SDPB Book Club

The SDPB Book Club is no longer offered as a thank-you gift from the FRIENDS of SDPB.

Jerry Nelson embraced the American farming dream and lived to tell about it. His book, "Dear County Agent Guy" is a compilation of his newspaper columns. As we continue the Dakota Midday Book Club, Nelson visited the SDPB studios for a conversation about life, death, and laughter and why you should never sleep with a baby chick.

Denice Turner teaches at Black Hills State University. Her book "Worthy" was chosen as a Dakota Midday Book Club selection.

"Worthy" is a memoir. In it the author searches for truth after her mother's mysterious death in a fire. Denice Turner joins Dakota Midday to talk about a writer's challenge to craft herself into a character, the struggle to find an authentic sense of self worth, and the joys (and occasional despair) of parenting.

Full interview with Denice Turner:

Dakota Midday: 'Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse'

Dec 14, 2015

Beginning with her 1988 novel, The Cape Ann, Faith Sullivan has told stories of the people living in the fictional small town of Harvester, Minnesota. In her latest novel, Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse, Sullivan tells the life story of school teacher Nell Stillman, a minor character in The Cape Ann.

Dakota Midday: 'The High Divide'

Oct 19, 2015

As Lin Enger’s The High Divide opens, it’s 1886 and Ulysses Pope has been missing for six weeks. A civil war veteran who also fought in the Indian wars, Ulysses left his wife and two sons behind on the far edge of Minnesota’s western prairie with only a brief note and no explanation of why he left and where he’s heading.

Beginning with her 1988 novel, Cape Ann, Faith Sullivan has told stories of the people living in the fictional small town of Harvester, Minnesota. In her newest novel, Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse, Sullivan tells the life story of school teacher Nell Stillman, a minor character from Cape Ann.

Ron Capps served in the Army and Army Reserve for 25 years and is also a retired Foreign Service officer for the Department of State. He served both branches in some of the world’s deadliest places: wartime Kosovo, Darfur, Chad, Afghanistan and Iraq. The horrors of what he witnessed and his inability to stop the death and bloodshed inflicted him with shakes, panic attacks and severe depression.

In 2007, Brittany Gibbons began writing about her experiences as a curvy woman in her blog, Brittany Herself. She wore a swimming suit to denounce body shaming in a TED talk a few years ago. Her mission is to destroy the myth that every plus-size woman hates her body and herself. Her book, Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love and Being Comfortable in Your Skin… Every Inch of It, is a memoir of her life from her teens in rural Ohio to the early years of her marriage and as mother of three kids.

One of the best-known early residents of Deadwood is Calamity Jane. According to the various stories about her, she was a scout for the army, a pony express rider, a sidekick of Wild Bill Hickcok, and an angel of mercy who nursed small-pox victims and aided the poor. The reality is she wasn’t a Wild West heroine, but a tragic alcoholic. However, the legend of Calamity Jane has endured from 19th century dime novels, through Hollywood films, to the recent HBO series, Deadwood.

Sissy Roberts believes she has a family curse: being a listener. Just like her mother, people tell her the bad things she doesn’t want to know, things they wouldn’t confess to a priest. Sissy is a young Lakota woman with dreams of going to college, but since she can’t figure out how to pay for it, she works as a waitress and plays guitar and sings on Saturday nights with the Red Bird All-Indian Traveling Band. The group’s handle is also the name of Frances Washburn’s third novel, set in the year 1969.

Charles Michael Ray SDPB

Bison once numbered in the tens of millions in a range stretching across North America from Alaska to Mexico. Many native wildlife species depended on massive herds of grazing bison to shape the ecosystem. By the late 19th Century there were only about a thousand bison left, victims of hunting and western expansion. But today there are some 400,000 buffalo in North America according to the National Bison Association.

South Dakota Historical Society Press

Before she wrote her beloved Little House on the Prairie series for children, Laura Ingalls Wilder penned an autobiography called Pioneer Girl. Written for adults, the book presents a somewhat grittier, first-person account of life as a pioneer in the Midwest.

In the opening of Dawn Wink’s novel, Meadowlark, 16-year-old Grace is an excited young bride looking forward to a life with her new husband, Tom. But any ideas of she has of an idyllic life together are shattered during their trip from the wedding to western South Dakota. Without warning, Tom pulls her off the wagon, punches and kicks her, and leaves her to walk the rest of the way to their sod hot.

The hero of Joseph Bruchac’s new young adult book, Killer of Enemies, is a 17-year-old Apache girl named Lozen. She's living in a in a post-apocalyptic world running wild with genetically-modified monsters, or gemods. Her mother and brother are being held hostage by the Ones in a former penitentiary that serves as a sanctuary for survivors. Because of her unique survival skills and magical abilities, Lozen is conscripted by the Ones and sent on repeated quests to slay the gemods.

Along with being an author, Dan O’Brien is also a wildlife biologist, falconer and buffalo rancher. He’s written six novels and four books of non-fiction. His latest book is Wild Idea: Buffalo and Family in a Difficult Land. It’s an account of efforts to raise buffalo with dignity and respect as a sustainable enterprise in the Cheyenne River Valley. It’s also a love story – of family, friends, the often harsh-landscape of western South Dakota and the American bison.

Karin Slaughter is a best-selling crime writer whose latest book, Cop Town, is set in 1974 Atlanta. It’s the story of a couple of young female officers who are trying to prove their worth in the macho Atlanta PD and also tracking down a serial killer who is targeting cops. Kate Murphy is a young widow from a privileged background and new on the job. She’s partnered with Maggie Lawson, whose brother and uncle are also police officers.

Sonia Manzano is best-known for her role as Maria on Sesame Street, but lately she’s turned to books and writing. Two years ago she published her first young adult novel, The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. It’s set in Spanish Harlem in 1969 and tells the story of 14-year-old Rosa Maria Evelyn del Carmen Serrano and her adolescent struggles with her Puerto Rican heritage. She’s just started a summer job at a five-and-dime store when her grandmother shows up with secrets from her family’s involvement in Puerto Rico’s tumultuous history.

Kate DiCamillo

Authors ranging from Atlanta crime writer Karin Slaughter to  children’s author Kate DiCamillo are featured  at the 12th annual South Dakota Festival of Books Thursday through Saturday in Sioux Falls and Brookings. This year’s event also features a Young Readers Festival which takes place at the Children’s Museum in Brookings on Thursday and the Washington Pavilion and Siouxland Public Libraries in Sioux Falls on Friday and Saturday.

Author Kathleen Norris Revisits "Dakota"

Jun 23, 2014

In the 1970s, after living as a poet in New York City, Kathleen Norris and her husband moved to the house built by her grandparents in Lemmon, South Dakota, an isolated town on the border with North Dakota. That move provided the inspiration for the first of her non-fiction books, “Dakota: A Spiritual Geography.”  It’s a collection of essays reflecting on what it means to live in the Dakotas and how the landscape shapes the character of the people who love here.

Joseph Amato and the Power of Poetic Metaphor

May 30, 2014
Abigail Rorer, The Lone Oak Press

Joseph Amato is the author of some twenty books and countless articles. He’s written about faith, family and life in the Midwest and investigated the meaning of place and home. He’s also taken intellectual and cultural journeys into the human relationship with dust and surfaces. He’s written memoirs about golfing and bypass surgery. Amato taught for more than thirty-five years at Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota and helped create the university’s Center for Rural and Regional Studies.

SDSU Professor and Poet Remembers Maya Angelou

May 30, 2014
South Dakota State University

Earlier this week, Maya Angelou died after a long illness at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at the age of 86. Angelou was a poet, performer and political activist. She grew up in a  segregated society that she worked to change during the civil rights era. Angelou, who refused to speak for much of her childhood, revealed the scars of her past in "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," the first in a series of memoirs. The list of her published verse, non-fiction and fiction included more than 30 best-selling titles.

Interview with Author of "Small-Town Dreams"

May 30, 2014
Kansas Press

South Dakota State University professor emeritus of History John Miller profiled 22 men who left their small-town upbringings and went on to do great things in his new book "Small Town Dreams: Stories of Midwestern Boys Who Shaped America." Through these life-stories, a history of American unfolds as Miller covers entrepreneurs, teachers, artists, entertainers, political figures and athletes. Some of his subjects include Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Johnny Carson, Ronald Reagan and Bob Feller. John Miller joined the program to discuss the process of compiling these stories.

"The Commandant Of Lubizec"

Apr 21, 2014

After the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, they quickly began persecuting anyone who was Jewish. Millions were shoved into ghettos and forced to live under the swastika. Death camps were built and something called "Operation Reinhard" was set into motion. Its goal? To murder all the Jews of Poland. "The Commandant of Lubizec" is a harrowing account of a death camp that never actually existed but easily could have in the Nazi state. It is a sensitive, accurate retelling of a place that went about the business of genocide.

"Circling Back Home: A Plainswoman's Journey"

Feb 24, 2014

"Circling Back Home" is the story of one woman, at a time when values of home, family, and care of the land seem increasingly absent, looking to her past to create a life of significance for her family. Her search takes her back to the prairie of her grandmothers, who survived personal hardships and lived off what the land provided. Darcy Lipp-Acord mourns the loss of one child and celebrates the birth of others, all while balancing her own desire to put down roots with her husband's life as an inherent ranch hand.

"Roots Grow Deep And Strong"

Jan 31, 2014

The Belle Fourche Writers' Group has published its first anthology, "Roots Grow Deep and Strong." Conceived as a community education writing class, the Belle Fourche Writers' Group has grown into a community treasure. They host events such as public readings, writers' retreats and "Meet the Author Nights." Meg English helped found the Belle Fourche Writers' Group after retiring from teaching. She was born and raised in South Dakota and has taught language arts and writing in middle school, high school and college.

New Book Of Poetry By Eric Lochridge

Jan 31, 2014

A new book of poetry by Black Hills native Eric Lochridge is now on the shelves. Lochridge covered arts and music at the Rapid City Journal for 17 years before his recent move to Bellingham, Washington. "Real Boy Blues" is the second book of poems to be published. His work has also appeared in several journals. Lochridge describes his poems as a pursuit of the universal connections, including those between fathers and children, husbands and wives, and God and humanity.

"Deadwood Dead Men"

Jan 31, 2014

Bill Markley's novel "Deadwood Dead Men" is set in 1876 Deadwood. Legends like Calamity Jane, Seth Bullock, Charlie Utter, Sol Star and others come to life in the book, along with fictional characters, to recreate the mining camp's wild days. Jack Jones, a reporter for a Chicago newspaper, is assigned to write about the doings of Deadwood, an illegal gold camp that knows no law.