NPR Books

'Last Kid Left' Is A Summer Read For People Who Hate The Light

NPR Books - June 11, 2017 - 3:00am

Rosecrans Baldwin's new novel probably shouldn't have come out in summer: It's got the trappings of a beach read — a shore town, tourists, a murder — but it strays into some very dark territory.

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Why The Story Of Southern Food Is As Much About People As Dishes

NPR Books - June 11, 2017 - 3:00am

In his new book, John T. Edge tries to pay down what he calls "a debt of pleasure" to the African-American and immigrant cooks whose stories are often left out of the narrative.

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Adam West Saved Batman. And Me.

NPR Books - June 11, 2017 - 3:00am

NPR's resident Bat-scholar Glen Weldon offers a personal remembrance of the late Adam West, explains how the actor rescued the character of Batman from oblivion, and explores his enduring legacy.

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Beach Reads You Need: Four Sandy Summer Romances

NPR Books - June 10, 2017 - 6:00am

Our monthly romance roundup rolls on with four beach-appropriate reads for June, from the supernatural to the astronomical to an old-fashioned tale of family lost and found when you least expect it.

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'The Essex Serpent' Spreads Its Wings

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

Sarah Perry's historical novel is gloriously alive, teeming with bugs, moss and marsh, unconventional spirits and a darker undercurrent of fear about a legendary monster haunting the Essex coast.

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The Man Behind Wonder Woman Was Inspired By Both Suffragists And Centerfolds

NPR Books - June 9, 2017 - 9:50am

Wonder Woman's creator had a few secrets of his own. Historian Jill Lepore describes William Moulton Marstothe's unusual life in The Secret History of Wonder Woman. Originally broadcast Oct. 27, 2014.

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For One Saudi Woman, 'Daring To Drive' Was An Act Of Civil Disobedience

NPR Books - June 8, 2017 - 11:03am

In 2011, Manal al-Sharif filming herself driving in a country where women are banned from getting behind the wheel. Driving, she says, is "a way to emancipate women. It gives them so much liberty."

(Image credit: Manal al-Sharif)

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'Racial Impostor Syndrome': Here Are Your Stories

NPR Books - June 8, 2017 - 7:21am

We got more than 100 letters from our listeners about how y'all feel like fakes. Here are some of our favorites.

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'The Alice Network' Is A Crackling Tale Of Spies And Suspense

NPR Books - June 8, 2017 - 3:00am

Set in 1947, Kate Quinn's novel follows two indomitable women, a math whiz and a retired spy, in a truly fabulous car as they pursue a quest through war-torn Europe in search of a missing relative.

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How Alan Alda Makes Science Understandable

NPR Books - June 7, 2017 - 7:18am

How do you communicate complex ideas effectively? How do scientists and doctors get their findings across to a needing public?

(Image credit: courtesy of Alan Alda)

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Fame Is A Boomerang

NPR Books - June 7, 2017 - 6:01am

The legendary diva, who died 40 years ago this year, muses on stardom and fate — both on stage and off — in a luxurious new book of pictures and words.

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'Opening Wednesday' Dusts Off Some Overlooked Cinematic Treasures

NPR Books - June 7, 2017 - 6:00am

Charles Taylor's new book collects his writings about cult classics of the 1970s — films like Two-Lane Blacktop, Vanishing Point and Foxy Brown — and what they say about the culture of that era.

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H.P. Lovecraft's Monster Is Wrapping Family Game Night Up In Tentacles

NPR Books - June 7, 2017 - 4:01am

A century after the horror writer created Cthulhu, board game creators and players have resurrected the deep sea monster and brought it into pop culture. Why is this beast making a comeback?

(Image credit: Courtesy of Petersen Games)

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'Stephen Florida' Goes To The Mat — And Wins

NPR Books - June 7, 2017 - 3:00am

Gabe Habash's audacious coming-of-age novel follows a charismatic, troubled, sometimes repellent college wrestler who comes close to the edge of madness after an injury derails his final season.

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'Called To Rise': Dallas Police Chief On Overcoming Racial Division

NPR Books - June 6, 2017 - 3:28pm

Last year, Dallas Police Chief David Brown was the face of leadership after a gunman killed five police officers during a protest. He has since retired from the force and wrote a book about his life.

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Polar Photographer Shares His View Of A Ferocious But Fragile Ecosystem

NPR Books - June 6, 2017 - 11:59am

Paul Nicklen has spent decades documenting the Arctic and the Antarctic. "I want people to realize that ice is like the soil in the garden," he says. "Without ice the polar regions cannot exist."

(Image credit: Paul Nicklen Gallery)

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'Would Everybody Please Stop' Is Serious, Funny And Seriously Funny

NPR Books - June 6, 2017 - 8:09am

Jenny Allen's new essay collection is sarcastic, funny and astute, finding humor in everything from her battle with cancer to the indignities of aging to her many, many linguistic pet peeves.

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Can The Democracy Survive The Internet?: Lessons From 2016

NPR Books - June 6, 2017 - 7:06am

"Can democracy survive the Internet?" Why one scholar was prompted to explore that question following the 2016 U.S. election.

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The Big Picture: How Food Photos Have Told Our Story Over The Decades

NPR Books - June 6, 2017 - 4:00am

The new book Feast for the Eyes is a collection of images that portray the many ways we relate to food: as advertisements, art and even political statements.

(Image credit: Courtesy of the Artist)

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Stavridis' Book 'Sea Power' Explains Why Oceans Matter In Global Politics

NPR Books - June 6, 2017 - 1:00am

Steve Inskeep talks to retired Admiral James Stavridis, former supreme allied commander for NATO, about his new book: Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World's Oceans.

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