NWPR Books

NWPR Books
4:41 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Book News: The Smell Of Chocolate Boosts Book Sales, Study Says

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 4:58 am

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

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NWPR Books
12:00 am
Thu August 1, 2013

How Andrew Carnegie Turned His Fortune Into A Library Legacy

Carnegie ultimately gave away $60 million to fund a system of 1,689 public libraries across the country. "In bestowing charity the main consideration should be to help those who help themselves," he wrote.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 1:03 pm

Andrew Carnegie was once the richest man in the world. Coming as a dirt poor kid from Scotland to the U.S., by the 1880s he'd built an empire in steel — and then gave it all away: $60 million to fund a system of 1,689 public libraries across the country.

Carnegie donated $300,000 to build Washington, D.C.'s oldest library — a beautiful beaux arts building that dates back to 1903. Inscribed above the doorway are the words: Science, Poetry, History. The building was "dedicated to the diffusion of knowledge."

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NWPR Books
4:09 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Book News: Booksellers Irate Over Obama's Amazon Visit

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

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NWPR Books
4:04 am
Wed July 31, 2013

The Scope Of The 20th Century In Sweeping, Sprawling 'Joy'

There's nothing soothing or easygoing about this massive novel, which was first published obscurely in Italy in the late 1990s. Goliarda Sapienza, a novelist and actress who worked with the likes of Pasolini and Visconti, spent more than a decade writing The Art of Joy, and on balance, she must have felt it a massive disappointment, given that no publisher wanted to go near its chaotic, handwritten blend of ambisexuality, religion, feminism, and politics.

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NWPR Books
2:32 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

On The Road To Rock Excess: Why The '60s Really Ended In 1973

British rockers Led Zeppelin pose in front of their private plane, dubbed "The Starship," in 1973.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 6:58 am

Author Michael Walker says that by the end of the 1960s, you could fairly say there were two generations of baby boomers: those who had experienced that decade's peace-and-love era of music firsthand, and those who learned about it from their older brothers and sisters.

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NWPR Books
12:41 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Pioneering 'Masters Of Sex' Brought Science To The Bedroom

Human sexuality researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson Masters, shown in San Francisco in 1972.
AP

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 1:40 pm

William Masters and Virginia Johnson became famous in the 1960s for their groundbreaking and controversial research into the physiology of human sexuality. Instead of just asking people about their sex lives, Masters and Johnson actually observed volunteers engaging in self-stimulation and sexual intercourse. Changes throughout their bodies during arousal were measured with medical equipment.

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NWPR Books
10:06 am
Tue July 30, 2013

With 'Arrangements' And 'The Rest,' Two Debut Novelists Arrive

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 12:41 pm

The novel I've been recommending this summer to anyone, female or male, who's looking for the trifecta — a good story that's beautifully written and both hilarious and humane — is Seating Arrangements, Maggie Shipstead's debut novel from last summer. I was about to go all old-school and excitedly add that Seating Arrangements is now out in paperback, except since more and more readers are instantly downloading new books at a discount, paperbacks are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

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NWPR Books
4:24 am
Tue July 30, 2013

Book News: Campaigner For Jane Austen Banknote Deluged With Threats

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

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue July 30, 2013

The Drug Trade Destroys A Generation — Quietly — In 'Falling'

AFP/Getty Images

If I tell you that Juan Gabriel Vasquez's exquisite novel The Sound of Things Falling is about the drug trade in Colombia, a few stock images might arise in your mind: an addict overdosing in a dirty apartment, say, or a dealer ordering the killing of some troublesome peon, or the drugs themselves bubbling in a volumetric flask. Here in America, shows like Breaking Bad and The Wire have taught us how to think about the drug trade, how to imagine it.

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NWPR Books
3:10 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

In Nation's First Black Public High School, A Blueprint For Reform

Dunbar High School has a notable list of graduates, including the first black presidential Cabinet member, the first black general in the Army and several of the lawyers who argued the Brown v. Board of Education decision.
Courtesy of Chicago Review Press

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 11:26 am

The nation's first black public high school, Paul Laurence Dunbar High, opened its doors in Washington, D.C., in 1870. But more than 140 years later, Dunbar — like many urban schools — has fallen on hard times. The crumbling, brutalist-style building is often described as a prison, and graduation rates hover around 60 percent.

But it wasn't always that way. Once upon a time, the yearbook read like a Who's Who of black America.

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