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 I interview these writers for Morning Edition and record them reading excerpts. You can download these interviews and excerpts from WNIJ's "Read With Me" 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 it to dklefstad@niu.edu. I'm looking for novels, poems, short fiction, memoirs and creative nonfiction. 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

When Christine Sneed begins a story, she never knows where her characters will take it.

"Usually I'm about halfway through and I still won't know what's going to happen at the end," Sneed says, "but I have some sense of where I'm going."

The award-winning author has the experience to avoid early-draft pitfalls, and shares this knowledge with her students at Northwestern University and Regis University.

The next four years will be very good for poetry.

That's according to Susan Azar Porterfield, who says our nation's current political divisions echo previous tempests, which sprouted an abundance of biting verse.

In 2003, Robert Bly, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and more than 8,000 other poets submitted their work to a global movement opposing the Iraq invasion. The book Poets Against the War collected 262 of those poems.

"You can take the girl out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the girl."

We've all heard this, which is why it's refreshing to find a story that shows the opposite.

Rachel Raines is the protagonist of Small Town Roads by L.B. Johnson, one of our Read With Me selections for this month.

In a story about an alcoholic teen and the twin brother who covers for her, who's the protagonist?

"I have people come up to me and, in some cases, they say alcohol is the protagonist," author Kathleen Tresemer says. But, in an interview with WNIJ, she hints that the twins' co-dependent relationship may be the real main character of her novel, Time in a Bottle.

The book is one of four Read With Me selections for February.

A graphic novel featuring U.S. Rep. John Lewis became the first non-fiction work to receive The Michael L. Printz award.

The award recognizes the best young adult book of the year, plus up to four "Honor Books" or honorable mentions.

March: Book Three is the final piece of a trilogy that tells the history of the civil rights movement as experienced by Rep. Lewis. It was co-written with Andrew Aydin, and illustrated by Nate Powell.

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