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

Carl Nelson

He's baaack -- with a beer in one hand and an iPhone in the other, getting an earful of political opinions.

Northern Illinois University

Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s controversial remarks could affect the Illinois U.S. Senate race, according to one expert.

Northern Illinois University political scientist Matt Streb says he can’t remember a time when candidates distanced themselves from their party’s nominee. He says this is affecting the race between incumbent Republican Sen. Mark Kirk and Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth.

Aaron Sitze's new book will not help you pass a course in U.S. History. In fact, you'll fail if Sitze's book is the only one you read. But The Andrew Jackson Stories provides an entertaining lesson in Newtonian physics, among other things, and encourages you to keep talking to your plants.

We'll get to those items in a bit. First, Sitze explains his fascination with Andrew Jackson and other famous presidents.

Amy Newman's latest collection of poetry imagines scenes in the lives of seven poets who emerged in the mid-20th Century: Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Theodore Roethke, Delmore Schwartz and Anne Sexton.

Many critics identify these poets as writing in the Confessional style, often in the first person and including then-taboo subjects such as sexual abuse and mental illness.

How important is verbal communication between strangers? Can two people bond using only non-verbal cues?

Author Maria Boynton explores this theme in her novel, Ruthlessly Aadi, a Read With Me book selection for this summer.

When the FBI enters your life, they are not to be trusted.

This is Michelle Monelle's advice to the reader as she revisits her past during a series of interviews with two agents. Monelle is the protagonist of GK Wuori's latest novel, HoneyLee's Girl.

The book is the second of five selections for this summer's Read With Me Book Series.

A motorcycle crashes into a car on U.S. 20. A reporter investigates a town where every child appears to be a truant. And an aide to the governor pushes a bill to outlaw "unschooling."

These are the main plot lines in Kristin Oakley's novel, Carpe Diem, Illinois. The book starts our Read With Me Book Series for this summer. Before we go further, we should explain unschooling.

On Tuesday, WNIJ begins it's Read With Me book series with an interview with Kristin Oakley, author of Carpe Diem, Illinois.

The book is a thriller set in an "unschooling" community in northwest Illinois. Click the audio file above to hear a radio promo that will air throughout Monday on WNIJ.

Here are a few other promos we've been airing for the series:

Next month, we'll introduce you to the latest books from five authors in the WNIJ listening area.

You might've seen short video teasers on social media such as this one, featuring Kristin Oakley.

Oakley begins this Summer's series with her thriller Carpe Diem, Illinois. You can find complete details about the series here.

A thriller set in an Illinois "unschooling" community. A novel about a Maine woman asked by the FBI to revisit her childhood. A tale of two Chicago runaways heading west across the prairie.

These are just three of the books featured during the WNIJ Read With Me Book Series, which returns in June. We'll also explore the lives of Sylvia Plath and other famous poets, and finish with quirky stories about President Andrew Jackson and his gardener.

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