fiction

NWPR Books
12:30 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Love, Violence And Lou Reed, On Display In 'The Water Museum'

Emily Jan NPR

There's a telling moment in one of the stories in Luis Alberto Urrea's The Water Museum, when two high school friends are talking about their mutual love for Velvet Underground. "You like Berlin?" asks one of the boys. "Lou Reed's best album, dude!" A lot of Reed's fans (including this one) would agree, but it's a controversial record — it's certainly one of the most depressing rock albums in history, heavily suffused with references to suicide, violence and drug abuse.

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NWPR Books
11:16 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Sprawling, Soaring 'Grace Of Kings' Changes The Fantasy Landscape

Courtesy of Saga Press

A friend once told me the story of an enormous fish, Kun, that turns into an enormous bird, Peng, so huge that it must gain thousands of feet in elevation before it can fly — but once it does, it flies so far and so fast that it crosses oceans the way sparrows flit from branch to branch.

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NWPR Books
7:03 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Voyage Through An Adventurous Alternate Universe With 'Basilisk'

Courtesy of Tor Books

As one of the many kids who became fascinated by the science-trumps-magic movie The Flight of Dragons, you can imagine my delight when I realized it was based on a real book. Well, a composite of two books (as it turns, out the plot comes from somewhere else entirely), so I was startled to open Peter Dickinson's The Flight of Dragons and find no human quest at all. What I did find, however, suited me just as much: a natural history that sparked my imagination — not only about mythical beasts, but about the nature of scientific inquiry.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Thu April 2, 2015

American Archetypes On A Bloody Funny Path In 'The Harder They Come'

Promo shot
Emily Jan NPR

T.C. Boyle has been writing books for a long time. He's cranked out 15 novels since he got started in 1979, along with numerous short stories and collections of short stories and essays and whatever else writers write when they're worried about keeping the lights on or maintaining their brand.

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NWPR Books
3:26 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

A Ghostly Chorus Narrates 'The World Before Us'

Emily Jan NPR

A gaggle of querulous ghosts narrates the events in Aislinn Hunter's new novel The World Before Us. Hunter, a Canadian author of both fiction and poetry, brings a moody grace to these phantoms and to her telling of this rather quirky tale. The novel spans three time periods: The present, a generation earlier, and the late 19th century. The spirits present themselves as witnesses to each period, and they become characters as rich and personal as any blood-and-bones characters in the novel.

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NWPR Books
1:15 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

A Filmmaker's Surreal Vision On The Page In 'Where The Bird Sings Best'

cover photo

"On this side I have old age, and on this side I have death." — Alejandro Jodorowsky

First, a hard-boiled fact: No one alive today, anywhere, has been able to demonstrate the sheer possibilities of artistic invention — and in so many disciplines — as powerfully as Alejandro Jodorowsky. An accomplished mime, filmmaker, playwright, novelist, composer, actor, comics writer and spiritual guru, Jodorowsky — best known for surrealist films like The Holy Mountain — is an ambitious misfit whose culturally disruptive work has much to offer the world.

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NWPR Books
7:03 am
Tue March 31, 2015

'Little Washer Of Sorrows' Morphs The Mundane Into The Fantastic

The Little Washer of Sorrows is not what it seems. At first glance, the debut collection of short stories by Canadian author Katherine Fawcett offers funny, sympathetic sketches of characters who might live next door to you: The homemaker who underutilizes her college degree; the aspiring heavy metal musician with delusions of stardom; the aging couple who can barely muster the passion to even bicker anymore.

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NWPR Books
6:47 am
Mon March 30, 2015

'The Precious One' Has Love At Its Heart

Emily Jan NPR

Sometimes when I'm talking about romance novels, I try to explain that one of the main reasons I love a good love story — indeed, why many romance fans love them — is because they give us a sense of hope. If these characters can overcome obstacles, become better people, and prove that they deserve each other, then love prevails. Love can change the world.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Thu March 26, 2015

'Lost Boys Symphony' Blurs The Lines Between Reality And Madness

Courtesy of Hachette Book Group

Not YA, not New Adult, not anything of the sort, despite the fact that it is primarily about teenagers, their love lives and the sticky, weird and thrilling moment of leaving home and growing up, just a little, for the very first time.

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NWPR Books
9:40 am
Wed March 25, 2015

'Crescent Moon' Counts Down To Political Mayhem

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 3:02 am

The Shadow of the Crescent Moon is American-educated Pakistani writer Fatima Bhutto's first novel, but she already has three books to her credit: One volume of poetry, another a memoir (Songs of Blood and Sword, a title that seems apt, since she's the granddaughter of the executed Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, niece of the assassinated Benazir Bhutto and daughter of the murdered Murtaza Bhutto), and a compilation of survivors' accounts of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.

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