Literature

Our guest is Kyle Harper, a professor of classics and letters at the University of Oklahoma, whose books include "The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire" and "From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity." He joins us to discuss his hefty and fascinating new book, "Plagues upon the Earth: Disease and the Course of Human History." It offers a meticulously detailed "germ's-eye view" of human life on this planet -- from the origins of disease among our earliest hunter-gatherers to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

A Rom-Communist Manifesto

Sep 1, 2021
Pixabay

If you’re not watching Ted Lasso, I’m not sure how you’re making it these days. 

For those unfamiliar, Jason Sudeikis plays the title character—a college level American Football coach from the Midwest who is surprisingly recruited to coach an English Premier League team, AFC Richmond. Seemingly unsophisticated and goofy, his folksy approach leaves press, fans, and players scratching their heads (or worse). But Ted contains multitudes, as does this gem of a show.

Our guest is the poet and fiction writer Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, who teaches creative writing and literature at OU. She joins us to talk about her new book, "The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois," which is a very well-regarded debut novel. As was noted of this work in a starred review in Publishers Weekly: "A staggering and ambitious saga exploring African American history.

(Note: This interview first aired back in March.) Our guest is Kevin Brockmeier, an imaginative and acclaimed writer based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Each Book a Gift

Aug 4, 2021

There’s always a strange tension I experience when perusing book lists, and you know how much I adore a good book list. 

Forthcoming title lists are so full of promise—debut novelists to discover and perennial favorites with new releases that I will pre-order without question (The Sentence by Lousise Erdrich in November, to be precise). The tension comes in wanting to read everything new and fearing that I’m missing out on backlist titles. 

Our old friend and colleague Nancy Pearl joins us on StudioTulsa to offer some can't-miss summer reading suggestions: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, and so forth. A bestselling author, retired librarian, and longtime resident of the Seattle area, Nancy (who's also a former Tulsan) has been making occasional recommendations to book-loving KWGS listeners for decades. It's good to hear from her again.

Death is something very few of like to talk about, or even think about, but it's a fact of life, after all -- the final fact of life, you might say. What if we could live our lives while looking at death in a more complete, more honest, less fearful way? Would our lives be richer? And would we actually be healthier individuals? Our guest, Barbara Becker, clearly and intelligently answers these questions in the affirmative.

Great Reads for Your Long, Hot Summer

Jun 17, 2021
Pixabay

The heat index may be 105, and I may always smell like a combination of SPF 50 sunscreen, Deep Woods Off, and perspiration, but there’s still something magical about summer. For readers, a lot of that magic has to do with books. I remember when the entire day would stretch out before me, and I could spend it absorbed in tales by Beverly Cleary or Judy Blume. 

Read Better. Do Better.

May 26, 2021

Read what you want.

Never apologize for your reading taste.

Every book its reader; every reader her book.

These are cornerstone principles of readers’ advisory and ones that the library’s summer reading program promotes with a passion.

Our guest is Kevin Brockmeier, an imaginative and acclaimed writer based in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Great Migrations

Mar 3, 2021

During our recent arctic blast, robins appeared everywhere.

It seemed odd to spot a harbinger of spring in below-zero temperatures, so I looked into why I might be seeing flocks in the winter. Maybe it was the stir craziness that I was experiencing, but I went down a bit of a robin rabbit hole. Turns out not all robins have the same migration patterns, and some don’t migrate at all. 

The Thing with Feathers

Jan 20, 2021
PRT

Even the most cynical among us has a hard time avoiding the contagious and perpetual hope that a new calendar year brings.

Understanding in our rational minds that nothing magical happens between December 31 and January 1st does little to quell our persistent optimism. For this, I am grateful. Yes, we are a foolish, reckless species with a stubborn unwillingness to learn from our past. But, boy do we know how to drink champagne, light fireworks, and cast aside our collective sense of impending doom. 

Learning to Listen

Dec 17, 2020
PRT

When the world grows quiet, we learn to listen.

This is the theme of the beautiful children’s book Ten Ways to Hear the Snow written by Cathy Camper and illustrated by Kenard Pak. It’s a book that on my gift-giving list for many of the children in my life, but I’ve read and enjoyed it a few times myself. The morning I wrote this, we woke to the kind of snow illustrated in this book and not too often seen here in Tulsa. Like many others, I stepped outside to listen to the quiet. 

Our guest is Katherine May, a writer of fiction as well as nonfiction based in the seaside community of Whitstable, England. She joins us to discuss her enjoyable new book, "Wintering," which draws many engaging and far-flung lessons from literature, history, nature, and mythology about the transformative -- and even inspiring -- power of rest, retreat, and recuperation. As was noted of this book by a critic writing for BookPage: "Beautiful.... [May] is a poetic observer of the natural world, and quotable lines abound....

Comfort and Joy

Nov 19, 2020
PRT

It seems that the winter holiday season began the first week in November this year. Have you noticed this, too?

Gothic Lit: 2020's Perfect October Read

Oct 22, 2020

Let’s talk about fear.

Not the existential dread that you’ve been carrying in the pit of your stomach for the last eight months, but the good kind of fear that is cleverly created by authors and purposefully sought by certain readers. It might seem slightly strange that in the midst of so many looming disasters, I would find comfort in spooky stories, but I have. I’ve recently rediscovered my love of Gothic fiction. 

What exactly is Gothic fiction, you ask? 

Five Picks for Your Fall Reading List

Sep 16, 2020
Rebecca Howard

Fall offers us many comforts--farm stand apples, homemade soups, and long walks in the woods with leaves crunching underfoot. Fall fiction generally offers no such reprieve, which is just the way that I like it. 

Some readers live for juicy summer reads that inevitably wind up with the scent of sunscreen and sand embedded between the pages. For fall book lovers, a coffee or tea ring is the mark of a great read. (Important PSA: these stains are merely metaphorical if you’re reading a library copy, of course!) 

As readers anxiously await the final volume of Hilary Mantel's trilogy on novels on the life of 16th Century royal advisor Thomas Cromwell, we bring you a conversation from December 2018, when Mantel received the Peggy V Helmerich Distinguished Author Award.

On this edition of ST, we speak with the acclaimed poet and writing instructor Quraysh Ali Lansana (born 1964 in Enid, Oklahoma). Now based in Tulsa and recently named a Tulsa Artist Fellow, Lansana has published several books over the years: poetry collections, children's books, edited or co-edited anthologies, textbooks, etc. Long based in Chicago, and greatly influenced by the African-American cultural, social, and political life of that city -- and more generally, by the Black Arts Movement in American life and letters -- Lansana has a new book out.

Nancy Pearl is our guest on ST. An editor, novelist, literary critic, retired librarian, and internationally acclaimed reading and literacy advocate, Pearl used to live and work in Tulsa -- way back in the day -- and that's when she started appearing occasionally on our radio show. Pearl returns today (by phone) to share several bookish gift-giving ideas.

Loving the Book Sharers
By Rebecca Howard
Tulsa City-County Library