Books

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.

Author Marcia Chatelain talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 12, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Known as the Great Migration, 6 million African-Americans left their homes in the South after World War I and through 1970, moving north and west.

Author shares tales of four-legged heroes

Mar 10, 2015

What makes a hero? Author Jennifer Holland has tracked down the stories of 37 animals “doing something special that’s helping someone or another animal” for her book “Unlikely Heroes.”

In the book, Holland, a contributing writer for National Geographic, shares true stories of animals that saved lives, from dogs to dolphins to llamas. Some of those lives are humans. Some are the animal’s young. Some are of an entirely different species.

Portraits of Purpose Ken Cooper
Courtesy of Ken Cooper

Former Post-Dispatch and St. Louis American reporter Ken Cooper just published his first book, "Portraits of Purpose: A Tribute to Leadership."  The book is a collaboration with the photographer Don West and chronicles the lives of influential Bostonian African Americans. Yet, nestled within the book’s 116 profiles are the stories of five St. Louisans.

Race is a social concept, not a scientific one.

“Biology shows us there are no real races in the world,” Washington University physical anthropology professor Robert Wald Sussman told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Monday. “Humans are just humans, basically.”

Sussman explores how religion, pseudo-science and prejudice have been used since the Spanish Inquisition to promote racism, eugenics and anti-immigration policies in his book “The Myth of Race: The Troubling Persistence of an Unscientific Idea.”

Author explores the paradox of parenting

Feb 24, 2015
Jennifer Senior is the author of 'All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood.'
Laura Rose / Harper Collins

Since the 1950s, social scientists have been asking who’s happier: parents or nonparents. In the U.S., the nonparents seem to win.

“To me, it’s just kind of baffling and inadequate,” author Jennifer Senior told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday. “It’s demoralizing. It’s insufficient. It doesn’t tell you very much. But it was that body of literature that got me interested in the question generally: How do kids affect their moms and dads?”

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.

Meet The Man Behind Lemony Snicket

Feb 13, 2015
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.

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.

Author Shares His Quest For Work That Matters

Jan 27, 2015
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.

A Look At St. Louis' Timeline

Dec 18, 2014

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.

A Look At How Vigilante Justice Shaped Missouri

Nov 18, 2014
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.  

Figuring Out What The Hell St. Louis Is Thinking

Nov 12, 2014
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?

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