NPR Books

Terra Incognita: 'The Planet Factory' And 'The Undiscovered Islands'

NPR Books - November 11, 2017 - 4:00am

Two new books about unreal islands and yet-to-be-real planets have much to tell us about what human beings want to know when we look around at the world — life is uncertain, and our fears need maps.

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'Annotated African American Folktales' Reclaims Stories Passed Down From Slavery

NPR Books - November 10, 2017 - 2:03pm

The new anthology, edited by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Maria Tatar, aims to make century-old stories — of flying Africans, quizzical animals and even Uncle Remus — available to new generations.

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'Hue 1968' Revisits An American 'Turning Point' In The War In Vietnam

NPR Books - November 10, 2017 - 11:44am

Author Mark Bowden says the capture of Hue, Vietnam, was part of a wave of well-planned Communist attacks that helped turn U.S. public opinion against the war. Originally broadcast June 12, 2017.

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Joe Ide: Creating A Complicated Hero From the Hood

NPR Books - November 10, 2017 - 3:00am

Joe Ide and his brothers hung out almost exclusively with the neighborhood kids in South Los Angeles. Years later, the city's old haunts and characters worked their way into his books.

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In 'Wonder Valley,' There's More Than One Los Angeles

NPR Books - November 10, 2017 - 1:59am

Ivy Pochoda's latest was informed by creative writing classes she teaches on L.A.'s Skid Row. "My L.A. experience, it was a little bit different, and I think the book sort of reflects that," she says.

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Author Beverly Gray Looks Back On 50 Years Of 'The Graduate' In Her Latest Book

NPR Books - November 9, 2017 - 1:49pm

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Hollywood writer Beverly Gray about her new book, Seduced by Mrs. Robinson: How The Graduate Became the Touchstone of a Generation. The book offers behind-the-scene details of the 1967 film, The Graduate and looks at its lasting impact on the industry.

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Once An Underground Currency, Bitcoin Emerges As 'A New Way To Track Information'

NPR Books - November 9, 2017 - 11:22am

The digital currency's value has gone from zero to $120 billion in nine years. Digital Gold author Nathaniel Popper says major banks are looking into the possibilities of its decentralized network.

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A Rare Find: Trailblazing Female Designer's Unpublished Family Cookbook

NPR Books - November 9, 2017 - 10:39am

Magazine art director Cipe Pineles helped pave the way for creative women in publishing. She also illustrated her mother's Eastern European recipes, but for 70 years the manuscript lay undiscovered.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Carol Burtin Fripp )

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For November, A Romance Trio For 'Hamilton' Fans (And The Rest Of You, Too)

NPR Books - November 9, 2017 - 4:00am

Even if you haven't seen the musical, you can keep warm this November with a delightful trio of novellas set in and around the battalion commanded by Alexander Hamilton at the siege of Yorktown.

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'This Mortal Coil' Will Get You All Twisted Up

NPR Books - November 9, 2017 - 4:00am

Emily Suvada's debut novel — a high-tech young adult dystopia — is bursting with ideas (and exploding viruses). And while it might seem like a conventional thriller, it's got a twist to reckon with.

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Joe Ide Uses His South Central LA Days To Form Protagonist 'I.Q.'

NPR Books - November 9, 2017 - 2:04am

The second book in Ide's detective series again centers on Isaiah Quintabe. I.Q. travels back and forth to Las Vegas, where he's trying to find some gambling-addicted homefolks before the mob does.

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'Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life' Examines The Personal Traits That Marked FDR For Greatness

NPR Books - November 8, 2017 - 12:00pm

NPR's Ron Elving says historian Robert Dallek's latest tome "emphasizes the human scale of FDR's life, his interaction with the people around him and the interplay among his intimates."

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Biographer Sought To Write The Kind Of Book Lou Reed 'Deserved'

NPR Books - November 8, 2017 - 9:01am

"It wasn't like I had to go looking for the drugs and the sex," Anthony DeCurtis says. "Lou wrote about it ... so I felt it was fair game." DeCurtis' new book is Lou Reed: A Life.

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'Mrs. Osmond' Presents A Portrait Of A Lady As Mopey Schemer

NPR Books - November 8, 2017 - 7:00am

Author John Banville makes a valiant imaginative leap with Mrs. Osmond, his attempt to craft a new ending for the heroine of Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady, but he doesn't quite land it.

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'Radio Free Vermont' Offers A Modest Proposal For Resistance

NPR Books - November 8, 2017 - 4:00am

Activist Bill McKibben answers his own call for topical fiction with Radio Free Vermont, a gently surreal tale about a septuagenarian troublemaker who inadvertently sparks a secession movement.

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'A Taste Of Paris': How The City Of Light Became The City Of Food

NPR Books - November 8, 2017 - 2:03am

In his new book, food historian David Downie takes readers on a gourmet jaunt through time to reveal how the French capital became a gastronomic powerhouse. (Hint: You can thank Rome.)

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Photographer Pete Souza Reflects On 8 Years (And 1.9 Million Photos) Of Obama

NPR Books - November 7, 2017 - 10:05am

As the chief official White House photographer for President Obama, Souza sometimes shot more than 2,000 photos a day. "I was there all the time," he says. His new book is Obama: An Intimate Portrait.

(Image credit: Pete Souza/Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company, New York)

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'Spineless' Dives Deep Into The World Of Jellyfish

NPR Books - November 7, 2017 - 7:00am

Part memoir, part travelogue, part science tome, Juli Berwald's book is thoroughly entertaining, and makes the case for the jellyfish as both fascinating animal and a bellwether for climate change.

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Alan Bennett's Inimitable Voice Just Keeps 'Keeping On'

NPR Books - November 7, 2017 - 4:00am

His new 700-page omnibus of collected bits and pieces shouldn't be read all at once — but taken in careful sips, it's a cheeky, crotchety, sometimes serious, sometimes satirical delight.

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We Have No Idea What We're Doing With Money

NPR Books - November 6, 2017 - 8:18am

We've all experienced buyer's remorse at one point or another. It can be tough to make clear headed choices with our hard-earned cash. But is this just human nature, or is it something we can learn to control?

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