NWPR Books

NWPR Books
12:07 pm
Sun March 3, 2013

Time Rules In Jamaica Kincaid's New Novel, 'See Now Then'

Jamaica Kincaid, author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, lives in Vermont.
Kenneth Noland Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 5:44 pm

Author Jamaica Kincaid is out with a new novel, her first in 10 years.

Kincaid is perhaps best known for her books At the Bottom of the River and The Autobiography of My Mother. Her new book, See Now Then, tackles some difficult themes.

The novel opens with a scene of a seemingly idyllic home life in small-town New England. But it is soon clear the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Sweet is anything but sweet.

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NWPR Books
5:48 am
Sun March 3, 2013

Secretly Working To Win The War In 'Atomic City'

Before the fight to win women equal footing in the workplace, there was the fight against Hitler and Hirohito. In the depths of World War II, everyone in America had to pitch in, men and women alike. And in 1943 the government offered war jobs, lots of them, in a town called Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Where is it on a map? What do they do there? What will I do there? The government didn't give any answers to those questions — and still the recruits, many of them young women, streamed in.

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NWPR Books
2:21 pm
Sat March 2, 2013

For Ireland's First Female President, 'Everybody Matters'

Mary Robinson was Ireland's first female president. A former United Nations High Commissioner and activist lawyer, she has advocated for human rights around the world.
Jurgen Frank Jurgen Frank

For seven years, Mary Robinson served as the first female president of Ireland. Yet, she also has a long record of service as a human rights advocate.

After leaving office in 1997, she was appointed as the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations. She now runs The Mary Robinson Foundation — Climate Justice. This week, she has a new book out called Everybody Matters: My Life Giving Voice.

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NWPR Books
11:50 am
Sat March 2, 2013

A 'Negative' Message: Don't Just Hope, Work

A few names come to mind when you say Hoosier basketball: Larry Bird, Gene Hackman, who was in a movie — and Bob Knight, about whom they make movies. Bob Knight coached three Indiana University teams to three NCAA championship titles and — a record of which he's equally proud — almost all of his players graduated. He left Indiana after a controversy involving his treatment of players, went on to coach at Texas Tech, and is now retired from coaching and a featured commentator for ESPN's college basketball coverage.

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NWPR Books
8:04 am
Sat March 2, 2013

'Born On A Mountaintop' Or Not, Davy Crockett's Legend Lives On

Davy Crockett represented Tennessee for three terms in Congress before moving to Texas and fighting in the Battle of the Alamo.
AP

There's a new book about an American hero that's not just about the man behind the myth, but about the myth behind that myth.

Davy Crockett really was from Tennessee, really was a skilled frontiersman and really killed American Indians in battle. (When he became a congressman, however, he opposed President Andrew Jackson's Indian Removal Act.) And then, after losing a re-election campaign, Crockett really lit out for Texas and eventually died at the Battle of the Alamo — more or less

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NWPR Books
2:47 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Man Turned Fly Seeks Revenge For Bad Reincarnation

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri March 1, 2013 5:01 pm

A Parisian Jew who dies in 1773 reappears in the 21st century as an angel, fluttering gently down to Earth — or, so he thinks. He imagines himself as "a fully formed Christian seraph, a Viking with blond hair, a beautiful chiseled torso, hairless feet, and eyes the color of whiskey." So imagine his shock when he realizes he's no angel — he's actually been reincarnated as a common housefly.

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NWPR Books
8:52 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother' Inspires The Story Of 'Mary Coin'

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:00 am

I shied away from Marisa Silver's new novel because of its book jacket: a reproduction of Dorothea Lange's iconic Depression-era photograph called "Migrant Mother." You know it: the woman's strong face is worn and worried; her children lean protectively into her. Lange took the photo at a pea-pickers' camp in California in 1936; the name of the destitute mother of seven, who wasn't identified till the 1970s, is Florence Owens Thompson. The photo on Silver's book jacket is colorized.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Beaming Up Haywire History In 'Teleportation Accident'

For anyone who's read Christopher Isherwood or even just spent a few hours in front of the History Channel, a novel that opens in 1930s Berlin raises certain expectations: There will be decadent parties, and then one day a Nazi killjoy will turn up and soon the music stops, windows are smashed, Jews rounded up and everyone's lives subsumed by historical forces. The end.

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NWPR Books
12:17 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Dictionary Of Idioms Gets Everybody On The Same Page

The "elephant in the room" is something obvious that can't be overlooked, even if no one is talking about it. The phrase was in use as early as 1935.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 9:04 am

If you've ever shot the breeze, had a heart-to-heart or bent somebody's ear — in fact, if you've ever talked at all — odds are you've used an idiom. These sometimes bizarre phrases are a staple of conversation, and more than 10,000 of them are collected in the latest edition of The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, which came out this week.

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NWPR Books
10:01 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Hamid's How-To For Success, 'Filthy Rich' In Irony

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 3:20 pm

Novelist Mohsin Hamid lives in Lahore, Pakistan, quite some distance from the Long Island of Jay Gatsby. But his new novel — his third and, I think, best so far — reminded me of F. Scott Fitzgerald's quintessential American work. As I read this novel about the dark and light of success in a world of social instability, I kept asking myself how much I might be inflating the value of Hamid's novel by rating it so highly. After all, this story takes the form of a gimmick, and gimmicks usually work against real quality.

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