NWPR Books

Northwest Public Radio loves to read! Below, you will find our editorial reviews and personal recommendations for literary works we think you, our listeners, would love.

We are also receive station support from many Northwest Independent Booksellers, who provide their own recommendations here.

And, if you have any great reads you would like to share with us, please let us know, by emailing your review to NWPR@wsu.edu!

Strange Fruit And Stranger Dreams In The Deep South

Nov 26, 2012

Steve Stern's most recent book is called The Book of Mischief.

I'm about to make insane claims for a book, so the skeptics among you can stop reading now. It's called The Battlefield Where the Moon Says I Love You — an outrageous title, I know. Plus, it's an epic poem, over 500 almost entirely unpunctuated pages in its original edition. Are you still with me? Then trust me, it's like no other book in our literature.

When you think of mental illness, you don't often think of comics; but for cartoonist Ellen Forney, the two came crashing together just before her 30th birthday. That's when she found out she has bipolar disorder, a diagnosis that finally explained her super-charged highs and debilitating lows.

William Styron was one of the flamboyant literary figures of the 20th Century. He was a Southerner whose novel Lie Down in Darkness received immense acclaim when he was just 26 years old. He would go on to write the Confessions of Nat Turner, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1968.

But for the last 27 years of his life, Styron did not write a novel. He battled depression, and wrote a seminal work about it, Darkness Visible, in 1990.

Time has a way of condensing major historical events into a few key moments, with one-dimensional, legendary figures at the forefront. In his new book, author and archivist Todd Andrlik gives life and depth to one such event — the American Revolution. He uses newspaper reporting from that era to provide a sense of the Revolution as it actually unfolded.

Growing up blond-haired and blue-eyed in Southern California, Joe Mozingo always thought his family name was Italian.

But as an adult, Mozingo became skeptical of that theory when friends and co-workers began to ask him about his unusual-sounding last name.

The journey to discover the truth about the Mozingo name took him from the libraries of Los Angeles to the courthouses and plantations of Virginia and, finally, to Africa.

By the time cartoonist Derek Kirk Kim was 30 years old, his prodigious talents had already won him an Eisner award, an Ignatz award and a Harvey award, the top three honors of the comics field.

A Refugee's Multilayered Experience In 'Ru'

Nov 24, 2012

Vietnamese author Kim Thuy's new novel unfolds in the way a flower casts off petals: one small scene after another. Ru is an autobiographical novel in which memories are shuffled back and forth to tell the story of a 10-year-old born in Saigon during the 1968 Tet Offensive.

There have been a number of books about great Jewish athletes, starring legendary baseball players like Sandy Koufax or Hank Greenberg, the "Hebrew Hammer." But a new book doesn't focus only on Jewish players — it looks at the myriad ways Jews have contributed to the American athletic landscape. Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame is a collection of essays compiled and edited by Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy of The New Republic magazine.

Foer and Tracy join NPR's Linda Wertheimer to discuss the rise of Jews in big-league sports.

If you look up the name Lyle Talbot on IMDb, you'll find dozens of films and television shows he appeared in, starting with the 1931 short The Nightingale and ending with roles on Newhart and Who's the Boss. He made a movie with Bogart before Bogart was a star. He worked with child star Shirley Temple, was featured in the Ed Wood cult classics Plan 9 from Outer Space and Glen or Glenda?, and had a recurring role on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet as Ozzie's friend and neighbor Joe Randolph.

In 'Titian,' New Perspective On An Italian Master

Nov 21, 2012

He may not have a Ninja Turtle named after him, but Tiziano Vecellio of Venice — Titian, to English speakers — has a claim to being the most enduringly influential painter of the Renaissance, even more than his Roman contemporaries Michelangelo and Raphael. Something about him drives his fans to excess. Peter Paul Rubens painted nearly two-dozen copies of Titian's work; Anthony van Dyck bought 19 Titians for his own collection. Velazquez and Rembrandt worshipped him.