books

Psychologist Wes Crenshaw
Courtesy of Wes Crenshaw

Sex. That little three-letter word strikes fear in many parents’ hearts.

Psychologist Wes Crenshaw told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday that the biggest mistake parents make when trying to talk to their kids about sex is “freaking out.”

“Parents just cannot afford to think their kids are the least bit naïve. Kids are tied into the internet and to each other. They know way too much nowadays to take simple answers,” Crenshaw said. Rather than a one-time conversation, talking about sex and sex education is an almost endless conversation, he said.

Daniel Handler
Meredith Heuer

Go ahead; call David Handler’s work weird and bizarre. He’ll thank you.

Handler has written novels for adults as well as two series for children written under the pen name Lemony Snicket. His latest novel, “We Are Pirates,” is for adults, but it’s still quirky.

Tavis Smiley 2014
Provided

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.

When King was assassinated, many had abandoned him, Smiley said in his latest book, “Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year.” The book examines assaults on King’s character, ideology and political tactics, and his lasting legacy.

The last year of his life was King’s most dynamic, Smiley told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh earlier this week.

Bill Greenblatt / UPI

A few years ago, Mike Matheny was coaching a youth baseball team. He wrote what has become known as the Matheny Manifesto, a letter to his team’s parents. “I always said that the only team I would coach would be a team of orphans,” the letter began before asking parents to butt out of coaching.

If walls could talk, then those of the U.S. District Court of Eastern Missouri would have a lot to say.

Historian Burton Boxerman worked with a group of prominent attorneys and district court judges to capture some of the court’s tales in “And Justice for All: A History of the Federal District Court of Eastern Missouri.”

The court got its start in 1822, less than a year after Missouri became a state. Many of the court’s early cases were related to the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Wes Moore
Amun Ankhra

After a troubled childhood, Wes Moore graduated from Johns Hopkins University, served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, served as a special assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, worked on Wall Street and wrote a book about a man with the same first and last name, but without Moore’s successes.

After writing that book, Moore set out to find purpose in “The Work: My Search for a Life that Matters.”

Gayle Harper

When author and photographer Gayle Harper learned that it takes 90 days for a raindrop to travel from the Mississippi River’s headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico, she knew she had a new project: Follow the path of that raindrop.

That path became a book, “Roadtrip with a Raindrop: 90 Days Along the Mississippi,” full of photos and a series of vignettes. Along the way, Harper said she found that there’s something special about life on the river.

First use of fingerprinting. First drive-up bank teller. First cocktail party. First nighttime Major League Baseball season opener.

As St. Louis celebrates 250 years, several books have explored the city’s history. Add one more to the list, but this one tells the tales through timelines.

“St. Louis: An Illustrated Timeline” offers a tour through St. Louis’ past (and future, as the book ends in 2016) with vignettes for noteworthy years. It also has what author Carol Ferring Shepley calls a “wide-angle view” of the city.

Author Joe Johnston
Courtesy of the St. Louis County Library

From the Louisiana Purchase through the Civil War, Missouri was shaped by vigilante justice.

“The state was filled with people before there were laws and lawmen,” author and historian Joe Johnston told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday. Johnston’s latest book, “Necessary Evil: Settling Missouri with a Rope and a Gun,” chronicles the implications of vigilantism in the state.

Missouri was part of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. After Louisiana became a state in 1812, the area became the Missouri Territory.  

A typewriter for the "What the Hell is St. Louis Thinking?" project sits in the Central West End in 2013. Passers-by were encouraged to anonymously share their thoughts.
Erin Williams / St. Louis Public Radio

In 2013, Henry Goldkamp decorated St. Louis with 40 typewriters. Each of the manual typewriter stations asked passers-by to tap out their thoughts.

Goldkamp dubbed the project “What the Hell is St. Louis Thinking?” and has published a curated book of responses. The book, also called “What the Hell is St. Louis Thinking?,” will be released on Nov. 22.

So what is St. Louis thinking?

Tony Flannery
Courtesy of Call to Action

In 2012, Tony Flannery, an Irish priest and religious writer, found out the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s watchdog group, was displeased with some of his writings about the church.

Provided by Dorothy

Dorothy: A Publishing Project is small literary press that’s making big waves in the literary community. The press publishes only two books each fall. This year Dorothy released Nell Zink’s "The Wallcreeper" and Joanna Ruocco’s "DAN." Critical acclaim continues to grow for Dorothy. "The Wallcreeper" is reviewed in the influential New York Time’s Book Review this weekend.

A few months after the jury announced George Zimmerman was not guilty in the Florida shooting death of Trayvon Martin, NBC News legal analyst Lisa Bloom published a book examining the case, “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It.”

In “Suspicion Nation,” Bloom looks at what happened behind the scenes and why similar shootings continue to take place, including the August death of Michael Brown in Ferguson.

'Ain't No Harm to Kill the Devil' by Jeffrey Copeland
Courtesy of Jeffrey Copeland

Among abolitionists, John Fairfield was unique: He was brutal, not above a shootout; he created elaborate ruses to rescue slaves; and he charged for his work.

Fairfield was born in Virginia to a slave-owning family.

“John, as a very young man, had a very dear friend, one of the younger slaves, he grew up with,” said author Jeffrey Copeland . His book “Ain’t No Harm to Kill the Devil: The Life and Legend of John Fairfield, Abolitionist for Hire,” examines Fairfield’s life.

“St. Louis is kind of underappreciated as a literary city,” St. Louis author Ann Leckie said. “There’s the long history, but there’s also plenty of writers who are here now.”

That history, including authors like Maya Angelou and Tennessee Williams, and award-winning authors like Leckie are fueling next weekend’s Lit in the Lou festival.

RA Salvatore
Amazon

RA Salvatore’s written more than 50 books.  He’s sold more than 17 million. The New York Times best-selling fantasy fiction author met fans and signed books at the Webster Groves Public Library Oct. 2. Earlier that day he answered questions about how real-world events affect his writing practice.

St. Louis Public Radio: You’ve been writing for over 30 years, produced over 50 books, and sold over 17 million copies. How have you maintained your inspiration?

Wikipedia Commons

St. Louis played a key role in the Civil War. Not only was it a significant naval base, but a riot at the edge of town led to the creation of Missouri’s militia and the effects of the war can still be felt today.

Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

This story was updated following St. Louis on the Air.

Former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin is back, and he’s not sorry.

Two years after losing a contest for U.S. Senate and igniting a “war on women” debate with a comment about rape, Akin has written a book that offers behind-the-scenes details about how he, his campaign and his family coped.

In an August 2012 interview with Charles Jaco on KTVI (Channel 2), Akin was asked about abortion and rape. Akin, who is staunchly anti-abortion, said that a pregnancy from rape “is really rare.”

Romondo Davis

Summer in the city. There’s nothing like it, and no shortage of things to see, do and experience in St. Louis. From parks to concerts and festivals, frozen custard to marionettes, farmers markets to museums, there’s an event (or 20) for everyone.

Author Amanda Doyle has written a second St. Louis guidebook. She said being an outsider affects her view of St. Louis.

“You can’t be born in a place and appreciate everything about it,” she said.

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