NWPR Books

NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Stars In His Eyes, Sending Smoke Signals To Mars

ESA Getty Images

In his slim but beguiling novel Equilateral, Ken Kalfus places us inside the heads of his characters with such deftness that the line between what is true and what they believe to be true fades to obscurity. It's no coincidence that the heads in question belong to scientists who pride themselves on their evidence-based worldview; Kalfus delights in having readers continually gauge and recalibrate the distance between the world and his characters' seemingly objective observations of it.

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NWPR Books
12:53 am
Tue April 16, 2013

Is The United States A 'Dispensable Nation'?

Michael Krinke iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 11:04 am

In The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy In Retreat, former State Department adviser Vali Nasr describes veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke being all but frozen out by President Obama's inner circle, for whom Nasr believes diplomacy was a "lost art."

Instead of engaging civilians to find political solutions in Afghanistan and beyond, they would look first to the military and intelligence agencies for solutions that were politically popular — that includes getting U.S. troops out of Afghanistan.

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NWPR Books
7:02 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Following The Yellow Brick Road Back To The Origins Of 'Oz'

W.W. Norton

Originally published on Thu May 23, 2013 2:24 pm

It's safe to say that most Americans are familiar with the classic film featuring a stumbling Scarecrow, a rusted Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and Dorothy, played by actress Judy Garland, clad in gingham and braids.

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NWPR Books
11:05 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Pretending To Be A 'Good Nurse,' Serial Killer Targeted Patients

In a new book, Charles Graeber tells the story of Charlie Cullen, a registered nurse who was was dubbed "The Angel of Death" by the media after he was implicated in the deaths of as many as 300 patients.
Twelve Books

Originally published on Mon April 15, 2013 12:55 pm

In 2003, police in Somerset County, N.J., arrested a hospital nurse named Charlie Cullen who was suspected of injecting patients with lethal doses of a variety of medications. Cullen would turn out to be one of the nation's most prolific serial killers, murdering dozens, perhaps hundreds of people in nine hospitals over a 16-year period.

Journalist Charles Graeber spent six years investigating the Cullen case, and is the only reporter to have spoken with Cullen in prison. In his new book, The Good Nurse, Graeber pieces together the elements of Cullen's story.

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NWPR Books
10:27 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Kenyan Author Ngugi wa Thiong'o Shares Wisdom

Daniel A. Anderson/University Co Random House

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 13, 2013.

"When whatever forces put you down, you don't stay down."

Kenyan writer and professor Ngugi wa Thiong'o tells NPR's Michel Martin that this is something he constantly tells his children.

It is advice that has kept him going since he was born in 1938, at a time when his nation was still a British colony.

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NWPR Books
6:38 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Tall Glass Of Rock Star-Ness: A Q&A With Questlove

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson also teaches a class at New York University called "Topics in Recorded Music: Classic Albums."
Ben Watts Courtesy of the artist

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is the drummer and co-founder of the Grammy-Award winning band The Roots, which now serves as the house band for the talk show Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Questlove is coming out with a memoir in June called Mo' Meta Blues, co-written with Ben Greenman. After reading it, you'll feel like you know Questlove. The book is intimate and funny. Plus, you'll come away with a crash course in hip-hop history.

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NWPR Books
12:03 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Friedkin, Who Pushed Film Forward, Looks Back

HarperCollins Publishers

Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 10:08 am

As a kid in Chicago, director William Friedkin liked to frighten little girls with scary stories. When he grew up, he scared the rest of us with a little girl — Regan MacNeil, who is possessed by the devil in his horror classic The Exorcist.

And in The French Connection, he put knots in our stomachs with one of the great movie chases in American cinema.

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NWPR Books
3:05 pm
Sun April 14, 2013

A Pilgrimage Through France, Though Not For God

Tourists visit Bugarath, a small village in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, on Dec. 20, 2012.
Patrick Aventurier Getty Images

For centuries, pilgrims have made their way along the El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, or St. James' Way. It's an ancient route honoring St. James of Compostela and can take a traveler on foot for hundreds of miles to what is believed to be the apostle's burial site in northwestern Spain.

American travel writer David Downie and his wife, Alison, decided to begin their trek from their longtime home in Paris. For Downie, this wasn't necessarily a religious pilgrimage. He stresses he wasn't looking for God, though maybe enlightenment.

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NWPR Books
8:04 am
Sun April 14, 2013

Harmony Holiday On Finding Poetry In Her Biracial Roots

Harmony Holiday is a poet who lives in New York.
Courtesy Harmony Holiday

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Weekend Edition is hearing from young poets about what poetry means to them. This week, they spoke with Harmony Holiday, a New York poet and dance choreographer who's spending this month archiving audio of overlooked and often misunderstood poetry for The Beautiful Voices Project.


Interview Highlights

On why she first started writing poetry

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NWPR Books
8:04 am
Sun April 14, 2013

After Tragedy, Young Girl Shipped West On 'Orphan Train'

Christina Baker Kline's new novel, Orphan Train, is partially set in 1929, mere months before the stock market crash that would trigger the Great Depression. A young Irish girl, Niamh (pronounced "Neeve"), has just lost her entire family after a fire ripped through their tenement building. She is turned over to authorities who put her on a train bound for the Midwest. The train is filled with dozens of other children who have lost their families in one way or another; they are now hoping that their journey will connect them with new parents and a new, better life.

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