HPPR Radio Readers Book Club

The HPPR Radio Readers Book Club is an on-air, on-line community of readers exploring themes of interest to those who live and work on the High Plains.

It’s time for our 2021 Spring Read – Cultures in a Common Land. We’ll be exploring the ways in which individuals and families learn to live together when their world views vary widely on many fronts. There is a lot to think about regarding the ways in which environment, culture and experience influence the ways in which we interact as well as in which we view our common worlds.

Scroll down to find a full book list, to meet some of the contributors and to read or listen (Just click on the title for the audio file.) Radio Readers BookBytes.

If you’re interested in joining the Radio Readers Steering Committee, serving as a future book leader or contributing a Radio Readers BookByte, simply contact Kathleen Holt at kholt@hppr.org

Become an HPPR Radio Reader today! Click here to join the Book Club—and stay informed by liking our Facebook page! To download materials from previous seasons of the Book Club, either scroll back through previous listings or visit our archive.


HPPR Radio Readers Book Club is made possible in part by a generous contributions from Radio Readers  Lon Frahm of Colby, Lynne Hewes of Cimarron, and Lynn Boitano, formerly of Garden City, Kansas.  Please join us in thanking them for their support!

Now More Than Ever

Feb 28, 2020
Public Domain

I’m Jonathan Baker, a writer from Canyon, Texas, and I’ve been asked to talk about this month’s Radio Readers book club selection, Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism.

First, I just want to say what a ridiculously fun little read this was. I knew about Murrow’s role in putting an end to Joseph McCarthy’s red-baiting scare tactics. And I had even heard some of Murrow’s broadcasts from London during the German air raids of World War II.

Trusted News

Feb 26, 2020
Wikimedia Commons

At a time when we listen to the news of the world on our news feeds of choice, a time when we can pick and choose what “facts” we want to believe or deny, a time when, at any given hour of the day or night, we are bombarded with instant coverage, it’s incredibly comforting to remember newscasters like Edward R. Murrow.

Are You Satisfied?

Feb 24, 2020
Wikimedia Commons

I’m PJ Pronger with the Radio Readers’ Book Club.

So, tell me this: on a scale of one to ten, how satisfied are you with the coverage provided by today’s news media? If you’re a regular listener of National Public Radio, I can imagine that part of the reason you’re here is you don’t like the way major news outlets present the news, and, in that, you would not be alone.

What Difference?

Feb 21, 2020
DVD Cover

I’m Mike Strong from Hays for HTTP, Radio Reader’s Book Club. The book is “Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism” by Bob Edwards 

From the late 1940’s newspapers were still the prime news medium, with radio news second. Television was just beginning. Only a few houses had a television, usually black and white. Color was just around the corner. I remember going to other people’s houses, or my grandparents, to view television. 

"Reading" Biographies

Feb 19, 2020
Wikimedia Commons

This is Leslie VonHolten of Chase County, Kansas, with another HPPR Radio Readers Book Byte. 

I’ll admit that biographies are not my thing. That chronological march through time, ticking off events big and small, then the crescendo to greatness, usually a war, followed by the fall from grace either through age or act, and eventually—the legacy that endures.

Murrow Style - Imagine This With Me

Feb 17, 2020
Wikimedia Commons

This is PJ Pronger from Amarillo with an HPPR Radio Readers BookByte.

Edward R Murrow was a radio and TV reporter whose on-air style was unmistakable. First reporting from Europe in the 1940s, he had a no-nonsense, factual delivery that was devoid of hyperbole and personal opinion.

The influence that his style and his work had on the emerging field of broadcast journalism is the subject of our second book in this season’s Radio readers book club: Edward R Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism by Bob Edwards.

HPPR Radio Readers 2020 Spring Read - Radio Waves

Feb 15, 2020

Discussion of the second book in our 2020 Spring Read has begun!  Jump into Edward R. Murrow's biography written by NPR's Bob Edwards.  Listen for book leader P J Pronger's point of view each Monday at 7:45 during Morning Edition and again at 6:45 during All Things Considered.

Never Too Late To Be Awarded

Feb 14, 2020

In HPPR’s early days, hardly anyone had FM radios.  They were considered luxury add-ons in vehicles.  Most people on the High Plains hadn’t heard of All Things Considered or NPR. 

But still they gave, they worked and today, despite the ongoing challenges of sustaining operations, HPPR exists as an essential part of the rural landscape. Technically, we were the FIRST station licensed to a rural community rather than to a tribe or educational institution. 

Pioneer Who Shaped Broadcast's World

Feb 12, 2020
Wikimedia Commons

Hi, I’m Valerie Mendoza talking to you from Topeka about Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism by Bob Edwards. One of the selections for this season’s theme of Radio Waves. 

Radio Readers BookByte: Murrow's Life & Influence

Feb 10, 2020

Hi, I’m PJ Pronger here with another Radio Readers BookByte. Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism, one of our current selections, is a book by the NPR radio personality, Bob Edwards. If you have an affinity for the great broadcast personalities of the past, you’ll enjoy this read.

It’s not a biography so much as a tribute to the idea of journalistic integrity and a review of past journalistic styles and practices.

Radio Readers BookByte: From the Philco to Streaming

Feb 7, 2020
Wikimedia Commons

Hello, HPPR Radio Readers!  I’m Jane Holwerda from Dodge City, Kansas, here to ruminate on the wonderful novel Stormy Weather by Paulette Giles, a writer from San Antonio familiar to Radio Readers.

You know, I’ve heard some murmurs of dissent about how this novel fits with our Spring 2020 Book Club them of “Radio Waves.” All I can say is: “Seriously?”

Radio Readers BookByte - A Run To The Finish

Feb 5, 2020
Girl Barrel Racing, photograph / Hardin-Simmons Library

I’m Mike Strong, in Hays, for HPPR: The book is Stormy Weather, by Paulette Jiles

One of the pleasures of author Paulette Jiles’ historical fiction is threefold. One, I get to immerse myself in another time and place - two, her well-researched details, which dress the story and  three, Jiles’ ability to weave characters you don’t wish to leave when the book finishes. 

Farm Security Administration

This is Leslie VonHolten of Chase County, Kansas, with another HPPR Radio Readers Book Byte.

One of my favorite characters in Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles is Winifred Beasley, the county health department nurse who is sent to care for the youngest sister, Bea, as she heals from a fall down a well.

Radio Readers BookByte: The Comfort of a Mythic Place

Jan 31, 2020
Wikimedia Commons

Hi. I’m Valerie Mendoza talking to you today from one of my favorite places—my public library in Topeka. I just finished reading Stormy Weather by Paulette Giles and wanted to share some thoughts with my fellow HPPR Radio Readers.

Radio Readers BookByte: Knit Together by Radio

Jan 29, 2020

This is Leslie VonHolten of Strong City, Kansas, with another HPPR Radio Readers Book Byte.

The characters of Paulette Jiles’s Stormy Weather are knit together by radio—that medium that brought solace to an anxious nation during the Great Depression, and of course is dear to our hearts here at HPPR.

In the book, it is Bea, t

By Note: Image is available at [1] on the Paleontological Research Institution web site. The site credits the American Petroleum Institute; however, a Texas roadside historical marker credits John Trost (June 24, 1868 - August 4, 1944) [2] [3] - Original / Wikimedia Commons

Stormy Weather, a novel by Paulette Jiles, tells the story of the Stoddard family in 1930s Texas. Jack Stoddard, the father of the family, makes his living with a team and wagon hauling oil field supplies wherever the latest oil discovery needs him.

Of his three daughters, Jeanine is his favorite, and as the book opens, she is accompanying him everywhere even though she is still a young child. As his constant companion, she becomes aware that all his activities are not consistent with good family values, but she is loyal to him, keeping his secrets as the story moves forward.

Radio Readers BookByte: Remembering Radio on Radio

Jan 24, 2020
Wikimedia Commons

I first read Paulette Jiles’ novel, STORMY WEATHER, a couple of years ago, before I had any idea that HPPR’s Radio Readers Book Club would be considering this novel as a discussion group pick for a topic called “Radio Waves.”

Radio Readers BookByte: Love Those Stoddard Women

Jan 22, 2020
Dorthea Lange, Farm Security Administration / Library of Congress

Hi, I’m Marcy McKay from Amarillo and author of the award-winning novel, Pennies from Burger Heaven.

I’ve loved stories my whole life, so I’m thrilled to be a Radio Reader for High Plains Public Radio’s Book Club. I couldn’t wait to get started on Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles.

Radio Readers BookByte: Family Troubles

Jan 20, 2020
Dorthea Lange, Farm Security Administration / Library of Congress

This is Leslie VonHolten with another HPPR Radio Readers Book Byte.

Jeanine and her sisters Mayme and Bea, and their mother Elizabeth, are forced to forge a new life in the book Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles.

Their father was, to put it mildly, a drunken lout who worked hard and played harder in the oil fields of Texas.

Kansas Memory / Kansas Historical Society

I’m Eric Meljac from West Texas A&M University for the HPPR Radio Readers Book Club.

Poet Benjamin Myers’ moving collection Black Sunday chronicles the Dust Bowl from the points-of-view of those who experienced it first-hand––those trapped in the plains with the dust burying them as it rained down from the skies.

Radio Readers BookByte: See You On The Radio

Jan 15, 2020
Kansas Memory / Ks Historical Society

This is Leslie VonHolten of Chase County, Kansas, with another HPPR Radio Readers Book Byte.

In Stormy Weather by Paulette Jiles, we follow the lives of the Stoddard women—Elizabeth and her daughters Mayme, Jeanine, and Bea—as they work to hold onto their family land and make a life in Dust Bowl Texas.

Radio Readers Bookbyte: 40 Years of Public Radio Waves

Jan 13, 2020

Hello, Radio Readers and Radio Reader wannabees! I’m Jane Holwerda from Dodge City KS. We’re celebrating public radio on our High Plains. Did you know? This year marks the 40th year of High Plains Public Radio broadcasts!  

2020 also marks HPPR Radio Readers’ fourth year of successful book club series.  So. Welcome to HPPR Radio Readers 2020 Spring Read: Radio Waves!

Leslie VonHolten lives in Strong City, Kansas, in the heart of the beautiful Flint Hills tallgrass prairie. Her writing interests are in the area of environmental art and culture. “Our land, the weather, the seasons, and even the night sky dictate the terms of our lives,” she said. “No one knows that better than people who live and work in the High Plains. That’s why I love discussing books for HPPR. Our conversations  always expand my perceptions.”

The holidays are near, which often means time for rest, relaxation, & READING! Here are a few holiday book ideas that’ll keep you on track with the upcoming 2020 Spring Read for HPPR’s Radio Readers Book Club,  RADIO WAVES:


Tune in for an HPPR Radio Readers Book Club holiday tradition: the two-hour broadcast of a High Plains author's delightful Christmas story: A Carol Dickens Christmas, featuring a fresh reading by the book's author, Thomas Fox Averill.


Monday, December 23, 2019

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. CT

Thursday, December 26, 2019

2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. CT

Radio Readers BookByte: Some Set of Reads

Nov 4, 2019

Hello, Radio Readers! Can you believe it’s November already? And we’re almost at the end of our Fall 2019 Book Club series! Was this not some set of reads?

I’m Jane Holwerda, from Dodge City KS, and, at Radio Readers Book Club Headquarters, we’re gearing up for our live and on-air book discussion.  

Radio Readers BookByte: Cognitive Revolution

Nov 1, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

When I started with Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus, I expected to jog along with a fun and clever assessment of human history and its near future as a cyborg-like merger of human and computer.

But I had trouble early on.

Louvre / Wikimedia Commons

This is Nicole English coming to you from Fort Hays State University for HPPR's Book-Bytes.

This is a discussion of the book, Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari. As with his earlier book, Sapiens, Harari attempts to give a perspective to human history, then give that history an ethical critique. 

Radio Readers BookByte: Who Gets Left Out Of The Story?

Oct 30, 2019
Big Bang Data Exhibit, CCCB / Wikimedia Commons

Hi, I’m Valerie Mendoza of Topeka with a Radio Reader book byte about Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.

I just finished the chapter the “Storytellers” and if nothing else, this book makes me think and question my perceptions and views on all sorts of issues.

Wikimedia Commons

This is Leslie VonHolten of Chase County, Kansas, with another HPPR Radio Readers Book Byte.

Well of course the joy of reading is found in books that transcend your expectations, that open your world or captivate you with a good story of whatever.

But every once in a while, I come across a book that I so actively hate, and instead of tossing it aside because life is short, I choose instead to let myself embrace it.