Books

You’re invited: On July 11, St. Louis on the Air will take you back to the beloved era of music videos with St. Louisan and former MTV host and runner-up in the network’s inaugural “Wanna Be a VJ” contest. His name is Dave Holmes, a graduate of Saint Louis Priory School, who recently wrote the book “Party of One: A Memoir in 21 Songs.”

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

It takes a special kind of inquisitive mind to step out of the body’s current state and examine what it would look like from an entirely different perspective. Horace Miner did it in 1956 with his radical paper “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema,” and author Chuck Klosterman has done it again with his new book “But What If We’re Wrong?: Thinking About the Present As If It Were the Past.”

Wikimedia Commons

This St. Louis on the Air program will be re-broadcast on Monday, May 30 at noon. You can listen live online here. It was initially aired on July 22, 2015. 

During the summer and fall of 1948, President Harry S. Truman’s risky journey toward a second term turned out to be one of his greatest campaigning decisions.

After a 31,000-mile train ride across the country and 352 speeches during what’s known as his “Whistle Stop Tour,” Truman won the presidential election against then New York Governor Thomas Dewey.

Clint Hill served five American presidents as a Secret Service agent from 1958 to 1975. On Thursday's St. Louis on the Air, he shared his story.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Former Secret Service Agent Clint Hill served silently beside Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford. Recently, he broke his silence about what that experience at the forefront of American history was like.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis  author John O’Leary wasn’t supposed to survive the burns that covered 100 percent of his body when he had an accident at age 9. No one thought he would walk, write with a pencil, or play a piano ever again. O’Leary, now 38, is not only able to do those things, he also found love, married and fathered four children.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that if a writer makes reference to Jane Austen in her works, she could likely incur what we’re calling “the wrath of the Janeites.” Or, at least, that’s some of what author Curtis Sittenfeld has experienced since the release of her novel “Eligible,” which is a modern retelling of Austen’s most famous book “Pride and Prejudice.”

Author Gail Pellett of "Forbidden Fruit: 1980 Beijing" spoke with "St. Louis on the Air" host  Don Marsh.
Alex Heuer

Author Gail Pellet recently released a new memoir called “Forbidden Fruit: 1980 Beijing,” which details her experience working for Radio Beijing as a foreign expert.

“I was hired as the first experienced broadcast journalist to work at Radio Beijing,” Pellett told host Don Marsh.  

Pellett discussed her experiences in China as well as her connection to St. Louis — she was a student at Washington University during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Charles Bogel | Wikimedia Commons

CBS journalist Lesley Stahl, most widely known for her work on 60 Minutes, has interviewed heads of state, covered Watergate and broken scores of political news stories throughout her journalism career. Now, Stahl is facing a new challenge: “Becoming Grandma.”

Stahl has written a new book about “The Joys and Science of New Grandparenting,” and joined host Don Marsh to discuss her experience learning to become a grandmother.

Bundesarchiv Bild | Wikimedia Commons

Lithuanian-American young adult author Ruta Sepetys has known her whole life of the trials faced by refugees fleeing war. Her father fled from Lithuania when the Soviets occupied the country following World War II and spent nine years in refugee camps before he was able to come to the United States.

Tavis Smiley 2014
Provided

This segment will be rebroadcast on Monday, January 18, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It was originally aired on February 5, 2015. You can also listen live.

There’s a disconnect between Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations today, and attitudes toward the man before he was killed in 1968, author Tavis Smiley says.

Eileen Myles
Libby Lewis

Writer Eileen Myles’ seems poised on the brink of widespread recognition. This fall she’s publishing two books: “I Must Be Living Twice” and “Chelsea Girls,” which collect new and selected poems and capture the downtown New York of the 1970s in a novel. Much of Myles’ work deals with life in New York City yet the author said her themes and content also exist in cities like St. Louis.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

To touch the subject matter of King David, “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), is a daunting prospect.

Geraldine Brooks is up to the task. The journalist and Pulitzer-prize winning fiction author, who has written about everything from the hidden world of Islamic women to the Sarajevo Haggadah, one of the oldest surviving Jewish illuminated texts.

Zines like those stacked on Nickey Rainey's table will be available at the Small Press expo
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Update 9/29:  Organizers for the St. Louis Small Press Expo report attendance at 900 people, roughly double the number of participants during the event's inaugural year.

The St. Louis Small Press Expo is designed to promote St. Louis writers and book makers from marginalized communities.

“It’s important that each of us not only represent a community of the kind of books and art that we make but we also tend to represent different communities in terms of our contributors and the kind of stories they’re telling,” said Jared Rourke who publishes Queer Young Cowboys, "And so we focus on queer issues; we have a lot of women’s issues; we have issues that are important to people of color.”

What is Punk? chronicles punk history for kids.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Morse first heard the term “punk” as a child while listening to the radio with his parents during the Christmas holidays.  His response was instant.

“I remember saying’ I don’t know what punk is but I don’t like it’” said Morse.

Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

After bursting onto the Missouri political scene in 2004 during a daring bid to replace retiring U.S. Congressman Dick Gephardt, Jeff Smith seemed like he could do no wrong. His grassroots political campaign to launch from unknown into the U.S. House of Representatives is considered one of the most successful in history—even though he narrowly lost to Russ Carnahan. The critically-acclaimed documentary “Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?” followed that campaign. Smith went on to become a Missouri Senator, representing parts of St. Louis. 

Face of the Neumeyer Glacier 1915 by Frank Hurley
Face of the Neumeyer Glacier, 1915|Frank Hurley|Flickr

It’s a frequently shared adage in publishing that only 3 percent of the books published in the United States are translations from books originally written in another language. Although that exact statistic is sometimes debated, the idea that it’s almost impossible to get a translation project published remains. And yet some are able to make it work.

Áine O'Connor

When mentioning author and philanthropist Cynthia Kagan Frohlichstein, the best word that comes to mind is “spunk.” You can spot her around town at different events, chatting and mingling, owning the crowd.

And frankly, she has much to celebrate.

Celebrating her 40th year of being cancer-free, Frohlichstein has not slowed down her attempts at showing the world that giving is as good as receiving. She’s written children’s books on the topic of “giving back” and life lessons in hopes that young people will carry the torch forward.

President George W. Bush awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author Harper Lee during a ceremony Monday, Nov. 5, 2007, in the East Room.
White House photo by Eric Draper / Public Domain

“To Kill a Mockingbird” cemented Harper Lee’s place in the list of classic authors of American literature almost as soon as it was published in 1960. “Mockingbird,” with its frank and poignant handling of race and discrimination in the U.S. South, electrified a nation as the Civil Rights Movement swelled in power. Fifty years later, Lee’s new book “Go Set a Watchman” stands to accompany a similarly meaningful time for civil rights and social justice.

Engelhardt portrait
Aaron Doerr

Tom Engelhardt, longtime political cartoonist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to discuss his book “Four Turbulent Decades: A Cartoon History of America.” The book includes some of Engelhardt’s illustrations of major events and eras in America, such as the Civil Rights movement, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and 9/11 events.

Peter Stark, author
Amy Ragsdale

On Tuesday, author Peter Stark joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to discuss his book “Astoria: Astor and Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Tale of Ambition and Survival on the Early American Frontier.”

“Astoria” chronicles a three-year plan constructed by John Jacob Astor, a fur trader, and ex-president Thomas Jefferson to form a trading colony on the Pacific Coast.

Julius Montgomery
Florida Institute of Technology Office of Alumni Affairs

When most people recall monumental moments of the civil rights era, what events often come to mind? The Montgomery Bus Boycott? Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech?

What about NASA?

Alex Heuer

If there is one word to describe Teri Griege it would be ‘resilient.’ She began running marathons in her forties after conquering an alcohol addiction and worked her way up to competing in triathlons including the Ironman.

“It’s a 2.4 mile open water swim, a 112 mile bike [ride] and then the run is a marathon, 26.2 miles,” Griege explained. Her goal was to compete in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

Jabari Asim
Provided by Mr. Asim

If you didn’t know Jabari Asim was from St. Louis, a quick look at his first novel, “Only the Strong,” makes it clear. An Arch dominates the cover of the book, which is set in “Gateway City.”

The fictitious name lets him add details such as a destructive race riot after the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  And it means he doesn't have to worry whether streets or places exist where they are placed in the book. Still “Only the Strong” is true to St. Louis. The action takes place in North Gateway circa 1970. Delmar is very much a dividing line, though corporate interests are recognizing the need to have partners on both sides of that street and the Central West End is somewhat integrated.

Alex Heuer

Former Major League Baseball catcher Bengie Molina, the eldest brother of baseball players Yadier and José Molina,  joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to discuss his new memoir, “Molina: The Story of a Father Who Raised an Unlikely Baseball Dynasty.”

(Photo provided by Becky Blades/Used with permission)

Becky Blades, author, civic leader, arts advocate and chairwoman of the Regional Arts Council of Greater Kansas City, has personal life lessons she wants to teach young women who are going off to college.

Terrell Carter is pastor of the mostly-white Webster Groves Baptist Church
Terrell Carter / Courtesy Photo

Since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the subsequent community unrest, dialogue about racial division in the St. Louis area became a frequent topic. Additionally, many people vowed to come together and address the apparent ‘invisible line’ separating black and white residents in the region.

Children from a St. Louis classroom who participate in the Ready Readers program.
Courtesy of Ready Readers

In celebration of D.E.A.R., “Drop Everything And Read,” day on April 12, we are taking a closer look at the importance of reading and getting books into the hands of children.  

Ready Readers is a St. Louis-based nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring preschool age children from low-income communities to love books and develop literacy skills necessary to become readers when they enter kindergarten.

On Thursday, "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh talked to Lisa Greening and Julia Auch of Ready Readers.

 

Children use a Little Free Library in North St. Louis.
Gina Sheridan

In celebration of D.E.A.R., “Drop Everything And Read,” day on April 12, we are taking a closer look at the importance of reading and getting books into the hands of children.  

Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization in Wisconsin that posts small mailbox-like structures in neighborhoods and fills them with free books. They’ve inspired a movement that has spread to cities throughout the country, including St. Louis.

'Painting for Peace in Ferguson' author Carol Swartout Klein talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on April 1, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

How do you talk to young children about Ferguson and what happened?

“Painting for Peace in Ferguson” tries to explain it through the story of artists and residents who created paintings on the boarded-up doors and windows of local businesses. Many businesses in Ferguson and on South Grand in St. Louis were boarded up in response to and to prevent thefts, vandalism and fires after a grand jury’s declined to indict former Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Author Eric Greitens talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 16, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

While he said he hasn’t committed to running for governor in Missouri, St. Louisan Eric Greitens certainly sounds like a politician.

“I’m actively considering looking at running for governor in 2016,” he told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday. Greitens is a former Navy SEAL and combat veteran, a Rhodes Scholar, a boxing champion, a humanitarian leader and founded The Mission Continues, which helps veterans adjust to life at home.

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