WXXI AM News

books

A new Harry Potter exhibit is opening in New York City, and we ask the question, will there ever be another book series like Harry Potter? The first book came out before the internet was a regular time-suck in American households; it also came out just as Facebook was taking off.

Can a young adult book series be as successful, given all the new distractions with technology? Our guests -- all Harry Potter super fans -- discuss it:

  • Jackie McGriff, owner of Jackie Photography
  • Chris Fanning, director of communications for Writers & Books, and associate producer of the Rochester Fringe Festival
  • Josiah Ball, Harry Potter fan
  • Adrienne Pettinelli, director of the Henrietta Public Library

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:

  • Mark Brummitt, professor of Hebrew bible interpretation at the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School (“Bitten by Witch Fever: Wallpaper & Arsenic in the Victorian Home” by Lucinda Hawksley and “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley)
  • Penny Sterling, storyteller (“Anansi Boys“ by Neil Gaiman; “In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox” by Carol Burnett; and “So, Anyway…” by John Cleese)
  • Sareer Fazili, local attorney, and immediate past president of the Islamic Center of Rochester (“The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine” and “Liar’s Poker: Rising through the Wreckage on Wall Street” by Michael Lewis)
  • Chris Fanning, director of communications for Writers & Books, and associate producer of the Rochester Fringe Festival (“Boy Erased” by Garrard Conley)
  • Meaghan de Chateauvieux, president and CEO of Willow Domestic Violence Center (“Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann)
  • Kyle Semmel, writer and former director of Writers & Books (“Insurrections“ by Rion Amilcar Scott) 
  • Barry Strauber, professor of advertising in the School of Communication at RIT (“Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen)
  • Reverend Judy Davis, commissioner-elect of the Rochester City School Board and member of the steering committee for the Movement for Anti-Racist Ministry and Action (“Speaking Treason Fluently: Anti-Racist Reflections from an Angry White Male” by Tim Wise)
  • Julia Figueras, music director and midday host of WXXI’s Classical 91.5 (“Educated“ by Tara Westover) 

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:

  • Leslie C. Youngblood, author of “Love Like Sky” (“The Season of Styx Malone” by Kekla Magoon)
  • Gary Craig, watchdog reporter at the Democrat & Chronicle, and author of “Seven Million: A Cop, a Priest, a Soldier for the IRA, and the Still-Unsolved Rochester Brink’s Heist” (“Crimes of the Father” by Thomas Keneally)
  • Annette Ramos, executive director of the Rochester Latino Theatre Company, and co-chair of La Cumbre’s Arts & Culture Committee (“War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony” by Nelson A. Denis)
  • Pastor of Matthew Martin Nickoloff, pastor of the South Wedge Mission (“Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words” by David Whyte)
  • BJ Scanlon, local activist and member of the theatre community (“Everything is Horrible and Wonderful: A Tragicomic Memoir of Genius, Heroin, Love, and Loss” by Stephanie Wittels Wachs and “Bread & Wine: An Erotic Tale of New York” written by Samuel R. Delaney and illustrated by Mia Wolff)
  • Elissa Orlando, senior vice president for television and news at WXXI (“Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders)
  • Amit Batabyal, Arthur J. Gosnell Professor of Economics at RIT (“China’s Crony Capitalism” by Minxin Pei)
  • Emily Hessney Lynch, director of content for I Heart ROC and freelance social media strategist (“They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us“ by Hanif Abdurraqib; “Exit West: A Novel” by Mohsin Hamid; and “Gmorning, Gnight! Little Pep Talks for Me & You” written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and illustrated by Jonny Sun)
  • Brian Koberlein, senior lecturer of physics and astronomy at RIT, and author of One Universe at a Time (“The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet” by Becky Chambers) 

Author Leslie C. Youngblood joins us in studio to discuss her debut novel, “Love Like Sky.” It's a remarkable book for young adults about blended families, Black Lives Matter, and the power of love. 

Award-winning author Dubravka Ugresic is in Rochester to discuss her book of essays, American Fictionary. Ugresic fled war-torn Yugoslavia in the early 1990s for Amsterdam, and later, Middletown, Connecticut. It was in America that she says she was assaulted by Western consumerism;  “strong personalities;” and an obsession with exercise, bagels, and public confession. In her book, she describes how she sees America – especially as a woman whose country was destroyed by war.

She’s a guest of Open Letter Books, which is celebrating its 10 year anniversary this weekend, but first, Ugresic joins us on Connections. In studio:

Author Peter Lovenheim joins us in studio to discuss his new book, “The Attachment Effect.” It's a look at how early childhood relationships impact our adult relationships.

We discuss the different types of attachments (secure, anxious, and avoidant), how they form and can change, and how understanding your own attachment style can better your relationships.

If you've ever wanted to publish a book, an upcoming conference hopes to help you move from concept to print. Writers & Books' upcoming Ladder Literary Conference will focus on four rungs of the publishing ladder: writing, editing, connecting, and publishing.

Our guests help us preview the conference and answer your questions. Our guests:

  • Kyle Semmel, executive director of Writers & Books
  • Tokeya Graham, writer, and professor of English and philosophy at Monroe Community College
  • Mark Costello, attorney in entertainment law with Boylan Code LLP
  • Amy Bishop, literary agent with Dystel, Goderich & Bourret

We continue an annual Connections tradition by talking to members of the Rochester community about their favorite books of the year. We hear about a range of genres, while getting some insight into how our guests think, what they read, and why. In studio:

It's a pair of whodunits! We discuss the true stories behind a couple iconic things around the holidays, and they are not what they appear.

We hear the creation stories of the poem, "The Night Before Christmas," and the board game, Monopoly. Our guests:

Michael Chabon is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, and a strong proponent of genre fiction. His new book, Moonglow, blends elements of memoir and fiction. It’s main character, Mike Chabon, retells the stories he heard from his grandfather, who shared them on his deathbed under the influence of powerful painkillers. Chabon the character learns about his family’s forgotten history, the adventures his grandfather had, and how the Chabon family was connected to important historical figures. As Chabon the author writes, “In preparing this memoir, I have stuck to facts except when facts refused to conform with memory, narrative purpose, or the truth as I prefer to understand it.”

He'll be in Rochester on November 5 as a guest of the JCC’s Jewish Book Festival, but first, he joins us on Connections to discuss his work, his process, and the art of blending truth and fiction. Our guests:

  • Michael Chabon, author of Moonglow
  • Judy Blaustein, co-chair of the JCC Jewish Book Festival

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