NWPR Books

NWPR Books
7:03 am
Tue February 17, 2015

'Find Me' Gets Lost Along The Way

America's recent tussle with Ebola — and the current resurgence of measles — has made pandemics a major issue, and a major fear. Not that you'd know it from Laura Van Den Berg's Find Me. In it, a haunted young woman named Joy winds up in a hospital in rural Kansas, following the onset of a mysterious, fatal disease, one that erases people's memories.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Black Slugs And 'Black Holes,' An Artful Portrait Of Depression

There's a small subgenre of young-adult novels that treat suicide as a mystery left behind for the survivors. From John Green's 2006 debut Looking For Alaska and Jay Asher's 2007 bestseller Thirteen Reasons Why to more recent titles like Michelle Falkoff's Playlist For The Dead, survivors try to unravel the causes and meaning of a purposeful death, through clues the victim left behind.

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NWPR Books
5:25 am
Mon February 16, 2015

Ten Hearts For The Country — And Language — Of 'Ice Cream Star'

I love arguing about books. Tell me Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is the best modern American novel ever written and I'll fight you. Tell me it wasn't and I'll fight you, too. I'm just scrappy that way.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Sun February 15, 2015

How Black Lives Have Always Mattered: A Reading List

Stokely Carmichael, shown here in 1967. Historian Peniel Joseph argues Carmichael's writings on slavery and capitalism deserve more attention.
AFP/Getty Images

This year, Black History Month carries a special significance, because America is marking not just the 150th anniversary of Emancipation, but also the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. It was propelled into reality through the heroic witness of non-violent demonstrations in Selma, Alabama and across the nation.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Music Is Troublesome Magic In 'Signal To Noise'

"Magic will break your heart," warns Mama Dolores, the grandmother of Mercedes "Meche" Vega, the protagonist of Silvia Moreno-Garcia's debut novel, Signal to Noise. When it comes to magic, Mama Dolores is not speaking metaphorically: Meche, a 15-year-old girl living in Mexico City, has discovered how to practice magic, actual spells that can do actual good and actual harm.

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NWPR Books
8:03 am
Wed February 11, 2015

'Displacement' Floats Too Close To The Surface

Is buoyancy boring? It's certainly an underrated quality in the literary world. We value tragic ranters and ironic brooders, people who put on a show and really make the pages fly by. Sturdy resilience, on the other hand, always seems to be asking for a fall.

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NWPR Books
7:03 am
Wed February 11, 2015

'Finn Fancy' Is Urban Fantasy With A Pop Culture Sweet Tooth

Fantasy's turn toward the grim has not lessened lately, nor should it. The success of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire not only justifies all that brooding darkness, it's opened the doors for many other excellent and similarly grim books. Randy Henderson, however, has something else in mind entirely with his debut novel, Finn Fancy Necromancy. Strictly speaking, it's an urban fantasy, one that takes place in and around present-day Seattle.

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NWPR Books
4:58 am
Wed February 11, 2015

Ignoring The Rules, Kelly Link Traffics In Wonder, Irony And Teenage Longings

Kelly Link's work also includes Stranger Things Happen, Magic for Beginners, and Pretty Monsters.
Sharona Jacobs Courtesy of Sharona Jacobs Photography LLC

As a writer Kelly Link is possessed of many magical powers, but to me what's most notable about her new collection, Get in Trouble, is its astonishing freedom. It's one thing to put demon lovers and ghost boyfriends and spaceships in your stories, but it's something else to allow yourself to explore broad and unusual territory without worrying whether the reader will follow you closely. Link's fiction may be strange, but so, it seems, are all of us, each with our own highly particular inner lives.

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NWPR Books
11:54 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Funny If It Weren't So True: A Farce About 'The Importance Of Beauty'

Amanda Filipacchi is also the author of the novels Nude Men, Vapor and Love Creeps.
Marion Ettlinger Courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 1:54 pm

"Does this obituary make me look fat?"

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NWPR Books
6:35 am
Tue February 10, 2015

Cozy 'Blue Thread' Is Unabashedly Domestic

You don't read Anne Tyler to have your worldview expanded, or to be kept awake at night anxiously turning pages. You read, instead, for the cozy mildness, the comfort of sinking into each new warmhearted, gently wry book.

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