NWPR Books

NWPR Books
12:06 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Exclusive First Read: 'From Scratch: Inside The Food Network'

Emeril Lagasse promo image
Jim Cooper AP

Back in 1993, the Food Network was the Little Network that Nobody Really Thought Could. Cable TV was still, if not in its infancy, then enduring a difficult toddlerhood — no one knew what cable audiences were interested in, and no one thought a scrappy startup dedicated to food would go anywhere. Twenty years later, the doubters have been proved wrong; the Food Network is a global powerhouse that's made the names and fortunes of stars like Emeril Lagasse, Paula Deen, Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray.

Read more
NWPR Books
11:06 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Years After Historic Ruling, Execution Still A 'Random' Justice

Execution witness Don Reid stands in the death chamber of the Texas State Penitentiary on July 31, 1972, where he officially watched 189 men die in the heavy oak electric chair. The Supreme Court struck down capital punishment on June 29 of that year.
AP

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 12:44 pm

In the mid-1970s, Arkansas' electric chair was being used by the prison barber to cut hair, and the execution chamber in New Hampshire was being used to store vegetables. That's because in 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court shocked the nation by striking down Georgia's death penalty law, effectively ending executions in the United States. But the decision provoked a strong backlash among those who favored the death penalty, and within four years the high court reversed course and issued a set of rulings that would permit the resumption of executions.

Read more
NWPR Books
10:51 am
Thu September 19, 2013

'Nightmare Range': Crime And (Not Much) Punishment In The DMZ

At the end of the Korean War — a long, bloody, and under-memorialized conflict that claimed millions of lives — no real treaty was ever signed. Although there was an armistice in 1953, the nations of North and South Korea remain, technically, still at war. The Demilitarized Zone along the 38th parallel is one of the tensest borders on earth, with thousands of men, tanks and artillery pieces pointed at each other over minefields and barbed wire fences, fingers on triggers 24 hours a day.

Read more
NWPR Books
10:06 am
Thu September 19, 2013

True Love, Book Fights, And Why Ugly Stories Matter

The cover of Eleanor and Park

Regular Monkey See readers know that I've been a fan for some time of Rainbow Rowell, whose first book, Attachments, was a thoughtful romance that utterly charmed me. (Full disclosure: It was after I began reading her books that I got to know Rowell a bit, enough that we actually met in person for the first time Tuesday night for dinner, ahead of her Wednesday night event at Politics & Prose in Washington, where she'll be talking about her new book, Fangirl.)

Read more
NWPR Books
11:33 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Here's Danny! 'Doctor Sleep' Picks Up Where 'Shining' Left Off

iStockphoto.com

If you're a dutiful fan of Stephen King's work — myself, I'm an off again, on again follower — you will have read The Shining, King's hit 1977 novel about a haunted resort in the Colorado Rockies. Depending on how recently you immersed yourself in that story, you'll have a sharp or vague recollection of a young child with the power of "shining," or mind-reading mixed with telekinesis.

Read more
NWPR Books
11:33 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Bio Credits Manson's Terrible Rise To Right Place And Time

Charles Manson is escorted to his arraignment on conspiracy and murder charges in 1969.
AP

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 1:10 pm

Lots of listeners read all kinds of messages into The Beatles' White Album, but nothing compares to the album's impact on Charles Manson. He heard it as a message to him and his followers — known as "The Family" — that the world was on the verge of an apocalyptic race war in which blacks would rise up against their white oppressors and enslave them.

This battle would be set off by an event called Helter Skelter, after the eponymous Beatles song, and Manson planned to lead his followers into the desert, where they would hide until the chaos ended.

Read more
NWPR Books
6:19 am
Wed September 18, 2013

'Don't Know'? Just Admit It

Franck Camhi iStockphoto.com

We've all faked our way through conversations before — whether about books we haven't read, movies we haven't seen or concepts we don't understand. In her new book, I Don't Know: In Praise of Admitting Ignorance (Except When You Shouldn't), Leah Hager Cohen explores moments in history and everyday life when "I don't know" can have a big impact.

Read more
NWPR Books
5:45 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

How Slavery Shaped America's Oldest And Most Elite Colleges

An early flier for an event at King's College --” which would later become Columbia University — included an advertisement for a slave auction.
John Minchillo AP

A few years ago, Brown University commissioned a study of its own historical connection to the Atlantic slave trade. The report found that the Brown family — the wealthy Rhode Island merchants for whom the university was named — were "not major slave traders, but they were not strangers to the business either."

Read more
NWPR Books
3:55 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

A Brazilian Writer's Love Letter To Rio De Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, shown just before sunrise.
Christophe Simon AFP/Getty Images

While NPR's Melissa Block is in Brazil, we'll be showcasing the work of several Brazilian writers. Today: Tatiana Salem Levy, whose short story "Blazing Sun" was featured in the literary magazine Granta. Levy splits her time between Rio de Janeiro, where she's spent most of her life, and Lisbon, where she was born. She calls "Blazing Sun," which is excerpted below, her love letter to Rio.

Read more
NWPR Books
11:04 am
Tue September 17, 2013

In Memoir, Linda Ronstadt Describes Her 'Simple Dreams'

Linda Ronstadt performs in 1970.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 7:37 am

With a career that spans rock, pop, country and everything in between, Linda Ronstadt knows no genre, only what her voice can accomplish. Her most famous recordings include "Heart Like a Wheel," "Desperado," "Faithless Love," and many more. But last month, Ronstadt revealed that she has Parkinson's disease and can no longer sing.

Read more

Pages