NWPR Books

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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NWPR Books
8:01 am
Tue November 11, 2014

Behind The Famous Story, A Difficult 'Wild Truth'

Jon Krakauer's 1996 book Into the Wild delved into the riveting story of Chris McCandless, a 24-year-old man from an affluent family outside Washington, D.C., who graduated with honors from Emory, then gave away the bulk of his money, burned the rest and severed all ties with his family. After tramping around the country for nearly two years, he headed into the Alaska wilderness in April 1992. His emaciated body was found a little over four months later.

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NWPR Books
4:08 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Actress Anjelica Huston's Memoir Has Glitz, But Lacks Depth

Last year, when I heard that Anjelica Huston's memoir A Story Lately Told was about to come out, I was excited. I imagined that it would include a lot of inside stuff about the '70s and Hollywood and the actress' long relationship with Jack Nicholson. As it turned out, that book's subtitle was Coming of Age in Ireland, London and New York, and it ended with Huston arriving in California. But I didn't miss the glitz. The story she had to tell was original.

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NWPR Books
11:57 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Superstorm Sandy Inspires Bleak, Poetic Landscapes In 'Let Me Be Frank'

Richard Ford won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his novel Independence Day. His latest book takes his beloved hero, Frank Bascombe, into his sunset years.
Greta Rybus Courtesy of Harper Collins

It's such a goofy title. Let Me Be Frank with You is the latest installment in the odyssey of Frank Bascombe, the New Jersey Everyman Richard Ford introduced almost 30 years ago in his novel, The Sportswriter. Two more Frank Bascombe novels followed, and now this: a brilliant collection of four interconnected short stories of about 60 pages each in which Ford is indeed "being Frank" Bascombe with us once again, as well as being "frank" about all sorts of touchy topics in America, such as race, politics, the economy, old age and the oblivion that awaits us all.

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NWPR Books
2:41 am
Sun November 9, 2014

Will Self's 'Shark' Swims In A Chaotic Sea

Since the publication of his 2012 novel, Umbrella, Will Self has become a strong advocate for resurrecting modernist literature in the 21st century.

In a series of articles and public lectures, Self has pointed out that modernism never really got a foothold in English culture. In its place, he argues, has evolved a form of Anglo-Saxon realism that reeks of snobbish bourgeois values.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Sat November 8, 2014

Walking Through Light-Filled Rooms In 'Woman Without A Country'

Eavan Boland has authored numerous volumes of poetry, including In a Time of Violence, which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.
Kevin Casey W.W. Norton & Company

I've said before that a good collection of poetry — unlike, say, a good novel, or a good short story — is tricky to talk about. If I love a novel, I'll describe the plot, maybe compare it to the writing of others, talk about the successes and failures of its craft. Poetry collections, though — I just want to read portions out to people, make them feel what I felt, show them concretely the details over which I marveled.

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NWPR Books
3:30 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

For Political Junkies, A (Literary) Post-Election Fix

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 5:11 pm

As I watched coverage of this week's midterm elections, I couldn't help but think about Donald Antrim's surreal novel, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World.

The book, a brilliant and wickedly funny satire on our broken politics, unfolds in an unnamed American seaside town. As the story begins, our narrator, a former third-grade teacher named Pete Robinson, sits mysteriously in his padlocked attic, observing the wreckage of his community.

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NWPR Books
9:44 am
Thu November 6, 2014

In The World Of Rare Books, This Mystery Goes Off-Script

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Mysterious Press

Brief as his new novel may be, Bradford Morrow has no problems with taking his time. The fine mists of a seaside vista, the loops and lines of a writer's careful lettering, even the meals his characters eat (truly, just about every single one): None of it escapes the lingering eye of the narrator behind The Forgers. Each detail gets its due — except, of course, the ones he doesn't want you to see.

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NWPR Books
2:15 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

A Dizzying, Fictional 'History' Draws On Bob Marley's Life

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 7:23 am

As much as I wish it were different, Robert Nesta Marley is mainly known in the United States as the front man for smoking pot. Or, as a favorite subject for poster makers, who profit off college students searching for an identity. Students who associate the great dreadlocked one with good vibes.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Wed November 5, 2014

'Ugly Girls' Is, Well ... Not A Pretty Read

cover crop
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Perry, with her blond hair and long legs, is pretty. Baby Girl, with her shaved head and overdrawn lips, is ugly. Together they steal cars, shoplift, and ditch school — not knowing they are being watched by Jamey, an ex-felon posing as a teenage boy online. The girls begin to realize something is not right with Jamey, and the novel unfolds as you think it might, with flurries of attempted rapes and murders, screaming, vomit, death, and general chaos.

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