Books

Beginning her career in New York City as an actress, she had fallen in love with writing after getting a master's degree at Columbia Journalism School.  Check out her work at the Sioux City Public Library. 

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It's a stretch to think of Robin Hood on the Great Plains. Dakota warriors could do magic tricks with a bow and arrow, but somehow the hero of the Sherwood Forest would be a foreigner in a landscape without trees. The plains just ain't the place for Robin Hood.

But let’s try. Think of him emerging, angel-like, from a broad field of 12-foot hybrid corn in yet another Field of Dreams. Suddenly, there he is in green leotards. Friar Tuck is with him, and Little John, and his entire merry band.

During this time of year, we start to see “Best Books of the Year” lists pop up all over.  Today, I am recommending a book that is already at the top of many of these lists—Little Fires Everywhere, the sophomore novel by Celeste Ng—a complex story that examines the themes of loyalty and betrayal, and at its heart, asks the question “Do the faults of our past determine what we deserve in the future?”

This week I’m changing things up a little bit and recommending to you all one of my new favorite authors, Nickolas Butler. Born in Pennsylvania, but raised in Wisconsin, this former hot-dog vendor, potato harvester, and Christmas tree axe-man, has found international success with his wonderfully engaging yet spare writing style, authentic characters, and strong sense of place he is able to evoke in each work.

This week I’m changing things up a little bit and recommending to you all one of my new favorite authors, Nickolas Butler. Born in Pennsylvania, but raised in Wisconsin, this former hot-dog vendor, potato harvester, and Christmas tree axe-man, has found international success with his wonderfully engaging yet spare writing style, authentic characters, and strong sense of place he is able to evoke in each work.

Today, I’m recommending American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World by former NPR science correspondent and award-winning journalist David Baron. As we prepare ourselves for next week’s first total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. (coast to coast) in 99 years, Baron’s captivating story makes for an enjoyable and informative teaser. 

One of my all-time favorite stories is J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, so I take it to heart when someone was to add to the story. Peter Pan, while amazing, let me with a lot of unanswered questions.

How did Peter get to the island? Who taught him to fly? Where did the pirates come from? How did Peter and Tinkerbell meet? Why, if fairy dust allows people to fly, is Peter the only one who can fly without it?

Following the award-winning success of her debut novel, The Good Thief, author Hannah Tinti returns with her second novel, another atmospheric and intricately suspenseful saga centered on a vulnerable child under the care and guidance of an outlaw.  Today, I’m recommending The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti. 

This book highlights important women in wrestling from the past and present and also shows the evolution of women’s wrestling from its beginnings as a sideshow act to its current state in 2017, where female wrestlers are big stars, just like their male counterparts.

Rural noir—it’s a thing.  Sometimes called country noir, hillbilly noir, or even “hick lit”, these are stories of everyday people and the struggles they face in the harsh realities of rural life.  Often gritty and heart wrenching, these complex novels seek out the universal truths that connect our human experience, evoking a variety of emotions for the reader.  Today, I am recommending a book that has become a classic of this writing style—Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell. 

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