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Posts Tagged ‘books

Good Read: Little Bee by Chris Cleave

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Little Bee
by Chris Cleave

Buy this book on Amazon.
(Your purchase supports WKMS!)

Product Description:
We don’t want to tell you too much about this book. It is a truly special story and we don’t want to spoil it. Nevertheless, you need to know something, so we will just say this: It is extremely funny, but the African beach scene is horrific. The story starts there, but the book doesn’t. And it’s what happens afterward that is most important. Once you have read it, you’ll want to tell everyone about it. When you do, please don’t tell them what happens either. The magic is in how it unfolds.

Angela Hatton says:
To make a cliché like, ‘one moment changes everything’ work, you have to be a good writer, and Chris Cleave is one. Little Bee is about the dissonance, and surprising harmony, between the commercialized world and the third world. Cleave takes hold of his readers, always keeping a focus on the emotion of his characters, even as he deftly tackles war, genocide, and illegal immigration.”

Check out our Good Reads page for more recommended books.

Written by Matt Markgraf

June 10, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Maurice Manning’s Mountain Tribute

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by Angela Hatton

Poet Maurice Manning’s fourth collection of poetry, The Common Man, continues the author’s love affair with rural life. Told through a series of unrhymed ballad couplets, The Common Man is Manning’s most tender tribute to his Appalachian home to date.

In Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions, his first book which was published in the prestigious Yale Younger Poets series, Manning took on the persona of Lawrence Booth, a poor Southern young man. In his second, A Companion for Owls, Manning explored the life and legend of Kentuckian Daniel Boone. Bucolics, Manning’s third project, focused on the voice of a farm hand who addressed a deity he called “Boss.” The voice in Common Man retains the unrefined passion and plain-spoken insight found in Bucolics. However, unlike the third collection, Manning takes on a narrative style. The poems in Common Man are typically stories, and sometimes far-fetched ones. Manning acknowledges the style that inspired him in his dedication. He dedicates the book to his grandmother, whom, he writes, “told me stories.” The book, then, follows that storytelling tradition.

Common Man at times reads like a Library of Congress archive, the poems a transcript of the scratchy dialects recorded on a research excursion. Manning employs dialect and syntax to create a rhythm of truncated gerunds and elided words, though he is judicious with its use. Manning saves the rural speech patterns for direct dialogue, and then only sparingly, as in the poem “Thunderbolt, My Foot.” The speaker’s father asks, “ . . . Hey! / you wanna hear a dirty lim’rick?” In the same poem, mosquitoes are “skeeters” and the speaker references his “double-great-granddaddy.” Manning preserves both structure and a natural rhythm by writing his verses in iambic tetrameter. This metrical format creates the framework for the language of the book.

To aid the illusion of front porch conversation, Manning inserts a need to grandstand among his characters. The speaker in “Thunderbolt, My Foot,” frames his story with a preamble that touts some of the fantastic details from the poem. The speaker then declares, “Besides, I’m wound up tighter than / a clock and it’s time to commence this tale!” Other poems begin with a hedging statement, such as in “A Man With a Rooster in His Dream,” in which the speaker warns he’s about to say something strange. “Giddyup, Ye Banties!” begins en media res, with a scatterbrained, “What have we been talking about?” This added detail may frustrate the reader, who only wants the speaker to “get on with it.” That effect creates setting, and makes the reader a direct participant in the poem.

The poems in this collection allegedly cover a range of experiences and peoples through many different voices, but Manning fails to differentiate clearly enough between perspectives. A single narrative voice takes hold in each poem. That voice is unpretentious. It expresses a wisdom rooted in heritage and the land. The voice itself compels the reader, but its repetition throughout dulls the narrative poems. One cannot read the entire book in one sitting without fatigue from Manning’s blanket use of this particular persona. This same problem plagues Manning’s third collection. The issue may arise as a reaction to the portrayal some authors give the Southern figure. The Appalachian archetype is an indigent ignoramus. Manning chooses the opposite extreme, and assumes every one is a philosopher. Common Man, like Bucolics, is a book best enjoyed in moderate doses.

Common Man succeeds as an elegy for a dying way of life. The poem “A Panegyric Against the Consolation of Grief” is the clearest expression of the book’s thesis. As well, it is the “heart” of this project, placed nearly half-way through the collection. In “Panegyric” Manning argues for the merits of grief. He equates grief with memory, and says for rural life, grief will soon be all that’s left. He writes, “. . . that scene is fading out, / little by little it’s being felled, / all felled, and it won’t be coming back.” Manning’s efforts in Common Man suggest a desire to preserve that rural scene, and to honor the dignity of its people.


Written by Angela Hatton

May 11, 2010 at 10:30 pm

Mark’s ‘Good Read’

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When we’re not on-the-air or at our desks, we like to pick up good books. Most of us here at the station are, in fact, avid readers. In the style of NPR’s “What We’re Reading” (an excellent weekly guide) we, too, decided to share what’s currently being read by WKMS staff members, student workers and volunteers.

Interested in a book on our list? Follow the Amazon link beneath the picture. A small percentage of your purchase of anything on Amazon through this link goes right to WKMS at no additional cost to you.

What are you reading? Share your good read our Facebook Fan Page, here.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

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Product Description:
The astonishing, uplifting story of a real-life Indiana Jones and his humanitarian campaign to use education to combat terrorism in the Taliban’s backyard. Anyone who despairs of the individual’s power to change lives has to read the story of Greg Mortenson, a homeless mountaineer who, following a 1993 climb of Pakistan’s treacherous K2, was inspired by a chance encounter with impoverished mountain villagers and promised to build them a school. Over the next decade he built fifty-five schools—especially for girls—that offer a balanced education in one of the most isolated and dangerous regions on earth. As it chronicles Mortenson’s quest, which has brought him into conflict with both enraged Islamists and uncomprehending Americans, Three Cups of Tea combines adventure with a celebration of the humanitarian spirit.

“A good friend of mine loaned me his copy of Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin. It’s a remarkable true story of a young man who turned great failure into a quest to help others. Greg Mortenson’s passion to educate underprivileged children in Pakistan and Afghanistan proves that one person CAN make a difference. Three Cups of Tea is inspiring and humbling. I can’t wait to read Mortenson’s latest book, Stones into Schools.” – Mark Welch

See more “Good Reads” on the WKMS web site.

Written by Matt Markgraf

January 25, 2010 at 10:38 am

Jenni’s ‘Good Read’

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When we’re not on-the-air or at our desks, we like to pick up good books. Most of us here at the station are, in fact, avid readers. In the style of NPR’s “What We’re Reading” (an excellent weekly guide) we, too, decided to share what’s currently being read by WKMS staff members, student workers and volunteers.

Interested in a book on our list? Follow the Amazon link beneath the picture. A small percentage of your purchase of anything on Amazon through this link goes right to WKMS at no additional cost to you.

What are you reading? Share your good read our Facebook Fan Page, here.

Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems by Cesar Millan and Melissa Jo Peltier

Buy this on Amazon

Product Description:
There are at least 68 million dogs in America, and their owners lavish billions of dollars on them every year. So why do so many pampered pets have problems? In this definitive and accessible guide, Cesar Millan—star of National Geographic Channel’s hit show Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan—reveals what dogs truly need to live a happy and fulfilled life. Whether you’re having issues with your dog or just want to make a good bond even stronger, this book will give you a deeper appreciation of how your dog sees the world, and it will help make your relationship with your beloved pet a richer and more rewarding one.

“I’m a new dog owner. We welcomed our puppy into our home in early November…and life changed dramatically! I borrowed a copy of Cesar’s Way after watching a few episodes of the show. While I don’t watch the TV program regularly, I loved this book. It’s a quick read and Cesar really puts things into perspective. He promotes easy to remember formulas for a healthy relationship with your dog: exercise, discipline, and affection, in that order. I especially liked reading about Cesar’s early life in Mexico and his stories about celebrity dog owners, like Oprah.” – Jenni Todd

See more “Good Reads” on the WKMS web site.

Written by Matt Markgraf

January 22, 2010 at 8:53 am

Kate’s “Good Read”

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When we’re not on-the-air or at our desks, we like to pick up good books. Most of us here at the station are, in fact, avid readers. In the style of NPR’s “What We’re Reading” (an excellent weekly guide) we, too, decided to share what’s currently being read by WKMS staff members, student workers and volunteers.

Interested in a book on our list? Follow the Amazon link beneath the picture. A small percentage of your purchase of anything on Amazon through this link goes right to WKMS at no additional cost to you.

What are you reading? Share your good read our Facebook Fan Page, here.

Generations of Winter by Vassily Aksyonov

Buy this on Amazon

Product Description:
Compared by critics across the country to War and Peace for its memorable characters and sweep, and to Dr. Zhivago for its portrayal of Stalin’s Russia, Generations of Winter is the romantic saga of the Gradov family from 1925 to 1945.

“You must read Vassily Aksyonov’s expansive novel Generations of Winter. It opens just as Russia is moving into the Stalin era and closes with World War II. You’re with the Gradov family all the way through with asides from an owl, a tree, a great dog, and other unique commentators on events at hand. Reviewers compare it to works of Tolstoy. I think Dickens comes to mind as well in the sheer fascination of the portraiture of life in the streets as well as the parlors, the meeting rooms, the work camps, the battlefields, and more. Terrific read for a couple of intense weeks!” – Kate Lochte

See more “Good Reads” on the WKMS web site.

Written by Matt Markgraf

January 20, 2010 at 10:33 am

Good Reads

leave a comment »

When we’re not on-the-air or at our desks, we like to pick up good books. Most of us here at the station are, in fact, avid readers. In the style of NPR’s “What We’re Reading” (an excellent weekly guide) we, too, decided to share what’s currently being read by WKMS staff members, student workers and volunteers.

Interested in a book on our list? Follow the Amazon link beneath the picture. A small percentage of your purchase of anything on Amazon through this link goes right to WKMS at no additional cost to you.

What are you reading? Share your good read our Facebook Fan Page, here.

Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir by Nick Flynn

Buy this on Amazon

Product Description:
Nick Flynn met his father when he was working as a caseworker in a homeless shelter in Boston. As a teenager he’d received letters from this stranger father, a self-proclaimed poet and con man doing time in federal prison for bank robbery. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City tells the story of the trajectory that led Nick and his father onto the streets, into that shelter, and finally to each other.

“As I made my way through this memoir, I envisioned myself walking with bare feet through Nick Flynn’s life. Suck City is a barefoot walk, at least for me. The dare comes not with the title, but by Flynn’s immediate defiance of the tonal expectation he establishes by using that title as the calling card for this particular story. The title and everything in it is Jonathan Flynn, Nick’s father, the great undiscovered writer, the troubled scribe, the alcoholic with delusions of grandeur, the meek that shall inherit the Earth—or at the very least, finally, a hardcover book in which he, finally at long last and deservedly, is the main event. Of course, of course this title belongs to Jonathan Flynn. He owns it. With all its cynicism and realism and wit, it’s his, hands-down.” – Jacque Day

See more “Good Reads” on the WKMS web site.

Written by Matt Markgraf

January 18, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Hello, Brave New World.

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by Angela Hatton

Glad you could join us for our wacky adventures in blogging. Speaking as a member of the gang, we’re an eclectic bunch, both in taste, style, and in our approaches to life.

I’m part of the intrepid news team, so expect a lot of posts here that delve further into a story I might be producing or which give insight into a different angle than what ended up on air. At times, I may choose to post a kind of “reporter’s notebook” with my personal experience covering a story. And watch out, I might surprise you with tangents and oddball gems.

For now, here are a few random things about me: I like frogs; my favorite band is The Decemberists; I have read Moby Dick, but I haven’t read War and Peace; the weirdest thing I have ever eaten is a century egg.

Written by Angela Hatton

January 4, 2010 at 4:42 pm

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