NWPR Books

NWPR Books
11:52 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Caring For Mom, Dreaming Of 'Elsewhere'

Richard Russo was awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for Empire Falls. His other novels include Mohawk and The Risk Pool.
Elena Seibert Courtesy of Knopf

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 12:11 pm

Something must have been in the tap water in Gloversville, N.Y., during the 1950s when Richard Russo was growing up there — something, that is, besides the formaldehyde, chlorine, lime, lead, sulfuric acid and other toxic byproducts that the town's tanneries leaked out daily.

But one day, a droplet of mead must have fallen into the local reservoir and Russo gulped it down, because, boy, does he have the poet's gift. In a paragraph or even a phrase, Russo can summon up a whole world, and the world he writes most poignantly about is that of the industrial white working class.

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NWPR Books
10:24 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Cosmic Love: A Sensual Sanskrit Epic Revived

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 7:38 am

Aatish Taseer is the author of Stranger to History.

It is late at night in Delhi, and hot. In New York, my class is about to start. We will begin reading a new poem today, a fifth-century court epic by the greatest of all Sanskrit poets, Kalidasa. I'm drinking black coffees, eating peanuts and fighting to keep awake.

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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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