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 archives.

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

Imagine your father pulling you out of school to tell you he killed a man. How would you react to this news?

Kelly Daniels was nine when his father announced he killed a cousin, a drug dealer. The elder Daniels was already a stranger, having left his family months earlier.

Driving away from the school, his father says, "You can cry if you want."

Daniels describes his reaction in Chapter 1 of Cloudbreak, California:

"Noctambulous" means of, pertaining to, or given to sleepwalking, according to Dictionary.com. It is also the first poem in a new collection by Ricardo Mario Amézquita:

Solid ground                        floating on sea

not lost                                  iceberg belief

isolated                                 suspended

to reoccur                            cyclic amnesia

From myself                         in vacuum

the picture of a flame/ reaching home

Well, it looks like Mr. Icicle got his hands on our main transmitter. The ice coating risks overheating sensitive equipment, so we must operate at reduced power. To get the full WNIJ and WNIU experience, stream us live on our new app. Visit Google Play or the Apple store to download your free mobile app.

Thanks for your patience!

In the 1850s, Henry David Thoreau spent two years at a cabin in the woods near Concord, Mass. The cabin, at Walden Pond, is where he wrote his most famous work, Walden; or, Life in the Woods. In it, he writes:

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately ... to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life ... to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

In the late 14th Century, poet Geoffrey Chaucer mined Greek mythology to retell the story of two lovers from ancient Troy. His book, Troilus and Criseyde, is considered by scholars to be his best work.

You'll find a synopsis below, but the first thing you should know is this: On his deathbed, Chaucer renounced the poem.

Sunny is a woman just released from prison for attempting to kill her husband, a snake-handling preacher. Jackson is an anthropologist who falls in love with Sunny, but then joins her estranged husband to research religious snake handling.

This is the basic premise of Snakewoman of Little Egypt, a novel by Robert Hellenga.

Dan Klefstad

Poet Susan Azar Porterfield remembers meeting a Syrian family in Beirut. She was visiting Lebanon during a period of peace, in 2003.

The Syrians were brand new parents and allowed Porterfield to hold their infant.

"They were very sweet," she says. "And the baby was adorable."

She doesn't know where the family is today; they were from Aleppo, the site of intense fighting between government troops and rebels.

Beloit College

Remember this movie quote?

I've got their disciplinary files right here. Who dropped a whole truckload of fizzies into the varsity swim meet? Who delivered the medical school cadavers to the alumni dinner? Every Halloween, the trees are filled with underwear. Every spring, the toilets explode.

If you do, you're part of a shrinking population that remembers Vernon Wormer, the sinister Dean of Faber College in National Lampoon's Animal House.

www.shadric.com

While doing research for a documentary about the Lincoln Highway Centennial, I found a song called "Rollin' Down That Lincoln Highway" by Shadric Smith. I thought it would make a good theme for the program so I called Smith at his home in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and talked with him about it.

After the interview, I realized I also had a nice story for Morning Edition.

nolanstolz.com

This summer, some people will celebrate the centenary of Lincoln Highway with a road trip. Nolan Stolz will also travel the highway, trying to get orchestras to perform his Lincoln Highway Suite.

Stolz wrote the five-movement symphonic suite inspired by America's first transnational highway. One orchestra, the Dubuque Symphony, will give the world premiere of the Suite's middle movement -- "Prairie View" -- this Sunday.

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