We talk to the two authors selected for this year’s Debut Novel Series at Writers & Books. Garth Greenwell and Hannah Tennant-Moore have both crafted stories around protagonists with self-destructive tendencies, who search for identity through relationships.

We talk to the authors about their craft, how their lives influenced their work, and the challenges of the publishing world. Our guests:

Connections: Read Local

Sep 23, 2016

Like the local food movement, Read Local is a program that seeks to get readers to enjoy books grown right in their own back yard. It is a book club and event series, highlighting books published by publishing houses based right here in Rochester. The idea is to read the book, meet the author, and support local businesses along the way. 

We meet author Josefine Klougart, and we discuss a range of issues, including translations and foreign books, the health of publishing, and more. Our guests:

David Denby is a writer and a lover of classic literature who wanted to know if modern students could be taught to love and value great books. Maybe it's a question that's been around for centuries: How can we make kids love books? But it's more challenging, seemingly intractable now. Kids read texts. They rarely read books.

Denby set out to know whether it's possible to bring the classics into the hearts and minds of students in Manhattan, and Westchester, and an impoverished district in Connecticut. He found inspiring teachers, and he found students slowly unlocking the mysteries in books like The Scarlet Letter. He's our guest for the hour, discussing his book, Lit Up, with a focus on how to preserve literature in the digital age.

Best-selling author Todd Moss joins us to talk about his new book, Ghosts of Havana. It's the third book in his Judd Ryker thriller series.

Moss is a Pittsford Mendon graduate who worked for the U.S. State Department in 2007 and 2008, focusing on African affairs. He now works for a think tank, the Center for Global Development.

We talk to him about his book and American relations with Cuba after the so-called "normalization" process. We cover assassination plots and more, and how he sees our relationship with Cuba now.

Sunday is Father’s Day, and we spend the hour talking about the influence of fathers – specifically one daughter’s life with and without her dad.

Author Rebecca Rene Jones discusses her new book, Broken for Good: How Grief Awoke My Greatest Hopes.

We talk with author Carola Dibbell about her novel, The Only Ones. The book was selected for this year's Debut Novel Series at Writers & Books

Dibbell is a rock critic who published her first major work of fiction at age 71. The Only Ones tells the story of a young woman hired to provide genetic material to a grief-stricken mother in a post-pandemic world. We talk to Dibbell about the story, her research process, and themes within the book. Our guests:

  • Carola Dibbell, author of The Only Ones
  • Joe Flaherty, executive director of Writers & Books
  • Karen van Meenen, coordinator of the Rochester Reads and Debut Novel Series programs at Writers & Books

We talk to Rochester native Todd Moss, thriller author and COO of the Center for Global Development.

Moss talks about what he learned during his recent trip to Cuba in advance of President Obama's visit. He also previews his new book, Ghosts of Havana.

Author and Rochester native Sonja Livingston discusses her memoir, Queen of the Fall. The book was selected for this year’s “If All of Rochester Reads the Same Book” program at Writers & Books.

Livingston joins us in studio to talk about the writing process, memoir as a genre, the power of memory, and her “Rochester Reads” events. Our guests: 

Independent Bookstores Still Finding a Niche

Jan 2, 2016
Caitlin Murphy / WXXI/St. John Fisher College

Despite the high demand for e-books and the growing power of corporate chains, the Rochester community still has an ever present and colorful independent bookstore community.

In November, the National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index dropped by 1.3 percent. This index measures and predicts the growth of business, employment and expansion for independent businesses, including bookstores, across America.


It's Rochester's favorite books of 2015!

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:

  • Shaun Nelms, superintendent, East High School (The Cold Moon by Jeffery Deaver)


  • Mari Tsuchiya, library assistant, University of Rochester River Campus Libraries (All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr)


  • Sue Hughes-Smith, co-leader, Rochester People's Climate Coalition (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein)


  • Jonathan Binstock, director, Memorial Art Gallery (Life by Keith Richards)


  • Sareer Fazili, president, Islamic Center of Rochester (Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years by A.S. Dulat)


  • Leah Stacey, assistant professor in practical practice in English and communication, Nazareth College; co-founder, Boomtown Table (Blood, Bones & and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton) 


  • Rabbi Owen Gottlieb, assistant professor of interactive games and media, RIT (Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate by Daniel Shapiro and Roger Fisher)


  • Erica Bryant, columnist, Democrat and Chronicle (Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat)


  • Greg Biryla, executive director, Unshackle Upstate (Running for My Life: One Lost Boy's Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games by Lopez Lomong)


  • Joe Flaherty, founder and executive director, Writers & Books (Dark Star: A Novel by Alan Furst)


  • Adam Frank, professor of astrophysics, University of Rochester (Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies by Cesar Hidalgo, and War Dogs by Greg Bear)