The series, hosted by Dan Klefstad, broadcasts interviews with the authors, who read selections of their work and share their inspirations.
“Read With Me” will air every morning at 6:52 and 8:52 a.m. beginning Tuesday, June 14, through Friday, June 17, during the station’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and at 7:35 a.m. Saturday, June 18 during Weekend Edition.
WNIJ developed the “Read With Me” book series as a way to introduce and engage its listening audience with outstanding work by writers across the region.
Staci Hoste, director and general manager of the station, looks forward to the next portion of the program: “We encourage our listeners to read along with us before the interviews air in June,” Hoste said. “It is our pleasure to serve a community comprising talented writers and passionate readers, and we work hard to make WNIJ a gathering place for regional literature.”
The first installment of the series airs June 14 and will feature a novel by Kristin Oakley, who titles the book after its setting, the fictional town Carpe Diem, Illinois. It is a population that has quietly “unschooled” its children for decades, eschewing tests and classrooms for real-life experiences. Now, long-smoldering political feuds – and personal secrets – threaten to ruin this community. Oakley’s book was named “Book of the Year” by the Chicago Writers Association.
The book series continues June 15 with “HoneyLee’s Girl,” written by G.K. Wuori, who judged WNIJ’s first writing contest, “Three Minute Fiction,” last October. When the F.B.I. enters your life, they are not to be trusted. So says Wuori’s character, Michelle Monelle, who must describe the turmoil of her youth to two special agents, including her marriage at age 14, mysterious strangers who may or may not have been government agents, and the passionate Native-American woman on the run from everything.
June 16 will present the first young adult novel featured in the “Read With Me” book series.
Written by Maria Boynton, “Ruthlessly Aadi” is the story of 15-year-old Aadi Benoit who flees a neglectful, abusive mother and discovers what it means to be part of a real family. Her journey brings her to Angel Sanchez, an 8-year-old, Spanish-speaking orphan who has become lost in circumstance. During their travels, Aadi learns that she would sacrifice everything to keep her loved one safe.
The broadcast June 17 will feature NIU professor and poet Amy Newman, who explores the lives of Sylvia Plath, John Berryman, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, Theodore Roethke, Delmore Schwartz and Anne Sexton in a book titled, “On This Day in Poetry History.”
Why these poets?
“Because theirs is the generation that represents what a poet is to many of us,” wrote New York Times reviewer David Kirby, “somebody who lived it up while producing memorable work and who usually managed to land a teaching job rather than punch a time clock or starve in a garret.”
The series will conclude on June 18 with author Aaron Sitze who lives and teachers in Oregon, Ill. His book, “The Andrew Jackson Stories” is an illustrated collection of flash fiction stories about the seventh president told from the viewpoint of his gardener. “This is the book Annie Dillard would write if she took acid,” one reviewer wrote on Goodreads.
WNIJ invites listeners to read along – and to share their thoughts using the hashtag #WNIJReadWithMe.