WNIJ Read With Me

WNIJ's "Read With Me" archive collects dozens of interviews with authors from the WNIJ area -- northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.

On the third Monday of each month, Morning Edition host Dan Klefstad talks with an author about their latest book, and asks them to read an excerpt. Many of the interviews below feature an additional excerpt reading captured on video.

We hope you take the time to read the books featured here. And if you talk about them on social media, please use #WNIJReadWithMe.

Wisconsin Village At Epicenter Of Presidential Campaign, Gay Marriage Debate

This could be the headline of a Leo Townsend article about the conflict in his hometown of Endeavor, Wis.

The fictional reporter might include his efforts to get an exclusive interview with the first openly gay man who's a serious candidate for the White House. Leo might add details about his family's failing farm -- plus his troubled relationship with his father and a secret kept by his younger brother Eddie.

Mike Doyle wasn't in Belvidere on April 21, 1967. The Rockford native was a freshman at UW-Whitewater when an F4 tornado ripped through Boone County.

But Doyle's been living with that twister for years.

His book, The Belvidere Tornado, was first published in 2008. It tells the stories of people who survived the storm, and the 24 who didn't.

When Doyle finished the manuscript, he got up from his desk and walked into the living room.

When Christine Sneed begins a story, she never knows where her characters will take it.

"Usually I'm about halfway through and I still won't know what's going to happen at the end," Sneed says, "but I have some sense of where I'm going."

The award-winning author has the experience to avoid early-draft pitfalls, and shares this knowledge with her students at Northwestern University and Regis University.

The next four years will be very good for poetry.

That's according to Susan Azar Porterfield, who says our nation's current political divisions echo previous tempests, which sprouted an abundance of biting verse.

In 2003, Robert Bly, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and more than 8,000 other poets submitted their work to a global movement opposing the Iraq invasion. The book Poets Against the War collected 262 of those poems.

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