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.
The "Heyday" in the book's subtitle ranges from 1929 through the 1960s. According to Mamminga, that's when her mother, Woody, transformed summer vacations into memories for a lifetime.
The book's cover features Woody rowing in front of the family cabin on Big Spider Lake.
The next "book" is actually a pamphlet. John Bradley's The Cosmic Chronicles of Billy the Kidder is a series of poems about Billy the Kid.
Bradley, an NIU English instructor, became obsessed with the Wild West outlaw when he was a child.
His latest collection re-imagines this character, and others from the time, including Sheriff Pat Garrett and Sister Blandina. One poem features the nun performing an exorcism on Billy.
The interview with Bradley airs June 12.
On June 19, the series turns to long fiction. Farmer's Almanac is Chris Fink's first novel. An English Professor at Beloit College, Fink grew up on farms in Illinois and Wisconsin.
The book is set in the fictional community of Bergamot Pond, Wisconsin, "where milk prices keep falling, and the forecast is not good." It's a far cry from the Midwestern vision of Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon.
The final book in this series is This Must Be Where My Obsession With Infinity Began, by NIU professor Joe Bonomo.
Bonomo's newest book is a collection of essays that, according to his publisher, "interrogates the dark edges of his suburban youth, exploring issues of spirituality, sex, violence, and myth."
The book won first place in the Orphan Press Creative Nonfiction Book Contest. Bonomo will talk about his book on June 26.
Listen during Morning Edition after NPR news at 6:30 and 8:30. Then return to this page to hear the authors read excerpts from their books. We'll also post information about their appearances at local bookstores.
Have a great summer -- and happy reading!