NWPR Books

NWPR Books
4:03 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Mojo, Music And Semi-Divine Sibling Rivalry In 'Sister Mine'

It's like this: Makeda is trying to make a clean break from her old life by getting a super's gig in a bohemian Toronto warehouse of artsy up-and-comers. And it won't be easy — she's still riddled with guilt and uncertainty, after having struggled for years to care for her bedridden father and to get out from under the shadow of her twin sister, Abby, who's kind of a diva and has a lot of pull in the family.

The family of gods, that is.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Exclusive First Read: 'The Burgess Boys,' By Elizabeth Strout

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Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 5:16 am

  • Listen to the Excerpt

Elizabeth Strout's newest book begins with crime. Zach, the youngest member of the Burgess family, throws a severed pig's head through the front door of a mosque in his quiet, rural Maine town. The mosque is run by a recently arrived community of Somali immigrants, who have already faced some hostility from the town. Everyone is shocked, but no one more so than Zach himself.

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NWPR Books
10:06 am
Wed March 20, 2013

'Sex And The Citadel' Peeks Inside Private Lives In The Arab World

Shereen El Feki is the author of Sex and the Citadel.
Kristof Arasim Pantheon

Originally published on Wed March 20, 2013 11:49 am

"I know of young women who have been returned to their families by their husbands because, as you say, they did not bleed on defloweration," Shereen El Feki tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

El Feki, the author of the new book Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World, spent five years traveling across the Arab region asking people about sex: what they do, what they don't, what they think and why.

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NWPR Books
11:11 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Veterans Face Red Tape Accessing Disability, Other Benefits

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 2:05 pm

Ten years ago, the United States invaded Iraq and began what the Bush administration said would be a short war.

But it wasn't until December 2011 that the United States officially ended its military mission there.

In addition to the tens of thousands of Iraqis who died, the war cost the lives of nearly 4,500 American service members, and wounded more than 32,200 men and women in America's military. Many of the wounded vets have faced — or are still facing — long waits for their disability and other benefits to begin.

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NWPR Books
6:05 am
Tue March 19, 2013

In Memoir Of Child's Death, A Mother Seeks Meaning

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When Emily Rapp first discovers that her 9-month-old son, Ronan, has Tay-Sachs, an incurable and fatal disease that gradually robs a child of his nervous system, she wets herself; the floor and walls of the doctor's office seem to melt and liquefy; and she thinks, "weirdly," about her son's namesake, a boy she once knew whose name she would write in longhand "like a lovesick teenager." She recalls Emily Dickinson's poem in which a mind has been cleaved beyond repair, and calls out for her mother.

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NWPR Books
12:14 am
Tue March 19, 2013

'Drunken Botanist' Takes A Garden Tour Of The Liquor Cabinet

Originally published on Thu March 21, 2013 6:43 am

The next time you're sipping on a glass of something boozy, consider the plants behind your beverage. Some of them might spring immediately to mind: grapes in your wineglass, rye in your whiskey bottle, juniper in your gin and tonic. But what about sorghum and coriander? Cinchona and bitter orange?

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NWPR Books
2:05 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

'FDR And The Jews' Puts A President's Compromises In Context

President Franklin D. Roosevelt meets with the National Jewish Welfare Board — (left to right) Walter Rothschild, Chaplain Aryeh Lev, Barnett Brickner and Louis Kraft — at the White House on Nov. 8, 1943.
George R. Skadding AP

Originally published on Sun March 24, 2013 6:17 am

The subject of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's relationship with the Jewish community is complicated, multidimensional and contentious. On the one hand, the former New York governor won Jewish votes by landslide margins and led the Allies to victory in World War II, defeating Nazi Germany. Some of his closest advisers and strongest supporters were Jews, including Felix Frankfurter, whom he named to the Supreme Court, speechwriter Samuel Rosenman and Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau.

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NWPR Books
10:26 am
Mon March 18, 2013

'Still Point': A Meditation On Mothering A Dying Child

Emily Rapp is also the author of Poster Child, about a congenital birth defect that led to the amputation of her leg when she was a child, and about how she subsequently became a poster child for the March of Dimes.
Anne Staveley Penguin Press

In January 2011, writer Emily Rapp was a happy new mother when she and her husband found themselves in a pediatric ophthalmologist's office with their 9-month-old son, Ronan. They were worried about Ronan's development and had gone to the eye doctor to rule out vision problems as the culprit. Checking Ronan's retinas, the doctor saw "cherry-red spots on the backs of his retinas," Rapp writes in her new memoir, The Still Point of the Turning World. Ronan's diagnosis that day was Tay-Sachs disease, a genetic and degenerative condition that is always fatal. There is no cure.

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NWPR Books
12:59 pm
Sun March 17, 2013

Famine Ship Jeanie Johnston Sailed Through Grim Odds

Free Press

Originally published on Sun March 17, 2013 4:48 pm

Many of the 35 million Americans of Irish descent are here due to the worst famine to hit Europe in the 19th century, the Irish potato famine.

It drove more than a million people to flee mass starvation, many climbing aboard ships they hoped would ferry them to a better life in the New World. But the fate they would meet on what came to be known as "coffin ships" was often as grim or worse than the fate they were leaving behind; 100,000 passengers didn't survive the journey.

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NWPR Books
8:32 am
Sun March 17, 2013

Reminder: Our Memories Are Less Reliable Than We Think

Cover of Pieces of Light

What's your first memory? You're a baby or a toddler. Maybe it's a specific experience, maybe an impression. Maybe someone's face, or just a kind of feeling or sense. Or maybe it's a compilation of stories over years. And maybe it's less true than you think it is.

In his new book, Pieces of Light, Charles Fernyhough digs deep into the recesses of memory to figure out what shapes it, how it works and why some things stick with us forever. Fernyhough talks with NPR's Rachel Martin about his own first memory and his exploration of the science of remembering.

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