Jim McKeown

Host, Likely Stories

Life-long voracious reader, Jim McKeown, is an English Instructor at McLennan Community College. His "Likely Stories" book review can be heard every Thursday on KWBU-FM! Reviews include fiction, biographies, poetry and non-fiction. Join us for Likely Stories every Thursday featured during Morning Edition and All Things Considered with encore airings Saturday and Sunday during Weekend Edition.  

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I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Jhumpa Lahiri has released six novels, and her latest, Whereabouts, is an eclectic series of short ruminations anywhere from one to about five pages.  Her stories are lyrical, witty, interesting, with an ability to draw the reader from one story to the next. 

  

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Katlyn Greenidge is a spectacular young woman just coming out of her first novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman.  She has won a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, among other awards.  Libertie is her second novel.

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Betcha’ thought I’d run out of novels set in Libraries and bookstores!  Well, here is a story of love and depression.  The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is just what the book reviewer ordered.  Matt is the author of the internationally bestselling memoirs Reason to Stay Alive, along with five novels, including How to Stop Time, as well as several award-winning children’s books.  Somehow, I felt this novel was going to speak to me.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Robert Seethaler, a German novelist, has written a transcendent novel of a young man who is wounded when an effort to fix his damaged legs leaves him partially crippled.  As he grows, he rebuilds his body, and enables himself to work harder than most of his coworkers on a snowy mountain.  Robert Seethaler’s A Whole Life is unforgettable.  He was born in Vienna in 1966.  He now lives in Berlin.

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

I have for you today the last of the six dramatic novels by Kent Haruf, The Tie That Bind.  This story warns of potential dreadful results in a completely dysfunctional family.  Kent won numerous awards, including a special citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation, a finalist for the National Book Award, the LA Times Book Prize, and the New Yorker Book Award.  He died in 2014.

  

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Barbra Kingsolver is a widely read novelist.  The Poisonwood Bible is one of her most admired works.  The best parts of the book were those written by the mother, and the four children.  The family is led by a Baptist Missionary determined to live out one year in the Congo.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Ever since high school, I have carried a secondary obsession with the ancient Greeks and the myriad gods, goddesses, nymphs, and warriors, like Achilles, Ajax, Hector, Paris, Hellen, and, of course, Odysseus.  Natalie Haynes is a writer and broadcaster.  Her latest book is A Thousand Ships¸ detailing the greatest war ever fought until the 1914.

 


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Joyce Carol Oates is an incredibly prolific author.  She has published countless stories, novels, poetry, non-fiction, and more than forty short pieces, among which is her latest work, The (Other) You. 

  

 

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Maaza Mengiste is the author of The Shadow King.  She was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  She is a Fulbright Scholar and professor with an MFA in the Creative Writing & Literary Translation program at Queens College.  The story is based on the early days of the 1935 invasion ordered by Mussolini against Ethiopia.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Janie Chodosh has written a marvelous story of The Elephant Doctor of India.  She is a former elementary-and-middle-school educator and environmental scientist at Santa Fe Community College.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

The other day, I found The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles.  She is an award-winning author, and she divides her time between Montana and Paris.


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

One of my earliest discoveries of British Women writers was Anita Brookner.  Her novels are mostly short—under 200 pages—and she had a knack for delicate and detailed portraits of her characters.  She wrote twenty novels including her 1988 Booker Prize novel Hotel du Lac.  This was the first of hers I read and my earliest Booker Prize novel.  Anita died in 2016, and I have decided to resurrect some of her finest novels beginning with The Debut.

  

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Every-once-in-a-while I come across a novel by Emily St. John Mandel.  I skimmed some titles, but nothing caught my attention.  When her fifth novel appeared—The Glass Hotel—the dust jacket intrigued me.  She was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award.

  

I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Kristin Hannah’s latest novel, The Four Winds, is a heartrending story—a worthy companion to The Grapes of Wrath.

 


I’m Jim McKeown, welcome to Likely Stories, a weekly review of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Richard Powers is the author of twelve novels.  He is the recipient of a MacArthrur Fellowship and the National Book Award, and he has a Pulitzer Prize and is a four-time National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.  His latest book is, The Overstory.

 


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