NPR Books

'Home Fire' Puts A Topical Spin On Ancient Greek Tragedy

NPR Books - August 15, 2017 - 6:00am

Kamila Shamsie's new book — beautifully written and paced — updates the ancient story of Antigone to tell an explosive story of two families tangled together by love, grief and religious radicalism.

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'Hail To The Chin': B-List Actor Bruce Campbell Returns With A Memoir Of Middle Age

NPR Books - August 15, 2017 - 3:00am

Campbell's second collection of rants and ruminations is just as enjoyably smarmy as his first, though the actor's ruthlessly sardonic outlook has mellowed.

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Be More Than A Bookstore: A Brick-And-Mortar Shop's Key To Success

NPR Books - August 15, 2017 - 12:53am

Barnes & Noble is experimenting with food, Amazon is replicating its online business and an indie shop aims to be part of the community. Ultimately, they all want to sell more books.

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Poet Imagines Life Inside A 1910 Institution That Eugenics Built

NPR Books - August 14, 2017 - 11:25am

Molly McCully Brown, who has cerebral palsy, says that if she'd been born in a different era, she might have been sent to the "Virginia State Colony," an early landmark of the U.S. eugenics movement.

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In Children's Storybooks, Realism Has Advantages

NPR Books - August 14, 2017 - 7:47am

Young children have an easier time exporting what they learn from a fictional storybook to the real world when the storybook is realistic, says psychologist Tania Lombrozo.

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'Ghost Of The Innocent Man' Chronicles Justice Too Long Delayed

NPR Books - August 13, 2017 - 3:00am

Benjamin Rachlin's crisply-written new book tells the story of Willie Grimes, who spent 24 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit — and the tortuous legal struggle that eventually freed him.

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YA Books Are Targeted In Intense Social Media Callouts, Rosenfield Says

NPR Books - August 12, 2017 - 3:55am

A young adult novel is fiercely criticized on Twitter and accused of being racist by those who haven't read it. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Kat Rosenfield, who covered the story for Vulture.

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'The Bettencourt Affair': Extravagant Friendship Or Cruel Swindle?

NPR Books - August 12, 2017 - 3:44am

Cosmetics heiress Liliane Bettencourt lavished money and gifts on her friend, photographer François-Marie Banier. Then, her daughter sparked a decade of scandal by accusing Banier of abusing her.

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L'Oreal's Dark Roots Are On Display In 'The Bettencourt Affair'

NPR Books - August 12, 2017 - 3:00am

A former Paris bureau chief for Time, Tom Sancton is the perfect chronicler of l'affaire Bettencourt — the juicy swirl of scandal, bribery and dark doings that fascinated France for a decade.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Recommending The Best Of Stephen King

NPR Books - August 11, 2017 - 2:00am

We didn't like the new Dark Tower movie, so we opted instead to discuss King's vast and rewarding career. And, as always, What's Making Us Happy this week.

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1A Movie Club Sees "Detroit"

NPR Books - August 10, 2017 - 7:18am

How many stars do you give this historical drama?

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Catch A Philosophical Wave In 'Surfing With Sartre'

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

Philosophy professor and avid surfer Aaron James brings his two passions together in his new book, drawing connections between the surfer's state of mind and age-old philosophical conundrums.

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A Physician Explores 'A Better Path' To The End Of Life

NPR Books - August 9, 2017 - 10:15am

Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter, author of Extreme Measures, discusses the ethics of using medical assistance to hasten death. Zitter is the subject of the Netflix documentary Extremis.

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'What She Ate' Reveals The Plates And Palates Of 6 Notable Women

NPR Books - August 9, 2017 - 9:49am

Laura Shapiro has likened her method of biographical research to "standing in line at the supermarket and peering into the other carts." Critic Maureen Corrigan says her resulting book is fascinating.

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Raunchy But Sweet, 'Mrs. Fletcher' Is One For The Ages

NPR Books - August 9, 2017 - 6:00am

Tom Perrotta's new novel about a divorced mom and her college-aged son addresses some serious issues with dark humor. The result is uncompromisingly obscene, but still somehow good-natured.

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In 'Emma Reyes,' Life Through A Child's Clear Eyes

NPR Books - August 9, 2017 - 3:00am

As an adult, the Colombian painter Emma Reyes lived in Paris and befriended Frida Kahlo. But in a series of autobiographical letters, she describes a childhood of grinding misery and poverty.

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How The 'Battling' Kellogg Brothers Revolutionized American Breakfast

NPR Books - August 8, 2017 - 12:25pm

A century ago, two brothers took the world by storm with their mass-produced boxed cereal. Medical historian Howard Markel chronicles the contentious relationship between the creators of Corn Flakes.

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Jeff Flake Has Taken On Trump And The GOP, But Will It Matter?

NPR Books - August 8, 2017 - 8:09am

The GOP has "given in to the politics of anger—the belief that riling up the base can make up for failed attempts to broaden the electorate," the senator says. "These are the spasms of a dying party."

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New Biography Of Lincoln's Secretary Of War Reveals A Resilient Man, Haunted By Grief

NPR Books - August 8, 2017 - 2:00am

NPR's Ron Elving reviews a massive new tome on the life of Edwin Stanton, certainly one of the most contentious and controversial figures in Abraham Lincoln's cabinet of rivals.

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David Rodigan's Life In Reggae: Defined By Fanatical Love, Not Race... Right?

NPR Books - August 8, 2017 - 1:00am

David Rodigan has spent his entire life exulting in and exalting reggae. In his autobiography, published earlier this year, the soundman stays away from a topic that would seem utterly central.

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