Books

Interviews with authors, commentaries / reviews on books

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As we look back one year after the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests nationwide, author Elizabeth Hinton takes a historic perspective on the demonstrations in America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s. Hinton's book charts the history of Black rebellion across the country in reaction to police violence. She asks us to reconsider our use of the term "riot," and instead position these protests as acts of rebellion against forces of systematic racism.

Brian Broome began writing a memoir of his life when he was at the absolute bottom — in rehab for drug addiction in his 40s.

"That's where it kind of officially started, and then when I got out of rehab, it just went from there," he tells Morning Edition.

His book, Punch Me Up to the Gods, begins with his father beating a 10-year-old Broome with his fists. The blows by his father, and even his friends, were meant to pound manliness into him.

Broome later came out as gay.

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What endures and what fades away long after we are gone? In The Speaking Stone: Stories Cemeteries Tell author Michael Griffith examines what endures while roaming through Cincinnati's iconic Spring Grove, the nation's third-largest cemetery. His collection of essays uncover the lives of some well-known figures from Cincinnati's past while others who were unknown throughout history have even more interesting stories to tell.

Cincinnati is an old city by American standards, and a lot of its earliest landmarks remain intact. Many such places and experiences make up the bulk of the new book Oldest Cincinnati by local author and historian Rick Pender. 

From as early as 1796 and the introduction of the first smallpox vaccine, people have shown apprehension to vaccines. In Maya Goldenberg's new book "Vaccine Hesitancy: Public Trust, Expertise and The War on Science" she reframes vaccine hesitancy as a crisis of public trust rather than a war on science, arguing that having good scientific support of vaccine efficacy and safety is not enough.

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A new book brought two friends closer together. Inspired by letters written during the pandemic, racial justice marches and the election, its an epistle for our times. Authors Byron McCauley and Jennifer Mooney reflect on how their own lives align with a world in the midst of crisis.

the hospital book brian alexander
Courtesy of the author

Rural, small hospitals were facing economic challenges long before the COVID-19 pandemic captured the world in its grips. During the coronavirus health crisis, much attention was paid to the threat to longevity of such care centers.

mount adams
Wikimedia Commons

Cincinnati's Mount Adams neighborhood is known for its sweeping vistas of the city and Ohio River, while also being a popular destination for nightlife, artists and those who love to live in homes representing distinct architecture.

But Mount Adams's history stretches to the early 1800s, and its appearance and name were different.

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.

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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
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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.

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