That’s What She Wrote: Conversations on Books By & About Women

“That’s What She Wrote” was a 25-minute radio program on KZUM 89.3 FM, embedded in the legendary “The Wimmin’s Show” hosted by Deb Andersen. Conversations between Cinnamon and her guests were held live on the air. Links to recordings are in the programs notes for each episode.

2016          2017          2018        2019

2019 Programs

January 14th: Mary Pipher, author of Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents & Flourishing as We Age
Mary & I had a lovely conversation that began with how reading helps us develop our sense of gratitude – and how that gratitude is an important tool for resilience. Her new book is a wonderful read. Each chapter begins with a couple of quotes by women and helps us understand how to develop ways to cope with grief, be kind to ourselves and craft more “resplendent narratives” about our lives so that we may enjoy all the wonders our later years have to offer.

February 17th: Love, Life & Motherhood with Mayor (then Candidate), Leirion Gaylor Baird
Leirion & I talked about how she has enjoyed reading since she was a little kid, when her mother read The Tale of Peter Rabbit to her. They made trips to the library and she’d stock up with armfuls of Nancy Drew Mysteries, which she’d read under her desk, so she wouldn’t wake her little sister. We talked about books by Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, as well as The Count of Monte Cristo. When she & Scott were dating, they read Harry Potter – sharing copies. Books she has enjoyed lately include: The Mars Room by Rachel Kadish, An American Marriage by Tayari Jones, The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, When Life Gives you Lululemons by Lauren Weisman, Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, and The Professor and the Madman by Simon WinchesterShe also read a section from Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.

April 14th: National Poetry Month with Poet & Professor Grace Bauer Grace Bauer is the Aaron Douglass Professor of English and Creative Writing at UNL. She has 3 chapbooks and 5 full-length collections of poetry. She & I talked about how growing up in a neighborhood of Eastern European immigrants in Pennsylvania influenced the musical quality of the language she chooses – and how growing up in Catholic school partially inspired her book, The Woman at the Well, which is a feminist re-telling of the stories of biblical women. She read one of those poems, “Eve Recollecting the Garden” on the air. She also read the poems “Soldier’s Story, 1945” and “Sight/Seeing” – and we talked about the anthology she recently edited called “Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse”.

May 19th: Culturally Responsive Reading with Educator Cara Morgenson
Cara Morgenson taught at North Star High School for four years and is now pursuing a PhD in Education Studies in Multilingual Education & Educational Equity for Multilingual Students. Culturally responsive reading is the ability to learn from and relate respectfully with people of your own culture as well as those from other cultures. We talked about White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism  by Robin DiAngelo. In the course of our discussion, we talked about white privilege, systemic racism, and bias. We talked about culturally responsive reading in the context of book clubs and used The Help as an example of a book that sanitizes the South of the 1960’s. It’s hard to know what we don’t know – but reading a variety of book reviews can help broaden our perspective. In the case of Kathryn Stockett’s novel, reading the essay about The Help found in Roxane Gay’s book, Bad Feminist, can lead to an awareness of cultural bias – and a much richer book club discussion.

June 16th: Zines with editor of the Zine, Feedback (1992-1997), Angela Hatcher
I met Angela about 25 years ago when she came into my bookstore with her Zine, Feedback. It was a pleasure to talk with her today about what zines are, how she got started with hers, and the history of zines – which many say goes back to Thomas Paine’s Common Sense in 1775. We ran out of time before we could really get into how to learn more about the current “zine scene” – so here’s some handy info: Zines, Volume I & II (published by RESearch), The Riot Grrl Collection by Lisa Darms (samples of zines from the ’80’s & 90’s), Notes from the Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture by Stephen Duncombe (a good retrospective, published in 2014).

 There are LOTS of Zine Festivals around the country and the world. At the festivals, hundreds of people who publish zines show & sell their zines. There are also workshops and panel discussions of all sorts. Broken Pencil is a great resource for all things zine and has a schedule of festivals and events. Omaha has a Zine Festival – read about it here: Omaha Zine Fest and mark your calendars for March 2020.

There are also a couple of publishers devoted to small press/alternative comics/zine culture. Check out Last Gasp and Microcosm for a trip out of the mainstream. Some zines have grown into magazines but still maintain their alternative cultural perspective. Explore Bitch and Bust for unapologetic feminism.

July 21st: It’s Elementary: Great Reads for Grade Schoolers with Librarian Alexandra Ball
Alexandra & I talked about picture books for Elementary students – but recognized that picture books are works of art than can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. We spoke briefly about author Grace Lin’s TED Talk, in which she talks about being a girl who loved to read – but there were no books with Asian characters. Lin’s books include A Big Moon for Little Star and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. We both love that picture books include so many previously untold stories and talked about Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre and The World is not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid, both by Jeanette Winter. Alexandra read a poignant section from the novel, Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warger. Denene Millner is an author and publisher who interests us both. DM has recently taken her imprint to Simon & Schuster and, in the Spring of 2020, will begin publishing a line of books that focus on the normal lives of kids of color. Her previous publications include the wonderful Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes & illustrated by Gordon C. James and My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete & Ryan Elizabeth Peete, as well as her own book, Early Sunday Morning.
For additional information about great choices for diverse kids’ lit, visit:

September 22nd: Banned Books Week with Librarian Vicki Wood
Vicki & I had a great conversation about Banned & Challenged Books. We talked about the annual list of most often banned/challenged Children’s & Young Adult titles generated by the American Library Association and the books on the 2019 list. She told me about how challenges are handled at Lincoln City Libraries. We discussed the kinds of books likely to be challenged or banned and why it’s important for people to be able to make their own choices about what they read. For more information about Banned Books Week and Intellectual Freedom, visit: American Library Association.

October 6th: Izzy Sheesley, author of the Comic Book(let) Boundless Land
Izzy is a 17 year-old senior at Lincoln High School. Last summer, she spent two weeks at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in a residency program where she studied Graphic Novels & Alternative Comics. There, she created a 7-page comic about a daydreaming girl, a snarky cat and the Boundless Land. Boundless Land’s first printing was limited to 150 signed and numbered copies. The second printing was a short run of 55 copies and followed by the third printing of 100 copies. Izzy is also my daughter ~ and it was a special treat to talk with her about her time in Chicago, what inspires her, the visual storytellers she most appreciates and her plans for another short comic.

2018 Programs

2016          2017          2018        2019

January 21st: Soul Soothing with Therapist Mary Kay Wood
Mary Kay and I talked about several authors. I’ll note some titles – but there are many more books by each author that are worth exploring. Byron Katie: I Need Your Love – Is that True? , Marianne Williamson: The Illuminata and Everyday Grace: Having Hope, Finding Forgiveness, and Making Miracles. Brene Brown: Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent & LeadRising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent & LeadI Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think” to “I Am Enough”Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging & the Courage to Stand Alone. We also were able to mention a few others: Cheri Huber’s There is Nothing Wrong With You, Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, Jen Sincero’s You Are A Badass.

March 4th: Paper or Plastic – Books Made into Movies with Film Buff, Michael Henry
It was a treat to talk with my friend Michael about adaptations and screenplays on the day of the Oscars. We discussed The Post (Meryl Streep & Tom Hanks – about the Washington Post’s decision to publish The Pentagon Papers) and Katherine Graham’s Pulitzer-winning memoir, A Personal History. From there, we moved onto Lady Bird, which was written and directed by Greta Gerwig. We also talked about Wonder by R.J. Palaccio and the film that was adapted and directed by Stephen Chbosky, who wrote The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Then we got to Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, and three film adaptations: the 2017 Kenneth Branaugh, the 2010 itv version that starred David Suchet & Jessica Chastain, and the 1974 film directed by Stanley Lumet, starring Albert Finney and Lauren Bacall. Great fun!

April 15th: National Poetry Month with Nebraska State Poet Twyla Hansen
Twyla & I had a conversation about the place poetry can have in our lives. She read several poems that she had written over the years from her book, Potato SoupHow to Live in the Heartland and Rock, Tree, Bird. Listening to poetry is a pleasure – and the reading was enhanced by conversation about where the poems came from and Twyla’s personal journey.

May 20th: Wanderlust with Peace Corps Volunteers & Travelers Marcia White & Becki Roberts
I had a wonderful time in conversation with these two women. Marcia spent 2 years in Ghana and Becki spent 2 years in Morocco. We talked about what it was like to travel alone as a woman – and what the “re-entry” was like, coming back to the United States. These books are recommended reading: A Woman Alone: Travel Tales from Around the World by Faith Conlon & Ingrid Emerick, Unsuitable for Ladies: An Anthology of Women Travelers by Jane Robinson, A Journey with Elsa Cloud by Leila Hadley, Traveling with Pomegranates by Sue Monk Kidd, No Hurry to Get Home by Emily Hahn, The Nature of Home by Lisa Knopp, West with the Night by Beryl Markham, A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit, A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella Bird, Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes and Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

June 3rd: Young Adult Literature with Irving Middle School Media Specialist Jen Cejda
Jen & I talked about how important good literature is to Middle School kids – and what her selection process is like. We talked about a lot of great books, including: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas, Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, Yaqui del Gado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina, False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, EveryDay by David Levithan, The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnahill, Freya Matthew Laurence, Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys, A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen, Shooting the Moon by Frances O’Rourke Dowell, Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park.

July 8th: Get Graphic with Graphic Novelist Andrea Davis
Andrea & I talked about comics in history and the origins of the graphic novel. She read a section from Dangerous Drawings, an issue of RESearch, about the place of graphic novels. From there, we went on to discuss a variety of Historical, Autobiographical/Memoir, and traditional/non-tradition Superhero gn’s, including: Maus by Art Spiegelman, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, March by John Lewis, Fun Home and Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel, Hyperbole & a Half by Alie Broschand Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson. This is a vast topic – and I’m looking forward to part 2 of this conversation next season.

August 5th: Run for It – Women in Politics with Nebraska Appleseed’s Nebraska Is Home Program Coordinator & Candidate for Public Service Commission, Christa Yoakum
It was a pleasure to have Christa on the show. We discussed the history of women in politics and how important it is to have role models. We talked about these books: Mayor Helen Boosalis: My Mother’s Life in Politics by Beth Boosalis Davis, What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton, This Fight is our Fight and A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren and Don’t Just March, Run for Something by Amanda Litman We also talked about websites that are encouraging political involvement by women, like and – and you can get information about people running in Lincoln at:

September 23rd: Celebrating Banned Books Week with A Novel Idea Bookstore Manager, Katherine Bergstrom
Kat & I had a great time on this show. We discussed the differences between “Challenged” and “Banned” books – and we talked about reference books by Pat R. Scales: Defending Frequently Challenged Young Adult Books and Books Under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books. We talked about the PBS/NET program The Great American Read & and the numerous beloved titles on that list that have been challenged or banned, such as: PersepolisTo Kill A MockingbirdCharlotte’s WebLittle WomenBless Me, UltimaHarry Potter, Pillars of the Earth, and The Giver. For more information about Banned Books Week and Academic Freedom, visit:

November 4th: The Art of Memoir with Betty Levitov, author of Africa on Six Wheels: A Memoir
Betty Levitov is a fascinating person. We talked about early reading experiences that sparked her interest in Africa, her time in Africa as a young teacher (with a 5 month old baby!), teaching African Literature as a white woman, the numerous trips to Africa that she made with groups of students – and writing her memoir about those trips. We talked briefly about Mary Karr’s book, The Art of Memoir, and Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks. We mentioned other books like Hunger by Roxane Gay, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant by Roz Chast and The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr. However, there are books that we didn’t get to mention on air that are worth reading. In no particular order, they are: The Principles of Uncertainty by Maria Kalman, And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maria Kalman, The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Ukimwi Road by Dervla Murphy and We Are All Shipwrecks by Kelly Grey Carlisle.

December 9th: Our Favorite Picture Books with Peggy Lange
Peggy Lange is one of my dearest friends – and one the biggest fans of Children’s Picture Books I know. Our conversation was largely about Margaret Wise Brown, author of such favorites such as Goodnight MoonThe Runaway Bunny, and The Big Red Barn. MWB was a fascinating person and we discussed two biographies: Margaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon by Leonard Marcus and In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown by Amy Gary. Leonard Marcus was the Children’s Book reviewer for Parenting magazine and his book offers more of a study about MWB’s career, while the Amy Gray bio has more to offer about MWB’s personal life – her tempestuous affairs and longtime relationship with John Barrymore’s ex-wife, who went by the name, Michael Strange. Peggy & I also talked briefly about the Caldecott Medal and some of our favorite winners including: David Weisner (Tuesday, The Three Pigs, and Flotsam), Emily Arnold McCully (Mirette on the High Wire), Chris Van Allsburg (The Polar Express, Jumanji), Marcia Brown (ShadowOnce a Mouse, and Cinderella), Evaline Ness (Sam, Bangs & Moonshine), and Virginia Lee Burton (The Little House, Mike Mulligan & the Steam Shovel, Choo Choo, and Katy & the Big Snow).

2017 Programs

2016          2017          2018        2019

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 BodiesGrowing 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 ShelleyCharlotte 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 & PrejudiceSense & SensibilityEmma, 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!

2016 Programs

2016          2017          2018        2019

Sunday, March 13th: Irish Writers with Jodi Flynn Rethmeier
Our inaugural episode was lots of fun. We discussed authors Maeve Binchy, Anne Enright & Tana French. Our conversation wandered from how each writer got started in her career, the Irish stereotypes the authors confirm & confound and the effect of the death of the Celtic Tiger (a period of prosperity in Ireland that collapsed in 2008) on plotlines and characters.

Sunday, April 24th: National Poetry Month with Marjorie Saiser
Marge was a delightful guest. She read a few poems of her own and one from Sharon Olds. We talked about her experience with writing workshops and the two kinds of writing groups: critique groups and generative groups. Books mentioned included: Lost in Seward County by Marjorie Saiser, Bones of a Very Fine Hand by Marjorie Saiser, The Gold Cell by Sharon Olds, The Language of Life (anthology) by Bill Moyers, Cries of the Spirit (anth) and Claiming the Spirit Within (anth). Writing books mentioned included Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Writing in Community by Lucy Adkins & Becky Breed. Poets mentioned in our conversation included: Ann Bradstreet, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Elizabeth Alexander, Mary Oliver & Dorianne Laux.

Sunday, May 15th: Nebraska Press’s 75th Birthday with Alicia Christensen
Alicia, who is an Acquisitions Editor, & I talked about what a treasure we have in UNP – the largest, most diverse university press between Chicago and California. We discussed press pioneer Virginia Faulkner – and the variety of books by women published by UNP.

Sunday, June 12th: Young Adult Literature with Izzy Sheesley
Isabel is my daughter – 13 at the time of this conversation. We talked about books we loved when she was little, by authors like Denise Fleming, Eric Carle, JK Rowling, and Laura Ingalls Wilder; and books that she & I have enjoyed more recently: Hunger GamesEleanor & ParkSalt to the SeaDivergentThe Lunar Chronicles & more. We discussed current tropes in YA literature, including new twists on old fairy tales, empowered female characters, and unfortunate love triangles/ridiculous romance – contrasted with tropes that more successfully portray depth and nuance.

Sunday, July 17th: Rabble Rousers with Amanda Gailey
Amanda is an Associate Professor of English at UNL. She teaches a course she designed called Literature of Reform. Her syllabus is inspiring. We talked about books by Harriett Beecher Stowe, Marilyn French & Lorraine Hansberry. We also discussed the language of protest and how it is a vehicle for social improvement. Amanda is also a founding member of Nebraskans Against Gun Violence, and she offered some insight as to how activism looks from the inside.

Sunday, August 21st: Nature Writing & a Sense of Place with Lora Carpenter-Janike
Lora is an Environmental Aide for the Lower Platte South Natural Resource District. She is a field trip advisor who helps students make science connections at locations like Wagon Train Lake. We started with Nature books for young kids: Susan Jeffers, Lois Ehlert, Magic Schoolbus & moved on to some books for kids 9-12: My Side of the Mountain and The Evolution of Calpernia Tate. We also talked about novels by Barbara Kingsolver, Ann Patchett and Elizabeth Gilbert – and non-fiction work by Barbara Kingsolver, Annie Dillard, Krista Tippett, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Diane Ackerman. We also got in some poetry by Mary Oliver.

Sunday, September 18th: Karen Shoemaker, author of the One Book One Nebraska novel, The Meaning of Names 
Karen teaches in the UNO Master of Fine Arts Writing Program. Her book is set in Nebraska, against the backdrop of WWI and the Flu Pandemic. One of my favorite quotes, “If you take the template of family stories and lay it across the history of the world, you’ll be startled by the light of hope that shines through.”

Sunday, October 2nd: Mysterious Women with Lisa Kelly
Lisa is the Information Services Director with Nebraska Library Commission. We talked about Mystery writers like Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich, JK Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith, Kerry Greenwood, Tana French, Arianna Franklin, Nevada Barr, Louise Penny & Gillian Flynn. We also talked about the literary merit of genre fiction and how her personal book club works.

Sunday, November 20th: Drama Queens – Women in Theater with Laurie Martinez 
Laurie currently teaches ESL at Belmont Elementary – but she studied Musical Theater and spent roughly 25 years with Lincoln Community Playhouse. We talked about female lyricists she admires, along with roles she has played. We also talked about the highly political play, The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.

Sunday, December 4th: Spirituality and the Environment with Kim Morrow
Kim currently serves as Senior Associate with the Verdis Group, a Sustainability Consulting Company. She is also a former Minister of Sustainability at First Plymouth Church. Books we talked about include: The Good Society by Robert Bellah, Becoming Wise by Krista Tippett, Gathering Moss by Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, The End of Nature by Bill McKibben. Other authors we discussed included: Kristin Ohlson, Johanna Macy & Katherine Hayhoe.