Adison Godfrey

Tomi Adeyemi has been hailed the next J.K. Rowling. She’s the author of the best-selling young adult fantasy “Children of Blood and Bone.” I’m all for the comparison if it encourages people to read the 24-year-old’s gripping debut novel, but I actually think it deserves to stand on its own. I devoured this book.

As Alyce Ritti sat in the recliner in her bedroom, Camille-Yvette Welsch shared a poem she wrote inspired by Ritti’s life (see poem below).

Welsch met Ritti 15 years earlier, when she was writing an article about Ritti’s art. Poems from Life brought them back together.

“Oh, I have tears of joy,” Ritti cried after hearing Welsch’s poem.

Welsch laughed. “I’m glad. I’m glad.”

 

There are some books I read and don’t think about much afterwards. They just don’t leave a lasting impact.

But “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid stayed with me.

Lisa Ko, author of "The Leavers."
Lisa Ko

Author Lisa Ko's debut novel, "The Leavers," won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award. The novel explores issues relating to immigration and identity after Polly Guo, an undocumented Chinese immigrant, goes to work one morning and never returns home. Her 11-year-old son, Deming, is placed in foster care and eventually adopted by a white family that changes his name to Daniel.

Twenty years ago, Penn State professor Michael Bérubé wrote a book about raising his young son Jamie, who has Down syndrome. Jamie is now 26 years old. Michael has written a follow-up book, “Life as Jamie Knows It: An Exceptional Child Grows Up,” which explores Jamie’s growing independence, his difficulty finding a fulfilling job, and more. WPSU’s Adison Godfrey talked with Michael and Jamie about the book.

I tend to gravitate towards books by authors I’ve read before. But after seeing Emily St. John Mandel’s “Station Eleven” hailed a must-read multiple times, I decided to go out on a limb.

I’m so glad I did.

A portrait of a refugee child, Hanna, is on display in the window of the Corner Room in downtown State College.
Min Xian / WPSU

 

State College resident Penny Eifrig spends part of each year living in Berlin, Germany. As Berlin accepted refugees in 2015, Eifrig got involved in the cause. Her involvement led to the photo series “They Have Names,” which has been on display in downtown State College since Nov. 3. WPSU graduate assistant Adison Godfrey talked with Eifrig about the photo exhibit and her work with refugees.

Adison Godfrey: Thanks for talking with me.

Celeste Ng’s latest novel, “Little Fires Everywhere,” revolves around a central question: what makes a person a mother?

Russell Frank is a professor of journalism at Penn State, a contributor to StateCollege.com and a former columnist for the “Centre Daily Times.” He has compiled a selection of his columns from the past 20 years into a book, “Among the Woo People,” which comes out on Sunday. WPSU’s Adison Godfrey talked with Russell Frank about his book.

AG: Thanks for joining me.

RF: My pleasure.

Dr. Jill Biden speaks at podium.
Stuart Ramson / AP Images for UN Foundation

 

Many know Dr. Jill Biden as the former Second Lady of the United States. But during Biden’s talk last night at Penn State, she gave the audience a glimpse into her personal life.

Biden shared struggles like losing her son to brain cancer and a friend to breast cancer.

Nancy Chiswick says she was inspired by Biden’s stories.

I believe in stepping outside of your comfort zone.

When I arrived at Penn State in 2012 as a freshman, I couldn’t even begin to imagine the opportunities I would seize over the next few years.

I studied abroad for one month in Seville, Spain, taking a course on podcast reporting.

I spent five weeks in Cuenca, Ecuador, participating in a teaching practicum to earn my ESL Program Specialist Certificate.

The cover of "Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy" and reviewer Adison Godfrey.
Right: Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

In her latest work of historical nonfiction, Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy, Karen Abbott examines the role of four women during the Civil War who risk their lives for their beliefs. Each chapter shifts in focus, alternating between Union and Confederate sympathizers. The book cycles through the stories of Belle Boyd, Emma Edmonds, Rose O’Neal Greenhow and Elizabeth Van Lew. Drawing from original source material, Abbott makes these women and their histories come alive, illuminating the women’s war and how these unsung heroines influenced the course of history.