Am Grateful: Recipes & Lifestyle of Cafe Gratitude by Terces Engelhart, Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Food Recipes by Ani Phyo, Vegan with a Vengeance: Over 150 Delicious, Cheap, Animal-Free Recipes that Rock by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove: A History of American Women Told Through Food, Recipes and Remembrances by Laura Schenone, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers & Up by Mollie Katzen, Still Life with Menu Cookbook by Mollie Katzen, Linda’s Kitchen by Linda McCartney, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen, The Hot Flash Cookbook by Cathy Luchetti.
December 10th: For Laughs – Humor Writing with Marni Vos
Marni had a 20-year career doing stand-up comedy and now is in demand as a conference speaker. We talked about the importance of humor as a way to stay healthy. Books discussed include: Goodness Had Nothing to do with It by Mae West, The Portable Dorothy Parker, This Time Together: Laughter & Reflection by Carol Burnett, After All: Behind the Scenes Reminiscences by Mary Tyler Moore, Here We Go Again: My Life on Television and If You Ask Me by Betty White, It’s Always Something by Gilda Radner, Yes, Please by Amy Poehler and Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. We had lots of laughs!