We caught up with Michele Norris on the eve of the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Tampa. She has been named 2009 NABJ Journalist of the Year for her work during the presidential election. Norris, 47, is on leave from All Things Considered, the NPR show she has co-hosted since 2002, and is spending the summer focusing on a book project on race in America.
What is on your nightstand?
The book I've been recommending to everyone this summer is Serena: A Novel by Ron Rash. It starts with a bang and after you read that pungent first line, I dare you to put the book down. I'm currently reading Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. It's about two veterans who return from war to Mississippi; one's black, one's white, and the story centers around their families and what happens to their friendship when they return. It's contemporary with much of the research I'm doing on my father's return to Birmingham after World War II — another state, but still wartime reception in the South after the war. I'm also rereading Leaves of Grass, because the language is so wonderful and onomatopoeic. And as someone who spends a good deal of time writing and thinking about words, it's very nice to wallow in Walt Whitman.
Piper Castillo, Times staff writer