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Statistics about income inequality are stark. For example, two-thirds of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. But numbers are inadequate when trying to convey the desperation of living on the sharpest edge of poverty. New author Jakob Guanzon aims to paint a more gritty and throbbing story with his debut novel, “Abundance.” With lessons partly glea…
 
Now that the right to an abortion has been overturned, America enters a new phase. Some states, like Minnesota, will continue to offer abortion care. Many others will prevent all access. Some will even criminalize anyone who helps a pregnant person get an abortion in a state that makes it legal. Writer and activist Robin Marty saw this day coming —…
 
Shocking fact: The average American home has more than 300,000 items in it. And that was before the pandemic, when many of us used Amazon as retail therapy. While Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus certainly understand the impulse, they encourage a different path. When they were kids growing up in poverty in Ohio, they equated stuff with suc…
 
Writer and journalist Kathryn Schulz met the woman she would marry just 18 months before her cherished father died. Both events were seismic shifts in her life, and as she writes in her new memoir, “Lost and Found,” the loss made the joy somehow sweeter. “In quick succession, I found one foundational love and lost another,” she writes. “Ever since,…
 
Families are intricate, made up of interwoven and multilayered relationships. Sue Miller’s “Monogamy” examines these complex ties amidst a family who loses their beloved and gregarious father, Graham. After his death, his second wife Annie, discovers Graham wasn’t always faithful during their 30-year marriage. The resulting grief, anger, reassessin…
 
Are you ready to dive into some summer reading? MPR News host Kerri Miller has nine titles you should put on your list. On this week’s show, a “Take it to the Lake” special, she asked three people who spend a lot of time recommending books to devoted readers what titles they would put in your hands this season. She also talked to them about what ma…
 
Why do we sweat? The science behind this primal bodily function is complicated, fascinating and often just plain weird. In her delightful book, “The Joy of Sweat,” science journalist Sarah Everts makes the case that it’s time our species finds “serenity instead of shame” in perspiration. She traveled the world in pursuit of sweat’s history and soci…
 
It began as a challenge: Could columnist Tamar Haspel and her husband eat one meal a day using food they grew or gathered themselves for an entire year? Haspel was intrigued by the experiment. Her husband — normally a “why not” guy — was less enthused. It was winter in Cape Cod, after all. But they embarked on the journey anyway, just a few months …
 
Rebecca Winn became a landscape designer by instinct. She knew that something about the flowers, the soil, the cycle and the discovery fed her soul. When her life fell apart, it was her garden that taught her how to heal. In her book, “One Hundred Daffodils,” she shares those lessons with us. MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with Winn in March 2020…
 
It took years for Marie Myung-Ok Lee to collect the pieces and do the research necessary to accurately write her new novel, “The Evening Hero.” It tells the story of a Korean-born obstetrician who is shocked to discover that the northern Minnesota hospital where he’s delivered babies for decades is being closed, with only a week’s notice. It disrup…
 
In the fall of 2012, Kerri Miller finally welcomed Dr. Abraham Verghese to the stage of the Fitzgerald Theater. She had wanted to talk to him for years, at last securing him for a Talking Volumes discussion about his novel, “Cutting for Stone.” He was worth the wait. Dr. Verghese told Miller that his work as an internist at Stanford only adds to hi…
 
It’s an astonishing number: Six out of ten Americans live with at least one chronic illness, many of which are poorly understood and difficult to diagnose. Now, with long COVID emerging, even more people are grappling with what it means to live with a condition that isn’t easily cured and often doesn’t go away. Meghan O’Rourke lived this journey. S…
 
Medical technology has advanced exponentially. So why are patient-physician relationships stuck in the past? That’s the heart of the question in Dr. Danielle Ofri’s book, “What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear.” Enjoy this archive offering from 2017 as you get ready for Friday’s conversation between Kerri Miller and author Megan O’Rourke about the d…
 
All kids are readers. Some just haven’t discovered it yet. Courtesy of Orange Coast Magazine Kitty Felde is the host and executive producer of Book Club for Kids. That’s the belief of Kitty Felde, former NPR correspondent and current host and executive producer of the podcast “Book Club for Kids.” In May, she joined Kerri Miller for a Friday episod…
 
Fairy tales are deceptively simple — “once upon a time” stories, filled with adventure and righteous moral power. But many believe they shouldn’t be relegated to the kids’ shelf. Writer Neil Gaiman famously said, “Fairy tales are more than true. Not because they tell us that dragons exist. But because they tell us dragons can be beaten.” Novelist K…
 
On Friday’s show, it’s all about books for kids. MPR News host Kerri Miller talks with Minnesota author Kelly Barnhill about her new book, “The Ogress and the Orphans,” and Kitty Felde, host of the podcast Book Club for Kids, about what young readers should dive into this summer. To whet your appetite, we thought you would enjoy this fun 2019 inter…
 
How to use science to help us manage life’s toughest moments is the theme of this week’s Big Books and Bold Ideas. Here, we revisit three discussions MPR News host Kerri Miller had with authors this past year and learn what they’ve discovered about grief, heartbreak and talking with people with whom we fundamentally disagree. Climate scientist Kath…
 
The roots of ecologist Suzanne Simard’s love of forests are multiple generations deep. Her family relied on forestry for their livelihood, and she was one of the early groups of women to carve out space within the logging industry. But her experience didn’t mirror her family’s. As the scale of the industry’s business grew, Simard’s concern about th…
 
If you stand in the Sistine Chapel and look up at Michelangelo’s depiction of God, you’ll see the archetype. God is white, old, and male. Always male. Theologian and activist Christena Cleveland believes that image is limiting and even harmful. Her new book, “God is a Black Woman,” seeks to recover the sacred, Black feminine, thanks to a pilgrimage…
 
For centuries, the white American church enabled and even embraced racism. Many Christians say that's in the past. Jemar Tisby doesn't agree. MPR News host Kerri Miller talked to the theologian and author in 2019 about his book, "The Color of Compromise," and again in 2021, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. This week, as we look ahead to a…
 
In classic literature, a hero goes forth to find great adventure and calamitous tragedy. But at the end of their journey, they often turn toward home. Don Winslow uses Greek and Roman literature as his muse as he launches his new trilogy with the book, “City of Fire.” Set in Rhode Island in the late 1980s, it chronicles the clashes of two crime fam…
 
Novelist Don Winslow has written hundreds of pages about America's war on drugs. He's taken readers into the labyrinth of Mexican cartels, revealed the cynical calculations made in the highest echelons of governments and laid bare the violence and the damage that flow from America's greed for drugs. This Friday, MPR Hews host Kerri Miller will talk…
 
In 2014, after years of writing in relative obscurity, Emily St. John Mandel published a breakaway novel. “Station Eleven” was a huge hit, selling more than 1.5 million copies and receiving critical acclaim. It was even made into a television series by HBO Max. Eerily enough, “Station Eleven” was set in a world confronting a global pandemic. Her ne…
 
More than 60 million years ago, an object the size of a small city barreled into planet Earth, traveling at more than 22,000 miles per hour. That meteoroid, many scientists believe, triggered a set of cataclysmic climate changes and natural disasters that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. But what triggered the meteoroid? Lisa Randall, a part…
 
When someone we deeply love dies, the grief can be overwhelming. But it also reveals a dichotomy in our brains. Neuroscience has learned that we are wired to keep two streams of information running simultaneously about those we love. One stream deals with the day-to-day reality, the memories. The other stream encodes the relationship into the brain…
 
Max Porter's debut novel, "Grief is the Thing with Feathers," packs an emotional landslide into its slim 100 pages. The book features a grief-stricken father and his two young sons, unmoored by a great loss. Then Crow comes to the door. Not just a crow, but Crow. Sarcastic, wise and ripped from the pages of folklore, Crow tells the father that he w…
 
It feels like the COVID-19 pandemic launched a thousand conspiracies. From microchips in the vaccines, to using bleach to treat the virus, to a shadowy cabal controlling it all, vast swaths of America fell prey to false thinking. But it has also enflamed a conspiracy theory that has nothing to do with viruses and vaccines. Journalist Kelly Weill ha…
 
Conspiracy theories are spreading faster than ever, thanks to social media. This Friday at 11 a.m., MPR News host Kerri Miller will talk about why people are susceptible to conspiracy theories with reporter Kelly Weill. In the meantime, enjoy this conversation from our recent archives. Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe knows a thing or two about d…
 
When news happens along the U.S.-Mexico border, stories about the region are often filled with statistics about crime or the consequences of policies that fail to address migration from the south to the north. But fiction often tells a more nuanced truth than straightforward reporting, and that’s what writer Mesha Maren does in her new novel, “Perp…
 
This Friday, you’ll hear MPR host Kerri Miller’s conversation with novelist Mesha Maren. Her new book, “Perpetual West,” is set along the U.S.-Mexico border and explores the art, activism and identity of a divided community. It harkens back to a discussion Miller had in 2020 with Yaa Gyasi. Both Gyasi’s acclaimed debut novel, “Homecoming,” and her …
 
A new historical fiction book follows an all-Black brigade as they fight in the Civil War. Join host Kerri Miller and author David Wright Faladé on Friday for their conversation about his book, what he learned from his historical research and how Etheridge’s complicated backstory previews race relations today.…
 
Kerri Miller’s Friday conversation is about a novel set in the waning days of the Civil War. It tells the story of a group of slaves turned soldiers, who must grapple with resistance in a country that’s changing. Scholar Eric Foner spent decades researching that era of American history. In his 2019 book, “The Second Founding,” he writes about how t…
 
Wajahat Ali grew up in the Bay Area in the 1980s — a shy, chubby, awkward kid who was decidedly American but not always in the right way. His journey to becoming a writer, public speaker and post-9/11 activist is the thread that weaves together his new book, “Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become America…
 
If we knew then what we know now, would we jump into the pool of matrimony quite so quickly? A new book takes a look at the joys and irritations of being with the same person for a long time. Host Kerri Miller talks to its author, advice columnist and essayist Heather HavrileskyAutor: Minnesota Public Radio
 
What happens to a marriage when two people are forced to live apart? In Tayari Jones' 2018 novel, "An American Marriage," a relationship is set on edge when one of the characters is sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit. The novel is filled with conflict around questions of memory, loyalty, race, fatherhood, ambition and justice. We’re revisi…
 
Marlon James once described his 2019 novel “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” as an African “Game of Thrones” — grimdark fantasy fiction that was widely praised. This week, he released the second installment in his “Dark Sky” trilogy, “Moon Witch, Spider King,” and if anything, it’s getting even more acclaim. Like its predecessor, it’s set in a harsh imagin…
 
Novelist Marlon James is out with the second novel in his fantastical trilogy. It’s called “Moon Witch, Spider King,” and host Kerri Miller will talk to him about it at noon Friday as part of Big Books and Bold Ideas. In the meantime, we thought you might be intrigued to listen to their 2019 conversation at the Fitzgerald Theater. They talked about…
 
Like the protagonist of his new, breakaway novel, author Brendan Slocumb is a Black violinist. He knows the monotony of daily practice punctuated by the occasional thrill of performance. He’s experienced the racism that’s often inherent in the classical world. But unlike Ray McMillian, the lead character of “The Violin Conspiracy,” Slocumb does not…
 
The adage, “absolute power corrupts absolutely,” feels relevant today. Authoritarian leaders are on the rise worldwide. Democracy is on the decline, even here in the United States. Does power twist otherwise good people? Or will bad people always take power by the reigns? That is the question at the heart of former Minnesotan and political scientis…
 
It took many decades after Mahmood Mattan’s execution at Cardiff Prison in Wales for his name to be cleared over a killing he did not commit. Booker Prize finalist Nadifa Mohamed remembers seeing his picture in the newspaper, and she later learned that Mattan, a young Somali sailor, knew her father. Mattan’s story — and the life he led before his h…
 
When celebrated ESPN writer Ivan Maisel’s son died by suicide in 2015, he channeled his grief into words. His deeply personal and moving book, “I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye: A Memoir of Loss, Grief and Love,” is a testament both to a father’s love and to the human soul’s ability to grieve and remember and still not lose hope. Host Kerri Miller ta…
 
When Barbara F. Walter started researching her book, “How Civil Wars Start, and How to Stop Them,” in 2018, many wondered if it was an “exercise in fear-mongering.” The idea that the U.S. could find itself mired in a second civil war seemed incredulous, even irresponsible. In 2021, it doesn’t feel as implausible. Walter’s book examines how civil wa…
 
Marine Corps veteran Phil Klay won the National Book Award in 2014 for his first book, “Redeployment,” a collective of stories that emerged from his service in the Iraq War. His much-anticipated second release came out in October, and once again, he uses his military experience to inform the story. “Missionaries” is a novel that follows the lives o…
 
Kate Bowler is back with another bestseller. In her new book, “No Cure for Being Human,” she asks: How do you move forward with a life you didn’t choose? Bowler talks with host Kerri Miller about her book, her life today and how hope is better than anticipation.Autor: Minnesota Public Radio
 
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