NPR Books

Where Do We Come From?

NPR Books - October 18, 2017 - 7:06am

Look in a microscope to find out.

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'A Line In The Dark' Is A Fresh Approach To The Teen Thriller

NPR Books - October 18, 2017 - 6:00am

Malinda Lo's new book sets up a classic conflict — townie kids versus prep schoolers — and adds nuanced queer characters. Despite a flawed second half, A Line in the Dark has much to offer.

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Not Much To 'Smile' About In Roddy Doyle's Intense New Novel

NPR Books - October 18, 2017 - 3:00am

The Irish novelist is known for his sense of humor — but his latest, about a man abused in his youth by Catholic priests, is distressing and at times almost unbearable. It's also his best book yet.

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George Saunders Wins Man Booker Prize For 'Lincoln In The Bardo'

NPR Books - October 17, 2017 - 1:18pm

It's the second year in a row that an American writer has taken home the prestigious literary award.

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'Death In The Air' Revisits 5 Days When London Was Choked By Poisonous Smog

NPR Books - October 17, 2017 - 10:41am

Kate Winkler Dawson's new book chronicles The Great Smog of 1952, when moist air from the Gulf Stream stalled for days over London, mixing with poisonous gases and causing more than 12,000 deaths.

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'I Am Full Of Contradictions': Novelist Amy Tan On Fate And Family

NPR Books - October 17, 2017 - 10:19am

In Where the Past Begins, Tan connects her experience with spirituality to that of her parents and grandmother. "I don't consider myself any religion," she says. " ... I have an amalgam of beliefs."

(Image credit: Courtesy of Amy Tan)

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The Father Of Microfinance Has A Plan To Fix Capitalism

NPR Books - October 17, 2017 - 7:18am

He started a revolution in lending … now he's hoping to create a new financial system based on altruism.

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Tom Hanks Lays Out A Kinder, Gentler World In 'Uncommon Type'

NPR Books - October 17, 2017 - 3:00am

Tom Hanks' well-documented obsession with typewriters is on display in his new story collection, tales linked not just by typewriters but by a benign, humane view of people and their many foibles.

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Astronaut Scott Kelly's Latest Mission: A Book

NPR Books - October 17, 2017 - 12:58am

After a year in space, Kelly says, writing a book was harder than he thought — but still, he adds, "If I write a bad sentence people are only going to get angry with me. They're not going to die."

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Richard Wilbur, Renowned American Poet And Translator, Dies At 96

NPR Books - October 16, 2017 - 1:40pm

His commitment to traditional forms, with tight patterns and taut construction, stood out among his contemporaries. He said his craft was finding order in pain and chaos — not creating it.

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Sleep Scientist Warns Against Walking Through Life 'In An Underslept State'

NPR Books - October 16, 2017 - 11:04am

"Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain," says sleep scientist Matthew Walker. His new book is Why We Sleep.

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Amy Tan Revisits The Roots Of Her Writing Career In 'Where The Past Begins'

NPR Books - October 16, 2017 - 11:01am

In a new memoir, the Joy Luck Club author searches her past for the sources of her creativity. She says, "I certainly think that the bad experiences ... shaped me as a writer."

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Zingerman's Bakehouse, A Michigan Icon, Rolls Out A New Cookbook

NPR Books - October 16, 2017 - 7:42am

A visit to Ann Arbor wouldn't be complete without a trip to an eatery that bears the famous name. And the mouthwatering, no-nonsense recipes are designed to entice even novice bakers into the kitchen.

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Tom Hanks Is Obsessed With Typewriters (So He Wrote A Book About Them)

NPR Books - October 16, 2017 - 12:53am

The actor's new collection of short fiction — his debut book as an author — is called Uncommon Type, and each story has something to do with the machine close to his heart.

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From Hamilton To Grant: Ron Chernow Paints A 'Farsighted' President in New Biography

NPR Books - October 15, 2017 - 1:56pm

After the massive success of his last book, which inspired an award-winning Broadway musical, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Ron Chernow is back with a new biography of President Ulysses S. Grant.

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Nobel Laureate Kazuo Ishiguro Once Wrote A Screenplay About Eating A Ghost

NPR Books - October 15, 2017 - 1:39pm

Written in the '80s, The Gourmet is an absurdist satire exploring the politics of food and the hedonistic culture of consumerism that treats it as a recreational drug. It's still strikingly relevant.

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'Quackery' Chronicles How Our Love Of Miracle Cures Leads Us Astray

NPR Books - October 15, 2017 - 4:02am

Tobacco enemas? Mercury pills? Ice pick lobotomies? A new book explains how throughout history, miracle "cures" often didn't just fail to improve people's health, they maimed and killed.

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Mortician Explores Cultures' Many Paths For 'Sacred Transition' Of Death

NPR Books - October 15, 2017 - 4:02am

Caitlin Doughty, whose Los Angeles funeral home specializes in alternative ceremonies, traveled the world to collect stories about how different peoples send loved ones off to the great beyond.

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'Skinful Of Shadows' Delights Without Reservation

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

Frances Hardinge's captivating tale follows a girl during the English Civil War who discovers she has the power to invite ghosts into herself — a power that puts her in danger, but can also save her.

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'Lady Killers:' Cherchez La Femme Fatale

NPR Books - October 14, 2017 - 6:00am

An FBI investigator once famously said "There are no female serial killers," but Tori Telfer sets out to prove him wrong with this gruesome new account of multiply-murderous women throughout history.

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