NWPR Books

Backseat Book Club
12:16 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

How 'Black Beauty' Changed The Way We See Horses

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 8:45 pm

NPR's Backseat Book Club is back! And we begin this round of reading adventures with a cherished classic: Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Generations of children and adults have loved this book. With vivid detail and simple, yet lyrical prose, Black Beauty describes both the cruelty and kindness that an ebony-colored horse experiences through his lifetime — from the open pastures in the English countryside to the cobblestone grit of 19th-century England.

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You Must Read This
12:14 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

A Historical Account Of Revolution In Present Tense

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 7:10 am

H.W. Brands is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author of The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses Grant in War and Peace.

Every year, I have my graduate students read the great works of history, from classical times to the present. They gamely tackle Tacitus, ponder Plutarch, plow through Gibbon. Then they get to Thomas Carlyle and feel like Dorothy when she touched down in Technicolor Oz.

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Book Reviews
4:03 am
Wed October 24, 2012

¡No Más! 'Back To Blood' Is Much Too Much

Little, Brown and Company

It took cojones for Tom Wolfe to write about Miami for his latest novel, Back to Blood. In the "Republic of Fluba" where Florida, Cuba and the rest of Latin America are shaken and mezclado, truth trumps fiction each day of every year. This is the city where, a few months ago, a man ate another man's face on a downtown causeway in broad daylight. Police shot and killed the wannabe zombie.

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Book Reviews
8:01 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Comic Struggles Of A Frustrated Writer In 'Zoo Time'

Courtesy of Bloomsbury

"My aim," writes English novelist Guy Ableman to his agent, "is to write a transgressive novel that explores the limits of the morally permissible in our times."

Sounds quite serious, even brow-wrinkling, doesn't it? A dangerous act of experimental writing, perhaps something Norman Mailer might have tried, or Henry Miller before him?

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Author Interviews
1:38 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Running Toward Redemption On 'Ransom Road'

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 2:53 am

Meet a man with a powerful addiction — to running. Caleb Daniloff says he believes the sport saved him from addictions that were far worse, and he's written a new book, called Running Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a Time, about his experiences.

Daniloff has run some familiar marathons — New York and Boston — but he's also been to a place not famous for outdoor running: Moscow.

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Author Interviews
1:27 pm
Sun October 21, 2012

A Reminder To Tolkien Fans Of Their First Love

Associated Press

Originally published on Sun October 21, 2012 4:40 pm

Seventy-five years ago, J.R.R Tolkien wrote a book for his children called The Hobbit. It isn't just a landmark piece of fantasy literature; it's a movement — a work that's inspired everyone from director Peter Jackson to the band Led Zeppelin to Leonard Nimoy (who recorded his own homage to the book in the late 1960s — "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins").

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Author Interviews
11:56 am
Thu October 18, 2012

In Constant Digital Contact, We Feel 'Alone Together'

Courtesy of Basic Books

As soon as Sherry Turkle arrived at the studio for her Fresh Air interview, she realized she'd forgotten her phone. "I realized I'd left it behind, and I felt a moment of Oh my god ... and I felt it kind of in the pit of my stomach," she tells Terry Gross. That feeling of emotional dependence on digital devices is the focus of Turkle's research. Her book, Alone Together, explores how new technology is changing the way we communicate with one another.

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Book Reviews
11:34 am
Thu October 18, 2012

'Master' Jefferson: Defender Of Liberty, Then Slavery

Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 11:59 am

His public words have inspired millions, but for scholars, his private words and deeds generate confusion, discomfort, apologetic excuses. When the young Thomas Jefferson wrote, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," there's compelling evidence to indicate that he indeed meant all men, not just white guys.

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The Salt
12:33 pm
Mon October 15, 2012

Jerusalem: A Love Letter To Food And Memories Of Home

A boy chooses fruit from a stall as Jerusalem market vendors swirl around him.
Jonathan Lovekin Ten Speed Press

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 3:46 pm

Jerusalem is known for its bitter politics, a divided city where decades of religious and political strife have torn away shared spaces. But as British-Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi tells NPR's Melissa Block, if there's one place in which Jerusalemites of all stripes still stand united, it's in their love of food.

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Books
8:42 am
Thu October 11, 2012

Mo Yan's 'Hallucinatory Realism' Wins Lit Nobel

Chinese writer Mo Yan is the winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in literature. Mo Yan is a pen name that means "don't speak" — a name he adopted because his parents, who raised him during the Cultural Revolution, warned him to hold his tongue.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Chinese writer Mo Yan won the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday. The Swedish Academy, which selects the winners of the award, praised Mo's "hallucinatory realism," saying it "merges folk tales, history and the contemporary." The award is a cause of pride for a government that disowned the only previous Chinese winner of the award, an exiled critic.

Peter Englund, the academy's permanent secretary, said the academy contacted Mo, 57, before the announcement. "He said he was overjoyed and scared," Englund said.

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