Dan Klefstad

Morning Edition Host & Book Series Editor

Good morning, Early Riser! Since 1997 I've been waking WNIJ listeners with the latest news, weather and other information, with the goal of seamlessly weaving this content into NPR's Morning Edition.

What do I do after the show ends at 9:00? I read. I'm especially interested in literature from the WNIJ area, which led me to adopt the "Book Beat" in 2012. Throughout the year, I immerse myself in works written by Illinois and Wisconsin authors. Then on the third Monday of each month I interview these writers for Morning Edition. You can access these interviews, plus author readings, at WNIJ's "Read With Me" archive.

If you're a writer from this area, or have a personal connection to this place, send your book to me at 801 N. 1st St., DeKalb, IL 60115. You can also email it to dklefstad@niu.edu. I'm looking for novels, poems, short fiction, essay collections, and memoirs. While many of the books I feature come from traditional presses, I do accept self-published works. Just make sure your book got a good edit.

Thanks,

@danklefstad

#WNIJReadWithMe

Ways to Connect

The "Back of the Yards" is a neighborhood near the old Chicago Stockyards. Since the early 20th Century, it housed immigrants who processed meat in the city that Carl Sandberg dubbed "Hog Butcher for the World" in his poem "Chicago."

Author Sandra Colbert grew up in this neighborhood in the 1950s and '60s, when it was largely Polish and Lithuanian. Her book Chicago Bound re-creates the lives of these residents through short stories that capture their grit, prejudice, violence and dreams.

One day you're an attractive secret agent. The next day you can't look into a mirror without feeling disgust. That's the basic premise of Seven-Sided Spy, a Cold War thriller featuring a trio of CIA agents and their KGB counterparts.

This debut novel by Hannah Carmack is our Read With Me selection for April.

Few people know Peter Pan like Andrea Jones. She loves the 1953 animated Disney classic, plus Mary Martin's and Sandy Duncan's portrayals of the flying forever-boy.

She's also deeply familiar with J.M. Barrie's original 1904 play, Peter and Wendy, and the 1911 novelization. So when Universal Pictures released a live-action film in 2003, Jones was skeptical.

"I said to myself, 'Why do we need another Peter Pan retelling'. But I went with my son, who was young at the time," she said.

Billy Donachio is a baseball coach who's been losing since 1969. Billy was in the Chicago Cubs farm system then, playing second base and drinking whiskey with shortstop Nick Glouser. These fictional characters have a lackluster season in contrast to the Major League Cubs who stay in first place for 155 games -- until the New York Mets pass them by in September.

Nick offered a toast so we could drink with purpose. "To the Mets," he said. "May their plane crash and burn before they play in the World Series."

Not long ago, the waters off Door County, Wis., had a reputation for danger. Door County gets its name from Porte des Mortes -- French for "door of the dead" -- and for good reason; there are dozens of shipwrecks along the peninsula.

The most recent wreck occurred in 1928.

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