NWPR Books

NWPR Books
7:27 am
Sat October 12, 2013

From Divided States, A 'United' Nation — Thanks To These Men

The Men Who United the States, by Simon Winchester

The United States is not just a phrase. The country stretches across six time zones, from the Atlantic well into the Pacific. The British settled some regions; the Dutch, Spanish and French settled some others. And we once fought a bloody Civil War, North against South, over the issue of slavery.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Sat October 12, 2013

'Identical' Stumbles Outside The Courtroom

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 4:13 pm

The best way I can fairly review this book is to tell you seven things that it is not.

It is not a legal thriller. That would require the novel to be thrilling, at the very least, to compel you to turn the page. In my case, I read the book on a Kindle, and it often compelled me to turn my e-reader off.

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NWPR Books
1:19 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

A Skillfully Composed Space Opera In 'Ancillary Justice'

"My heart is a fish, hiding in the water-grass."

Breq has found someone in the snow: a stranger to everyone on this planet, a thousand years old, a relic out of time — but despite all that, Breq remembers.

Breq used to be the ship that carried them both.

The assured, gripping and stylish Ancillary Justice is, in its broadest strokes, the tale of an empire, and in its smallest a character study, and part of debut novelist Anne Leckie's achievement is how she handles her protagonists in both of those contexts.

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NWPR Books
12:16 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Elizabeth Smart Says Kidnapper Was A 'Master At Manipulation'

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 1:08 pm

Elizabeth Smart has the kind of fame no one would want: In the summer of 2002, at the age of 14, she became one of the nation's most famous kidnap victims when she was abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, where she lived with her devout Mormon family.

Her kidnapper, Brian David Mitchell, saw himself as a religious prophet and took her to be his second wife in a polygamous marriage. With a knife at her throat, Mitchell forced her to go with him to his remote camp on a mountain near Salt Lake, where they lived during the first stage of her nine-month captivity.

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NWPR Books
6:30 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Book News: Without A Shortlist, Nobel-Watchers Turn To Bookies

Haruki Murakami is the author of such books as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore.
Elena Seibert Knopf

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

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NWPR Books
10:53 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Out Of Lahiri's Muddy 'Lowland,' An Ambitious Story Soars

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 12:53 pm

Geography is destiny in Jhumpa Lahiri's new novel, The Lowland. Her title refers to a marshy stretch of land between two ponds in a Calcutta neighborhood where two very close brothers grow up. In monsoon season, the marsh floods and the ponds combine; in summer, the floodwater evaporates. You don't need your decoder ring to figure out that the two ponds symbolize the two brothers — at times separate; at other times inseparable. But there's still more meaning lurking in this rich landscape.

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NWPR Books
7:15 am
Mon October 7, 2013

A Hint That J.D. Salinger Kept Writing, From A Story He Didn't Write

J.D. Salinger shown in September 1961.
AP

With J.D. Salinger in the news three years after his death (and the new documentary and biography must have that obsessively private author spinning in his grave), I'm reminded of my conversations in the 1970s about Salinger with the editor of The New Yorker, William Shawn.

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NWPR Books
4:23 am
Mon October 7, 2013

Book News: Novel By Michael Hastings To Be Published Posthumously

Michael Hastings, who wrote a candid profile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal for Rolling Stone, died in June in a car crash in Los Angeles. He was 33.
Paul Morigi Getty Images for The Guardian

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

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NWPR Books
12:06 am
Mon October 7, 2013

In 'Egghead,' A New Shel: Burnham Takes On Silverstein

Chance Bone Courtesy of Grand Central Publishing

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 9:16 am

Bo Burnham posted his first video on the Internet late in 2006, when a little website called YouTube was still in its infancy. He was 17 years old then — just a high school junior singing a few funny songs on his bed at home.

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NWPR Books
12:05 am
Mon October 7, 2013

When It Comes To Brain Injury, Authors Say NFL Is In A 'League Of Denial'

Dave Duerson (right), in 1988. Duerson committed suicide in 2011 and wrote a note that included this request: "Please see that my brain is given to the NFL's brain bank."
AP

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:41 pm

When the Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls in the 1970s, you could argue that no one played a bigger role than Mike Webster. Webster was the Steelers' center, snapping the ball to the quarterback, then waging war in the trenches, slamming his body and helmet into defensive players to halt their rush.

He was a local hero, which is why the city was stunned when his life fell apart. He lost all his money, and his marriage, and ended up spending nights in the bus terminal in Pittsburgh. Webster died of a heart attack, and on Sept. 28, 2002, came the autopsy.

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