Radio Readers Book Club

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  HPPR Radio Readers Book Club is an on-air, on-line community of readers exploring themes of common interest to those who live and work on the High Plains. 

 

The 2017 Spring Read's theme is Water and Replenishment.  You'll find the thoughts and ideas about books from Radio Readers through a series of BookBytes posted below.  Of you'd like to contribute a BookByte yourself, simply contact Kathleen Holt at kholt@hppr.org for more information.

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Featuring Kansas author Thomas Fox Averill

Thomas Fox Averill, an O. Henry Award Winner, is Writer-in-residence and Professor of English at Washburn University of Topeka, Kansas;  where he teaches courses in Creative Writing and in Kansas Literature, Folklore and Film.  He has published four novels, one of which includes A Carol Dickens Christmas (2014).  

Why They Come Here

Nov 11, 2016
ANNE HOLT, Edina, Minnesota

Following is a provocative story shared by a reader.  On Sunday, November 13, 2016, HPPR Radio Readers Book Club will be discussing thoughts about immigrants and their stories.  We hope you'll join us.

From Anne --

I know. You want me to shut up. I love you, but I don't care.

On this day two years ago, I, along with some of the best human beings I know, visited a wall with nearly 30,000 names of human beings who were killed or disappeared in El Salvador during the 1980s. And it’s said to be an incomplete list.

We're All From . . .

Nov 8, 2016

As we conclude the HPPR Radio Readers Fall 2016 Read, I’m gratified for each challenging and meaningful discussion about the changing faces of, well, the faces of our communities.

Where I'm From

Nov 3, 2016

Hi, I’m Lynn Boitano in Garden City Kansas for the HPPR Readers Reader’s Book Club exploring the theme: Stories, Borders and Becoming.  Reading our recent book Enrique’s Journey I’m reminded of the indelible impressions that our families make on us through the daily routines, traditions, sacrifices and time spent together. 

All of these interactions accumulate to create our family story.  As a 6th grade reading teacher in district that’s rich in cultural diversity I’ve had the opportunity to get a glimpse into my students’ family stories and witness the strong bonds that bind families together across many cultures.

Imagining America

Nov 1, 2016
blogs.loc.gov

In Sonia Nazario’s description of what draws Lourdes to take the treacherous journey north from Honduras to the U.S., she writes: “On television, she saw New York City’s spectacular skyline, Las Vegas’s shimmering lights, Disneyland’s magic castle.” (4) 25 pages later Lourdes’ son Enrique misses his mother and is also strongly attracted to the U.S. Nazario similarly expresses that “Enrique sees New York City’s spectacular skyline, Las Vegas’s shimmering lights, Disneyland’s magic castle.” (28-9). Little do Lourdes and Enrique know that Latinos make up almost 30% of New York City’s population. There is almost three times the number of Puerto Ricans in New York City than in San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital. Additionally, there are about as many Dominicans in New York City as in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic and home to almost 1 million people. New York is a dramatically Hispanic city.

Brueghel, 16th Century Belgian painting / Wikipedia

I sat, basking, recently, in the sunlight of this dying autumn season, a few butterflies flittered amongst faded zinnias and browning marigolds, a wasp sank sluggishly to my table, and I was thinking.   

The last few months…so tough…increased work demands, mounting pressures and expenses at home…a dying friend, my head cold. The shameful mockery of our democratic processes during this year’s Presidential campaign… The recent arrests of three southwest Kansans for plotting a terrorist attack on a Muslim-Somali community…. Then, the opening lines of WH Auden’s  poem, from the late 1930’s, came to mind:

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along….”

That’s me: I’m guilty. I’ve just been walking dully along. For one, I’ve not been as invested, as committed, to HPPR’s Radio Readers this fall as I could have been. But who can blame me? These books have been, well, hard.

Imagen Digital / Digital Image

Oct 28, 2016
Kathleen Holt

Today, I will read one bilingual poem from my book Conjuro.

Imagen Digital/Digital Image

“Naambo Kananfa Naambo, Guayé

Naambo Kananfa Yé

Nibela Yuku Yuku Labadiato

Naambo Sei Ta La Kananfa”

 

Objects from the Borderlands

Oct 27, 2016
SUSAN HARGAGE PAGE, North Carolina / iah.unc.edu

In 2007 I began making yearly trips/pilgrimages to walk the border and photograph objects left behind by undocumented migrants crossing the U.S–Mexico border between Matamoros, Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas. My work takes an ever-evolving imagined space and concretizes it as a collection of specific objects, first as they are found and photographed in the landscape, then as they are re-photographed and archived, and, finally, as they are united in exhibitions.

FALLOU NDIAYE

Hi, my name is Fallou Ndiaye.  I am originally from Senegal, West Africa.  I currently live in Garden City, Kansas. My story of coming to the United States began when I worked at the Embassy in Senegal because Senegal is the long ally of the United States. The last three Presidents visited Senegal, so when I work there, they welcome you and greet you in a respectful way and give me visa to get my chance to come here in the United States.

When I came here, I learned that the opportunities are open to everyone – to everyone who wants to move up, they give you a chance to do it. So, every place since then, I work more than a decade. I was looking for a job and they give me that job, the same job they provide to everyone.  So, even if I don’t speak the language at that time very clearly to them, they help me.  They help me and guide me and train me as they train American people to do the job like everybody.

Say What?

Oct 26, 2016
NPR

The third book in HPPR’s Radio Readers Fall read bears the enigmatic title of What is the What.  A collaborative effort between novelist Dave Eggers and Valentino Achak Deng, the novel is set, primarily, in war-torn Sudan.  Both Eggers and Deng have said that they believed the book needed to be written to share and document Deng’s experiences as among the millions dead and displaced by the Sudanese Civil War.  Both men were committed to creating a work that would document the culture of Deng’s people, the Dinka.

As Deng talked about his life, Eggers collected vast amounts of material—a couple years’ worth of conversations-- then struggled to organize it in a compelling way, one that didn’t play on scenes of horror and brutality in prurient ways. He considered various titles for the book – one was It Was Just Boys Walking and another was Hello, Children. Those titles, as Eggers has said, suggested a focus on Deng’s experiences during the war and in refugee camps in Ethiopia and in Kenya. But, Eggers has said, eventually neither title seemed right for the book.  After all, in Eggers’ words, by the time he and Deng were collaborating, “Valentino had been a man for a long time…and he and the other so-called Lost Boys were tired of being known as boys. The story of Valentino's life would need to be equally, if not more so, about the issues he faced [as a man].”  Eggers began to explore ways that the novel/memoir might be crafted to convey questions about Dinka culture and ongoing conflicts in Sudan and Darfur

( http://www.vadfoundation.org/it-was-just-boys-walking/), and, it would seem, the story of Deng’s time in the United States.

Their Stories Are Ours

Oct 25, 2016
Unknown

If you like watching Andy Griffith reruns, you might enjoy living in a small town in the listening area of High Plains Public Radio. Those of us who call these little burgs home enjoy a quality of life that is generally slow-paced, friendly, and satisfying on many levels. Life wasn’t always so idyllic.

Guatemala to the High Plains - Unaccompanied

Oct 11, 2016
ESTHER HONIG / KCUR 89.3

In the small, rural city of Liberal, Kansas, a neighborhood of old trailer homes sits just off the main street. The small trailer at the end of the block, with faded yellow paint and creaky front steps, is the place 17-year-old Diego now calls home.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Oct 10, 2016
BBC

We’re talking about Dave Egger’s What is the What, the third book in HPPR’s Radio Readers Fall Read. Our theme is stories, and, in this novel, Valentino Achak Deng recounts his life.  Rather than presented chronologically, rather than moving linearly through time,  Valentino’s narrative is fragmented, episodic, largely retrospective. It encompasses twenty some years, beginning in the relative present of his working minimum wage jobs in various eastern and southern cities of the United States, then to his early childhood in southern war-torn Sudan to a disordered life in the US, then back to resettlement in refugee camps in Ethiopia and Kenya. The novel concludes as Valentino prepares for yet another beginning, another relocation. When I think about it, Valentino’s life is much about endings and departures as it is about beginnings and arrivals.  His story, like Enrique’s, like Antonia’s is comprised of hostility,  hunger, violence, and death, stories that seem impossible to bear.

One Neighbor's Story - Generations' Stories

Oct 7, 2016
www.cbc.ca

So, both my parents are immigrants from Vietnam.  Back in the 1970s, my grandfather was a police officer in Vietnam.  When the Vietnam War came around, the North had him put in jail because he was one of the government officials.  He spent five years and four months in jail.  They took him into the jungle for hard labor and stuff.  They spent a lot of time being poor because after the North took over the country since they were a Communist society they had all the resources and everything sold to pay off their war debts, so it was really hard for them to makes ends meet.  But, luckily my grandmother was smart about the whole thing.  She sold rice and stuff so, like before the North had a chance to sell off all her stuff, she sold it and bought gold and diamonds for it which was easier because the North also changed all the currency, so everyone who was wealthy suddenly wasn’t wealthy anymore.

Our Neighbors - One Woman's Story

Oct 6, 2016
SUSAN HARGAGE PAGE, North Carolina

Maria:  I came here because I love this country.  I came here to see my sister.  I was in Mexico and I came crossing the river.  The Rio Bravo.  It was dangerous.  It was hard.  But I came here because the life is better than my country.  This is a blessed country.  I love this country.

I find good job.  I have a good life here because now I can help the people. When the people have problems, they ask me what they need to do to solve their problems.  Can I help them. 

One Neighbor's Story - Uganda to the High Plains

Oct 5, 2016
Dodge City Community College

Mohammad Omar - Hi, my mane is Mohammad Omar.  I am from Africa, especially Uganda.  I am here since 2014, but I am living now in Dodge City.  I like Dodge City, Kansas, because we have a lot of work here.  Before I am working Tyson Food.  I start again Cargill Company.  Now I am working three years at National Beef.  So, we are happy to be here in Kansas, Dodge City.

The Fall Read - Refugees on the High Plains

Oct 4, 2016
www.humanosphere.org

As the Radio Readers move on from this month’s book Enrique’s Journey to October’s read, Dave Eggar’s book on the story Somali immigrants titled What is the What, we continue themes of separation from family, intense dangers in fleeing one’s homeland and eventual settlement and adjustment to life in the U.S. In the past decade, Amarillo has welcomed a large refugee resettlement program placing refugees from the likes of Burma, Iran, Iraq, Congo, Syria, Afghanistan, and Cuba among other countries.

What Kind of Book is This?

Oct 3, 2016

Since August, Radio Readers have shared stories about borders and becoming. Our stories have been prompted by the books in our Fall read: Cather’s My Antonia and Nazario’s Enrique’s Journey.

The third book in this series is Dave Eggers’ 2006 novel, What is the What : The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng.  Recognized by various organizations as a “best” and “notable” book, What is the What is titled an autobiography, described as a novel, yet frequently classified as social history.

Our Neighbors - Marcos Morales Part Two

Oct 2, 2016
ANDREW REYNOLDS - Canyon TX

Marcos: My name is Marcos Morales Satino.  I am glad to share my story with Radio Readers Book Club.

Greta: Please tell us the about the life of your family that is still in Guatemala.  What kind of life do they live compared to the life that you are living today in Dodge City?

One Neighbor's Story

Oct 2, 2016
ANDREW REYNOLDS - Canyon TX

Hi, my name is Marcos Morales.I’m glad to share my story with the Radio Readers Book Club.  I have been here in southwest of Kansas since November of 2003.  I am from Guatemala from a little poor place. I came here because my dad brought me here in U.S.A.  He’s here with me.  I came here because I thought I had more opportunity than living in my country because when I was younger what I thought was to go to school to have a career, improve myself so that’s one of the reasons that I came.  And that’s what I am doing right now.

Faith, Family and Endurance in the Face of Danger

Oct 2, 2016
SUSAN HARBAGE PAGE

In 2013 there were over 3 million Central American immigrants living in the U.S. Each year hundreds of immigrants die while attempting to cross the southern U.S. border. From 2014 to July, 31 2015 alone, 72,968 unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were apprehended at the U.S. border with Mexico.  “Each year the Obama administration has seen more deportations than any preceding president”[1].

Jonathan Baker

I’m Jonathan Baker, a writer in Canyon, Texas, and I’ve been asked to talk about Willa Cather’s My Antonia.

I have an addiction. I take photos constantly with my phone. Sometimes in West Texas, during a particularly epic sunset, I’ll instinctively start driving west, away from town, out where there are no buildings. Where the good views are.

Later, when I go back and look at my images, I often find I have no nostalgia for the day I snapped the photo of a particular sky. Because I was looking at my phone the whole time.

Kansas Memory, Kansas Historical Society

HPPR listeners thinking about the theme of this year’s book club--Borders and Becoming--need to keep in mind that borders change to meet the needs of those who live within them. Over the last two and a half centuries, the parameters of the United States changed repeatedly. A modern day description of the contiguous states would include Folksinger Woody Guthrie’s first stanza of “This Land Is Your Land.”

One Neighbor's Story - Looking Back

Sep 21, 2016
ESTHER HONIG / KCUR 89.3 - Harvest Public Media

Greta Clark serves at the Director of Multicultural Programs at Dodge City Community College.  In the course of her work, she hears the stories of many immigrants who’ve come to the U.S. in search of better lives, safety, and goals and dreams.  Here she talks with one student who’s made a career translating for the district court and for immigration. He states that he is independent and has a job helping people resolve their problems.

The Plains Belongs to Anyone Hardy Enough

Sep 14, 2016
KANSAS HISTORICAL SOCIETY

My name is Megan Hope. I’m a native of Garden City, Kansas, now living in Denver, Colorado. I’ve spent most of the last two decades working among immigrant communities, a path that has everything to do with growing up on the High Plains.  

As I was settling into grade school in the early 1980s, southwest Kansas was being transformed by an influx of Latino immigrants and resettled Southeast Asian refugees, the primary workforce for two new meatpacking plants.

A Never Ending Exodus

Sep 12, 2016
SUSAN HARGAGE PAGE, North Carolina

In my own family History, in 1846 my great great grandfather Alma Helaman Hale was 10 years old when he lost his parents as they lived on the Missouri river near Council Bluffs, Iowa. Alma then joined the Mormon pioneers and with his three siblings traveled from their home to the Salt Lake Valley to settle with Brigham Young as he declared, “This is the Place!” One biography states “At this point we can only conclude that Alma became a man at the tender age of ten. There could be no idleness. The full effort of every person was needed just to keep alive.” In Sonia Nazario’s Enrique’s Journey she describes the immigrants as “facing north, toward a new land, a never-ending exodus.” (70) For many, this is a religious journey towards a land of new promise. Nazario describes some that bring “a tiny drawing of San Cristóbal, the patron saint of travelers, or of San Judas Tadeo, the patron saint of desperate situations” (70).

Tinta negra / Black Ink

Sep 9, 2016
XANATH CARAZA

Edit

Xánath Caraza reads two bilingual poems from her latest book Tinta negra / Black Ink.   In one she asks, "

What is a border? Created limits

cultures forced to turn their back

Library of Congress

The Great Plains is its own eco-niche with distinctive plants, mammals, birds, weather, and history that constantly evolve. Its human population is as dynamic as these other unique factors. Those of us whose families have lived here for generations understand the world Willa Cather describes in My Antonia. Our families lived her stories. When we read them, we wonder how we got where we are today.

Who Cares about What Happens in Nebraska? We Do.

Aug 19, 2016
Kansas Memory, Kansas Historical Society

To write about life on the plains might not seem like much of a risk today, but, at the turn of the last century, Willa Cather knew what she was up against when she made immigrant farmers – people she knew as a child growing up in Nebraska—her central characters.

Lyrical Postcards in Willa Cather’s My Antonia

Aug 12, 2016

The essence of poetry is song, or lyrical feeling. How well Willa Cather understood the lyrical beauty of the Great Plains. She delights readers of My Antonia with poetic passages, like Jim Burden’s first look at Nebraska: “There was nothing but land: not a country at all, but the material out of which countries are made.”

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