Books

Michael de Yoanna / KUNC

When Erin Morris went to a show-and-tell to talk about her service in the Army, she was surprised by what the kids wanted to know. They weren't interested in guns or tanks.

"They wanted to know, 'What did you do every day? Where did you eat? Where did you sleep?'" Morris said.

Photo of Jerry Davich and Martin Hoffman used by permission from Diane Vigeant

In 1948 a plane crash in Los Gatos, Calif. claimed the lives of 32 passengers, including 28 Mexican farm workers. In many of the news accounts, only the four white crew members were listed. The rest were only “deportees.”

While doing research for a book in 2010 author Tim Hernandez happened upon newspaper clippings about the accident. It set him on a path to find out the names and stories of those 28 passengers. But it also led him to one more story that needed to be told -- one that began in Greeley, Colo.

“I wanted to find the origins of the song,” said Hernandez, who went on to write the book All They Will Call You about the victims and the song from which the book takes its title. “That was part of the research from the beginning, because I knew that the song was vital to this.”

Kim Gordon’s memoir “Girl in a Band” starts with the end. A concert in Brazil that would mark the end of her 30-year career as the bassist and singer for the experimental rock band Sonic Youth. And the end of her 27-year marriage to band mate Thurston Moore.

“Maybe that was the part (of the story) that was most in people’s mind so it was kind of good to get it over with,” said Gordon, 64, from her home in Los Angeles. “I guess I usually plunge into things that make me nervous, you know, kind of without thinking. It’s just easier if you just do it. And in the same way, when I’m on stage sometimes I feel most relaxed. I don’t know, it’s a weird thing.”

Maggie Mazzullo / Folger Shakespeare Library

If it hadn’t been for the printing of one book, you may have lived in a world without William Shakespeare. The 1623 First Folio, which includes iconic plays like Macbeth and The Tempest, could have been lost to the ages.

This irreplaceable piece of history is touring around the country, including a stop in Boulder, and just a few people are in charge of keeping the 400 year old book safe.

In the summer of 2004, after two decades of estrangement, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Susan Faludi received an email from her father. It read:

Dear Susan,

I've got some interesting news for you. I've decided that I have had enough of impersonating a macho aggressive man that I have never been inside.

The letter was signed, "Love from your parent, Stefánie." Faludi's 76-year-old father, Steven, had had gender reassignment surgery.

Cynthia Ozick is revered by those who love literature. She's written novels, but also short stories and essays. Her fiction has been nominated for various awards and she's received high praise from critics as well as her fellow writers.

But you won't find her on best-seller lists. Ozick seeks neither fame nor fortune from her writing. For Ozick, she feels it a necessity to write. "I can't not," she says.

Here's a different kind of thriller, of the sort often called "literary": Susie Steiner's Missing, Presumed follows British detective inspector Manon Bradshaw as she investigates the disappearance of Edith Hind, a university student from a well-off family.

Across the country there are stories like this: In a high-poverty area of Honolulu, a high school social worker helps her Asian-Pacific Islander students talk with their families about being LBGTQ.

At a time when LGBTQ concerns in schools are increasingly visible — and often debated — teachers and administrators are looking for new ways to support students.

If you've stepped foot in a comic book store in the past few years, you'll have noticed a distinct shift. Superheroes, once almost entirely white men, have become more diverse.

There's been a biracial Spider-Man, a Muslim Ms. Marvel, and just last week, Marvel announced that the new Iron Man will be a teenage African-American girl.

Joining this lineup today is Kong Kenan, a Chinese boy who, as part of a reboot of the DC comics universe, is one of four characters taking up Superman's mantle.

In 2015, after winning an Emmy for her work on Inside Amy Schumer, comedy writer Jessi Klein made one important stop before heading to the award show after-party — to pump breast milk in a backstage dressing room. Klein's son was 3 months old at the time, and she says that while winning the Emmy was "genuinely awesome and exciting," she also knew it wasn't going to change her life.

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