Books

NWPR Books
2:34 am
Thu June 27, 2013

In 'Sisterland,' Familial Fissures And A Pair Of Psychic Twins

Curtis Sittenfeld is the Ed Norton of the literary world. Popular but intellectual, accessible but mysterious and, above all — a perspective chameleon with an uncanny ability to enter the minds of callow prep school outcasts and devotedly compromising first ladies alike. With Sisterland, she takes this mind-entering business to a literal level. The story of a pair of adult psychic twin sisters in St. Louis, it would have been an obvious choice for Sittenfeld to tell her story in the form of dueling narration.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Wed June 26, 2013

'The Hare' Leads A Merry Chase

iStockphoto.com

To love the novels of Cesar Aira you must have a taste for the absurd, a tolerance for the obscurely philosophical and a willingness to laugh out loud against your better judgment. His latest novel to be translated into English, The Hare, is set in the Argentine pampas at the end of the 19th century. But don't let any veneer of realism fool you.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Women Find More Than They Bargained For In 'The Property'

Israeli graphic novelist Rutu Modan's deceptively clear and simple line work — she can conjure a face in two dots and a single, expressive pen stroke — is a deliberate artistic choice. Narratively, Modan's work (including the acclaimed Exit Wounds and her Jamilti and Other Stories) lives in the realm of the indistinct, the undefined and the hotly disputed. In her books, conflicts between family members, lovers and nations all occur in the context of Jewish cultural history.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue June 25, 2013

Making Art From Art: 5 Nonfiction Reads For Summer

Andrew Bannecker

An elaborate cake exactingly modeled from the work of a Dutch minimalist painter. A piece of literary criticism as interesting and expansive as its subject. A photograph of an eerie, antlered hat sculpted from feathers and tulle. Art criticism, written with a novelist's eye. Here are five books that traverse genre and medium, while keeping the same aim: to analyze, celebrate and re-imagine beautiful works of art.

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NWPR Books
1:55 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Questlove's Roots: A 'Meta' Memoir Of A Lifetime In Music

In his new memoir, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson describes his life in music — and how he mimicked beats at just 10 months old.
Danny Clinch Grand Central Publishing

About 25 years ago, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter were students in a Philadelphia high school and they wanted to impress a girl. So they formed a band ... which would go on to become the Grammy Award-winning hip-hop band The Roots. Questlove, the drummer for The Roots, says that for him, a musical future was preordained. As he recounts in a new memoir, Mo' Meta Blues, his father, Lee Andrews — a member of the successful 1950s doo-wop group Lee Andrews and the Hearts — groomed Questlove for show business from an early age.

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NWPR Books
10:55 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Punter Kluwe Muses On Life, The Universe And 'Sparkleponies'

iStockphoto.com

Most NFL punters spend the majority of their time focusing on one thing: kicking the ball, and kicking it well. But Chris Kluwe — the most successful punter the Minnesota Vikings ever had and now signed to Oakland — has a few other things on his mind. Like bad drivers, and the proper degree of pressure for a handshake. And more substantive issues, like gay marriage.

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NWPR Books
8:58 am
Mon June 24, 2013

An Ever-Changing LA Links Walter Mosley To His Midcentury PI

Little Green opens in 1967 and follows Easy Rawlins' search for a young man who disappeared after visiting the Sunset Strip, seen here in 1966.
HF AP

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 8:02 am

Walter Mosley fooled us: We thought he'd killed off Easy Rawlins, the protagonist of his much-loved series. But it turned out Mosley just needed a break from the work — a long break. Six years later, in May, he came back with Little Green, possibly the best Easy Rawlins to date. Like the rest of the books in the series, it's strongly influenced by Los Angeles, the city that helped shape Mosley himself.

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NWPR Books
2:02 pm
Sun June 23, 2013

A Mother Rescues Her Daughter From War-Torn Syria

Louise Monaghan was previously a senior travel consultant. She's currently a full-time mother.
Courtesy St. Martin's Press

Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 3:51 pm

Louise Monaghan's journey to Syria to rescue her kidnapped daughter begins years ago at a club in Cyprus. It was there she met a Syrian man named Mostafa, whom she would marry.

"I was smitten from the first second," she tells NPR's Jacki Lyden. "I felt he was what I needed. He made me feel safe."

But Monaghan was not safe. Mostafa was verbally abusive and beat her. They married, and the couple had a daughter named May. When they divorced, Mostafa was given visitation rights, but he wanted more.

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NWPR Books
4:22 pm
Sat June 22, 2013

'New Strange' Stories Hold A Chilling Mirror To Life

If you want a chilly comedown from summer's heat, you can't do much better than the work of Robert Aickman (1914-1981), a master of "strange stories" whose books, long out of print, are now being republished by the small U.K. press Tartarus.

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NWPR Books
8:14 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Oliver Sacks, Exploring How Hallucinations Happen

Knopf

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 11:28 am

This interview was originally broadcast on Nov. 6, 2012.

In Oliver Sacks' book The Mind's Eye, the neurologist included an interesting footnote in a chapter about losing vision in one eye because of cancer that said: "In the '60s, during a period of experimenting with large doses of amphetamines, I experienced a different sort of vivid mental imagery."

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