WXXI AM News

Summer Book Week 2021

Jun 18, 2021

What's on your summer reading list? Are you looking for suggestions?

Summer Book Week is back on Connections June 21 through June 25!

During every 1 p.m. hour June 21-25, WXXI's Scott Fybush will host conversations with authors, literary and publishing professionals, and readers about books and trends in the literary world. 

You can join the conversation by emailing your book recommendations or questions to Scott at sfybush@wxxi.org.

Here's a preview of some of the books we will discuss. Be sure to borrow these titles at your local library or purchase them from your local bookstore:

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Discussing the state of the literary and publishing industries, post-pandemic

Monday, June 21 at 1 p.m.

Our guests include:

This hour also includes a conversation with Rochester author and journalist Gary Craig about what's on his summer reading list.

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"Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR" 

Tuesday, June 22 at 1 p.m.

Our guest is author Lisa Napoli.

In the years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, women in the workplace still found themselves relegated to secretarial positions or locked out of jobs entirely. This was especially true in the news business, a backwater of male chauvinism where a woman might be lucky to get a foothold on the “women’s pages.” But when a pioneering nonprofit called National Public Radio came along in the 1970s, and the door to serious journalism opened a crack, four remarkable women came along and blew it off the hinges.

“Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie” is journalist Lisa Napoli’s captivating account of these four women, their deep and enduring friendships, and the trail they blazed to becoming icons. They had radically different stories. Cokie Roberts was born into a political dynasty, roamed the halls of Congress as a child, and felt a tug toward public service. Susan Stamberg, who had lived in India with her husband who worked for the State Department, was the first woman to anchor a nightly news program and pressed for accommodations to balance work and home life. Linda Wertheimer, the daughter of shopkeepers in New Mexico, fought her way to a scholarship and a spot on-air. And Nina Totenberg, the network's legal affairs correspondent, invented a new way to cover the Supreme Court. Based on extensive interviews and calling on the author’s deep connections in news and public radio, “Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie” will be as beguiling and sharp as its formidable subjects.

This hour also includes a conversation with New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney about what's on his summer reading list.

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A conversation about poems and poets

Wednesday, June 23 at 1 p.m.

Our guests this hour are two poets with local connections. In the first part of the show, we talk with Rochester-based author Sarah Freligh about her new book, "We." Freligh is the author of “Sad Math,” winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Poetry Prize and the 2015 Whirling Prize from the University of Indianapolis.

In the second half-hour, a conversation with Elana Bell, author of "Mother Country," published in 2020 by Rochester's BOA Editions. Mother Country examines the intricacies of mother–daughter relationships: what we inherit from our mothers, what we let go, what we hold, and what we pass on to our own children, both the visible and invisible. Bell is based in Brooklyn, but she spent several months living and writing in Rochester during the pandemic.

Our guests:

The hour also includes a conversation with Rochester author Sonja Livingston about what's on her summer reading list.

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“The Engagement: America’s Quarter-Century Struggle Over Same-Sex Marriage”

Thursday, June 24 at 1 p.m.

Our guest is author Sasha Issenberg.

On June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled that state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional, making same-sex unions legal throughout the United States. But the road to victory was much longer than many know. In this seminal work, Sasha Issenberg takes us back to Hawaii in the 1990s, when that state's courts first started grappling with the question, through the emergence of the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 that raised marriage to a national issue, to the first legal same-sex weddings in Massachusetts, to the epic face-off over California’s Proposition 8, and finally to the landmark Supreme Court decisions of Windsor and Obergefell. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that state bans on gay marriage were unconstitutional, making same-sex unions legal across the United States. But the road to that momentous decision was much longer than many know. In this definitive account, Sasha Issenberg vividly guides us through same-sex marriage’s unexpected path from the unimaginable to the inevitable.

It is a story that begins in Hawaii in 1990, when a rivalry among local activists triggered a sequence of events that forced the state to justify excluding gay couples from marriage. In the White House, one president signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which elevated the matter to a national issue, and his successor tried to write it into the Constitution. Over twenty-five years, the debate played out across the country, from the first legal same-sex weddings in Massachusetts to the epic face-off over California’s Proposition 8 and, finally, to the landmark Supreme Court decisions of United States v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges. From churches to hedge funds, no corner of American life went untouched.

This richly detailed narrative follows the coast-to-coast conflict through courtrooms and war rooms, bedrooms and boardrooms, to shed light on every aspect of a political and legal controversy that divided Americans like no other. Following a cast of characters that includes those who sought their own right to wed, those who fought to protect the traditional definition of marriage, and those who changed their minds about it, “The Engagement” is certain to become a seminal book on the modern culture wars. 

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What’s new in the young adult and middle grade book scenes?

Friday, June 25 at 1 p.m.

Our guests include:

This hour also includes conversations with Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes and Rochester City School District Superintendent Lesli Myers-Small about what they're reading this summer.

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Support for Summer Book Week on Connections is provided in part by Book Culture.