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

ilga.gov, LinkedIn

Supporters of same-sex marriage in Illinois say Wednesday’s Supreme Court rulings bolster their cause. But the court’s action doesn’t appear to be an immediate impact on the state.

Rock 'n roll author Joe Bonomo has written books about AC/DC, Jerry Lee Lewis and The Fleshtones. His latest book, however, is a collection of essays about his childhood in Wheaton, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C.

What is: Jeopardy!

Rockford resident Tim Anderson has a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and Master's degrees in Philosophy and Spanish. A modern language instructor at Kishwaukee College, Anderson is finishing his dissertation in Hispanic Linguistics. Soon, he'll be Dr. Timothy Anderson, so it's safe to call him a really smart guy.

But a collection of degrees isn't enough to win on Jeopardy!, the smartest quiz show on TV. You have to answer questions like:

"If you're from a small town," Chris Fink says, "one of the things that's required of you is that you have an opinion about that town."

Fink's debut novel, Farmer's Almanac, is full of characters who criticize or defend the Wisconsin villages of Bergamot Pond and Shady Valley -- fictional communities that struggle with the very real challenge of low milk prices.

A picture may be worth a thousand words. But how many of us write down the words inspired by an iconic photograph, such as this one of Billy the Kid?

NIU poet John Bradley is familiar with this photo, the only authenticated image of the Wild West outlaw.

"I've studied that many times," Bradley said. "I think it's just one of the things a writer needs to feed the imagination."

450 miles. That's the distance Marnie Mamminga's family traveled every summer from suburban Chicago to their cabin in northwest Wisconsin.

Mamminga recalls the cabin, and the long journey it took to get there, in her latest book Return to Wake Robin: One Cabin in the Heyday of Northwoods Resorts.

In the 1950s, America's Interstate highways weren't completed, so Illinois families headed "Up North" drove rural roads for much of the trip.

The end of May brought several political developments (and non-developments) at the Illinois capital and in northern Illinois.

Rockford Register Star columnist, Chuck Sweeny, is a longtime observer of state and regional politics. He found the General Assembly's spring session amusing ("We had a legislative session?"), but also frustrating.

Four books. Four author interviews. One great summer of reading  -- and it begins just four weeks from today.

This year's Summer Book Series starts Wednesday, June 5, with Marnie Mamminga's memoir of summer vacations in northwest Wisconsin.

Mamminga lives in suburban Chicago. Her book, Return to Wake Robin: One Cabin in the Heyday of Northwoods Resorts, recounts her family's annual trips to Wake Robin, a log cabin built by her grandfather in 1929.

Dan Libman

In Part 3, author Dan Libman concludes his journey on Lincoln Highway. In March, Libman bicycled across sections of the highway to mark its centenary. Today, he visits Creston and Malta. The latter community is where the first mile of cement was laid, formally establishing America's first cross country highway. Click the Audio Link above to hear the radio version. Here's the final part of Libman's essay:

Dan Libman

In Part 2 of our series "Pedaling Lincoln Highway," author Dan Libman stops at the corner of Lincoln and Lincoln in downtown Rochelle. There, he visits a vintage Standard Oil station - the first on Lincoln Highway in Illinois. Click the above "Audio" link to hear Libman's interview with Ross Freier, director of Rochelle Tourism, inside the filling station. Libman's essay continues below:

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