NWPR Books

NWPR Books
4:02 am
Sun February 9, 2014

From Muse To Outcast, A Woman Comes Of Age In 'Widow Basquiat'

Rebecca Walker's previous work includes the memoirs Black, White & Jewish and Baby Love. Adé: A Love Story is her first novel.
Amanda Marsalis Courtesy of Little A / New Harvest

Much has been written about Jean-Michel Basquiat, the childlike savant and startlingly brilliant neo-expressionist who went down in a ball of heroin, cocaine and rage before his prime — before he could see his paintings sell at Christie's for $49 million, before he was compared to Picasso and de Kooning. Since his death in 1988, he has been immortalized in countless museum catalogues and even more Ph.D theses, and rendered larger than life on the silver screen by none other than the king of the eighties art world himself, Julian Schnabel.

Read more
NWPR Books
3:34 pm
Sat February 8, 2014

In 'Poetry,' The Story Of An African-American Military Family

Courtesy of Penguin Group

Marilyn Nelson is one of America's most celebrated poets. She is a three-time finalist for the National Book Award, winner of the Newbery and Printz and Coretta Scott King awards. Many of her most famous collections are for children.

Her latest work, How I Discovered Poetry, is a memoir about her own childhood. It's a series of 50 poems about growing up, traveling all over America in the 1950s to follow her father's job in the Air Force. Each of the poems is identified with a place and a date.

Read more
NWPR Books
8:02 am
Fri February 7, 2014

A Typewriter In The Grass And The Beat Generation On The Edge

American writer William Seward Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch.
Evening Standard Getty Images

I woke up Wednesday, drank some coffee, and learned (thank you, Frank Morris and Morning Edition) that it was the 100th anniversary of William S. Burroughs' birth. Burroughs was born in St. Louis and died in Lawrence, Kansas – improbable geographic bookends to his really out-there life.

But this post is not so much about William Burroughs as about William Burroughs' typewriter.

Read more
NWPR Books
4:02 am
Fri February 7, 2014

You'll Get Lost In The Haunted World Of 'Annihilation'

Eric Nyquist Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 8:25 am

I sat down with Jeff VanderMeer's new book, Annihilation, on a snowy afternoon, cracked it open, and hated it from word one.

Read more
NWPR Books
4:55 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Perfume's Scents Of Subversion? Sweat, Musk And Patchouli

A combination of musk with a traditional floral scent made Chanel No. 5 a revolutionary fragrance.
Hiroko Masuike AP

Barbara Herman has spent the better part of the past six years taking a deep nosedive into the world of vintage fragrances. Her quest has been to find the bold, sexy and downright odd smells that have defined women over the decades.

The result is a book called Scent And Subversion: Decoding A Century Of Provocative Perfume. It explains how, at the turn of the 20th century, most perfumes were still just one note, floral. Then, a now-iconic perfume came along — one that combined musk with a traditional floral scent.

Read more
NWPR Books
4:19 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

'Day Job' Aims For Romance In Real Life

Dutton/The Penguin Group

A long time ago, in a world before email, cellphones and the World Wide Web, my girlfriends and I had a mantra: "Life is too short for annoying boys."

I was lucky. I met my own Mr. Perfect-For-Me when I was young enough to not feel desperate to find him, but old enough to have already lived a pretty interesting life. I had traveled. I had a college degree. I had a few "lessons learned" relationships in my back pocket.

Read more
NWPR Books
4:07 am
Thu February 6, 2014

Sensory Fiction: Books That Let You Feel What The Characters Do

Changes in a book protagonist's emotional or physical state trigger discrete feedback in this wearable device.
MIT Media Lab

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 9:45 am

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

Read more
NWPR Books
7:23 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

'Possessed By Genius': A Centennial Tribute To William S. Burroughs

William S. Burroughs' cult novel Naked Lunch has sold more than 1 million copies since its publication in 1959.
Evening Standard Getty Images

William S. Burroughs was a counterculture icon: In more than two dozen books, including the landmark novel Naked Lunch, he laid down an original vision that influenced everyone from political activists to punk rockers, filmmakers to sci-fi writers.

In 1962, writer Norman Mailer described him as "the only American novelist living today who may conceivably be possessed by genius."

Burroughs was born 100years ago Wednesday.

Read more
NWPR Books
2:48 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

'Tiger Mother' Author Spells Out 3 Traits That Drive Success In The U.S.

Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld appear on NBC News' Today show.
Peter Kramer Getty Images

If you're a fan of parenting books or just raucous debates about parenting styles, then you probably know about Amy Chua. The Yale Law School professor kicked off a ferocious debate with her 2011 memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. She took pains to point out that the book was tongue-in-cheek, but it still got much attention for her defense of a demanding parenting style that she traced to her Chinese roots.

Read more
NWPR Books
10:31 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Triumph Of The Bookworms: Two Novels To Cure Your Winter Blues

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 2:19 pm

In the opening paragraph of Moby-Dick, Ishmael tells us he takes to sea whenever he feels the onset of "a damp, drizzly November in [his] soul." I know how he feels. Whenever the frigid funk of February settles in, I, too, yearn to get out of town. This year I have, thanks to two exquisite vehicles of escape fiction. Both Rachel Pastan's Alena and Katherine Pancol's The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles are smart entertainments perfect for curling up with on a winter's night.

Read more

Pages