NWPR Books

NWPR Books
12:34 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Sometimes You Can't Pick Just 10: Maureen Corrigan's Favorite Books Of 2014

Rows of characters enjoying reading books.
Gustav Dejert Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:12 am

For this year's Best Books of the Year list, I reject the tyranny of the decimal system. Some years it's simply more than 10. Here, then, are my top 12 books of 2014. All of the disparate books on my list contain characters, scenes or voices that linger long past the last page of their stories. In fact, The Empire of Necessity by Greg Grandin, which is my pick for Book of the Year, came out in January and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

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NWPR Books
2:26 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

The Ethics Of Torture, Explored In A Painful Fable

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 4:29 pm

We've been hearing all week about a report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee. It detailed brutal interrogation techniques used by the CIA after Sept 11. Among the questions it raised are whether these techniques are legal, effective and morally acceptable.

For our series This Week's Must Read, author Laila Lalami grapples with these questions by turning to literature.

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NWPR Books
8:05 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Millennia Of History, Beautifully Illustrated 'Here' In One Room

Here traces millenia of history — and prehistory — within the space of one large room.
Pantheon

What is it about Richard McGuire's Here? A simple-looking, black-and-white cartoon that first appeared in Raw magazine in 1989 — clocking in at a mere 36 panels — it's maintained its hold on comic artists' imaginations ever since. McGuire himself spent more than eight years creating this book-length version.

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NWPR Books
3:03 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

After The California Downpour, 'The Drought' Offers Some Dry Reading

J.G. Ballard didn't exactly predict California's current drought in his 1964 novel The Burning World (later renamed The Drought). But like so many of his books, it does carry eerie hints about humanity's accelerating race to stay ahead of nature.

The Burning World is part of a series of dystopian science-fiction novels that Ballard wrote in the 1960s before he became famous for works like Crash and Empire of the Sun.

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NWPR Books
12:04 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Set In Appalachia, This Rewarding Story Collection Is 'Rich And Strange'

Ron Rash is a poet, novelist and short-story writer whose 2009 novel Serena was a New York Times bestseller. Rash's signature subject is life in Appalachia, past and present.
Ulf Andersen Courtesy of Ecco

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 12:29 pm

Expect to be good for nothing for a long time after you read Ron Rash. His writing is powerful, stripped down and very still: It takes you to a land apart, psychologically and geographically, since his fiction is set in Appalachia.

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NWPR Books
7:41 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Watch Your Head When Checking Out Murakami's Strange 'Library'

cover
Knopf

As if the work of Japanese fiction master Haruki Murakami weren't strangely beautiful by itself, his American publisher has just put out a stand-alone edition of his 2008 novella The Strange Library, in a new trade paperback designed by the legendary Chip Kidd.

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NWPR Books
7:41 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Purple Spirit Ninjas And Mohawked Foxes: 'Shutter' Is A New Adventure

Indiana Jones and Lara Croft have nothing on Kate Kristopher.

Indy, Lara and a host of famous explorers get their butts symbolically kicked in Shutter, the first postmodern adventure comic. Kate may be human, but that's about all she has in common with her forebears in the world-traveling biz. Even so, she manages to be cooler than all of them.

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NWPR Books
2:33 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

After The Ferguson Decision, A Poem That Gives Name To The Hurt

Originally published on Fri November 28, 2014 3:22 pm

Since George Zimmerman was found not guilty of killing Trayvon Martin, I've been repeating these words by the poet Audre Lorde like a prayer. She writes:

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother's milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

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NWPR Books
11:41 am
Wed November 26, 2014

North-Of-The-Border Horror In 'Go Down Together'

"There is a town in north Ontario / With dream comfort memory to spare," sings Neil Young on the 1970 CSNY track "Helpless." "Helpless" also happens to be the title of the tenth and final story in Gemma Files' new collection, We Will All Go Down Together. The similarity isn't a coincidence; Files quotes Young's lyrics directly in another story, "Strange Weight." And the whole volume revolves around a fictional town in northern Ontario called Dourvale — a village which, like the town in Young's song, has dreams and memories to spare.

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NWPR Books
11:28 am
Mon November 24, 2014

These Tales Of Transformation Are Both 'Rich And Strange'

Ron Rash is a Southern-born novelist and short story writer with a reputation on the rise; you might know him as the author of the novel Serena (a PEN/Faulkner fiction prize nominee a few years back), which is about to become a movie with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. I have just finished reading his newly issued collection: 34 pieces of short fiction, previously published from 1998 to 2014, all of them under the title Something Rich and Strange, and I have to say that "rich" and "strange" are two words that aptly apply to this book.

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