NWPR Books

Northwest Public Radio loves to read! Below, you will find our editorial reviews and personal recommendations for literary works we think you, our listeners, would love.

We are also receive station support from many Northwest Independent Booksellers, who provide their own recommendations here.

And, if you have any great reads you would like to share with us, please let us know, by emailing your review to NWPR@wsu.edu!

Early in Lisa Gornick's Louisa Meets Bear, not long after the title characters run into each other at a Princeton University library in 1975, Louisa tries to explain her father's job to her schoolmate. She can't quite articulate what it means to be a geneticist: "I can't explain what it is that my father researches, only that I think about it as unveiling the machinery in the magic."

Back when I was losing sleep over various scenarios that could befall my aging parents, a friend would try to calm me with assurances that at most one of those things would happen, so they weren't worth worrying about in advance.

In 'History,' Money Makes The World Go 'Round

Jun 6, 2015

Money has long been notorious for its way of complicating things. We can never have too much — but most often there's just not enough. In the wrong hands, it breaks bonds and brings down kingdoms. And while it may be the commodity which ties us together as citizens of this world, it's also the thing that, because we need it so, leaves us all complicit in the end.

From H.P. Lovecraft to Stephen King, horror writers have found frightening inspiration in small-town New England. It's no surprise, then, that the works of both authors are cited in A Head Full of Ghosts, the latest novel by Boston-based writer Paul Tremblay. Accordingly, A Head Full of Ghosts is also set in New England — in Beverly, Mass., just across the Danvers River from Salem. In spite of that proximity to so much chilling history, the book is not your typical tale of the supernatural.

Lev AC Rosen is a native New Yorker — and he'd have to be in order to write Depth. In Rosen's latest novel, the United States of the 22nd century is an unrecognizable place: Climate catastrophes have flooded the entire Eastern seaboard, leaving Chicago a coastal town and the surviving flyover states an oppressive stronghold of religious conservatism. The inundated city-state of New York stands alone, tentatively still part of the U.S., but existing as a cluster of half-submerged skyscrapers connected by boats and bridges.

I saw the title of Benjamin Percy's new book Dead Lands and I immediately thought, Oh, another zombie book. I read the synopsis — super-flu, nuclear bombs, a post-apocalyptic re-telling of the Lewis and Clark story — and I thought, yeah, but there's gotta be zombies in it, right?

I'm a romance advocate, and one reason I love romance novels is because they're full of strong, smart, resilient women. But, like many romance fans, I read eclectically – which brings me to another strong, smart woman: Maisie Dobbs, the World War I nurse-turned-sleuth created by Jacqueline Winspear.

As his dedicated readers know, multiple versions of Stephen King, Author, exist. There is the King of classic horror, like Cujo, Children of the Corn, and Christine. There is the King of feminist uprising, from Carrie to Dolores Claiborne to Bag of Bones. There is the King of strong series work, like The Dark Tower and The Green Mile.

It's important to know that this book is about bunnies.

For some people, that's a total turn-off. Anthropomorphic animal books? They go right into the box with the fad diet guides and slick self-help books with cover photos of creepy, smiling guys with too many teeth.

You may have read about an imaginary Southern piece of turf where the past presses on the present with such force that characters find themselves transformed with the pressure of it, where the landscape comes alive, where human beings seem sometimes like gods and sometimes like devils, and the language of the story lights up your mind: William Faulkner's half-historical, half-fabulized Yoknapatawpha County, yes?