NWPR Books

NWPR Books
3:58 am
Sun May 26, 2013

Spy Novel Meets Game In Flawed (But Beautiful) New E-Book

The Thirty-Nine Steps, the spy thriller that introduces the valiant, veld-trained Richard Hannay, has been reborn as an interactive. The new e-book/game is a production of The Story Mechanics.
Courtesy The Story Mechanics

This is the first in an occasional series of e-book reviews, co-produced by NPR Books and All Tech Considered, focusing on creative combinations of technology and literature.

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NWPR Books
2:39 pm
Sat May 25, 2013

A Literary Tale of Chechnya, The Horror and Whimsy

Russian soldiers take their position near the village of Shatoy, Chechnya.
Alexander Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 26, 2013 9:05 am

In his debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Anthony Marra transports readers to Chechnya, a war-torn Russian republic that has long sought independence.

The lyrical and heart-breaking novel begins in 2004 when a doctor watches as Russian soldiers abduct his neighbor, who has been accused of aiding Chechen rebels. He later rescues the neighbor's 8-year-old daughter, then colludes with another doctor to form an unlikely family amid the daily violence.

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NWPR Books
2:39 pm
Sat May 25, 2013

A Lost And Found 'Wonder': Pearl S. Buck's Final Novel

Pearl Buck was born in West Virginia but spent much of her childhood in China, where her parents worked as missionaries.
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Sat May 25, 2013 3:15 pm

Pearl S. Buck emerged into literary stardom in 1931 when she published a book called The Good Earth. That story of family life in a Chinese village won the novelist international acclaim, the Pulitzer and, eventually, a Nobel Prize. Her upbringing in China as the American daughter of missionaries served as inspiration for that novel and many others; by her death in 1973, Buck had written more than 100 books, including 43 novels.

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NWPR Books
10:19 am
Sat May 25, 2013

Prepare For Takeoff With 'Cockpit Confidential'

iStockphoto.com

With summer travel season just over the horizon, millions of Americans are poised to take off for family vacations. But before they reach their destinations, they'll likely endure security lines, luggage fees, tiny bags of pretzels and unexplained delays.

Patrick Smith, an airline pilot and columnist, has written a new book for curious fliers. It's called Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers and Reflections.

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NWPR Books
10:19 am
Sat May 25, 2013

Gateway Arch 'Biography' Reveals Complex History Of An American Icon

The Gateway Arch "is really a monument to the 20th century and to the height of American power," says historian Tracy Campbell.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The iconic Gateway Arch — overlooking the Mississippi River from the St. Louis side — took almost a generation to build, but the 630-foot monument hasn't transformed the city as hoped in the four decades that have followed.

Conceived in the 1940s and completed in the 1960s, the history of the signature American symbol is described in Tracy Campbell's new book, The Gateway Arch: A Biography. The story has some surprising twists — including, Campbell says, a very early vision of an arch by the Mississippi:

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NWPR Books
4:08 am
Sat May 25, 2013

Three-Minute Fiction Readings: 'Geometry' And 'Snowflake'

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Originally published on Sat May 25, 2013 2:39 pm

NPR's Bob Mondello and Susan Stamberg read excerpts of two of the best submissions for Round 11 of our short story contest. They read Snowflake by Winona Wendth of Lancaster, Mass., and Geometry by Eugenie Montague of Los Angeles. You can read their full stories below and find other stories on our Three-Minute Fiction page or on Facebook.

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NWPR Books
1:41 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

A Race Against Time To Find WWI's Last 'Doughboys'

Arthur Fiala, shown here in 1918 and 2005, was a private in the 26th Company of the 20th Engineers Regiment during World War I.
Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Sat May 25, 2013 3:27 am

Ten years ago, writer Richard Rubin set out to talk to every living American veteran of World War I he could find. It wasn't easy, but he tracked down dozens of centenarian vets, ages 101 to 113, collected their stories and put them in a new book called The Last of the Doughboys. He tells NPR's Melissa Block about the veterans he talked to, and the stories they shared.

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NWPR Books
5:23 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

'Lunch Lady' Author Helps Students Draw Their Own Heroes

Author Jarrett Krosoczka teaches a drawing class to a group of third- and fifth-graders at the Walker-Jones Education Campus in Washington, D.C.
John W. Poole NPR

Author and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka is just 35 years old, but he's already published 20 books, including the popular Lunch Lady graphic novel series, NPR's Backseat Book Club pick for May.

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NWPR Books
12:19 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

June Kids' Book Club Pick: 'The One And Only Ivan'

One and Only Ivan: book cover detail

Just in time for summer, NPR's Backseat Book Club will introduce us to an amazing gorilla. He's the title character in The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

Ivan is a silverback who's the only gorilla living in a shopping mall. Luckily he has friends — an elephant, a dog and a young girl. He enjoys watching TV and painting.

But it's a newcomer — a baby elephant — who spurs Ivan into action and makes him face his own past.

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NWPR Books
7:12 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Heartbreaking Choice Sets Siblings On Separate, Unequal Paths

Khaled Hosseini's And the Mountains Echoed begins with a fable that a father tells his two children: A farmer who works hard to eke out a living for his family is forced to give up one of his five children to an evil giant. He and his wife decide to choose randomly, and the unlucky one happens to be their favorite son. Eventually, the farmer, half mad with grief, tracks down the giant and finds his son in a lush garden full of happy children, with no memory of his birth family.

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