Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Between the Lines: Kalamazoo Coloring Book

by Zinta Aistars

for WMUK 102.1 FM
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate



Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. (or listen anytime online), on WMUK 102.1 FM, Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: Simon Kalil Borst



You’ve seen his work. It's in the online Kalamazoo magazine Southwest Michigan's Second WaveYou might also have spotted it in the People’s Food Co-op's newsletter. Or maybe you've seen his work on the walls of Brakeman Design during an Art Hop. Simon Kalil Borst’s comics and graphic designs are popping up all over Kalamazoo, and they are all about Kalamazoo.

The latest addition to Borst’s portfolio is The Kalamazoo Coloring Book, published by Bookbug and released in November 2016. This coloring book is for adults and is a collection of iconic Kalamazoo images.
"Bookbug contacted me and said they were interested in doing a coloring book,” Borst says. “I’ve been doing comics in and about the Kalamazoo area, so they thought I was the right person to do it. They contracted me and gave me creative control over the project.
The book includes 31 drawings of Kalamazoo, mostly of the downtown area. Borst says he started out from a list of about 50 places provided by Bookbug, then pared it down to what appealed most to his artistic sense.
“A lot of those images came from ..."



Sunday, November 27, 2016

Between the Lines: By Bus, With Chickens

by Zinta Aistars

for WMUK 102.1 FM
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate



Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. (or listen anytime online), on WMUK 102.1 FM, Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: Jan Brett

Author Jan Brett's decorated tour bus
CREDIT PENGUIN-RANDOM HOUSE


As Jan Brett begins her 23-city national tour in a bus decorated front-to-back with her own illustrations, she reflects on what inspires her – and about a surprise guest traveling with her. Alf, one of the roosters that the children’s book author and illustrator raises, will travel with her as Brett meets with fans of all ages. 

“Alf will have a girlfriend with him,” Brett says. “Or wife. They have a nice box they will live in, with a perch in it, and on my day off I put them in a wire pen so that they can get some sun. We took a bunny along another year, because the kids love it!”
Alf, along with a myriad of other creatures, appears throughout Brett’s newest children’s book, Gingerbread Christmas (Putnam, October 2016). It's the story of Gingerbread Baby, who pops out of the oven and brings a gingerbread band to the town Christmas festival. Everyone enjoys the joyful holiday music — until they catch a whiff of the gingerbread smell and realize those musicians are delicious cookies.
Brett has written and illustrated 35 books for kids that have sold more than 40 million copies. She says each book takes about a year of work to create the detailed illustrations that bring it to life.
“When I have an idea, I think about whether it will sustain me for a whole year,” Brett says. “I want to be able to feel like there’s this discovery, this curiosity, there’s learning … all these things are going to build up this momentum.”
Jan Brett
CREDIT PENGUIN-RANDOM HOUSE
Brett's books often feature wildlife she enjoys having at her two-acre home in Norwell, Massachusetts. But she has a special love for chickens and raises exotic breeds that she sells and shows. Brett has about 60 chickens, including Silkies, Buff Brahmas, Cochins, Silver Phoenix, and Polish varieties.
“But my biggest inspiration is ..."




Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Between the Lines: A Life of Adventure

by Zinta Aistars

for WMUK 102.1 FM
Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate



Between the Lines is my weekly radio show about books and writers with a Michigan connection. It airs every Tuesday at 7:50 a.m., 11:55 a.m., and 4:20 p.m. (or listen anytime online), on WMUK 102.1 FM, Southwest Michigan's NPR affiliate. I am the host of Between the Lines.

This week's guest: Kathleen Stocking


Kathleen Stocking has traveled the world, and dug deep into her own community in Michigan's Leelanau Peninsula for what she calls a "bone- deep" understanding of people. She's written about her discoveries along the way in a trilogy of memoirs. The latest is The Long Arc of the Universe: Travels Beyond the Pale (Stocking Press, 2016).

“My first book was about my peninsula, the Leelanau Peninsula,” Stocking says. “I was writing then for Detroit Monthly magazine, so a lot of that book was columns published by Detroit Monthly. Then I received several awards and did the next book about my state, Michigan, and a lot of islands, because I was always curious about the offshore islands. Then, with my children being grown, and being very curious about the rest of the world, I accepted a fellowship from the William James Foundation and worked in the prisons of California.”

Stocking says she wanted to understand why so many people in the United States are behind bars. Teaching creative writing inside the prison helped her do that. Stocking relates the stories of inmates, many doing time for murder and other violent crimes. She soon found that the inmates were like anyone else, anywhere. 
Kathleen Stocking in 1975
CREDIT KATHLEEN STOCKING
They broke down in tears speaking of their children and the other loved ones they had left behind. They longed for the simple pleasures of life: a good meal, a long walk in nature. Stocking says writing became the key for many inmates to open up what was locked up inside. Stocking’s stories about working with inmates open her new book of travels beyond her home territory.
“From there, curiosity took me to El Salvador, a couple tours in the Peace Corps, and traveling in between, coming back again and again to the Leelanau Peninsula,” she says. “I just wanted to understand the larger world. I was curious about ... "