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

This week, the Illinois Senate President hopes to pass a same-sex marriage bill. Democrat John Cullerton wants the upper chamber to approve the bill by Valentine's Day, and send it to the House. Gov. Pat Quinn has said he'd sign SB 10, but the bill faces an uncertain future in the lower chamber.

Northern Illinois University

Internationally renowned poet, Lucien Stryk, died January 24th in London at the age of 88.  Stryk wrote and edited more than two dozen books, including collections of his poetry, and translations of Chinese and Japanese Zen poetry.  He also taught creative writing and Asian literature at Northern Illinois University from 1958 until he retired in 1991. 

NIU

Matt Streb is familiar to WNIJ listeners as a political analyst.  But Streb, who chairs NIU's political science department, is also a special adviser to student athletes.

Streb is one of 15 faculty athletics representatives to be honored this year by the National Football Foundation. According to NFF, the reps "played a critical role in the overall educational experience of our country’s student-athletes."

Most of us don't think about computers and robots as conscious beings. NIU professor David J. Gunkel thinks we should, because the consequences of not doing so could be catastrophic.

The world of fiction provides many examples of hostile interactions between humans and artificially intelligent beings, or AIs. One of Gunkel's favorites is the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, especially the scene where astronaut David Bowman is locked outside the spaceship Discovery. The brain of the spacecraft, HAL, refuses to let him in:

Kibbe is a new book of poems by Susan Azar Porterfield, but it's also a traditional Arabic dish made of ground meat, bulgar, onions and spices. For Porterfield, of DeKalb, the dish recalls memories of her childhood in Chicago.

"My father was Lebanese," she says, "so he missed the food of his homeland. And he would make kibbe and we loved it, we grew up on it."

Cris Mazza's new novel, Various Men Who Knew Us as Girls, blends a true story of unrequited love with a fictional attempt by Mazza's alter ego, Hester Smith, to rescue a 14-year-old prostitute.

The first part is drawn from Mazza's experience. The second part is her attempt to explore — as one reviewer put it — the continuum from flirtation to abuse. The story is intricate, so let's begin with a synopsis:

Kyle L. White has lived in Sycamore, Ill., since 1991 but he grew up in Stevens Point, Wis. His humorous stories and illustrations, inspired by the Dairy State, have appeared in Peninsula Pulse newspaper, Christianity Today and PRISM Magazine.

His new book collects these stories, and pen-and-ink drawings, in a single volume called Wisconsin River of Grace, published by Cornerstone Press.

Author Kyle White of Sycamore
Photo by Dan Klefstad

Kyle L. White has lived in Sycamore, Ill., since 1991 but he grew up in Stevens Point, Wis. His humorous stories and illustrations, inspired by the Dairy State, have appeared in Peninsula Pulse newspaper, Christianity Today and PRISM Magazine.

His new book collects these stories, and pen-and-ink drawings, in a single volume called Wisconsin River of Grace, published by Cornerstone Press.

Citizens First National Bank served customers in Chicago's western suburbs and the LaSalle area.  On Friday, November 2, the FDIC's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency closed the bank, including its branches in Aurora, Genoa, Huntley and Hampshire. It's the FDIC's policy not to give advance notice of a bank's closing.

Illinois' new 16th Congressional District will include parts of Rockford, DeKalb, and the LaSalle area. The old 16th is represented by Republican Don Manzullo of Egan, but last Spring he lost the primary to Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Manteno. Kinzinger was elected in 2010 to represent a neighboring district, the 11th.

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