NWPR Books

NWPR Books
10:49 am
Wed November 6, 2013

A Tree Grows in LA: 'Urban' Meets Pastoral In 366 Short Poems

iStockphoto.com

The pastoral is one of literature's oldest forms; it's safe to say our ideas about nature, however, have changed rapidly and radically in the modern age. Poet Harryette Mullen makes a beautiful marriage between those new ideas and a classic poetic form in her first collection in over a decade, Urban Tumbleweed: Notes From a Tanka Diary.

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NWPR Books
1:23 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Going On 'The Baby Chase' From Arizona To India

Stevy Fletcher St. Martin's Press

Many couples who struggle with infertility say they would go to the ends of the earth to have a child. Some use surrogate mothers in the United States, but the high cost and legal complications keep that option out of reach for many families. So some Americans are going global --to countries like India– to make it happen.

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NWPR Books
12:47 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Sales Take Center Stage: To Boost Morale, Companies Burst Into Song

Steve Young learned about industrial musicals when he started coming across compilations, like this one, in used record stores. (You definitely want to click to enlarge this.)
Courtesy of Blast Books

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 6:47 am

Why would someone write a sentimental ballad about a bathroom? For the same reason someone would write a rousing song about tractors: So the song could be used in what's called an industrial musical.

These musicals were like Broadway shows, but they were written and performed for corporate sales meetings and conventions from the 1950s to the 1980s. The lyrics were all about the products being sold and how to sell them. Some of them were lavish and costly, even though they'd be performed only once.

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NWPR Books
4:17 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Book News: Mozambican Writer Wins Neustadt Prize, 'America's Nobel'

Mia Couto received the Camoes Prize, the most important literary award for the Portuguese language, in June.
Francisco Seco AP

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

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue November 5, 2013

'Boy Detective' Walks Down Memory Lane, But Doesn't Get Anywhere

There's a difference between ruminating and rambling, and Roger Rosenblatt crosses the line in The Boy Detective, his dilatory, meandering new memoir about his New York boyhood. I was a big fan of Kayak Morning, Rosenblatt's meditation on the tenaciousness of grief published in early 2012, four years after the sudden death of his 38-year-old daughter, a pediatrician and mother of three small children. But his latest, while less melancholic, more playful, and occasionally endearingly quirky, ambles at a pace that makes rush hour traffic down Second Avenue seem speedy.

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NWPR Books
11:53 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

LA Food Truck King Tells His Story, One Recipe At A Time

Five years ago, chef Roy Choi and a partner launched Kogi and ushered in a food truck "new wave" in Los Angeles. He tells his story in his new book, L.A.Son: My Life, My City, My Food.
Courtesy of Harper Collins

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 12:09 pm

Roy Choi ushered in a food truck "new wave" in Los Angeles, making street fare edgier, tastier. Five years ago, he and a partner launched Kogi — Korean for meat — with a small fleet of trucks offering up a Korean-Mexican fusion that inspired food entrepreneurs in cities across America where the trend caught fire. His signature creation? The short rib taco: warm tortillas, Korean barbecue beef, cilantro-onion-and lime, topped with a spicy-soy slaw.

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NWPR Books
2:13 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

How To Levitate A Sandwich: 'Modernist Cuisine' Spills Photo Secrets

Modernist chefs often like to deconstruct dishes. Why shouldn't food photographers do the same?
Courtesy of the Cooking Lab

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:36 am

Food porn or art? That's for you decide.

But one thing is for certain: The jumbo-sized images in The Photography of Modernist Cuisine are truly awesome.

In one, a ham and cheese sandwich levitates in midair. Then, a Weber grill gets sliced in half lengthwise to expose a pink burger cooking on another page. And blueberries and peas balloon to the size of dinner plates and melons.

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NWPR Books
11:54 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Author Catherine Chung: 'I Want To Embrace The Things That I Am'

Catherine Chung's first novel, Forgotten Country, was an honorable mention for a PEN/Hemingway Award.
Ayano Hisa Courtesy of Catherine Chung

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 1:50 pm

Catherine Chung went from mathematics to writing, though she says words were always her first love. She was named one of Granta's New Voices in 2010, and her first novel, Forgotten Country, received honorable mention for a PEN/Hemingway Award last year.

In Forgotten Country, Chung writes of a family with a curse that stretches back generations — from their time in Korea to their life in America. Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, each generation of the family has lost a daughter.

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NWPR Books
2:42 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Amy Tan Weaves Family Mystery Into 'Valley Of Amazement'

Amy Tan's latest novel, The Valley of Amazement, will be published on Tuesday.
Rick Smolanagainst Against All Odds Productions

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 2:28 pm

Amy Tan was 200 pages into a new novel when she attended a large exhibition on Shanghai life in the early 1900s. While there, she bought a book she thought might help her as she researched details on life in the Old City. She stopped turning pages when she came upon a group portrait.

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NWPR Books
12:18 am
Mon November 4, 2013

Teddy Roosevelt's 'Bully Pulpit' Isn't The Platform It Once Was

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 2:28 pm

When Teddy Roosevelt was president, reporter Lincoln Steffens came to him with a request: "Mr. President," he said, "I want to investigate corruption in the federal government." And Roosevelt responded in a rather astonishing way, as presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.

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