NWPR Books

NWPR Books
4:46 am
Sat March 16, 2013

A Little Blue Alien Helped Hemon Bear Witness To His 'Lives'

Since his 2000 literary debut, Aleksandar Hemon has been hailed as "a maestro, a conjurer, a channeler of universes." In books including The Question of Bruno and Love and Obstacles, he's written about archdukes and exiles; a Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina of memories; and a Chicago that's in your face.

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NWPR Books
3:50 am
Fri March 15, 2013

'Bankers' New Clothes' Leave Too Little Skin In The Game

At a hearing in Washington on March 6, Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to senators why it has been hard to go after big bank executives:

"It does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large."

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NWPR Books
12:24 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Two Awards In One Day For 'Battleborn' Author Claire Vaye Watkins

Claire Vaye Watkins' debut collection of short stories — Battleborn — is informed by her childhood in the West.
Riverhead Books

Originally published on Thu March 14, 2013 1:19 pm

The 10 stories in Claire Vaye Watkins' debut collection — Battleborn — explore the past and present of the American West, specifically Nevada, where Watkins spent much of her childhood and adolescence. On Wednesday, it was announced that the 28-year-old author had won two major literary prizes for Battleborn: the $10,000 Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the $20,000 Story Prize.

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NWPR Books
9:32 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Tender Portraits Of Worn-Down Women In 'This Close'

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iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 11:43 am

Jessica Francis Kane drew considerable attention for her artful historic novel, The Report, which explored the repercussions of a tragic incident in March 1943, when 173 people died while rushing into the Bethnal Green tube station for shelter during an air raid. Her portraits of wartime Londoners were psychologically acute and rich in evocative detail. She applies that same skill to her second collection, This Close, populated by 21st century Americans adrift in an increasingly complicated world.

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NWPR Books
7:38 am
Thu March 14, 2013

In 'Philip Roth: Unmasked,' An Unadorned Portrait Of An Aging Master

Novelist Phillip Roth steers clear of provocation in the PBS documentary Philip Roth: Unmasked; he comes across, rather, as sensible, sensitive, maybe a bit cranky but hardly outrageous at all. And his unmistakable voice will ring true, especially for fans.
Eric Thayer Reuters

There's nothing particularly dynamic about Livia Manera and William Karel's documentary Philip Roth: Unmasked. For some 90 minutes, it's pretty much just one guy talking. But what a guy!

Roth is one of the greatest living novelists, possibly even the greatest. He can also be an inflammatory presence, eliciting outrage almost as much as admiration, particularly among women who see him as a misogynist.

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NWPR Books
5:31 am
Wed March 13, 2013

Rewriting The Self In Gass' Dense, Difficult 'Middle C'

Piano keys
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William H. Gass is a glutton of language. Like a chef who can't cook without nibbling, he lards his own writing with similes and metaphors in the spirit of the books he loves, savoring them through imitation. In his essays on literature, this gusto is contagious. You want to taste his taste, to read what he has read. Gass' exuberant, bursting sentences convey the pleasure of reading and thinking better than just about any written since the New Critics took over criticism in the 1950s.

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NWPR Books
10:30 am
Tue March 12, 2013

'One Nation Under Stress,' With To-Do Lists And Yoga For All

Chewed pencils
iStockphoto.com

"I am so stressed out" is a common refrain these days, but if you think of stress as a pervasive fact of life, consider this: Before 1976, The New York Times had never published an article about stress as we understand it today. Our idea of stress — as a personal, internal problem — is a recent invention.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue March 12, 2013

The Mundane World Illuminated In 'Hand-Drying In America'

Ben Katchor's syndicated comic strips vary in subject — his Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer, for example, explores the surreal underside of our urban environment by documenting the inner lives of the spaces and storefronts we walk past every day, while The Cardboard Valise reads like a Fodor's guide to a country that exists only in Franz Kafka's dream journal.

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NWPR Books
8:56 am
Mon March 11, 2013

'Frankenstein's Cat': Bioengineering The Animals Of The Future

Cover of Frankenstein's Cat

Originally published on Mon March 11, 2013 10:52 am

In her new book, Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts, science journalist Emily Anthes talks about how the landscape of bioengineering has expanded since Dolly the Sheep was cloned in 1996. Scientists, she says, are now working to create pigs that can grow organs for human transplant, goats that produce valuable protein-rich milk, and cockroaches that could potentially serve as tiny scouts into danger zones for the military.

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NWPR Books
7:40 am
Mon March 11, 2013

'Lean In': Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg Explains What's Holding Women Back

Courtesy Knopf

Originally published on Tue March 12, 2013 1:37 pm

Of all the posters plastered around Facebook's Silicon Valley headquarters — "Move Fast and Break Things," "Done Is Better Than Perfect" and "Fail Harder" — Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has a favorite: "What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?"

"[It's] something that I think is really important and I think very motivating," Sandberg tells NPR's Renee Montagne. " ... I wrote in my book, what I would do if I wasn't afraid is, I would speak out more on behalf of women."

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