Winter Book Series

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.

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.

Four Prescriptions For Cabin Fever

Nov 27, 2012

If you suffer from cabin fever during cold weather, WNIJ offers something that's good for what ails you. We have invited four writers to be part of our Winter Book Series, which airs Wednesdays in December during Morning Edition. This is the second time this year we have introduced you to authors from northern Illinois. (You might remember our Summer Book Series from last June.)