NWPR Books

NWPR Books
6:56 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Book News: Fight Over Philosopher Ends With Gunfire In Russia

An artist's rendering of German philosopher Immanuel Kant.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 6:47 am

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

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NWPR Books
6:24 am
Tue September 17, 2013

A Predictably Pynchonian Take On The Internet And Sept. 11

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Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 4:07 pm

I approached this review with a little bit of dread. How do you write about the iconic novelist Thomas Pynchon, whose books are strange and difficult things, and whose die-hard readers gather online to wax poetic, and use words like Pynchonian, Pynchonalia and Pynchonesque? They are just so into him, and often so articulate about their love. If you read the thoughtful and detailed writing by Pynchon devotees, they make a very persuasive case.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue September 17, 2013

In 'Reaped,' 5 Lives That Are Far More Than Just Statistics

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On July 18, 1863, the Union Army's famed 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry — a black military unit — made a desperate assault on Confederate forces at Fort Wagner near Charleston, S.C. In the end, they were unsuccessful and lost almost half of their forces. Escaped slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman bore elegiac eyewitness to the terrible day: "We saw the lightning and that was the guns," she said later.

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NWPR Books
2:38 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Kitchen Time Machine: A Culinary Romp Through Soviet History

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 6:38 am

The French novelist Marcel Proust immortalized the connection between food and memory when the narrator of his novel Remembrances of Things Past bit into a madeleine and was transported to thoughts of his childhood.

But what if that madeleine were poisoned, so to speak?

That is the question underlying Russian American writer Anya von Bremzen's new memoir, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking. Though it contains recipes, this is not a cookbook but rather, a history of a family and of Soviet Russia.

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NWPR Books
2:15 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

National Book Awards Look To Raise Profile ... And It's Not The First Time

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The 2013 National Book Award long list for Young People's Literature was announced Monday. Click here to see the full list.
nationalbook.org

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 11:19 am

You may be hearing a lot about the National Book Awards this week — at least that's what the National Book Foundation hopes. That's because they've made some changes to the awards that they hope will get more people talking about them. Over four days starting Monday, they will roll out their nominees in four different categories — beginning with Young People's Literature and ending Thursday with Fiction.

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NWPR Books
10:38 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Introducing 'Miss Anne,' The White Women Of A Black Renaissance

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 9:16 am

Ten years ago, literary scholar Carla Kaplan released an acclaimed edition of the letters of Zora Neale Hurston. In the course of researching Hurston's life, Kaplan became curious about the white women who were in Harlem in the same period as Hurston, women who risked family exile and social ostracism to be part of the artistic and political movements of the Harlem Renaissance. Now, Kaplan has published a cultural history of those women called Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance.

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NWPR Books
10:38 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Barnard President: Today's 'Wonder Women' Must Reframe Feminism

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Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 1:06 pm

There was a time when Debora Spar was used to being the only woman in the room. As a professor at Harvard Business School, she was surrounded by what she describes as "alpha men of the academic sort — men with big egos and big attitudes and an awful lot of testosterone."

Then, in 2008, she found herself in the opposite situation: She became the president of Barnard College, the women's college affiliated with Columbia University, where "there was barely a male in sight."

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NWPR Books
5:11 am
Mon September 16, 2013

Book News: Man Booker Prize To Be Opened To Americans

British authors such as Hilary Mantel will soon have some competition from across the pond, according to organizers of the Man Booker Prize.
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The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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NWPR Books
12:18 pm
Sun September 15, 2013

New Memoir Recounts Black Lives 'Reaped' Too Young

Jesmyn Ward won the National Book Award in 2011 for her novel, Salvage the Bones.
Tony Cook Courtesy of Bloomsbury USA

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 5:50 am

The writer Jesmyn Ward lost her brother in a car accident, and she was never the same — but her grief would broaden and her losses compound. First one friend died, then another and another — all young black men, and all of them dead before the age of 30.

In her wrenching new memoir, Men We Reaped, Ward takes us to her hometown of DeLisle, on Mississippi's Gulf Coast. It's a place ravaged by poverty, drugs and routine violence. But even so, the place — and the memory of those she has lost — keeps pulling Ward back.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Sun September 15, 2013

Love Story Electrifies Beneath The Silhouette 'Of Venus'

Mark Baker AP

Roxana Robinson's latest book is Sparta.

I fell in love with Shirley Hazzard in 1980, when her great book Transit of Venus came out. I was completely dazzled by the beauty and authority of her writing, and by the effortless way she created this world.

The novel opens with a description of a storm. The air is charged with unthinkable violence, a sense of atmospheric threat which will recur throughout the book:

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