Books | St. Louis Public Radio

Books

Amanda Doyle, author of "100 Things To Do In St. Louis Before You Die."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis is the kind of city you can live in all your life and still uncover hidden gems in neighborhoods you’ve never before visited.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, local author Amanda Doyle helped us uncover some of those gems as she discussed her book “100 Things to Do in St. Louis Before You Die.”

Author Nick Pistor and St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discuss "Shooting Lincoln" at Left Bank Books on Sept. 27.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The men who took the most memorable photographs during the Civil War are the subject of local author Nick Pistor’s newest book, “Shooting Lincoln: Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, and the Race to Photograph the Story of the Century.”

At a special St. Louis on the Air event last week at Left Bank Books in the Central West End, host Don Marsh talked with Pistor, who is a former reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, world-renowned author Dan Brown, most famous for “The Da Vinci Code,” joined host Don Marsh to discuss his most recent novel, “Origin.”

The book, featuring the famous character Robert Langdon again, will be released on Oct. 3 and centers heavily on new technology. 

LIndsey Noblott and Lisa Greening joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss a new St. Louis-wide literacy initiative launching this week.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Tomorrow, the first-ever St. Louis city and county-wide literacy initiative launches. The program is a collaboration between Ready Readers and the St. Louis Regional Early Childhood Council and it is called “Turn the Page STL.”

Sherman Alexie, a Spokane-Coeur d'Alene-American novelist, short story writer, poet, and keynote speaker of BookFest St. Louis joined St. Louis on the Air on Friday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Sherman Alexie, acclaimed novelist, memoirist, poet and filmmaker, joined St. Louis on the Air on Friday. The author is keynoting the inaugural BookFest St. Louis, which will take place in the Central West End this weekend.

Alexie is also in the midst of promoting his recent memoir, “You Don't Have to Say You Love Me,” which was published earlier this year.

Author Margaret Atwood will recieve this year's St. Louis Literary Award on Tuesday, September 19.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, iconic author Margaret Atwood joined the program to discuss her career and legacy with contributing host Steve Potter.

Justin Daniels, Tiana Berry-Jones and Ria Van Ryn are three of four St. Louis-based podcasters behind "Mayday: The Handmaid's Tale Podcast."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s been a documented rise in popularity of dystopian novels this past year and “The Handmaid’s Tale” is no exception. As Margaret Atwood makes a visit to St. Louis to accept the St. Louis Literary Award, we speak with three local podcasters who were so inspired by the work that they made a podcast about it and the television show inspired by it this year (which won an Emmy on Sunday).

Jonathan Losos, author, "Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Native St. Louisan Jonathan Losos is a Harvard University biology professor and director of Losos Laboratory at the university. He recently wrote the book “Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance and the Future of Evolution.

The book follows researchers across the world who are using experimental evolutionary science to learn more about our role in the natural world.

Leonard Adreon, 90, is Korean War veteran and St. Louisan who kept his story of service as a Marine Corpsman during the war under wraps for 60 years. He's now shared his personal reflections on "America's forgotten war," in a memoir titled "Hilltop Doc."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Last week marked the 64th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. St. Louisan and Korean War veteran Leonard Adreon recently published a memoir reflecting on his participation in America’s “forgotten war" as a Marine Corpsman, providing medical aid in battle. 

"I didn't get used to it, but we were there and we had no choice and we had to do our job," said Adreon of treating his fellow soldiers on a chaotic battlefield.

Detail of Katherine Dunham in Choros, undated
Missouri History Museum | Provided

If you took but one class with dance legend Katherine Dunham, it became immediately apparent that her approach was one that cultivated the dancer as a whole and made the Dunham Technique more of a “way of life.” Dunham, considered the “queen mother of black dance,” lived from 1909 to 2006, making her home and the center of her dance work in East St. Louis for much of her adult life. 

Hannah Hoffmeister published her first book at age 13. Lew Trigg published his first after retirement. What can we learn from their two publishing tales?
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

We hear from a lot of authors on St. Louis on the Air and many of them have unique stories of how they first got published. On Thursday, we heard from two more local authors, each of whom comes from a different publishing perspective than the norm. One was published as early as age 13. The other started writing after retirement.

What are the best children's and young adult books to read this summer? St. Louis on the Air's panel of booksellers and librarians discussed on Thursday.
Micro Kool | Flickr

Earlier this summer, we gave you a list of 20+ best summer reads for adults. We know it is about that time: this week, we convened a panel to discuss the best summer reads for children and young adults too.

Kevin Killeen discussed his most recent humorous novel "Most Improved Sophomore" on St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

KMOX radio reporter Kevin Killeen knows a thing or two about growing up Catholic in St. Louis in the 1970s. It’s apparently a subject a lot of you know about is well, as we heard from a plethora of listeners about their experiences in and out of school during that time period.

These reflections were spurred by a conversation with Killeen about his latest humorous novel, “Most Improved Sophomore.”

What summer reads should be on our list? You tell us.
meg | Flickr

Well, it’s officially summer now – and with that comes time spent by the pool, on vacation or maybe even a few “sick days” spent at home. With that in mind, we brought in three local book experts to give us suggestions of their top summer reads.

We’re focusing on books for adults this time around but, in a few weeks, we’ll also discuss children’s book recommendations.

You can find links to each book discussed below, but our guest from Left Bank Books made this handy list as well. 

Edward McPherson, author of "The History of the Future," joined St. Louis on the Air on Tuesday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

“St. Louis is a city of gates that do not normally swing wide,” writes author and Washington University English professor Edward McPherson in “The History of the Future,” a book of essays reflecting on American places which was released earlier this spring.

stacks of library books
faungg | Flickr

Don't count on using an interlibrary loan service to get a book from outside your town or county in the future. Services like interlibrary loan may be at risk in the upcoming round of federal budget cuts.

The Trump administration’s proposed budget, released this week, would eliminate funding to the Institute of Library and Museum Sciences, a federal agency that provides significant funding to Missouri’s state, local, and county library systems.

Author Scott Turow is the author of the new novel, "Testimony."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

In his latest novel, “Testimony,” author Scott Turow was able to combine two longtime interests: the International Criminal Court in The Hague and the Romani ethnic group.

“This was sort of a writers’ bucket list,” Turow said of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands.

The other interest, the Roma ethnic group intertwines with the ICC as Turow writes about the disappearance of an entire Roma refugee camp following the Bosnian War.

The floating McDonald's was a fixture on the St. Louis riverfront for 20 years but closed in 2000.
(Courtesy of Cameron Collins)

Do you pine for the swinging orange chairs and plush booths of The Parkmoor? Do you miss the thrill of the Coral Court Motel on Watson? Do you wish you could visit the orange soda-guzzling Phil the Gorilla, the king of the St. Louis Zoo?

You’re not alone in that pang you feel when you think back on the bygone St. Louis institutions of yesteryear. Cameron Collins, the author of the popular local Distilled History blog, has felt the nostalgia too.

Jon Else, filmmaker and author of "True South," discussed the legacy of St. Louis filmmaker Henry Hampton with St. Louis on the Air on Wednesday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Filmmaker Henry Hampton grew up in segregated St. Louis, Richmond Heights to be specific, during the 1940s. He would go on to found a film production company called Blackside, Inc. in Boston. His company produced over 80 documentaries and other productions and most notably created “Eyes on the Prize.”

The 14-part documentary is considered one of the most influential and definitive documentaries about the 30 years encompassing what Americans call the civil rights movement era, from Emmett Till to the Black Panthers.

On April 7, the world lost Patricia McKissack, a famed children’s book author who made her home in St. Louis. She died of a heart attack at age 72.

A file photo of Augusten Burroughs accompanies this image of the cover of his new book, "Lust and Wonder."
Christopher Schelling

From the beginning of his writing career, Augusten Burroughs was determined to be honest, even if writing about his often messy life would be a daunting process.

In his memoir “Running with Scissors,” and his later works, Burroughs has engaged in self-reflection, an approach that has won him a loyal following and inspired a hit movie. He continues that process in his latest book, “Lust and Wonder.”

“That’s really the key: to understand what happened to you, what your role in it was,” said Burroughs, who speaks tonight at the Schlafly Branch of the St. Louis Public Library. “Just becoming more and more and more truthful with yourself.”

Sidney Keys III, the founder of Books N Bros.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

If you Google the terms “boys and reading,” you will find thousands of results laying out the state of the gender gap between boys and girls when it comes to reading and literacy. “The Boys Have Fallen Behind,” writes Nicholas Kristof. “Why Women Read More than Men,” says NPR.

This collage of file photos shows the "Words for Love" book cover and author Emily Robbins.
Collage images provided by Riverhead Books

Author Emily Robbins was a Washington University grad student in August 2013 when she saw St. Louisans protesting in University City against U.S. plans to attack Syria. She was profoundly moved by the local activists and incorporated those feelings into the book she was writing, called “A Word for Love.”

On Wednesday night, Robbins will appear at Left Banks Books to sign copies, and speak about the book and its St. Louis roots.

“There is a very active community here,” Robbins said. “That was something I really drew on and felt proud of in St. Louis.”

A Parkway School District and Mizzou Veterinary School grad, James Rollins, is a bestselling author of over 30 books, including the Tucker Wayne and Jake Ransom novels. He recently released his 33rd book, “The Seventh Plague,” the next book in the Sigma series.

On Tuesday, he joined St. Louis on the Air to discuss the novel, his writing process and how he has managed to become such a prolific author in so little time.

Mark Sundeen, author of "The Unsettlers," followed families who opted to live outside of the traditional American economy.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The trend of rural to urban migration across the world has been well-documented and is going strong. But what about people who migrate the opposite way? Or who choose to live a life outside of the traditional American economy? These people choose a different life with different challenges, but they also make up a community all their own.

Jim Merkel is the author of "Colorful Characters of St. Louis."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has a colorful past filled with interesting characters, so it makes sense that local author Jim Merkel would turn his next literary sights on the people that made St. Louis what it is today.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, Merkel discussed his book, “Colorful Characters of St. Louis” with host Don Marsh.

Moyan Brenn | Flickr

Need something to entertain you during the long, cold winter? Still looking for gifts for your family and friends?  Why not go for a well-chosen book by a local author?

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, we heard from two local booksellers about their favorite local and national titles both for gifts and for reading time over the holidays.

Holland Saltsman is the owner of The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves. Alex Weir is the manager of Subterranean Books in the Delmar Loop.

Valerie Battle Kienzel’s new book, “What’s with St. Louis?” tackles some of St. Louis' strangest traditions.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

There are myriad oddities about St. Louis that if you’ve lived here long enough, you’ll learn to nod and make commentary about in polite conversation. Toasted ravioli.

In 2015, 12 million coloring books for adults were sold, according to Nielsen Bookscan. That’s a huge jump from 2014, when only 1 million were sold. As for 2016? We’ll have to wait and see, but it is certain the trend isn’t going away any time soon.

Author Candice Millard's book "Hero of the Empire" looks into Winston Churchill's exploits during the Boer War.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on September 29, 2016.

Winston Churchill sure didn’t make it easy to become a seminal figure in world history.

Before becoming Great Britain’s prime minister and leading his empire through World War II, Churchill was an extremely ambitious youngster who saw military glory as a pathway to political power. But this type of thinking almost got him killed in the Second Boer War, a late 1890s military conflict in what’s now South Africa.

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