NWPR Books

NWPR Books
2:57 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Ice Cube Sculptures, Tulips And Death: A 2014 Poetry Preview

Matthea Harvey's upcoming collection mixes poetry with visual art — like this image. Faces drawn by Monika Zarzecna.
Matthea Harvey Graywolf Press

What's in store for us in 2014? Season 3 of Girls and Homeland sans Brody. The dawning of the smart watch. Smoother sailing for healthcare.gov? Growing tensions in Russia and Syria. It's enough to make one giddy and terrified all at once — thankfully, we have poetry to express all our powerful and conflicted feelings.

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NWPR Books
2:53 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Lovebirds + String + Watering Can + Dog = Rube Goldberg Magic

Rube Goldberg drew many of his devices, like this one for a machine that disposes of cigarette ashes, for his series, "The Inventions of Professor Lucifer G. Butts, A.K," published in Colliers magazine between 1929 and 1931.
Copyright Heirs of Rube Goldberg Abrams ComicArts

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 11:38 am

Many people know Rube Goldberg as an adjective — a shorthand description for a convoluted device or contraption. But Rube Goldberg was a real person — one who earned a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning and who captivated imaginations with drawings of complex chain reactions that completed the simplest of tasks.

Goldberg died in 1970, but Jennifer George, his granddaughter, has collected the zany world he created in a coffee table book, The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius.

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NWPR Books
6:10 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Tough Commute This Morning? Your 'Journey' Could Have Been Worse

Members of Robert Falcon Scott expedition's at the South Pole pose for the camera: Robert F. Scott, Lawrence Oates, Henry R. Bowers, Edward A. Wilson, and Edgar Evans.
Herbert George Ponting Library of Congress

Jynne Martin is a poet who recently served as Antarctica's writer in residence.

If like many East Coasters, you had a miserable commute today through the blinding snow, just remember that it could be worse. You could've been one of the 74 passengers and crew aboard the ship trapped in Antarctica sea ice on Christmas Eve, who waited a week to be rescued, then got stuck again, enduring high winds, freezing cold, and what must have been a painful number of Crazy Eights games.

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NWPR Books
11:40 am
Fri January 3, 2014

A Critic Tours 'Echo Spring,' Home Of Beloved Boozy Writers

nito100 iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 1:19 pm

It's the quintessential "dog bites man" story. I'm talking about a new book I just read about a group of famous writers who — get this -- drank too much! I know, right? That's pretty much the equivalent of saying I just read a book about a group of famous writers who used commas in their sentences.

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NWPR Books
8:24 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Can Autism Be An Asset?

"People just don't see things, this is where you need visual thinkers like me ... we need the different kinds of minds." — Temple Grandin
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 11:48 am

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Overcoming.

About Temple Grandin's TEDTalk

Temple Grandin struggled with autism until she realized her ability to "think in pictures" allows her to solve problems that others can't.

About Temple Grandin

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NWPR Books
7:48 am
Fri January 3, 2014

What's It Like To Be Young And Bullied?

"I can't let my life be this. Because if I give up now, that's what my life will be. I'll never walk out the front door." — Shane Koyczan
James Duncan Davidson TED

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 11:48 am

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Overcoming.

About Shane Koyczan's TEDTalk

Shane Koyczan describes growing up endlessly tormented by bullies. When he turned to spoken-word poetry to cope, he found that millions related to his anti-bullying message.

About Shane Koyczan

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NWPR Books
4:02 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Book News: 'Cazalet' Author Elizabeth Jane Howard Dies

English novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard is pictured in 1978.
Michael Fresco Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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NWPR Books
4:10 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Gary Shteyngart's 'Little Failure' Is An Unambivalent Success

Cover Detail
Random House

Meg Wolitzer's most recent novel is The Interestings.

What's potentially more troubling than a memoirist out for revenge? One who's only out for truth. Gary Shteyngart's dazzling, highly enjoyable book is the story of his life — a story that he owns, along with all the details. Yet, as an only child who immigrated from Leningrad to Queens with his parents in 1979, with no brothers or sisters to provide narrative distraction, he not only provides an intimate look at himself, he also by necessity put his parents under a fairly strong magnifying lens.

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NWPR Books
3:18 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

'Before I Burn' Uses Autobiography To Tell A Crime Story

Burning House
John Rich iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 4:14 am

My favorite crime novels always combine more than one genre. Like a detective mystery that's really psychological. Or a police captain who happens to be a gourmet. Honestly, most travel books don't even get going until a body or two is discovered.

In the case of Before I Burn by Gaute Heivoll, the mashup is suspense meets memoir. It sounds a little gimmicky, but I promise it's absolutely not. Instead we have a semi-autobiographical novel that's poetic, gripping and at times even profound.

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NWPR Books
10:14 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Visible And Invisible: 'Servants' Looks At Life Downstairs

Early 20th century British maids worked long, hard days with little time off.
Topical Press Agency Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 2:28 pm

Many Americans were introduced to the world of early 20th century British servants through the PBS series Downton Abbey, which premieres its fourth season Sunday. The show is set in an era when domestic service was the largest single occupation in Great Britain.

"In 1900, it was calculated to comprise a third of all women who were in the workforce," writer Lucy Lethbridge tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.

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