We continue an annual Connections tradition by talking to different community members about their favorite books of the year. This year, we put the focus on librarians, whose work has changed during this pandemic. We about their “books of the year,” and about reading habits among patrons from across the community. Get a pen and paper so you can write a book list for yourself!

Our guests:

  • Anna Souannavong, director of the Gates Public Library (Brené Brown’s podcasts)
  • Ron Kirsop, executive director of the Pioneer Library System (“Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think” by Hans Rosling)
  • John Cohen, director of the Ogden Farmers’ Library (“Peace Talks” and “Battle Ground” by Jim Butcher)
  • Jenny Paxson, reader's discovery librarian at the Webster Public Library (“Memorial: A Novel” by Brian Washington, “Smoke Bitten” by Patricia Briggs, “The 7 ½  Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle” by Stuart Turton, “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism” by Robin DiAngelo, and “The Yellow House” by Sarah M. Broom)
  • Matt Krueger, children's services librarian at the Irondequoit Public Library (“You Matter” by Christian Robinson)
  • Alexis Lawrence, adult services librarian at the Wood Library in Canandaigua (“Small Great Things: A Novel” by Jodi Picoult)
  • Adrienne Pettinelli, director of the Henrietta Public Library (“Leave the World Behind” by Rumaan Alam, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey” by Mariah Carey and Michaela Angela Davis, and “Kent State” by Deborah Wiles)

We continue an annual Connections tradition by talking to different community members about their favorite books of the year. This year, we put the focus on librarians, whose work has changed during this pandemic. We about their “books of the year,” and about reading habits among patrons from across the community. Get a pen and paper so you can write a book list for yourself!

Our guests:

  • Zoe Davis, librarian at Gates Public Library (“Passing” by Nella Larsen)
  • Cassie Guthrie, director of the Greece Public Library (“Riot Baby” by Tochi Onyebuchi)
  • Susie Flick, adult services library assistant at the Geneva Public Library (“Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things” by Jenny Lawson)
  • Greg Benoit, director of the Irondequoit Public Library (“The Buddhist on Death Row: How One Man Found Light in the Darkest Place” by David Sheff)
  • Abby DeVuyst, adult services programming librarian at the Fairport Public Library (“The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding” by Jennifer Robson)
  • Beth Larter, school librarian in Gates Chili (“Prairie Lotus” by Linda Sue Park and “Dragon Hoops” by Gene Luen Yang)

We talk with local author Leslie C. Youngblood about her new book, "Forever This Summer." It's the remarkable sequel to her debut novel, "Love Like Sky."

"Forever This Summer" continues the story of Georgie and her blended family, with Georgie and her mom spending their summer in Louisiana caring for Georgie's great aunt, who has Alzheimer's disease. During their stay, Georgie makes a new friend, Markie, and learns about how their family histories intertwine. It's a story about friendship, about loyalty and compassion, and about finding the truth.

We talk to Youngblood about the book, her writing process, and about reaching diverse young readers with characters who look like them. Our guest:

"I Was Their American Dream" is a graphic novel by NPR deputy editor Malaka Gharib. Gharib is Egyptian-Filipina-American and grew up with her immigrant parents in California. Her book explores her multicultural identity and how she felt she had to adapt to different traditions, languages, and religions with the different people in her life.

Nguyên Khôi Nguyễn, also an author, can relate. His work focuses on his identity as Vietnamese-American.

Both Gharib and Nguyễn join us this hour to share their stories and to discuss what it means to be a first-generation American in 2020. Our guests:

Local author Melanie Conroy-Goldman says there’s always a bit of darkness in a true friendship. That’s certainly true of the characters featured in her debut novel, “The Likely World.” It’s the story of a single mom named Mellie who’s in the early days of her recovery from a fictional drug called cloud. The substance causes short term memory loss in users, and when Mellie first tries it at age 16, the consequences of her addiction 20 years later are unimaginable. As an adult, her past upends her newfound society, and she’s faced with life-threatening choices.

In previous summers on this program, we’ve devoted a week to discussing books. The summer is a bit different this year, and we’re doing things a bit differently, but we still want to have conversations about literature. This hour, I’m joined by Hobart and William Smith professor Melanie Conroy-Goldman to talk about “The Likely World.” It’s a gritty story of addiction, of family, of loyalty, and of feeling, and we spend the hour exploring it.

Our guest:

  • Melanie Conroy-Goldman, author of “The Likely World,” and professor of English at Hobart and William Smith Colleges

We're joined by local writer Sejal Shah. Her debut book, "This Is One Way to Dance," is a collection of essays, stories, and poems that explore being Indian in America. Her book weaves together personal stories, cultural perspectives, and an exploration of identity over a 20 year period. We talk to Shah about the themes of her work.

Our guests:

  • Sejal Shah, author of "This Is One Way to Dance"
  • Bill Ferguson, acting executive director of Garth Fagan Dance

Local author Alex Sanchez has a new graphic novel for young adults. "You Brought Me the Ocean" is the story of a teenager struggling to come out as gay...and as a superhero. The book was published by DC Comics and is part of the DC universe.

We talk with Sanchez about the book, what he hopes readers take from the story, and about broader issues affecting the LGBTQ community. Our guest:

Joel Stein is a journalist, author, and political pundit. His new book, "In Defense of Elitism," is a look at why President Trump won the 2016 election. Using wry humor, Stein argues that economic anxiety and racism were not the cause of the 2016 results. He says Americans voted for Trump because he attacked elitism.

Stein joins us to discuss his work. 

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Acclaimed children's author and Brighton resident Linda Sue Park is releasing a new book on March 3.

"Prairie Lotus" is the story of Hanna, a half-Chinese girl who moves with her father to a small town in the American heartland in 1880.  Hanna's mother has died and she's trying to reimagine life without her. Hanna is also determined to make at least one friend, graduate from school, and work as a dressmaker in her father's new shop.

But first, she must overcome and challenge the prejudice she faces from her new classmates and neighbors.

We continue an annual Connections tradition by talking to community leaders about their favorite books of the year. We also get insight into how they think, what they read, and why.

Our guests:

  • Natalie Sheppard, commissioner for the Rochester City School Board (“Free To Be Me: I Am Not My Issues” by Dante Worth)
  • Andrew Brady, CEO of the Xcelerate Team and co-founder and chair of Conscious Capitalism Rochester (“The Healing Organization: Awakening the Conscience of Business to Help Save the World” by Michael J. Gelb and Rajendra Sisodia)
  • Amanda Chestnut, artist, curator, educator, and administrator (“Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls” by David Sedaris)
  • Michael Galban, curator and historian at the Seneca Art and Culture Center at Ganondagan  (“There There: A Novel” by Tommy Orange)
  • Rebecca Rafferty, arts and entertainment editor at CITY Newspaper (“Mr. Splitfoot” by Samantha Hunt)
  • Pete Nabozny, director of policy for the Chilren’s Agenda (“Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World” by Anand Giridharadas)
  • Jeremy Tjhung, activist (“Monkeys” by Herbert S. Zim)