About KGNU

About the KGNU & Boulder Bookstore Radio Bookclub

KGNU is partnering with the Boulder Bookstore for our radio bookclub. Every month Arsen Kashkashian, head buyer at the Boulder Bookstore, will select a book to inspire the KGNU listening audience to read along together. We will then be joined live in studio by the author for a call in show and book discussion. Arsen Kashkashian says participating in a bookclub is a great dynamic way for readers to enjoy a book.

“I think you read a book and it’s kind of a solitary experience and once you’ve read it and immersed yourself in this world, it’s great to have somebody to bounce ideas off of.”

Read about our bookclub in the Boulder Weekly:

“The real effectiveness of the program stems from the community aspect that links people together with a common goal. Like any book club, people from various backgrounds get together to dissect their interpretations of the work.”


On March 30th at 9am, Laura Pritchett will return to the Radio Bookclub to talk about her new book The Blue Hour. This is Laura’s second  visit to the bookclub, having joined us to talk about her previous book Red Lightning.


Author and investigative journalist Scott Carney will join us on Thursday February 23rd at 9am to talk about his new book: “What doesn’t kill us” that looks at the limits of human endurance in harsh environments.


Previous Book Club editions.

The Homeplace
The January 2017 selection is The Homeplace by author Kevin Wolf. He will join us on Thursday January 26 from 9-9.30am.

December’s pick for the radio Bookclub is 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, a novel about a woman’s lifelong struggle with body image issues.It’s the debut book by Denver based Canadian author Mona Awad who joined us on KGNU on Thursday December 22nd at 9am. Listen to the archive.

Watson Miss JaneThe November selection for the Radio Bookclub is Miss Jane by Brad Watson.  Arsen Kashkashian says this is a novel, based on the story of Watson’s own aunt.

“This is a family story that goes back to the 30s. It’s a novel based on Brad Watson’s great aunt, a woman named Jane, who had a genetic defect, a genital defect, that did not allow her to have sex, she never got married, she wasn’t able to live the life of a woman of the time. But she went on to have a very vibrant life and in this novel he recreates that and he tries to figure out the story of his great aunt and you learn a lot about the 30s and what it was like to be in that situation at that point in time and I think it’s very well done.”

Brad Watson joined us on November 17th at 9am to discuss Miss Jane.

Click here for the archive


The Secret ChordThe October selection for the book club is Geraldine Brooks and her latest book The Secret Chord which takes a look at the life of King David.

“Peeling away the myth to bring David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.”


The September selection for the radio book club is Perfume River by Robert Olen Butler.

perfume river

Olen Butler is the  author of Pulitzer Prize–winning author of A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain.  His latest book looks at the way the Vietnam War divided families, and a layered portrayal of marriage, brotherhood, and the sum of a life.  He will join us on Thursday September 29th at 9.00am.







The August selection for the radio book club is Night in Erg Chebbi and Other Stories, a collection of short stories by Colorado author Edward Hamlin.  The collection was the winner of the 2016 Colorado Book Award in Short Story Collections.  Hamlin joined us live on Thursday August 25th.






Edward Hamlin and Arsen Kashkashian in the KGNU studios.

After Hours at the Book Club:   

This month we’re introducing a new segment called After Hours at the Book Club, where we have an extended conversation with the author.  This month Edward Hamlin talks about adventures in Belfast and shares the books that he is currently reading.




Mongrels, Steven Graham Jones

Mongrels, Steven Graham Jones

The July selection for the bookclub is Mongrels by Boulder based author Stephen Graham Jones. It’s a book that’s set in the deep South, about a teenage boy as he comes of age under the care of his aunt and uncle — who are werewolves. They are a family living on the fringe, struggling to survive in a society that shuns them: living in cars or trailers, moving every couple of months, eating from garbage cans, taking whatever work they can scrounge.

Stephen Graham Jones joined us to talk about Mongrels on Thursday July 21st.



The Finest Traditions of My CallingThe June selection for the radio bookclub was The Finest Traditions of My Calling: One Physician’s Search for the Renewal of Medicine by Denver physician Abraham M. Nussbaum.  In this book Dr. Nussbaum discusses the changes happening to patients and doctors in our healthcare system.  We live in an era of continuous healthcare reforms, many of which pursue efficiency and cost‑effectiveness instead of forming therapeutic relationships or seeking health equality.

Dr. Nussbaum, a practicing psychiatrist, explores how population‑based healthcare reforms are diminishing the relationship between doctors and patients—to the detriment of both. Dr. Nussbaum transforms our ossified political debates about healthcare reform into a thoughtful discussion about the renewal of medicine.

We spoke with Dr. Nussbaum Wednesday July 6th, 2016.



The May selection for the radio bookclub was Father’s Day by Simon Van Booy.  The novel moves between past and present and weaves together the story of Harvey’s childhood on Long Island and her life as a young woman in Paris.  When Harvey was six years old, she finds herself in the care of a veteran social worker, Wanda, and alone in the world save for one relative she has never met—a disabled felon, haunted by a violent past he can’t escape.

The novel is the journey of Harvey and her Uncle Jason, two people searching for a future in the ruin of their past.

Father’s Day is a meditation on the quiet, sublime power of compassion, and the beauty of simple, everyday things–a breakthrough work from one of our most gifted chroniclers of the human heart.

Top Image: Arsen Kashkashian of the Boulder Bookstore with author Simon Van Booy at the KGNU studios.


The Smell of Other People's Houses

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock: The Smell of Other People’s Houses

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock joined us Thursday April 28th to talk about her debut Young Adult (YA) novel The Smell of Other People’s Houses.  Listen to the conversation.


Greg Hill Johnny Riles

Gregory Hill: The Lonesome Trials of Johnny Riles

Our  March 2016 selection was The Lonesome Trials of Johnny Riles by Denver author Gregory Hill.  It has been described as a country noir.  Gregory Hill joined us on Thursday March 24th at 9am. Listen to the conversation.

Our February selection was BK Loren’s latest novel Theft, the story of a master tracker working to reintroduce the Mexican wolf, North America’s most endangered mammal, to the American Southwest. But when Colorado police recruit her to find her own brother, Zeb, a confessed murderer, she knows skill alone will not sustain her. Willa is thrown back into the past, surfacing memories of a childhood full of intense love, desperate mistakes, and gentle remorse. Trekking through exquisite New Mexico and Colorado landscapes, with Zeb two steps ahead and the police two steps behind, Willa must wrangle her desire to reunite with her brother and her own guilt about their violent past.

Winner of both the Willa Award and Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Award.

BK Loren joined us live in the studio on Thursday February 11th to discuss Theft.




The January 2016 Bookclub pick is Western Lonesome Society by Robert McBrearty, a debut novel by a Boulder writer who has written three previous collections of stories.  McBrearty joined us live on Thursday January 7th at 9am.


On December 3rd author Hampton Sides joins us to talk about his new book In The Kingdom of Ice, our first non-fiction Bookclub selection!


On October 29th we spoke with Bonnie Jo Campbell about her new book of short stories, Mothers, Tell Your Daughters.









Red LightningLaura Pritchett, author of  “Red Lightning“, joined us live September 24th at 9am.

Ten years ago, Tess Cross left her newborn daughter with her sister and hightailed it out of what she called NoWhere, Colorado. Now she returns to the eastern plains of Colorado, full of raw rage at herself and at the universe, yearning for the life she never led and the daughter she left behind. As a levantona who has been running drugs and illegal immigrants beyond the US-Mexican border, she’s knowingly entered into a harsh and dangerous world. But suddenly her world has become darker than she can bear … (


Peter Heller The PainterPeter Heller joined on August 20th to talk about his novel The Painter



Laird Hunt NeverhomeLaird Hunt joined us live Thursday July 16th at 9am to discuss Neverhome. KGNU spoke with Hunt about the book in December, 2014.






TaraShea Nesbit joined us live on KGNU on Thursday June 4th to talk about The Wives of Los Alamos.



“In 1943, families of mathematicians and scientists, escorted under high security, move to The Hill – Los Alamos, New Mexico. Not knowing where they’re going or why, these wives from all over the world cut their ties with friends and relatives to live in isolation, without telephones or uncensored mail. Based on the history of the development of ‘The Gadget’ – the atomic bomb – this novel reads like a collective diary of hundreds of wives. This unique first-person plural recounting of real events culminates with varied reactions to the use of this powerful weapon on the people of Japan. Nesbit portrays these delicate issues brilliantly!” — Jane Morck, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA




The first pick was American Ghost by Boulder author Hannah Nordhaus.

We spoke with Nordhaus live on on April 30th, hear the archive of our conversation below.


American GhostHer last book was The Beekeepers Lament, a nonfiction look at a beekeeper and the dying off of the bees. In this new book, Nordhaus looks at her own family history, most interestingly her great grandmother who is said to haunt a Santa Fe hotel.

Arsen Kashkashian with the Boulder Bookstore says he chose this book as there’s something in it for everyone:

“Even if you primarily read fiction you’ll find it very readable and very interesting and if you really like the west you’ll find something you’ll enjoy in this story.”


About the KGNU / Boulder Bookstore radio book club: