NWPR Books
4:08 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Actress Anjelica Huston's Memoir Has Glitz, But Lacks Depth

Last year, when I heard that Anjelica Huston's memoir A Story Lately Told was about to come out, I was excited. I imagined that it would include a lot of inside stuff about the '70s and Hollywood and the actress' long relationship with Jack Nicholson. As it turned out, that book's subtitle was Coming of Age in Ireland, London and New York, and it ended with Huston arriving in California. But I didn't miss the glitz. The story she had to tell was original.

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NWPR Books
7:42 am
Thu October 23, 2014

'Season Of The Witch' Shines A (Black)Light On The Occult In Rock

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Rock 'n' roll was built on rebellion, but too often today, that's about as deep as the conversation goes — especially now that rock is so completely woven into the mainstream, it's hard to imagine a time when it wasn't pop-culture wallpaper.

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NWPR Books
7:39 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Who Is 'Limonov'? Not Even His Biographer Really Knows

Russian writer and political dissident Edward Limonov was the founder of the National Bolshevik Front.
Misha Japaridze AP

I had a typical first experience with famed Russian emigre-turned auteur-turned neo-fascist revolutionary Edward Limonov: I misunderstood him.

Everybody misunderstands Edward at least once. Usually, they underestimate this slight, bearded man with the mild manners.

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NWPR Books
10:40 am
Thu October 2, 2014

A Poetic Look At A Medical Pioneer, 'Dr. Mütter's Marvels' Jolts The Heart

In 1859, Philadelphia surgeon Richard J. Levis published a piece in The Medical and Surgical Reporter titled "Memoir of Thomas Dent Mütter." It was a eulogy for his former teacher, a surgical pioneer who had died earlier that year at the tender age of 47. Mütter is also the subject of Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz's new book, Dr. Mütter's Marvels; in it, Aptowicz forgives the simplicity of Levis' tribute to Mütter by noting, "[Levis] was not a poet, just a surgeon." Aptowicz, on the other hand, is a poet.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue September 23, 2014

'My Life' Asks: How Do You Leave A War Behind?

Brian Turner is director of Sierra Nevada College's MFA program and has previously written two books of poetry, Here, Bullet and Phantom Noise.
W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

With each new story we hear about PTSD, about the lasting price paid by those fortunate enough to have returned from war, our notion of a soldier's sacrifice expands: There are those who sacrifice their lives, those who sacrifice parts of their bodies, and those who — forever anguished by their experiences — sacrifice their minds.

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NWPR Books
2:06 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

An 'Epilogue' That Makes Sense Of The Chaos Of Memory

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 2:40 pm

Will Boast's parents, Andrew and Nancy, met and married in Southampton, a port city on England's south coast. Fleeing the social and economic malaise that blighted the country in the late '70s — workers on strike, power outages and high inflation — and with ambitions for his young family, Boast Sr. moved them to Fontana, Wis., where he worked for a plastics company.

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NWPR Books
9:29 am
Thu September 11, 2014

'Father And Son' Is Part Homage, Part Indictment

Add Marcos Giralt Torrente's Father and Son: A Lifetime to the shortlist of worthwhile memoirs about mourning a parent — a list that includes Philip Roth's Patrimony, Paul Auster's The Invention of Solitude, and Hanif Kureishi's My Ear at His Heart, all of which the author cites as touchstones for his exploration.

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NWPR Books
4:53 am
Sat August 16, 2014

James Brown's Daughter Recalls A Painful Childhood in 'Cold Sweat'

Celebrity child autobiographies fall into two categories. There's the scorched earth approach: One sordid story after another — call it the "Mommie Dearest" syndrome.

The second category is the warts-and-all approach, in which the performer's progeny relates parental faults in oft-painful detail, but with the ultimate goal of deeper understanding. In many ways, the warts-and-all way is more challenging, because it requires the author to explain why — despite the horrors — they still loved Mom or Dad.

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NWPR Books
8:57 am
Sun August 10, 2014

'Blackboard' Chalks A Nostalgic Portrait Of School Days

Nostalgia is a hard-hitting drug, its alchemical powers well known, but can it turn a child's entire school experience into sentimental gold? Some kids love school, and many, in retrospect, realize that what seemed like misery at the time was actually relative joy compared to what came after. But to find a silver lining in even the most embarrassing, most angst-filled moments of your school years? Such a thing seemed impossible for even the most wistful of people, until I read Lewis Buzbee's Blackboard: A Personal History of the Classroom.

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NWPR Books
6:59 am
Fri August 8, 2014

'Joss Whedon': Biography Of A 'Shiny' Geek King

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 1:04 pm

Published in Britain as Joss Whedon: Geek King of the Universe and in the U.S. less cheekily as Joss Whedon: The Biography, Amy Pascale's portrait of pop culture's man of just about any recent hour may not make her title subject any new converts, but it is hero-worshipping enough to make devoted Whedonites feel they're being inducted into the Scooby Gang.

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