NWPR Books

NWPR Books
7:20 am
Fri November 21, 2014

There's More To Asking Than Just Art

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Grand Central Publishing

Amanda Palmer's well-intentioned, slightly clueless new book, The Art of Asking, is a little bit diary, a little bit TED talk, and a little bit how-to guide. Palmer, Neil Gaiman's wife and one-half of the band the Dresden Dolls, had a well-publicized break from her record label and asked her fans to front the money for her next venture via Kickstarter. She asked for $100,000 — and received $1.2 million. From this successful experiment in asking for help, she has produced a hazy philosophy of asking, built on the pillars of trust, reciprocity, couch-surfing and a lot of body paint.

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NWPR Books
12:12 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

'Unspeakable' Gives Voice To Things We All Think, But Don't Say

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Meghan Daum's The Unspeakable is nominally a collection of essays about the conversations we all want to partake in but hold back from; the thoughts we all have but refuse to admit out loud.

And, in several respects, the book fits the bill. "Matricide," the collection's opening essay, recounts Daum's experience watching her mother die from gallbladder cancer. But the piece is equally an exploration of their troubled relationship, and Daum is open about her grievances. "I had a hard time not seeing her as a fraud," she says at one point.

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NWPR Books
7:51 am
Tue November 18, 2014

A 'Garden' Full Of Dazzling, Whimsical Tales

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Small Beer Press

"Real magic, right next door," exclaims a character in "Walpurgis Afternoon," one of the short stories in Delia Sherman's stellar short-story collection, Young Woman in a Garden. In it, a family that's hyperconscious of zoning laws and what the neighbors think are faced with the unimaginable: A huge, elaborate Victorian house appears on their block overnight. Two women live in the house, and the secrets they hold will change everything.

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NWPR Books
10:18 am
Mon November 17, 2014

'Operation Sea Lion' Is A Flawed But Fascinating Look At WWII

During the summer of 1940, the Third Reich occupied most of Europe. If Britain fell too, the complete Nazification of the continent seemed like a real possibility.

And the German High Command had a plan for the invasion: Operation Sea Lion. But the mission never materialized into action.

After the war, many surviving Reich commanders claimed Sea Lion was merely a psychological game meant to demoralize Britain, and that Hitler never believed a full-scale invasion was necessary.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Sun November 16, 2014

Back To The Future — The Grim, Grimy, Chrome-Coated Future

Metrophage is not a new book. That's important to understand right from the start.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Spend Some Time 'Loitering,' And Feel Less Alone

The essay, some time in its long journey from Samuel Johnson's "loose sally of the mind, an irregular undigested piece," has become something that can be persuasive instead of discursive, something that slices and gleams, an accumulation of arguments as relentless as the stacking of bricks.

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NWPR Books
3:34 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

After Catalonia's Independence Vote, An 'Homage' To George Orwell

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 5:26 pm

On Sunday morning as I cast my vote in the Catalan election, I thought of the day that George Orwell arrived in Barcelona. It was the day after Christmas in 1936 and Spain was in the midst of a terrifying and utterly chaotic civil war.

Orwell was shot in the throat and barely survived to tell the tale of what he saw, but survive he did, and in 1938 Homage to Catalonia, his personal account of the near six months he spent on the front lines of the Spanish Revolution, was published to little attention. In fact, it wasn't published in the United States until 1952.

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NWPR Books
9:20 am
Fri November 14, 2014

A New Collection, Well-Furnished With Munro's Best

The citation for Alice Munro's 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature calls her "the master of the contemporary short story" and praises her ability to "say more in thirty words than an ordinary novel is capable of in three hundred."

Munro distills into one story the sweep of a lifetime, with all its sorrows, disappointments and glories. Her work spans the 20th century, but her focus is on ordinary people (mostly in Canada) whose responses to love, lust, seeking community and facing tragedy range from magisterial to frail to vindictive.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Thu November 13, 2014

'Three-Body Problem' Asks A Classic Sci-Fi Question, In Chinese

English translations of foreign-language science fiction are becoming more common, still, they face an uphill battle. The American market is already crowded with books written by native English speakers, and it takes a conscientious reader to seek out treasures that originate from other parts of the world — that is, if they're even translated in the first place.

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NWPR Books
1:36 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

An Artist Draws His Journey Away From War And Death, With Gratitude

Drawn & Quarterly

Gratitude can seem like kind of a cheesy concept sometimes. In a post last month, How to Be Happy in Five Minutes a Day, the site MakeUseOf.com assumed it would take less time than that to think of three things you were grateful for. There's family, or if not family, a friend. If not a friend, a pet. If nothing else, life.

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