Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment. Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.
Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)
Smart Talk Friday is a fast-paced program featuring thoughtful and engaging conversations about the politics, policy and people who are shaping Pennsylvania’s future. Host Scott LaMar and WITF Capitol Bureau Chief Mary Wilson invite your multimedia interaction before, during and after the program.
Hosts: Scott LaMar and Mary Wilson
What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, June 3, 2014:
Have you made your vacation plans for this summer? Whether you're traveling to the beach or mountains or just lounging by the pool or staying cool in an air conditioned house, a good book is probably an essential part of your efforts to relax.
On Tuesday's Smart Talk, we've assembled a panel to discuss what they're reading and suggest a few books you may enjoy too.
Catherine Lawrence, Todd Dickinson, Jon Walker
Joining us on the program are Catherine Lawrence, a writer and owner of the Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, Todd Dickinson, an owner of Aaron's Books in Lititz, and Jon Walker, who blogs at www.jonosbookreviews.com.
We'd also like to hear about a few of the books you've read lately. Call the program at 1-800-729-7532 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All literary genres are welcome including novels, short story collections, mystery thrillers, historical non-fiction, or romance. Our panel will even offer ideas on books of poetry. Current best-sellers, classics, or paperbacks -- we're open to all suggestions with a brief synopsis as well.
Todd Dickinson" picks:
Boys in the Boat
by Daniel James Brown
Our hardback nonfiction bestseller of the past year, this fascinating history is now out in paperback. It follows a group of determined young men from Washington State who become America's rowing team in the 1936 Olympics. Carefully researched and beautifully written, it's perfect for fans of Unbroken and Chariots of Fire.
Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion
Authors include: Melanie Benjamin; Jenna Blum; Amanda Hodgkinson; Pam Jenoff; Sarah Jio; Sarah McCoy; Kristina McMorris; Alyson Richman; Erika Robuck; Karen White
This collection of short stories captures the homecoming of soldiers and the recovery of Americans of all walks of life following World War II. It comes out on July 1.
by Richard Adams
This is one of my favorite books, and one I can return to visit with like an old friend. It's a story of adventure, friendship, community, and love. Adams uses a group of rabbits to create an entire new world that is also set in our own. My favorite part is the collection of rabbit myths and folktales that he adds throughout the story.
by Saskia Hamilton
This beautiful and haunting collection of poems came out in April and is well worth a visit. The poems explore the line between growth and decay. Many are inspired by long-abandoned buildings that are being reclaimed by nature. Hamilton creates a mood and a sense of place with just a few carefully chosen words.
The Great Greene Heist
- Varian Johnson
This middle grade book is in the tradition of the great spy novels. Jackson Greene learns of a plot to steal the election of student president of his middle school. He's a reformed troublemaker, but he decides to assemble his talented team of friends to ensure the election goes smoothly without his former girlfriend finding out that he's involved. This incredibly clever book reminds young readers of Gordon Korman's Swindle and adults of the Ocean's Eleven movies. This book is also at the center of a national effort called #WeNeedDiverseBooks to demonstrate that bookstores can sell, and kids will appreciate, books with diverse characters.
Summer Reads – from Catherine Lawrence at Harrisburg’s Midtown Scholar Bookstore
Rick Kearns, Harrisburg’s current Poet Laureate: Rufino's Secret
Nathaniel Gadsden, a past Poet Laureate of Harrisburg: By Any Words Necessary
Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (collection published by Penn State Press, 2005)
Marjorie Maddox, Director of Creative Writing & English Prof. at Lock Haven University: Local News from Someplace Else (2013) and – for children – A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry (2008)
Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Penn State Prof: Poetry in America (2011) and The Body and the Book: Writing from a Mennonite Life (2009)
Poet, film-maker, professor & hip-hop artist M. K. Asante's raw and lyrical autobiography, Buck (2013 - a witf Pick of the Month last fall). Prof. Asante was the keynote speaker at our book festival earlier this year and his story of how writing poetry helped him survive the urban jungle of Philadelphia is incredibly inspiring.
In honor of "Juneteenth" – an annual celebration of the end of slavery, and African American freedom and education, on June 19th:
The Cross and the Lynching Tree, by James H Cone (Orbis Books, 2011). June's Pick of the Month – also a selection of Lebanon Valley College’s summer book talk series.
One of the best books of the year:
Love and Treasure, by Ayelet Waldman (Knopf, 2014)
Historical & contemporary stories interwoven (2009 discovery of an 1849 pre-Raphaelite painting):
Lauren Willig's That Summer: A Novel
Pennsylvania authors of women’s fiction:
Kathryn Craft, The Art of Falling (Sourcebooks/ Landmark, 2014)
Meredith Mileti, Aftertaste: A Novel in Five Courses (Kensington, 2011)
For fans of Sherlock:
C. S. Harris's series featuring early 19th-century amateur detective, Sebastian St. Cyr, has another installment, Why Kings Confess (NAL, 2014)
The latest in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, inspired by 18th-century Scotland:
Written in My Own Heart's Blood (to be published this month) – with dual story lines, partly set in Philadelphia and Valley Forge during the American Revolution, and partly in 20th century Scotland. The first season of the television series airs on Starz in August.
Young Adult Picks:
Contemporary teen life: Send Me a Sign and Bright before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt
Sci fi / fantasy / speculative fiction: Fair Coin and Quantum Coin by E. C. Myers
Paranormal sisters: The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood (3rd book coming in August)
The Dumbest Idea Ever! – A graphic-novel memoir by Central PA’s own Jimmy Gownley, an award-winning graphic novelist and author of the best-selling series Amelia Rules.
Looking ahead to July’s Pick of the Month:
Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by the Washington Post’s Brigid Schulte. – Part of WITF’s Transforming Health project, in conjunction with Aligning Forces for Quality (AF4Q) and Pennsylvania libraries. Meet the author on September 29th at York College. –Schulte explores how our lives have become overly complicated and gives practical tips for paring down to essentials.
Jon Walker's suggestions (see Jon's full reviews at www.jonosbookreviews.com):
The Goldfinch, by Donna Tart
The Good Lord Bird, by James McBride
The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Call us weekdays between 9 and 10 a.m. at
Email us at
Post a comment to our Facebook page
Support for witf is provided by: