NWPR Books

NWPR Books
12:23 pm
Sun July 14, 2013

'Harry Potter' Author Conjures Pseudonym For Debut Crime Novel

British author J.K. Rowling pictured at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships tennis tournament in June.
Glyn Kirk AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 10:11 am

Amazon describes Robert Galbraith's best-selling novel, The Cuckoo's Calling, as "a brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein." But as brilliant and classically inclined as it might be, the real mystery until now has been all about the author.

It turns out that Robert Galbraith is the nom de plume of none other than J.K. Rowling, the famous creator of the phenomenally successful Harry Potter books.

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NWPR Books
12:22 pm
Sun July 14, 2013

Racing Hearts, Fluttering Wings: American 'Butterfly People'

Originally published on Sun July 14, 2013 3:54 pm

During the mid-19th century, an unexpected craze swept America: butterfly collecting. Eager to move on from the Civil War and driven by Europe's long-standing fascination with the insect, the movement captured the interest of Americans from all ages and walks of life.

In an extensive book, Butterfly People: An American Encounter with the Beauty of the World, William Leach documents this butterfly phenomenon — from its founders and followers, to its eventual fall.

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NWPR Books
3:00 am
Sun July 14, 2013

An Ancient Parchment Refuses To Give Up Its Secrets

William Friedman, who helped create the NSA and became its first chief cryptologist, declared the Voynich Manuscript impossible to translate. He thought it was an early example of a made-up language.
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University

Originally published on Sun July 14, 2013 10:47 am

It reads like a Dan Brown novel: An indecipherable, cryptic medieval text, shrouded in mystery, filled with entrancing images, disappears for hundreds of years and then suddenly resurfaces at an Italian castle.

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NWPR Books
2:16 pm
Sat July 13, 2013

Searching For Clues In A Dangerous Nairobi

Originally published on Sat July 13, 2013 3:39 pm

In a new work of crime fiction from author Mukoma Wa Ngugi you still have the detective and his buddy, the mysterious body that turns up at the outset, and the crazy bar where the cops and criminals hang out together. Only this time, we're not in Scandinavia, or South Florida or on Mystic River. We're in a Nairobi beset with political violence, hotel bombings and ethnic warfare.

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NWPR Books
11:44 am
Sat July 13, 2013

Food In Science Fiction: In The Future, We Will All Eat Lasers

Ex-chef Jason Sheehan fears a robotic future without the humanity of food.
iStockphoto.com

Near the beginning of the Road Warrior there is a scene in which Mel Gibson's character eats dog food.

It is a perfect moment, a beautiful moment, a completely defining moment — a pause in the post-apocalyptic action where the writers gave us everything we needed to know about Gibson's Max Rockatansky in one, long, wordless scene. And it was a moment that — watching the movie at likely far too young an age on some long-gone Saturday night at the drive-in — messed me up for life.

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NWPR Books
10:22 am
Sat July 13, 2013

How Cricket Mirrors Indian Society, For Better And For Worse

Americans can seem a little sports-crazy, thanks to multimillion-dollar salaries for stars and big games that are practically national holidays. But our passion for sports has its limits: football, baseball and basketball, yes. Cricket? Not so much. In contrast, perhaps no country has more passion for a sport — any sport — than India has for cricket.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Sat July 13, 2013

A Memoir About Finding One's Place In The Natural World

The latest addition to a body of work that includes six novels, a short story collection, and editorship of several folk tale anthologies, I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place is just the right sort of read for those who usually take in non-fiction with a grim reluctance, as if it were cod liver oil. I was drawn by its promise of a memoir structured around five "incidents of arresting strangeness" in the author's life. I was not disappointed.

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NWPR Books
4:08 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Not My Job: A 'Gilligan's Island' Quiz For Novelist Gillian Flynn

Heidi Jo Brady

Gillian Flynn is a very nice person who writes books about very unpleasant people. Her suspenseful, best-selling mystery novel Gone Girl is told from the perspective of Nick and Amy, a couple who are as unreliable as narrators as they are as spouses.

Since Flynn's name, Gillian, is just one letter short of "Gilligan," we've invited her to answer three questions about the classic TV series Gilligan's Island.

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NWPR Books
10:37 am
Fri July 12, 2013

BuzzFeed Identifies Red Flag Favorite Books, Which Is A Red Flag

BuzzFeed's Joseph Bernstein says that liking these books always, without exception, universally indicates a red flag. We take issue.
iStockphoto.com

As is a pretty common happening on the internet now, there's a new BuzzFeed article going around. The headline is a random and arbitrary number followed by some nouns, and the article itself is a numbered list of pictures, animated GIFs, and perhaps as many as 100 words or so.

This week's entry: Joseph Bernstein's July 9 screed, 28 'Favorite' Books That Are Huge Red Flags.

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NWPR Books
8:42 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Motown, Vietnam, The Civil Rights Movement And One Iconic Song

Mark Kurlansky is the author of Cod, Salt and The Food of a Younger Land. He lives in New York City.
Sylvia Plachy Courtesy of Doubleday

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 3:13 pm

Can a rhythm and blues song change the world? That's the question at the heart of veteran author Mark Kurlansky's new book, Ready for a Brand New Beat, a chronicle of the spectacular success of Motown hit "Dancing in the Street."

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