NWPR Books

NWPR Books
12:02 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

10 Years Later, Mystery Heroine 'Maisie Dobbs' Gains New Life

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 2:02 pm

If you asked mystery fans to name the most important novel of the past decade, most would say The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo — and they'd be right. In fact, Stieg Larsson's complete Millennium series, flanked by hordes of Nordic noirs by the likes of Henning Mankell, Camilla Lackberg and Jo Nesbo, have overrun the ranks of hard-boiled detective fiction, imbuing it with their distinctive strain of brittle dialogue and chill fatalism.

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NWPR Books
8:22 am
Thu July 10, 2014

In Dispute With Hachette, Amazon Aims New Volley At Authors

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 8:10 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. A fight between Amazon and the publishing company Hachette is getting nastier. Amazon suggested that while talks between the two companies continue, Hachette authors could get 100 percent of the sale price of their e-books. As NPR's Lynn Neary reports, it was an offer Hachette was quick to refuse.

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NWPR Books
6:31 am
Thu July 10, 2014

An 'Unexpected' Treat For Octavia E. Butler Fans

When a writer passes before her time, readers and fans often mourn not only the loss of her presence in the world, but the loss of the words she may yet have written. Such was the case when, in 2006, speculative fiction writer Octavia E. Butler died unexpectedly at her home in Seattle. Butler is one of the most celebrated authors in the genre, her novels and short stories regularly graced with Hugo and Nebula awards. She was the first speculative fiction writer to receive the MacArthur "genius grant," a prize whose name perfectly summarizes Butler's work: She was a genius.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Wed July 9, 2014

With A Good Twist Or Two, This Haunted 'House' Adds Plenty Of Stories

Don't pay too much attention to the shifty eyes in the old portrait. Same goes for the mysterious tapping down the hall of the vast family manor — and, for that matter, the secrets lurking in its attic. Don't even be fooled by the ghost.

The Hundred-Year House may be crowded with the tropes and tricks of classic horror, but make no mistake: It's not a horror story. Rebecca Makkai's style, a patchwork of ambition and aw-shucks charm, lets in just enough sunlight to scatter those things that go bump in the night.

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NWPR Books
3:13 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Book Review: 'Shooting Star'

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

A 30-year-old novel has just been translated to English but keeps its Spanish name, "Muerte En Una Estrella." The author is Sergio Elizondo, and the translators are Rosaura Sanchez and Beatrice Pita. Our reviewer Alan Cheuse says it crackles.

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NWPR Books
1:13 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

In 'Little Engine That Could,' Some See An Early Feminist Hero

Was "I think I can" the great-grandmother of "lean in?" Some readers see the plucky locomotive as a parable about working women, but some versions of the story feature a male protagonist instead.
Platt & Munk, Penguin Young Readers Group

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 5:23 pm

"Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff. Ding-dong, ding-dong."

The beloved tale of the little blue engine — who helps bring a broken-down train of toys to the good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain — has been chugging along for a very long time. But despite the locomotive's optimistic refrain — I think I can, I think I can, I think I can — the story has a somewhat checkered past: In its tracks, The Little Engine has left both a legal battle and a debate over whether the little blue engine is male or female.

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NWPR Books
8:57 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Balancing Signal And Noise In 'Landline'

I'm deeply conflicted about how to review this book. On the one hand, I literally laughed and cried from one page to the next and devoured the whole in a brief sitting.

On the other hand, I've also read Rainbow Rowell's other books, and this one pales in comparison.

So I could review it straightforwardly and say that it's funny, clever, charming, endearing, and all that would be true — but I could also review it and say that in some ways it's the least of the books of hers I've read so far, and that would also be true.

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NWPR Books
6:51 am
Tue July 8, 2014

For One Crime Writer, Peaceful Shetland Is A Perfect Place For Murder

Old stone houses abut the harbor in Lerwick, Shetland's largest town. Outsiders are known here as "soothmoothers," because they arrive on the ferry through the south mouth of the Bressay Sound.
Ari Shapiro NPR

Crime writer Ann Cleeves puts it best in her novel Dead Water: "Shetland didn't do pretty. It did wild and bleak and dramatic."

The Shetland Islands are a damp and rocky place, with endless miles of green and gray. Humanity seems to cling to the land here like a few tenacious barnacles. "I love the idea of long, low horizons with secrets hidden underneath," Cleeves says.

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NWPR Books
2:27 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Post-Apocalyptic World Falls Flat In 'California'

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 8:49 am

Edan Lepucki's debut, California, sold thousands of copies even before the official publication date when talk-show host Stephen Colbert urged readers to pre-order it from a national independent chain as a protest against the "books-and-everything else" giant, Amazon.

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NWPR Books
1:00 pm
Fri July 4, 2014

On July 4, A Celebration Of Walt Whitman's Irreverent Hymnal

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 3:27 pm

Instead of you throwing a curve here instead is a fastball, high and hard.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the granddaddy of American poetry; the gray ghost; the big thumper; the barbarian's text with its barbaric yawp; the nation's first truly great mega biblion; the Kosmos; the Civil War witness; the seaside songbook; the irreverent hymnal; the book of the lover; the book of the loafer; the peacemaker; Leaves of Grass.

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