authors

Elena Seibert / gretchenrubin.com

If you've ever worked with someone who had trouble following through, or dealt with a kid who's constantly pushing your buttons, you'll want to hear this conversation. Best-selling author and Kansas City native Gretchen Rubin says peoples' reactions to expectation influence their behavior in a big way.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Overland Park writer Jen Mann was inspired to create her People I Want to Punch in the Throat blog by, well, all the people she wants to punch in the throat. Today, we speak with the New York Times best-selling author about the latest installment in her snarky series, and about the people she's worked with who almost — almost! — forced her to fisticuffs.

A local writer and playwright tells us about her irreverent grandma, who she calls an "R-rated black Yoda."

Then: Dolores Huerta co-founded the National Farmworkers Association with Cesar Chavez, but she may be one of the least-known activists in American history. In light of a new documentary coming out this month, we hear more about Huerta from her great-niece, who lives in KC.

Guests:

Have you ever revisited a favorite book from your childhood . . . to find that it is actually racist? As our society's thoughts on race continue to evolve, we'll consult the author of the new book Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books.

From Oxford-educated surgeon to body-builder to Cerner executive, Daphne Bascom joins us to talk about the journey that now brings her to community health at the YMCA.

Plus, Dodge City, Kansas-native Robert Rebein just published a new memoir on his home state.

Guests:

The New York Times calls him "one of the most acclaimed travel writers of his time." In this encore presentation, a chat with William Least Heat-Moon about his Kansas City roots, his new novel and how he got his name.

Guest:

  • William Least Heat-Moon

Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr - CC

As V-E Day approaches, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Rick Atkinson discusses the lasting impact and significance of World War II. Then, many consumers remain wary of check-cashing and payday-lending businesses. We speak with a professor of city planning who worked as a check casher in New York City to research the industry and find out why low- and middle-income Americans are using them in increasing numbers.

Courtesy Unbound Book Festival

On a recent Wednesday morning at his home Columbia, Missouri, Alex George was ignoring his day job. He’s an attorney and author whose second novel, Setting Free the Kites, was released in February. But on this day he was working on neither writing nor lawyering.

At 1215 South Jefferson Avenue in St. Louis, a red brick building housed a chemical plant, owned by a black man who always dreamed of running his own business on a city block full of black business owners. In a new memoir to his father, the owner of Du-Good Chemical whose dreams became a reality, Kansas City writer Lewis Diuguid takes us back to that city block where he grew up.

Plus, how a favorite childhood pastime of catching bugs became an academic career for one KU grad student. 

Guests:

Candice Millard

Apr 14, 2017
Paul Andrews / http://paulandrewsphotography.com/

She's a bestselling author who has written books about James Garfield, Theodore Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. We talk with Candice Millard about how she found her niche of writing about the lesser-known incidents in a historical figure's life, and how her work and her life have intersected.

Guest:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

For all the times that scientific research has improved our lives, there are other times when science got it horribly wrong. Today, Dr. Paul Offit describes the lessons we have learned, and should be learning, to separate good science from bad.

Baylor University

Not every undocumented migrant crossing our southern border makes it. Remains of those who die in the attempt are found in the open and in unmarked graves. Meet the anthropologist using forensics to return skeletal remains to waiting families. Then KU's Lisa McLendon says "it's all about attitude" when it comes to grammar. Her passion for sentence structure and punctuation led her to write a workbook about it.

Missouri Auditor's Office

Today, bestselling author and political activist Francine Prose shares her thoughts on the importance of the written word. She says the First Amendment is under threat, and explains why what we write counts now more than ever. Then, we speak with Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who says certain executive payments the University of Missouri System awards break the law.

A rural farm in Kansas. A wealthy family with a dark secret. A missing young woman. That's the basis of a new book by a local author. She shares how a real-life small Kansas town — and her background as a criminal defense attorney — helped inspire her novel.

Then, a look at how police department throughout the country (including in KC) are using technology that mines cell phone data.

The New York Times calls him "one of the most acclaimed travel writers of his time." A chat with William Least Heat-Moon about his Kansas City roots, his new novel and how he got his name.

Guest:

  • William Least Heat-Moon

Universal Pictures

How many times has terrible science kept you from enjoying a sci-fi movie? From hits like I Am Legend to the classic Soylent Green, we explore the science behind these (and other) movies, and how they relate to real life.

After 122 literary agents rejected her work, Kansas novelist Bryn Greenwood finally found a publisher in August for All the Ugly and Wonderful Things. She reflects on her own experiences that lead to the complicated fictional tale of a young girl who grows up on a meth compound, and falls in love with an ex-con nearly 20 years her senior.

We're used to mosquito bites here in the Midwest, but if you've found yourself intensely scratching a single, long-lasting bite for weeks, you've probably been bitten by the oak mite. The science behind these pesky critters that have made Kansas City their home, plus, another peek into nature with a writer who sowed his ideas in his gardens.

Guests:

Before becoming one of today's most popular mystery writers, Canadian Louise Penny was a CBC journalist and radio host. She struggled while pursuing her childhood goal of writing a book, but finally found her stride, and fame,  in a series of novels around the central character of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache.

C.J. Janovy / KCUR 89.3

Out in Western Kansas, not too far from Dodge City, is the town of Jetmore. It’s home to about 900 people, including the Bradshaw family. Young Crystal Bradshaw had a happy childhood there, but one thing was missing, so she set out to solve a family mystery.

She ended up writing an important book about Kansas – before she even went to college.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Even if you're not a fan of science fiction, you've probably heard of George R.R. Martin. (Does Game of Thrones ring a bell?) Melinda M. Snodgrass is no slouch herself, having written and edited for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Together, they edit a book series called Wild Cards, which could soon be adapted for television.

ProjectManhattan / Wikimedia--CC

Children’s literature is becoming more and more diverse, but choosing which books to share with children can still be difficult. 

KCUR’s Central Standard recently welcomed Kansas City authors Christine Taylor-Butler and Traci Sorell to a discussion of how representations of race in children’s literature have changed over time.

Here are their recommendations for books with diverse and nuanced characters and storylines.

Christine Taylor-Butler, children’s book author:

“First crushes are enduring" but celebrity crushes bring “a whole new level of potency" says Dave Singleton, co-author of Crush: Writers Reflect on Love, Longing and the Lasting Power of Their First Celebrity Crush. Up to Date host Steve Kraske, along with KCUR staffers and listeners reveal their celebrity crushes and learn why they endure.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

The Vietnam War divided the country – and families – including that of Kansas City writer Alan Robert Proctor. His brother, Bruce Proctor, worked in the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency before fleeing the country to avoid being sent to Vietnam.

Novelist Richard Russo isn’t known for sequels. So he’s broken new ground with his latest, Everybody’s Fool, in which he returns to North Bath, the fictional upstate New York setting of his 1993 novel, Nobody’s Fool. We talk with the author about his writing process and why he like to write about "ordinary" people.

It was a conversation with his father when he was only seven years old that laid out the direction of author Andrew Solomon's life. Now, Solomon has chronicled his travels in a new book of essays, Far & Away: Reporting from the Brink of Change: Seven Continents, 25 Years.

The great writer Pat Conroy died March 4 at the age of 70. The author of “The Great Santini,” among many others, spoke with Steve Kraske on Up To Date in November of 2013. In remembrance of the late author, we bring you that conversation. 

Todd Wade / Flickr -- CC

The year is 2300 and Kansas City — as we know it — no longer exists.

The Eastern Empire — a loose federation of Chinese-led nations — has claimed the West Coast of the United States.

The refugee crisis from Americans fleeing east over the Rockies triggered a cataclysmic civil war, pitting the extremely wealthy against the extremely poor.

The very rich won, and the new nation that emerges has been restructured into a formalized, class-driven society.

She’s written 21 books which have been translated into 35 languages. Her list of awards — which includes a Presidential Medal of Honor — could practically fill a book itself. Chilean-American author Isabel Allende joins Steve Kraske to talk about her latest book, her inspirations and her eventful life.

It's easy to see the terrible physical injuries that war can inflict. On this edition of Up To Date, author and former Marine Karl Marlantes talks about recovering from the invisible wounds of war. He recalls his service in Vietnam, speaks of regrets and talks about how combat can hurt one's moral core.

Pages