This month, WNIJ will feature four books that belong on your shelf or e-reader. Three of them are by Illinois authors. One was written by an Iowa resident who used to work for Northern Public Radio.
The Winter Book Series will air Mondays in December during Morning Edition, and appear in our Book Series archive.
Our first book is by Craig Hart, who used to work in our Rockford facility. His novel Becoming Moon is an Amazon Reader's Choice "5 Star Award" winner. It's about a novelist who meets an older writer, Nigel Moon, who proposes a deal involving lots of money, but the protagonist would have to put his own literary career on hold. Our interview with Hart airs December 7.
On December 14, we welcome back DeKalb poet Joe Gastiger who has a new book of poems called If You So Desire. The nearly 60 prose poems cover a range of topics, from Pete Seeger to Muammar Qaddafi. One is dedicated to Antinette "Toni" Keller, a Northern Illinois University student who was murdered in 2010.
Our third author, Christine Sneed, lives in Evanston and teaches at the University of Illinois. Her novel, Paris, He Said, follows aspiring artist Jayne Marks from New York City to the "City of Light," where her new lover, Laurent, offers a job in his gallery -- and a possible exhibit for her paintings.
Our final author in this series, James McManus, is the best known storyteller about poker. McManus covered the 2000 World Series of Poker for Harper's Magazine, initially to report on the progress of women at the high-stakes event. He ended up playing, and kept winning until he wound up at the final table -- coming in fifth place. His book about that experience, Positively Fifth Street, was a New York Times best-seller.
McManus's latest book is a series of seven linked stories called The Education of a Poker Player. Each story follows Vincent Killeen, an Irish-American boy growing up in suburban Chicago in the 1960s. As Killeen progresses through his teens, we see him moving away from his devout Catholic upbringing, and toward women and the world of poker. We'll talk with McManus on December 28.
You can hear snippets of the authors in the radio promos below:
We encourage you to read these books before the series starts, and invite your comments about them. If you include them in your book club, let us know. And if you talk about these books on social media please use #WNIJReadWithMe.