NWPR Books

NWPR Books
8:39 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Was The Green Turtle The First Asian-American Superhero?

The Shadow Hero, a new graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew, revives the comic book hero the Green Turtle.
Sonny Liew Courtesy of First Second Books

For the first time since the 1940s, the Green Turtle is returning to comic bookshelves. The long-forgotten character has been resurrected in The Shadow Hero, a new graphic novel about what many comic fans consider the first Asian-American superhero.

"He's like a classic, American World War II hero," says cartoonist Gene Luen Yang, who collaborated with illustrator Sonny Liew on The Shadow Hero.

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NWPR Books
7:23 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Travel Disasters Bring Out The Best, The Worst ... And The Cannibalism

"When there is danger, when there is destruction, we kind of feel like we're on the edge of life, fully alive, and that can really bring out some strong prose," says author Mitchell Zuckoff.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 11:41 am

Author Sarah Lotz is terrified of flying, so naturally every time she gets on a plane she imagines the worst. "I imagine how it's going to smell if things start burning," she says. "I imagine the thunk of luggage falling out of the compartments at the top. ... I imagine it all in absolutely horrible detail."

All those horrible imaginings came in handy when Lotz was writing her new book The Three — the story of three children who are the only survivors of four separate plane crashes that occur in different parts of the world on the same day.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue July 15, 2014

En Garde! 'Traitor's Blade' Delivers Adventure At Swordpoint

Jo Fletcher Books

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 10:19 am

When fantasy has gotten so grim and dark that the term "grimdark" has been coined to describe certain authors, things may have gone slightly overboard. With Traitor's Blade, the first installment of a new fantasy series called the Greatcoat Quartet, author Sebastien de Castell seems to be taking a stand against the grimdark wave. Unlike the bleak, bloody work of George R.R. Martin and Joe Abercrombie, Traitor's Blade is a swashbuckling romp packed with charisma, camaraderie, quick wit and even quicker swordplay.

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NWPR Books
12:34 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

How A Factory Man Fought To Save His Furniture Company

Author Beth Macy worked for years as a reporter for the Roanoke Times. "When I became a journalist, I gravitated to those kinds of stories of what I call 'outsiders and underdogs,' " she says.
David Hungate Courtesy of Little, Brown and Co.

In the town of Bassett in southern Virginia, some of the downtown street lights are dark. The lamps, maintained by the once prosperous Bassett Furniture Co., are now funded by voluntary contributions from residents and businesses — when they can afford it.

Bassett is just one of many towns and cities in Virginia and North Carolina where scores of furniture-making plants have closed in the past 20 years, mostly because of competition from China and other foreign countries.

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NWPR Books
12:34 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

'Mockingbird Next Door': A Genteel Peek Into Harper Lee's Quiet Life

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 6:53 pm

It's probably the most oft-cited literary fantasy of all time: I'm talking about that passage in Catcher in the Rye where Holden Caulfield says: "What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though."

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NWPR Books
7:17 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Nadine Gordimer, Nobel-Winning Chronicler Of Apartheid, Dies

Gordimer, shown here in 2006, died in her sleep Sunday at home in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Guillermo Arias AP

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 8:57 am

Nadine Gordimer, a Nobel Prize-winning author famed for her portrayals of South Africa under apartheid, died Sunday, her family said in a statement. She was 90.

Gordimer was considered a modern literary genius, an important chronicler of the injustices of racial segregation along with other white writers such as Athol Fugard and J.M. Coetzee.

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NWPR Books
5:03 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Book News: Famed Philosopher Accused Of Plagiarizing White Separatist Journal

Marxist philosopher Slavoj Zizek, photographed in 2012 in London.
Tim Whitby Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Marxist philosopher Slavoj Žižek — who is one of the world's most prominent living public intellectuals — has been accused of plagiarizing from the white separatist magazine American Renaissance. (The magazine calls itself a "race realist" publication, while the Southern Poverty Law Center calls it a hub for "proponents of eugenics and blatant anti-black racists.")

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NWPR Books
2:25 am
Sun July 13, 2014

Confessions Of A Former 'Sweet Valley High' Addict

Often, when people ask me what I read as a young girl, I lie. Or, I should say, I lie by omission. I tell them about my brilliant fourth-grade teacher, Miss Artis, who assigned us Johnny Tremain and Where the Red Fern Grows and Tuck Everlasting, all books that made an impression on me. And people nod in approval.

But the answer I don't usually give is that my favorite books, the ones I read and re-read until the covers were creased and the pages were loosed from the spine, were Sweet Valley High.

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NWPR Books
9:12 am
Sat July 12, 2014

A Marriage In Crisis Is The Model For This 'Drawing'

Robin Black is also the author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This.
Picasa Random House

Life Drawing is a novel that will make you want to hug the person you love and never let go.

It's a thriller and a love story. But it isn't about over-the-moon, happy, young love; it's about love when the marriage is no longer easy, when every move the couple makes is haunted by a betrayal.

Life Drawing is Robin Black's first novel. She tells NPR's Tamara Keith why she chose to explore a marriage in crisis and the challenge of writing about Alzheimer's when she had no experience with the disease.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Sat July 12, 2014

History In The Groove: Q&A With Author (And 78 Collector) Amanda Petrusich

Amanda Petrusich and the beginnings of her 78 collection.
Bret Stetka

If you've ever enjoyed the ghostly weird-old-America wail of Robert Johnson, the deep blues of Charley Patton or Skip James' guitar wizardry, you can thank the 78 collecting community — those dedicated (okay, obsessive) folks who hunt down the rare old shellac records that hold so much of our musical past.

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