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Tag Archives: Nebraska Book Festival
When I was asked to read one of the books for this year’s Nebraska Book Festival, I immediately jumped at the chance to read You Were Always Mine, by Nicole Baart. As an adoptee from more than 50 years ago, I have wondered what my birth mother might have been like, as well as wondered about the adoption process. Nicole Baart has done an excellent job exploring a thriller scenario involving a birth mother, and it is definitely a can’t-put-it-down page-turner!
Iowa school teacher Jess Chamberlain, the heroine of this harrowing domestic thriller, and her husband, Evan, a family practitioner, have been separated for six months, and it’s been hard on their 13-year-old son, Max, and their six-year-old adopted son, Gabe. When Evan is killed in a hunting accident in Minnesota, Jess is shocked and suspicious, especially since Evan didn’t hunt. With the support of her family and friends, Jess struggles to move on from the death of a man she still loved. As Jess attempts to retrace Evan’s steps leading up to what becomes increasingly clear was his murder, she discovers that Evan was communicating with Gabe’s birth mother and may have been onto something that hits very close to home. Heartbreaking letters and emails sent by Gabe’s birth mother to various others, including Gabe, add emotional heft. Baart sensitively mines the bonds of motherhood and marriage while shining a light on a darker side of the adoption industry. (Publishers Weekly)
Don’t miss author Nicole Baart tomorrow at the Nebraska Book Festival!
I read Heart Land to highlight this author’s visit to our upcoming Nebraska Book Festival September 7th in Lincoln. I could have easily shared this book with my mom as it fits into the genre of authors she liked including Jan Karon and Rosamunde Pilcher. This book follows the Hallmark movie recipe of an urban woman interrupting her hectic life to return to her rural hometown. Upon her arrival, she discovers love and a new appreciation for a slower pace of life.
Such is the case with Grace Kleren, who graduated top of her class from the Fashion Institute of Technology with dreams of being a successful clothing designer. Having lost both of her parents in a car crash as a teen, she suffered a crisis of faith. Grace is fired from her job after pitching her clothing line to the boss, and unable to pay the bills, she returns to her Iowa hometown to live with her Grandma Gigi. On her first day job hunting, she almost runs over her high school boyfriend Tucker. Happily, there are no injuries but finding a way to earn a living requires some ingenuity.
Working with Gigi, the Church Sewing Club, and some vintage fabric, Grace finds a new and lucrative way to exhibit her design creativity. A few postings on Etsy prove that others also appreciate her design aesthetic. Soon she receives national attention in an online fashion magazine and an invitation to New York. As Grace navigates the conflicts between her head and her heart, her journey is about finding her own truth and what matters most. All of this happens with the encouragement of those who have always loved her in rural Iowa, where life is less exciting, but a good place to sort out Plan B.
Stuart, Kimberly. Heart Land. Howard Books (2018)
Ted Genoways spent a year following a Nebraska farm family – the Hammonds – and writes about his experiences and observations in his book, This Blessed Earth. Rick Hammond and his family raise soybeans, corn, and cattle on their fifth-generation farm near York. Genoways has said that the book intends a “kind of farm-level understanding of the systems that currently exist.” Genoways captures the challenges of farming and life experienced by this one farm family and, more generally, others.
Genoways, a Nebraskan with long-standing family ties to farming, underscores the fact that farming is a huge gamble. In part, it is a matter of living with the uncertainty of weather, the unpredictability of global markets, federal farm policies, finances and more. These and many other challenges determine whether farming income exceeds expenses, falls below, or breaks even. A sudden storm, a downward turn in the markets, equipment breakdowns, and other unexpected events can change prospects dramatically.
Today’s farms are remarkably different from those of previous generations – farms covering thousands of acres, large and expensive tractors, and other equipment with computer screens, and GIS technology to determine spacing and measurement of soil moisture.
A bonus is the historical content and commentary that Genoways provides. Genoways writes about plant science, hybrid seeds, chemicals, water rights, irrigation, and much more. I grew up on a northeast Nebraska farm, decades ago. We raised soybeans among other crops. I had no idea that Henry Ford’s leadership, research, and initiatives were critical in the soybean becoming the dominant agricultural commodity that it is. Genoways details Ford’s recognition of the potential of the soybean for manufacturing and other byproducts. Genoways writes in-depth about Nebraska’s water resources, needs, vulnerability, policies, and management.
Beyond their hard work and self-reliance, farmers must have multiple skills – the ability to fix what is broken, the knowledge to grow and manage crops, the judgment to know when to plant and harvest, to raise and care for livestock, and the intellect to know when to buy and sell.
This Blessed Earth has received much-deserved recognition. It is the book selected by both Iowa and Nebraska for the two states’ 2019 statewide reading programs – All Iowa Reads and One Book One Nebraska. It is among the Smithsonian’s “Ten Best History Books of 2017” and it is the prizewinner of the Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Award presented by the Center for Great Plains Studies.
Ted Genoways is a Nebraska book Award winner for both poetry (Bullroarer: A Sequence) and nonfiction (The Chain).
Genoways will speak at the Nebraska Book Festival on September 7.
Genoways, Ted. This Blessed Earth. W.W. Norton, 2017.
This week’s #BookFace is definitely a winner!
We’ve got “Dream Like a Champion: Wins, Losses, and Leadership the Nebraska Volleyball Way” by Brandon Vogel and John Cook (University of Nebraska Press, 2017) as this week’s #BookFaceFriday! Even better, you can catch Brandon Vogel’s session at the Nebraska Book Festival tomorrow and get your book signed! He’s speaking from 12:30-1:15 p.m. about his book “Dream Like a Champion”, co-authored with Nebraska volleyball coach John Cook. Vogel will be looking back at the Huskers run to the 2017 national championship, revealing how many of the ideas and strategies outlined in the book emerged again during Cook’s fourth national-title season. He will also examine how some of those theories were adapted for a new team, share an inside look at the writing process for the book, and provide a sportswriter’s view of just what makes Nebraska volleyball so successful.
“For all coaches and people who bleed Husker red, this a great read. . . . Cook admires the special qualities that can come from a small-town Nebraska athlete; other coaches across the state have taken notice, too. These athletes are generally family oriented, hardworking, and possess good qualities that help lead to championship cultures. That’s the Nebraska way, and John Cook reveals how he understands the value these athletes can bring to his program.”—Nicole Venditte, Great Plains Quarterly
Check out everything happening at the 2018 Nebraska Book Festival! Free & open to the public, don’t miss out on all the fun, including: author presentations, book signings, exhibitors & booksellers, poetry readings, and family activities! #NEBookFest
Nebraska books and writers will be featured and celebrated at the Nebraska Book Festival on August 25, 2018. This event will highlight work by Nebraska writers and publishers, with a focus on stories and poetry set in Nebraska.
The August 25 Nebraska Book Festival will be held at the University of Nebraska City Campus Union from 9:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m. It will feature author appearances, book signings, exhibitors, booksellers, poetry readings, and hands-on family activities. Authors include Janice Harrington, Stew Magnuson, Brandon Vogel, Melissa Fraterrigo, Jeff Kurrus and Michael Forsberg, along with Nebraska poets from the 2018 One Book One Nebraska selection Nebraska Presence: An Anthology of Poetry. The Nebraska Writers Guild will feature readings, discussions, and workshops for writers. Concierge Marketing will host Maker activities to celebrate books, including family activities to encourage book lovers of all ages to craft, draw, imagine, and create.
An opening reception on Friday evening and a closing reception on Sunday afternoon will be held at the Center for Great Plains Studies to highlight new Nebraska books. The Festival is sponsored by University of Nebraska Press, Nebraska Library Commission, Nebraska Center for the Book, Lincoln City Libraries, Humanities Nebraska, Union Bank and Trust, University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism & Mass Communications, Friends of University of Nebraska Press, Nebraska Writers Guild, and Concierge Marketing and Publishing Services. More information about the Festival is available at http://bookfestival.nebraska.gov/2018/index.aspx.