NWPR Books

NWPR Books
12:05 am
Wed September 4, 2013

For Biographers, The Past Is An Open (Electronic) Book

Digital ephemera can capture things that don't appear in official accounts of events — but the material's in danger of disappearing if it's in obsolete formats.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 10:00 am

For centuries, biographers have relied on letters to bring historical figures to life, whether Gandhi or Catherine the Great. But as people switch from writing on paper to documenting their lives electronically, biographers are encountering new benefits — and new challenges.

Read more
NWPR Books
12:37 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

An Alternate Universe Delights In Complex, Perplexing 'Duplex'

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 2:04 pm

You're walking your dog in a suburb that may or may not exist in this dimension. The dog whines. You ignore him. Anyway, you're too busy looking out for that sexy, evil sorcerer. Suddenly, a gray rabbit appears, and you realize: the world is ending.

Read more
NWPR Books
8:18 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Exclusive First Read: 'Five Days At Memorial,' By Sheri Fink

An airboat pulls up to the Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005.
AP

As the floodwaters rose in New Orleans over Labor Day weekend in 2005, hundreds of people were left stranded at Memorial Medical Center, in triple-digit temperatures, without power or running water. Not all of them made it out alive — and in the aftermath, several medical professionals were arrested and charged with hastening the deaths of some of the sickest patients.

Read more
NWPR Books
4:33 am
Tue September 3, 2013

Book News: Seamus Heaney's Last Words Were 'Don't Be Afraid'

Irish poet Seamus Heaney is pictured in 2010.
Paul McErlane EPA/Landov

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

Read more
NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue September 3, 2013

'At The Bottom' Of A Friendship, How Far Would You Go To Help?

Ben Dolnick's previous two books — Zoology (2007) and You Know Who You Are (2011) — have mostly dealt with young people coming of age. In his latest novel, At the Bottom of Everything, the writer's youthful coming-of-age tales start to themselves come of age. As teenagers, the waifish, ascetic Thomas Pell is the smartest kid at school, but socially awkward. Adam has just moved to Washington D.C. with his mother and new stepdad. The two boys quickly become fairly inseparable, getting up to fairly standard young person shenanigans.

Read more
NWPR Books
12:01 am
Tue September 3, 2013

For F. Scott And Zelda Fitzgerald, A Dark Chapter In Asheville, N.C.

Zelda Sayre and F. Scott Fitzgerald pose for a photo at the Sayre home in Montgomery, Ala., in 1919, the year before they married.
Bettmann Corbis

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 12:30 pm

Asheville, a mountain town in North Carolina, is known for at least two important native sons: writers Thomas Wolfe, whose 1929 novel Look Homeward, Angel eviscerated some locals, and Charles Frazier, whose 1997 civil war novel Cold Mountain is set in the nearby hills. But there is also a little-known story of another writer — F. Scott Fitzgerald — who, along with his wife Zelda, had devastating connections to the town.

Read more
NWPR Books
1:14 pm
Mon September 2, 2013

From Peace To Patriotism: The Shifting Identity Of 'God Bless America'

American composer Irving Berlin sings his song "God Bless America" in front of Boy Scouts troop members and spectators gathered at a tent in Monticello, New York in 1940. Instead of collecting royalties from "God Bless America," Berlin created a fund that collected and distributed them to the Boy and Girl Scouts.
Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 7:47 am

In the fall of 1938, radio was huge. That Halloween, Orson Welles scared listeners out of their wits with his War of the Worlds. And on November 10, 1938 — the eve of the holiday that was known then as Armistice Day — the popular singer Kate Smith made history on her radio show. She sang a song that had never been sung before, written by the composer Irving Berlin.

Read more
NWPR Books
12:26 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Hardcore With A Heart: Joburg Thrillers Star A Spunky P.I.

Jassy Mackenzie was born in Rhodesia and moved to South Africa when she was eight years old. She edits and writes for the annual publication Best of South Africa.
Soho Crime

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 2:54 pm

South Africa's commercial capital, Johannesburg, is a mixture of the old Wild West and a complex, modern African hub — at least, that's how crime novelist Jassy Mackenzie describes it. Mackenzie was born across the border, in Zimbabwe, but she moved to Johannesburg — Joburg for short — as a child, and she's a passionate champion of the city.

"I love the energy of Johannesburg," Mackenzie says. "People are open. People communicate. People are friendly in a brash, big-city way, which I love. ... [it's] the New York of South Africa!"

Read more
NWPR Books
8:23 am
Sun September 1, 2013

With Modern Makeovers, America's Libraries Are Branching Out

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington, D.C., has opened a Digital Commons that features rows of desktop computers, portable electronic devices and even a 3D printer.
DC Public Library/The Freelon Group

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 12:58 pm

It's not exactly a building boom, but several public libraries around the country are getting makeovers. The Central Library in Austin, Texas just broke ground on a new building that promises such new features as outdoor reading porches and a cafe. In Madison, Wis., they're about to open a newly remodeled library that has, among other improvements, more natural light and a new auditorium. Historic libraries in Boston and New York City are looking at significant renovations.

Read more
NWPR Books
5:17 am
Sun September 1, 2013

The Private War Of J.D. Salinger

Salinger, seen here at right with his friend Donald Hartog in 1989, was sorry he ever wrote Catcher, says Salinger co-author Shane Salerno.
AP

Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 12:54 pm

"J.D. Salinger spent 10 years writing The Catcher in the Rye and the rest of his life regretting it," according to a new book about one of America's best-known and most revered writers.

Salinger died three years ago at the age of 91, after publishing four slim books. But Catcher in the Rye has sold more than 65 million copies and has become a touchstone for young people coming of age around the world. It still sells hundreds of thousands of copies every year.

Read more

Pages