NWPR Books

NWPR Books
2:01 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

How One Unkind Moment Gave Way To 'Wonder'

Random House

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 3:16 pm

In Wonder, R.J. Palacio tells the story of Auggie, a tough, sweet, 10-year-old boy, who was born with distorted facial features — a "craniofacial difference" caused by an anomaly in his DNA.

Palacio tells NPR's Michele Norris that the book was inspired by a real-life encounter with her own kids six years ago. They were at an ice cream store and sat next to a little girl with a severe facial deformity. Palacio's 3-year-old son cried in fear, so the author grabbed her kids and fled. She was trying to protect the girl but also avoid her own discomfort.

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NWPR Books
12:39 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

'Buck' Tells Of Wild Childhood In 'Killadelphia'

Author MK Asante
Lee Steffen Spiegel & Grau

Writer, hip-hop artist and filmmaker MK Asante's new memoir is called Buck. It's about growing up in North Philadelphia in the 1990s. Asante describes his adolescence as, "Me, unsupervised, with my brother gone, my dad gone, my mom gone, and me just on the block in the neighborhood, roaming the streets of Philly - just lost."

Buck captures Asante's transformation from a drug dealer and delinquent to a poet and professor.

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NWPR Books
11:03 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Filmmaker Turns To Education Reform, Gets 'Schooled'

While researching his buoyant, impassioned (and thoroughly subtitled) new book about education, I Got Schooled: The Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America's Education Gap, M. Night Shyamalan suddenly found himself at the head of an inner-city school English classroom. And he was terrified. "Time stopped," he writes, "similar to when you are on a plane with turbulence that's supposed to last thirty seconds, but it feels like much, much longer."

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NWPR Books
4:32 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Book News: Lance Armstrong's Lies Are Protected, Judge Says

Lance Armstrong talks to the media after the 2011 Xterra Nationals triathlon in Utah.
Jim Urquhart AP

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

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Mary Beard 'Confronts' The Classics With Wit And Style

iStockphoto.com

Early on in Confronting the Classics, Mary Beard tells the story of the Roman Emperor Elagabalus, who "used to seat his dinner guests on cushions that, unbeknownst to them, were full of air. As the meal progressed, a slave secretly let the air out, so Elagabalus could enjoy the sight of his companions subsiding, until they slid beneath the table."

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NWPR Books
12:43 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Tired Of Inequality? One Economist Says It'll Only Get Worse

Economist Tyler Cowen believes that income inequality in America is only increasing. His new book is called Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation.
Szasz-Fabian Ilka Erika iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 6:57 am

Economist Tyler Cowen has some advice for what to do about America's income inequality: Get used to it. In his latest book, Average Is Over, Cowen lays out his prediction for where the U.S. economy is heading, like it or not:

"I think we'll see a thinning out of the middle class," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "We'll see a lot of individuals rising up to much greater wealth. And we'll also see more individuals clustering in a kind of lower-middle class existence."

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NWPR Books
8:36 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Suburban Islands Of Regret, More Than 'Nine Inches' Apart

Nine inches is the minimum distance required between middle school students during slow dances in the title story of Tom Perrotta's first book of short stories in 19 years. Nine miles — or make that nine light-years — is the distance between many of the narrators in these 10 stories, and the family and friends they've alienated with their stupid mistakes.

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NWPR Books
7:57 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Book News: Richard Dawkins Under Fire For Child Abuse Remarks

Author and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins made a March 2012 visit to NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Doriane Raiman NPR

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

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Wed September 11, 2013

In These 'Gardens,' The Tree Rings Of The Radical Left

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 2:48 pm

Mohsin Hamid's latest novel is called How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia.

Jonathan Lethem's latest novel, Dissident Gardens, is expansive in scale. Chronologically speaking, it begins in the 1930s with Communist Party meetings in the U.S. It passes through the rise of McCarthyism, the establishment of the New York Mets, the hippie Age of Aquarius and the AIDS crisis. It ventures briefly abroad, to such places as behind-the-Iron-Curtain East Germany and war-torn Nicaragua. It ends in the Obama era of Occupy sit-ins and a rampant TSA.

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NWPR Books
2:20 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

After Tragedy, Lost Live On In 'Maid's Version' Of The Story

iStockphoto.com

For readers new to Daniel Woodrell's work, The Maid's Version is a perfect introduction and an invitation to read more. It's a short book — almost a novella at a mere 164 pages — but there are lifetimes captured here. Woodrell sets the story in his beloved Missouri Ozarks, and he writes with clear-eyed observation, introducing the reader to characters whose lives are shaped as much by their rural landscape as by the moral ambiguities — the collective lies, constraints and collusions — that form the necessary glue holding their community together.

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