Books

Interviews with authors, commentaries / reviews on books

death penalty
Kiichiro Sato / AP

The death penalty has long been a contentious topic in American life. And recent political rumblings -- both nationally and in Ohio -- suggest its future is uncertain and likely to be just as turbulent. 

Cincinnati has long loved books, and some of the world's greatest authors have made sure to stop here during their tours.

The U.S. Civil Rights Trail is a relatively new attraction, a tour through a tumultuous period in American history.

Samuel Wright Smith

Samuel Wright Smith was just a boy when he got a camera and started exploring some of the empty local landmarks.

Ever heard of a local colony of settlers in Clermont County washed away and killed by the river, only to remain at that site in a new specter form?

Dani McClain

If you've ever toyed with the notion of writing the next bestseller, now may be the time. The pandemic is ripe for inspiration, and now you finally have the time to hideaway for months typing on your laptop.

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We are increasingly under surveillance in our society. Online, we willingly surrender our privacy, granting corporations and our government huge privileges over us. But in his new book, Life After Privacy, Firmin DeBrabander questions whether privacy is really so important to political liberty and asks, "if not with privacy, how else can we protect democracy?"

Kentucky politics is ripe with colorful figures and scandals from each period of its more than 200-year-old history.

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A new Baldwin Wallace poll has President Donald Trump with a two-point lead over Joe Biden in Ohio, which is within the margin of error, making the state a toss-up in the presidential contest. Both candidates have been campaigning in Ohio, just as past presidential candidates have paid close attention to the Buckeye State as a key battleground.

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Of all the seasons to go walking in Burnet Woods, Rama Kasturi most enjoys the winter. It's when the trees are bare, exposing the beauty of the forest, frozen rain covers the branches after a winter storm, and it's quiet with few people in the park. Kasturi explores the woods with her cell phone camera, snapping close-ups along the trail for her book, Four Seasons in Burnet Woods, a photo essay of the park.

What if there were one billion of us?

Writer and podcast host Matthew Yglesias suggests that that would be a positive development for the country in his new book One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger.

mockingbird grows up
Courtesy of Amazon

To Kill a Mockingbird has remained one of Americans' most beloved novels since its release in 1960, but its author, Harper Lee, produced only one other book, Go Set a Watchman, which was supposed to have been released after her death.

Courtesy of the author

On June 24, 1973, the patrons of the Up Stairs Lounge enjoyed an evening of socializing in a bar that was their refuge from anti-gay abuse. But that evening, a fire set on the steps leading up to the lounge, killed 32 people. The arson remains unsolved.

Author David Giffels spent a year traveling around Ohio with the idea that by getting a better understanding of Ohio, he might get a better understanding of the nation as a whole this election year. The people he encountered in his journeys and what he learned from them are in his new book, "Barnstorming Ohio: To Understand America." Giffels said he wrapped up his research just as the coronavirus pandemic shut down the state and the country. 

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On the centennial of women's suffrage author Kimberly Hamlin delivers a biography of a rebellious spirit hailed as the “Harriett Beecher Stowe of Fallen Women." After being outed in Ohio newspapers for her affair with a married man, Helen Hamilton Gardner changed her name, moved to a new city, became a famous reformer, and, ultimately, the “most potent factor” in getting the 19th Amendment through Congress and the highest-ranking woman in federal government. 

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For her final contribution to Around Cincinnati, our literary contributor Kelly Blewett has a conversation with her friend, former co-worker, and bestselling author, Liz Johnson. She just released A Dazzler of Diamonds, the final novel in her Georgia Coast Romance series.

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Barbara Gray concludes her Around Cincinnati book segments by interviewing bestselling author, Louise Penny. She provides a preview of her latest novel in the Inspector Gamache series, this one called All The Devils Are Here, scheduled for release on September 1.

Amazon.com

Former advisor to Hillary Clinton, Jennifer Palmieri writes for the Washington Post, "I am proud to declare that I have been a woman struggling to succeed in a man's world and even more proud to declare my independence from it." In her new book, She Proclaims: Our Declaration of Independence from a Man's World, Palmieri offers a manifesto for women seeking empowerment outside patriarchy.

One Man's Pandemic Reading List

Aug 7, 2020
Pixabay

Our friend and contributor David Delegator shares some of his pandemic reading list. Many of the books can be found at the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

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Author Julia Koets, who holds a doctorate from the University of Cincinnati, released The Rib Joint: A Memoir in Essays this past November. She joins our contributor (and former classmate) Kelly Blewitt to talk about growing up and coming of age in the South.

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Local author Sara Bennett Wealer has just released her latest YA novel, Now & When, a romantic tale featuring a mysterious website. Barbara Gray welcomes her to Around Cincinnati for a conversation about the story and the characters in her new novel.

The Ohio River in the early and mid-19th century was a dangerous place, even for passengers among the ubiquitous steamboats.

mitch mcconnell
Susan Walsh / AP

Senator Mitch McConnell is one of the most powerful politicians in America and one of Kentucky's most consequential leaders sent to Washington, D.C. But the Republican majority leader is not the only Kentuckian to rise into significant power in the U.S. Congress's upper chamber.

In the national conversation about race borne out of the uprisings against deadly police violence targeted at Black Americans, one particular book is getting renewed attention.

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Tiffany McDaniel is an Ohio born and bred author whose second novel, Betty, is coming out soon. She’s with our Barbara Gray to talk about her new book and how long she’s been working on it.

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Lebanon, Ohio resident Karen Ansberry co-founded the educational book series Picture-Perfect Science for elementary school teachers to use in classrooms to help students “learn to read and read to learn.” She joins Barbara Gray to talk about the series and her latest release, Nature Did It First: Engineering Through Biomimicry.

Bluegrass Music On A Washington Ferry

Jul 3, 2020
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In the late 1970’s, Al Levy, then a college student, and a friend started playing guitar and banjo on the Washington State Ferry MV Kaleetan on their way to Port Townsend. In time, their fame grew, and the legend of the Ferryboat Musicians began. Now a practicing therapist, Al Levy has written about the experience and joins contributor Alexander Watson to talk about Blue Water Bluegrass: The Ferryboat Musicians.

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Douglas Abrams achieved acclaim for his bestselling book, The Book of Joy, which was a firsthand account of a meeting between Archbishop Desmond Tutu and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Now, in this time of worldwide unrest, he’s sharing his thoughts from moderating that legendary discussion in this conversation with our Ron Esposito.

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Miami University Professor TaraShea Nesbit has released her newest novel, a historical suspense tale set in the early days of the Plymouth, Massachusetts colony. She safely joins our Barbara Gray to talk about Beheld.

A Conversation With Amy Jo Burns, Author Of "Shiner"

Jun 26, 2020
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Two generations worth of Appalachian heartbreak and resolve is the basis for Shiner, the debut novel from Amy Jo Burns. She’s with our Barbara Gray to talk about the women and stories she brings to life in Shiner.

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