NWPR Books

Northwest Public Radio loves to read! Below, you will find our editorial reviews and personal recommendations for literary works we think you, our listeners, would love.

We are also receive station support from many Northwest Independent Booksellers, who provide their own recommendations here.

And, if you have any great reads you would like to share with us, please let us know, by emailing your review to NWPR@wsu.edu!

The Little Washer of Sorrows is not what it seems. At first glance, the debut collection of short stories by Canadian author Katherine Fawcett offers funny, sympathetic sketches of characters who might live next door to you: The homemaker who underutilizes her college degree; the aspiring heavy metal musician with delusions of stardom; the aging couple who can barely muster the passion to even bicker anymore.

Clive James' most anthologized poem is commonly known by its first two lines: "The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered/And I Am Pleased." Those lines tell the uninitiated almost all they need to know about the pleasures to be found in reading James: chief among them, his wit and his appreciation of the underlying absurdity of so much literary effort — including his own.

'The Precious One' Has Love At Its Heart

Mar 30, 2015

Sometimes when I'm talking about romance novels, I try to explain that one of the main reasons I love a good love story — indeed, why many romance fans love them — is because they give us a sense of hope. If these characters can overcome obstacles, become better people, and prove that they deserve each other, then love prevails. Love can change the world.

Not YA, not New Adult, not anything of the sort, despite the fact that it is primarily about teenagers, their love lives and the sticky, weird and thrilling moment of leaving home and growing up, just a little, for the very first time.

Who doesn't love a good ghost story? The unseen hand moving a cup or the shadow climbing a staircase promises an existence beyond our mundane realities. Hannah Nordhaus' new book, American Ghost, is an offbeat mishmosh of memoir, cultural history, genealogical detective story and paranormal investigation, but it opens in the classic manner of spooky tales — with a sighting.

The Shadow of the Crescent Moon is American-educated Pakistani writer Fatima Bhutto's first novel, but she already has three books to her credit: One volume of poetry, another a memoir (Songs of Blood and Sword, a title that seems apt, since she's the granddaughter of the executed Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, niece of the assassinated Benazir Bhutto and daughter of the murdered Murtaza Bhutto), and a compilation of survivors' accounts of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.

If, by some fluke of fate, you managed to dodge your Irish language requirement in high school, fail to visit rural western Ireland or even, heaven forbid, forget the great mass of Gaelic you surely had to have learned as a youngster, you'd be forgiven for not having heard of Máirtín Ó Cadhain. Sadder still, you're likely never to have read his best-known novel, The Dirty Dust. That is, I must admit: I hadn't.

Daryl Gregory has written about monsters. He's written about demons and drugs and Philip K. Dick. He's wrecked the world a couple times over, bounced from fantasy to science fiction and back again with an impish ease. He's the kind of storyteller who's always chasing after the weird — occasionally catching it, often trailing close enough to smell the brimstone and tacos on its breath.

'Mountaineer' Is A Must-Read Of Soviet Sci-Fi

Mar 19, 2015

During the Stalin years, there were tight restrictions on science fiction in the Soviet Union. Writers were pressured and boxed in, urged to stick to themes of adventure, space travel and the glowing prospect of Soviet scientific and technological achievements.

Carola Dibbell is a veteran music journalist, and it shows. In her debut novel The Only Ones — which may or may not be named after the cult '70s band — Dibbell writes rhythmically and lyrically about New York City's outer boroughs in the latter half of the 21st century, where life in American has been radically altered by waves of populace-decimating pandemics. The economy is a shambles. People subsist partly on a manufactured foodstuff called Process that's dropped into struggling neighborhoods. The streets of the city are hosed down regularly with industrial-strength antiseptic.

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