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For several years, panelists have gathered on Wednesday evenings on KZUM 89.3 FM to discuss contemporary and classic literature. As described on the radio station's internet page, "BookTalk on KZUM 89.3 is a variety show about books and stories on KZUM, Lincoln’s community radio station. Booktalkers are the people who love to read and love to talk about what we read. We interview authors, review best sellers and classics, read excerpts, and talk about the Web sites that book lovers are haunting." Several library staff members have served as guests or hosts of these literary discussions at various times. New episodes air every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. local time.

The following is a partial listing of books discussed on episodes of Booktalk during 2007, based on the information currently available. We will attempt to fill in the gaps in this listing as additional information is made available to us.

December 26, 2007

  Title Discussed: Sam Myers: The Blues is My Story
by Jeffrey Horton

Participants: Jeffrey Horton (call-in guest)

December 5, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: The Blue Death: Disease, Disaster and the Water We Drink
by Robert D. Morris
Environmental epidemiologist Morris chronicles the at times frightening story of our drinking water. He recounts the epidemics that have shaken cities and nations, the scientists who reached into the invisible and emerged with controversial truths that would save millions of lives, and the economic and political forces that opposed these researchers in a ferocious war of ideas.

Participants: Layne Pierce, Carol Swanson

November 28, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Deadline
by Chris Crutcher
Ben Wolf is 18, just had his physical for his senior year of high school, and learned he has a fatal disease and about one year to live. Ben decides to keep this information private, and to live a lifetime's worth in the year he has left.

Participants: Sally Snyder, Richard Miller

November 21, 2007

  Title Discussed: The Pinball God Let Fly
by Pam Barger

Pam teaches piano lessons, and sings and plays keyboard with two dance bands, the FabTones and the Melody Wranglers. Her first poetry chapbook, The Pinball God Let Fly, became available in spring 2007.

Participants: Pam Barger, Mary Jo Ryan, Kit and John Keller

November 14, 2007

  Title Discussed: Selected books for the holidays
by various authors

Participants: Layne Pierce and Kathy Magruder from Lee Booksellers

November 7, 2007

  Title Discussed: Dueling Chefs: A Vegetarian and a Meat Lover Debate the Plate
by Maggie Pleskac and Sean Carmichael

One eats meat. The other doesn’t. Both are professional chefs. And both have recipes that make a deliciously persuasive case for each chef’s point of view. In a delightful culinary turn on “he said, she said,” dueling chefs Maggie Pleskac and Sean Carmichael engage in a delectable debate over the merits of the cuisines of vegetarians and carnivores in the form of recipe one-upmanship in which only the reader is sure to win.

Participants: Maggie Pleskac, Sean Carmichael, Mary Jo Ryan, John and Kit Keller

October 31, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Tantalize
by Cynthia Leitich Smith
When multiple murders in Austin, Texas, threaten the grand re-opening of her family's vampire-themed restaurant, seventeen-year-old, orphaned Quincie worries that her best friend-turned-love interest, Keiren, a werewolf-in-training, may be the prime suspect.

Participants: Sally Snyder

October 24, 2007

  Title Discussed: Just Breathe Normally
by Peggy Shumaker

In the wake of her near-fatal cycling collision, Peggy Shumaker searches for meaning within extremity. Through a long convalescence, she reevaluates her family’s past, treating us to a meditation on the meaning of justice and the role of love in the grueling process of healing. Her book, a moving memoir of childhood and family, testifies to the power of collective empathy in the transformations that make and remake us throughout our lives.

Participants: Peggy Shumaker, Kit Keller, Mary Jo Ryan, Sally Snyder

October 17, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas
by Mari Sandoz

Crazy Horse, the legendary military leader of the Oglala Sioux whose personal power and nonconformity set him off as "strange," fought in many famous battles, including the Little Bighorn. He held out tirelessly against the U.S. government's efforts to confine the Lakotas to reservations. Finally, in the spring of 1877 he surrendered, only to meet a violent death. More than a century later, Crazy Horse continues to hold a special place in the hearts and minds of his people. Mari Sandoz offers an evocation of the long-ago world and enduring spirit of Crazy Horse. [Note: Crazy Horse by Mari Sandoz is the 2007 One Book One Nebraska selection.]

Participants: Paul Olson, Fran Reinehr, Kit and John Keller, Mary Jo Ryan
[Also available in a variety of other editions and formats.]

October 10, 2007

  Author Call-In Show: Pay Here
by Chuck Kelly

Decades in the desert have made reporter Michael Callan hard as a sun-bleached skull. But mutilated migrants and his ex-flame keep causing Callan trouble...even if they're six feet under. Mix an innocent beauty with a savage one, add an assembly of killers, thugs, and a surgeon. Stir vigorously, and you've got a bloody cocktail-lethal for an Irishman who doesn't drink. This is the first novel by Charles Kelly, an award-winning reporter for the Arizona Republic. His in-depth knowledge of criminals, reporters and the issue of illegal immigration across the Arizona-Mexico border are all perfect fodder for this shocking crime fiction debut.

Participants: Liz Hruska, Kit and John Keller

October 3, 2007

book cover  Special 1-hour episode discussing the 2007 One Book -- One Lincoln selection: The Worst Hard Time
by Timothy Egan

Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, Egan tells of their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones in the darkest years of the Depression.

Participants: Layne Pierce
[Also available in format.]

September 26, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle

Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers in a search for Meg's father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government. Newbery Award winner.

Participants: Sally Snyder, Nancy Smith
[Also available in audiotape, book-on-cd [abridged or unabridged], and Large Print formats.]

September 19, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini

Mariam and Laila are born a generation apart but are are brought together by war and fate. Together they endure the dangers surrounding them and discover the power of both love and sacrifice.

Participants: Fran Reinehr, Kit Keller, Mary Jo Ryan, Sally Snyder
[Also available in book-on-cd and Large Print formats.]

September 12, 2007

  Author Interview: Patricia Bremmer, author of Clinical Death

After convincing his sergeant to reinstate him, Colorado's best detective is faced with one of the toughest homicide investigations he has ever encountered-- a missing body leaves his trail of evidence cold. While decompressing from the stress of his job, he's forced to flush out a serial killer in his own community. He utilizes his highly polished crime scene skills, along with a new understanding of his intuitive abilities. A common thread evades him until past characters help him unlock information surrounding him, in an ethereal sense! It's going to take more than a glass of his favorite bourbon and a slice of cheesecake to connect the dots in this string of homicides.

Participants: Patricia Bremmer, Kit Keller

September 5, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Where Have all the Leaders Gone?
by Lee Iacocca

The legendary auto executive and #1 bestselling author of "Iacocca: An Autobiography" sets America straight and trumpets a return to common sense. He writes with wit, warmth, and unflinching honesty about the issues foremost on every American's mind, from job security and global competition to the war in Iraq and the problems faced by the auto industry.

Participants: Lisa Voss, Layne Pierce

August 29, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: The River Wife
by Jonis Agee

When the earthquake brings Annie Lark's Missouri house down on top of her, she finds herself pinned under the massive roof beam, facing certain death. Rescued by French fur trapper Jacques Ducharme, Annie learns to love the strong, brooding man and resolves to live out her days as his "River Wife." More than a century later, in 1930, Hedie Rails comes to Jacques' Landing to marry Clement Ducharme, a direct descendant of the fur trapper and river pirate, and the young couple begin their life together in the very house Jacques built for Annie so long ago. When, night after late night, mysterious phone calls take Clement from their home, a pregnant Hedie finds comfort in Annie's leather-bound journals. But as she reads of the sinister dealings and horrendous misunderstandings that spelled out tragedy for the rescued bride, Hedie fears that her own life is paralleling Annie's, and that history is repeating itself with Jacques' kin. Among the family's papers, Hedie encounters three other strong-willed women who helped shape Jacques Ducharme's life - Omah, the freed slave who took her place beside him as a river raider; his second wife, Laura, who loved money more than the man she married; and Laura and Jacques' daughter, Maddie, a fiery beauty with a nearly uncontrollable appetite for love. Their stories, together with Annie's, weave a haunting tale of this mysterious, seductive, and ultimately dangerous man, a man whose hand stretched over generations of women at a bend in the river where fate and desire collide.

Participants: Jonis Agee, Mary Jo Ryan
[Also available in downloadable audio and book-on-cd formats.]

August 22, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel--a young German girl whose book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

Participants: Mary Jackson, Lucy Jackson, Sally Snyder
[Also available in book-on-cd format.]

August 15, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Dead Ex
by Harley Jane Kozak

When David Zetrakis, the producer of a popular soap opera, is found shot to death the day after Christmas, Wollie Shelley finds herself caught up in the murder investigation. Zetrakis was one of the many Mr. Wrongs in Wollie's career as a serial dater, and her friend Joey has emerged as the media's prime suspect. A hot-tempered celebrity who had dated Zetrakis and was fired from his show some years ago, Joey has inherited a million-dollar Klimt from him. But Joey is not the only potential suspect. Zetrakis left lots of nice bequests to the cast and crew of the show. And as the dating correspondent on a talk show called SoapDirt, Wollie, who's required to dine and dish with the stars, quickly discovers that the behind-the-scenes intrigues of television soaps are as highly charged as the onscreen shenanigans. When Wollie is not trying to protect Joey from an onslaught of predatory reporters, she's helping her brother make the transition from a mental hospital to a halfway house and negotiating her relationship with Simon, her FBI-agent boyfriend. Dead Ex is another full-out romp of a mystery sure to please Kozak's many fans - and win her many new ones too.

Participants: Harley Jane Kozak (phone-in), Fran Reinehr, Kit Keller and Mary Jo Ryan
[Also available in book-on-cd format.]

August 8, 2007

book cover  Recorded Show -- Big Read CD: My Antonia
by Willa Cather

Participants: Mary Jo Ryan
[Available in a variety of different formats and editions.]

August 1, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Brainiac: Adventures in the Curious, Competitive, Compulsive World of Trivia Buffs
by Ken Jennings

One day back in 2003, Ken Jennings and his college buddy Earl did what hundreds of thousands of people had done before: they auditioned for Jeopardy! Two years, 75 games, 2,642 correct answers, and over $2.5 million in winnings later, Ken Jennings emerged as trivia's undisputed king. Brainiac traces his rise from anonymous computer programmer to nerd folk icon. But along the way, it also explores his newly conquered kingdom: the world of trivia itself.

Participants: Layne Pierce

July 25, 2007

book cover  Recorded Show: The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Participants: Kit and John Keller
[Also available in a variety of additional formats and editions.]

July 18, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Every Man for Himself: Ten Short Stories About Being a Guy
compiled by Nancy E. Mercado

From Walter Dean Myers to Mo Willems to Terry Trueman, some of today's most exciting writers offer teen readers a great selection of honest and real stories about everyday guys who get pummeled by some life lessons and still manage to come out on top.

Participants: Richard Miller, Sally Snyder

July 11, 2007

book cover  Will Thomas call-in interview

Participants: Kit Keller

July 4, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: The Worst Hard Time
by Timothy Egan

Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, Egan tells of their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones in the darkest years of the Depression. [NOTE: Selected as the 2007 One Book -- One Lincoln title.]

Participants: Carol Swanson, Layne Pierce
[Also available in book-on-cd format.]

June 27, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: The Undomestic Goddess
by Sophie Kinsella

Samantha Sweeting is desparate to make partner in her law firm in London. She makes a devastating mistake, and walks out of her life. The train takes her to nowhere, where she becomes a housekeeper -- she who cannot cook, clean, or sew.

Participants: Diane Henninger, Sally Snyder
[Also available in book-on-cd format.]

June 20, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Double Bind
by Chris Bohjalian

Participants: John Keller

June 13, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Acorss Italy, India and Indonesia
by Elizabeth Gilbert

At the age of thirty-one, Gilbert moved with her husband to the suburbs of New York and began trying to get pregnant, only to realize that she wanted neither a child nor a husband. Three years later, after a protracted divorce, she embarked on a yearlong trip of recovery, with three main stops: Rome, for pleasure (mostly gustatory, with a special emphasis on gelato); an ashram outside of Mumbai, for spiritual searching; and Bali, for "balancing." These destinations are all on the beaten track, but Gilbert's exuberance and her self-deprecating humor enliven the proceedings: recalling the first time she attempted to speak directly to God, she says, "It was all I could do to stop myself from saying, 'I've always been a big fan of your work.'"

Participants: Fran Reinehr, Mary Jo Ryan, Kit Keller, John Keller
[Also available in unabridged book-on-cd format.]

June 6, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire, and the Birth of Europe
by William Rosen

Surveying the reign of Emperor Justinian of the Byzantine Empire during the years 527-65, Rosen enlists a range of topics from architecture to conquest to bubonic plague. The latter looms largest in his account, for it wreaked havoc in 542. Justinian's ambition to restore the Roman Empire, going great guns at the time under General Belisarius, came to a halt. The calamity's demographic consequences must have been substantial, too, if uncertain, and Rosen salts his text with speculations about the Byzantine seedlings of Europe's future nations. With more surety, Rosen relays eyewitness descriptions of the Justinian plague, with which he integrates the modern scientific understanding of Yersinia pestis and its carrier, the rat. Before the plague arrived in Constantinople, luckily for Justinian's historical reputation, he had already finished building the Hagia Sophia and codifying Roman law. Deeply steeped in the literature of late antiquity, Rosen wears his erudition lightly as he weaves interpretations into a fluid narrative of the era's geostrategic possibilities before the final onset of the Dark Ages.

Participants: Carol Swanson, Bill VanderMel

May 30, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: The Stand
by Stephen King

Originally published in 1978, this is an epic novel of global catastrophe and survival. Just one small glitch brings the death of 99% of the world population, the survivors must decide how they will cope and which side they will choose. To quote the book jacket, "The Stand is a story of dark wonders and irresistible terror, an epic of final confrontation between Good and Evil."

Participants: Sally Snyder, Judd and Andy Smith

May 23, 2007

book cover  Taped interview with author Timothy Schaffert

Participants: Mary Jo Ryan and Kit Keller

May 16, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: The Road
by Cormac McCarthy

A searing, postapocalyptic novel destined to become Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece. A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. They sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearting, a cart of scavenged food-and each other. The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation.

Participants: Layne Pierce, Carol Swanson
[Also available in unabridged book-on-cd format.]

May 9, 2007

book cover  Topic Discussed: The works of Kurt Vonnegut

Participants: Layne Pierce, Carol Swanson

May 2, 2007

NSWC logo  The 2007 Nebraska Summer Writers Conference

Participants: Jonis Agee, Kit and John Keller

April 25, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Supreme Conflict: The Inside Story of the Struggle for Control of the Supreme Court
by Jan Crawford Greenberg

Over the past decade, the central front of America's bitter culture wars has been the titanic battle over the composition and direction of the United States Supreme Court. During this period, no journalist has been closer to the action on the ground - the ideas, the politics, the personalities, the gamesmanship - than ABC News correspondent Jan Crawford Greenburg. Now, in Supreme Conflict, Greenburg draws on all of her formidable reportorial resources to give a brilliant, vivid, astonishingly unvarnished account of the struggle for the soul of the highest court in the land.

Participants: Layne Pierce, Bil VanderMel, Carlene Putens

April 18, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: The Thirteenth Tale
by Diane Setterfield

The enigmatic Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself - all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.

Participants: Carol Swanson, Deanne Johnson, Erin Stutzman
[Also available in unabridged book-on-cd format.]

April 11, 2007

book cover  Recorded Show from the Big Red: To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee

Participants: Kit and John Keller
[Also available in a variety of additional formats and editions.]

April 4, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Brother Odd
by Dean Koontz

Participants: Sally Snyder, Nancy Smith
[Also available in downloadable audio, book-on-cd [abridged or unabridged], and Large Print formats.]

March 28, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: What Becomes You
by Aaron Raz Link and Hilda Raz

"Being a man, like being a woman, is something you have to learn," Aaron Raz Link remarks. Few would know this better than the coauthor of What Becomes You, who began life as a girl named Sarah and twenty-nine years later began life anew as a gay man. Turning from female to male and from teaching scientist to theatre performer, Link documents the extraordinary medical, social, legal, and personal process involved in a complete identity change. Hilda Raz, a well-known feminist writer and teacher, observes the process as both an "astonished" parent and as a professor who has studied gender issues. All these perspectives come into play in this collaborative memoir, which travels between women's experience and men's lives, explores the art and science of changing sex, maps uncharted family values, and journeys through a world transformed by surgery, hormones, love, and...clown school. Combining personal experience and critical analysis, the book is an unusual - and unusually fascinating - reflection on gender, sex, and the art of living.

Participants: John and Kit Keller, Hilda Raz, Aaron Raz Link

March 21, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: The Usual Rules
by Joyce Maynard

Participants: Sally Snyder, Mary Jackson, Jeremy Jackson

March 14, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: The Crimson Portrait
by Jody Shields

Spring 1915. On a sprawling country estate not far from London, a young woman mourns her husband, fallen on a distant battlefield." "The isolated and eerie stillness in which she grieves is shattered as her home is transformed into a bustling military hospital to serve the war's most irreparably injured. Disturbed by the intrusion of the suffering men and their caretakers, the young widow finds unexpected solace in the company of a wounded soldier whose face, concealed by bandages, she cannot see. Their affair takes an unexpected turn when fate presents her with an opportunity: to remake her lover - with the unwitting help of a visionary surgeon and an American woman artist - in the image of her lost husband.

Participants: Barbara Rixstine, Mary Jo Ryan, Kit Keller

March 7, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: The Castle in the Forest
by Norman Mailer

The narrator, a mysterious SS man in possession of some extraordinary secrets, takes the young Adolf Hitler from birth through his adolescence. En route, revealing portraits are offered of Hitler's father and mother, and his sisters and brothers. A tapestry of unforgettable characters, The Castle in the Forest delivers its myriad twists and surprises with insight into the nature of the struggle between good and evil that exists in us all. At its core is a hypothesis that this novel employs with stunning originality.

Participants: Layne Pierce, Carol Swanson

February 28, 2007

book cover  Titles Discussed: Eragon and Eldest
by Christopher Paolini

Discussion will also include the recent (2006) movie adaptation of Eragon.

Participants: Sally Snyder, Andy Smith
[Both volumes in the Eragon series are also available in other formats, including book-on-tape and book-on-CD.]

February 21, 2007

Mayhem logo  Topic Discussed: Tonight's episode focused on the upcoming Mayhem in the Midlands mystery fiction conference, scheduled for May 24-27, 2007 in Omaha, especially the works of Margaret Maron, who will be the conference's Guest of Honor.

Participants: Carol Swanson

February 14, 2007

book cover  Topic Discussed: Ted Kooser, famed Nebraska poet, joins Mary Jo Ryan and both Kit and John Keller on a special Valentine's Day episode -- done as live theater!

February 7, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: 1,000 Places to See Before You Die
by Patricia Schultz

Around the World, continent by continent, here is the best the world has to offer, 1,000 places guaranteed to give travelers the shivers: sacred ruins, grand hotels, wildlife preserves, hilltop villages, snack shacks, castles, festivals, reefs, restaurants, cathedrals, hidden islands, opera houses, museums, and more.

Note: The Travel Channel cable tv network will be premiering a new series, based on the contents of this book, in the Spring of 2007.

Participants: Layne Pierce, Scott Clark

January 31, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Children of the Great Depression
by Russell Freedman

Life was hard for children during the Great Depression: kids had to do without new clothes, shoes, or toys, and many couldn't attend school because they had to work. Even so, life still had its bright spots. Take a closer look at the lives of young Americans during this era.

Participants: Sally Snyder, Mary Jo Ryan

January 24, 2007

visit the Overdrive corporate web site  Topic Discussed: Some of the many books that will soon be available via the Lincoln City Libraries' new OverDrive audiobook downloading service

Participants: Scott Clark, Lisa Voss

January 17, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Echo Maker
by Richard Powers

On a winter night on a remote Nebraska road, twenty-seven-year-old Mark Schluter flips his truck in a near-fatal accident. His older sister, Karin, his only near kin, returns reluctantly to their hometown to nurse Mark back from a traumatic head injury. But when he emerges from a protracted coma, Mark believes that this woman - who looks, acts, and sounds just like his sister - is really an impostor. Shattered by her brother's refusal to recognize her, Karin contacts the cognitive neurologist Gerald Weber, famous for his case histories describing the infinitely bizarre world of brain disorders. Weber recognizes Mark's condition as a rare case of Capgras syndrome - the delusion that people in one's life are doubles or imposters - and eagerly investigates. What he discovers in Mark slowly undermines even his own sense of being. Meanwhile, Mark, armed only with a note left by an anonymous witness, attempts to learn what happened the night of his inexplicable accident. The truth of that evening will change the lives of all three beyond recognition.

Participants: Carol Swanson

January 10, 2007

book cover  Topic Discussed: The works of Tillie Olsen, the classic Nebraska author (Tell Me a Riddle, Yonnondio and others) who died January 1, 2007

Participants: John and Kit Keller

January 3, 2007

book cover  Title Discussed: Thunderstruck
by Erik Larson [364.152 Lar]

In Thunderstruck, Erik Larson (author of the 2006 One Book One Lincoln selection, The Devil in the White City) again unites the dual stories of two disparate men, one a genius and the other a killer. The genius is Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of wireless communication. The murderer is the notorious Englishman Dr. H.H. Crippen.

Participants: Bill VanderMel, Carlene Putens
[Also available in unabridged book-on-cd format.]

Other past KZUM Booktalk pages:

Past Years: Master Index | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005

Connect to the main Lincoln City Libraries Web site!