NWPR Books

NWPR Books
2:27 am
Sat August 24, 2013

Remembering Elmore Leonard, A Writer Who Hated Literature

Many of Elmore Leonard's stories have been adapted for the screen, from the movie Get Shorty to the TV show, Justified.
Vince Bucci Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 8:39 am

Elmore Leonard was a writer who hated — and I don't mean disliked; Elmore had a contempt for putting pretty clothes on hard, direct words, so I mean hated — literature, or at least what he believed a lot of people mean when they say liter-a-ture, as if it were a Members Only club.

Elmore Leonard wrote for a living, from the time in his 20s when he turned out ads for Detroit department stores and vacuum cleaners during the day, and wrote cowboy and crime stories for pulp magazines at night.

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NWPR Books
8:17 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Race And Country Music Then And Now

know that black people are not makin' it in country."" href="/post/race-and-country-music-then-and-now" class="noexit lightbox">
Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams, Jr. Charles Hughes quotes the songwriter and performer as saying, "Everything I write and sing comes out country, and that's why I have to take so much time in arrangements and instrumentation, because — if not — I'd just be cutting a bunch of country records with black people. And we know that black people are not makin' it in country."
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

In a recent book, Hidden in the Mix: The African American Presence in Country Music, editor Diane Pecknold rounds up some of the better music writers in academia in order to put a light on country's many black roots and the country's unease with said roots. It's not perfect, but what's good here makes the collection indispensable.

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NWPR Books
7:56 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Book News: This Town, That Town. A Squabble Worthy Of Washington

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

N.B. — Book News is going on vacation next week. Your faithful correspondent will be in California sans laptop and praying that Jonathan Franzen doesn't choose this week to reignite any feuds with daytime talk show hosts. In the meantime, as always, leave your hot tips, scurrilous attacks and existential questions in the comments section or direct them to @annalisa_quinn on Twitter.

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NWPR Books
4:16 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Book News: Guantanamo Reading Material Spurs More Controversy

The detention camp at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Michelle Shephard AP

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 4:24 am

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

N.B. — Book News is going on vacation next week. Your faithful correspondent will be in California sans laptop and praying that Jonathan Franzen doesn't choose that week to reignite any feuds with daytime talk show hosts. In the meantime, as always, leave your hot tips, scurrilous attacks and existential questions in the comments section or direct them to @annalisa_quinn on Twitter.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Fri August 23, 2013

A Little Onion Reveals Layers Of History In 'Good Lord Bird'

Hulton Archive Getty Images

"I was born a colored man and don't you forget it," announces Henry Shackleford in the opening pages of musician and author James McBride's novel, The Good Lord Bird. A manuscript, supposedly discovered after a church fire cleanup, offers the first person account of Henry, a young slave living in the Kansas Territories in 1857, as he becomes involved – reluctantly – with the anti-slavery forces led by John Brown.

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NWPR Books
10:40 am
Thu August 22, 2013

An Epic Pub Crawl Gone Wrong Culminates In 'World's End'

Martin Freeman (from left), Paddy Considine, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Eddie Marsan star as five old high school friends who reunite to finish an epic pub crawl in The World's End, directed by Edgar Wright.
Laurie Sparham Focus Features

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 1:33 pm

If you've ever participated in a miserably long pub crawl, you'll understand the plight of the characters in The World's End, the latest from Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright. The film follows five old high school friends who reunite to finish a pub crawl they started 20 years earlier. But as they travel from pub to pub in their old hometown, they find strange, supernatural things start to happen.

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NWPR Books
9:26 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Haiti: 'The Sister I Hardly Knew'

Tell Me More's summer reading series, Island Reads, highlights authors from the Caribbean. Julia Alvarez's A Wedding In Haiti started as a promise to a young Haitian man who was working on a farm. If he ever married, Alvarez and her husband would attend the wedding. Little did she know what that would entail, and all that would follow.

Julia Alvarez told Tell Me More guest host Celeste Headlee about that journey and more.


Interview Highlights

The borders between the Dominican Republic and Haiti

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NWPR Books
9:10 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Brainy, Fat And Full Of Ideas: 'Night Film' Is A Good-Natured Thriller

This poster is part of the advertizing campaign for Night Film by Marisha Pessl.
Random House

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 3:31 pm

Novels are low-tech objects. They can't be plugged in, they've got no buttons or knobs, and they don't make your eyes pop out of your head as you watch creatures or asteroids zigzag across a screen. Usually, novels have no visual aids at all. So if you want to know what Anna Karenina looks like, well, you just have to read the book.

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NWPR Books
4:42 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Book News: FBI Suspected William T. Vollmann Was The Unabomber

Author William T. Vollmann poses in his studio in Sacramento, Calif., in 2005.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

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

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NWPR Books
11:58 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Awaiting The Apocalypse In The Quiet Town Of Concord

Ben Winters wrote the best-selling Sense And Sensibility And Sea Monsters, as well as Bedbugs, Android Karenina and several books for kids. So far, he's published two books in the Last Policeman series.
Neda Ulaby NPR

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 9:43 am

No place seems safe these days from someone's terrifying, post-apocalyptic imaginings. Los Angeles is wrecked in the movie Elysium, the South is zombie-ridden in TV's The Walking Dead, and now— thanks to writer Ben Winters — even the quiet streets of Concord are at risk of annihilation.

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