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 listening area, which led me to adopt the "Book Beat" in 2012. Throughout the year, I immerse myself in works written by authors from northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Then I interview these writers for Morning Edition and record them reading excerpts. Interviews and excerpts are available as podcasts in our Book Series 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 a .doc or .pdf to dklefstad@niu.edu. I'm looking for novels, poems, short fiction, memoirs and creative nonfiction. While most of the books I feature come from established presses, I do accept self-published works. Just make sure your manuscript is well edited.

Thanks,

@danklefstad

#WNIJReadWithME

Ways To Connect

Hopes for ending the budget stalemate faded even further this week when Gov. Bruce Rauner's office interrupted a news conference called by Senate President John Cullerton.

Cullerton, a Democrat, began by telling reporters that Rauner's budget was unbalanced when it was introduced. But then Cullerton appeared to offer an olive branch, according to Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky. In front of reporters, he asked the Governor to start over on the budget.

Illinois Public Radio

Illinois government is about to prove it can function at its most basic level without a budget, at least temporarily; the state will pay its workers on time, and in full, for work performed during the first two weeks of the fiscal year.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner said he wanted this to happen even after his June 25th rejection of most of the budget passed by Democrats. Then on July 9, a St. Clair County judge ordered Comptroller Leslie Munger to cut the paychecks.

It turns out, the State of Illinois has limited spending authority even without a budget; a pair of judges said so in separate rulings.

In one case, a federal judge ruled the Department of Children and Family Services must continue to serve abused and neglected kids who've been removed from their homes -- despite the deadlock between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders of the General Assembly.

Today, voters in Illinois' 18th Congressional District choose a Democrat and a Republican for the race to replace former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock.

Only a small number of voters will go to the polls, according to Matt Streb, who chairs the political science department at Northern Illinois University.

WUIS/Illinois Issues

It seems familiar: Illinois government enters a new fiscal year without a budget, and those who get state money start to worry. But the government never stopped running before, so why would it shut down this time?

After all, things worked out in 2007 when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich couldn't agree with fellow Democrats who controlled the General Assembly. Budget negotiations took until mid-September, but state government remained open.

Florencia Mallon wrote several books and articles about the events preceding Chile's 1973 military coup and the subsequent dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. These were intended for her colleagues in the field of Latin American history.

"He will be unshaven, wear a battered borsalino, and nod a greeting to me, smiling slyly."

This is how poet John Bradley describes his character, Roberto Zingarello, a fictional poet writing about his native Italy under the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini.

The 2015 Summer Book Series wraps up next Friday -- have you read any of the books yet?

You'll find links to the previous author interviews at the bottom of this article. Before the series ends, we wanted to give you a chance to hear Florencia Mallon read an excerpt from her novel, Beyond the Ties of Blood.

The story is about love, loss and the search for the "disappeared" in Chile during, and after, the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

NIU Newsroom

In 1965, the Saturday Review published a landmark study called "The All-White World of Children's Books." Author Nancy Larrick said 6.3 million non-white children were "learning to read and understand the American way of life in books which either omit them entirely or scarcely mention them."

This week, the 2015 Summer Book Series features the newly reissued Love-In-Idleness: The Poetry of Roberto Zingarello.

Zingarello is a poet looking for truth, love and revenge in Fascist Italy.

His creator is John Bradley, a poet and faculty member at Northern Illinois University. Bradley will discuss these poems, and his fascination with Italy during the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini. That's Friday, June 19, during Morning Edition.

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