NWPR Books

NWPR Books
2:25 am
Sat September 28, 2013

'If It Swings': An Asian-American Jazzman's Pioneering Career

Gabe Baltazar (fourth from left) at New York City's Birdland Club in 1962, with members of Stan Kenton's band and the Count Basie Orchestra. The photo, from Baltazar's collection, is signed by Kenton (fourth from from right) and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison (second from right).
Courtesy of Gabe Baltazar

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 8:16 am

Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar got his big break after Stan Kenton heard him playing in a college band and invited him to join his Orchestra in 1960.

"One of my biggest highlights in Stan's band was being featured on a beautiful standard tune called 'Stairway to the Stars,'" the 83-year-old Baltazar says. "He liked that tune, and he thought it would be my signature song. And throughout my career, four years with the band, I was featured on that and it was just great."

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NWPR Books
2:25 am
Sat September 28, 2013

I, Spy: Valerie Plame Makes Her Fiction Debut In CIA Thriller

Valerie Plame was outed as a covert CIA operative in a 2003 Washington Post column. Her story was depicted in the 2010 film Fair Game, starring Naomi Watts as Plame.
Dennis Cook AP

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 8:16 am

Vanessa Pierson, the heroine of Valerie Plame's first novel, is — ahem — "blonde, lithe, and nicely sexy." She is also a CIA agent, determined to lasso a nuclear arms dealer named Bhoot before he arrives at an underground nuclear facility in Iran.

But just as her informant is about to tell her where Bhoot will be, he's shot by a sniper who misses Vanessa — or does he simply overlook her? How will Vanessa Pierson halt the terrorists, protect the world and, by the way, also keep the secret of her forbidden romance with David, a fellow CIA ops officer with green-flecked hazel eyes?

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NWPR Books
2:24 am
Sat September 28, 2013

News From Lake Wobegon: Garrison Keillor Has A New Book Of Poetry

Garrison Keillor has been the host of A Prairie Home Companion since it began nearly four decades ago. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1994.
Courtesy of Grove Press

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 8:16 am

If you're a regular public radio listener, you may hear Garrison Keillor every morning reading other people's poems on The Writer's Almanac. Now, the Prairie Home Companion host has decided to share some of his own poems for a change.

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NWPR Books
9:26 am
Fri September 27, 2013

The Competing Interests Behind Smokey Bear And The Crying Indian

istockphoto.com

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NWPR Books
7:58 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Book News: Apple Seeks Patent For Digital Book-Signing Technology

The Apple logo.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

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

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NWPR Books
4:53 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Sax, Drugs And Jazz: Charlie Parker's 'Lightning'-Fast Rise

Charlie Parker, shown here in an undated photo, was a legendary jazz saxophonist.
STF AFP/Getty Images

Harlem's Savoy Ballroom, early 1942. The Jay McShann Orchestra from Kansas City, Mo., has the stage, and Charlie "Bird" Parker picks up his alto saxophone:

"The rhythm section had him by the tail, but there was no holding or cornering Bird. Disappearing acts were his specialty. Just when you thought you had him, he'd move, coming up with another idea, one that was as bold as red paint on a white sheet."

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NWPR Books
12:04 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Diane Ravitch Rebukes Education Activists' 'Reign Of Error'

Yunus Arakon iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:11 am

Diane Ravitch, a former assistant secretary of education, spent years advocating for an overhaul of the American education system. She supported the No Child Left Behind Act, the charter school movement and standardized testing.

But Ravitch recently — and very publicly — changed her mind. She looked at the data and decided that the kinds of changes she'd supported weren't working. Now she's a prominent critic of things like charter schools and school choice — and she's particularly opposed to privatizing schools.

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NWPR Books
4:26 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Book News: North Carolina County Reverses 'Invisible Man' Ban

Ralph Ellison testified at a Senate Subcommittee hearing in 1966 on the racial problems in big cities.
AP

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

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Julian Barnes 'Levels' With Us On Love, Loss And Ballooning

General Photographic Agency Getty Images

"Every love story is a potential grief story," Julian Barnes writes in Levels of Life, a quirky but ultimately powerful meditation on things that uplift us — literally, as in hot air balloons, and emotionally, as in love — and things that bring us crashing to earth: to wit, that great leveler, the death of a loved one.

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NWPR Books
5:01 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

A Goddess Descends To Art In 'Seiobo There Below'

Hungary has been in the news these past few years for all the wrong reasons. Its government, led by the right-wing nationalist Viktor Orban, has been curtailing civil liberties and cracking down on cultural freedoms, much to the chagrin of other European leaders.

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