Literature

Literature

Woodrow Wilson, America's 28th president, left the White House in 1921 after serving two terms. But today he remains a divisive figure.

He's associated with a progressive income tax and the creation of the Federal Reserve. During his re-election bid, he campaigned on his efforts to keep us out of World War I, but in his second term, he led the country into that war, saying the U.S. had to make the world safe for democracy. The move ended America's isolationism and ushered in a new era of American military and foreign policy.

On Aug. 30, 2005, a doctor climbed the stairs through a New Orleans hospital to the helipad, which was rarely used, and so old and rusted it wasn't even painted with the hospital's current name.

From that helipad over Memorial Medical Center, the doctor looked out over New Orleans, now flooding after Hurricane Katrina. He considered the more than 2,000 people in the hospital below — 244 of them patients.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin breaks into Germany’s finest homes with The Good Thief’s Guide to Berlin.

Title: The Good Thief’s Guide to Berlin

Author: Chris Ewan           

Pages: 326

Publisher: Minotaur Books          

ISBN: 978-1250002976

And read Kristin's full review on NightsAndWeekends.com.

Book News: Why Batwoman Can't Get Married

Sep 9, 2013

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

Cats have come a long way from being animals charged with catching mice to treasured, adorable creatures that snuggle with us in our beds. But this relatively new arrangement is creating issues for cats and the people who live with them.

John Bradshaw has studied the history of domesticated cats and how the relationship between people and cats has changed. He's the author of the new book Cat Sense: How the New Feline Science Can Make You a Better Friend to Your Pet, which is a follow-up to his book Dog Sense.

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin tours a scary movie set with A Midsummer Night’s Scream.

Title: A Midsummer Night’s Scream

Author: R. L. Stine

CDs: 4 (5 hours)

Publisher: Macmillan Audio        

ISBN: 978-1427231642

And read Kristin's full review on NightsAndWeekends.com.

If you want to know what prompted Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff to cofound Honest Tea, here's the simple answer they give on their website: They were thirsty. Goldman had taken Nalebuff's class at the Yale School of Management, and they were both tired of the super sweet iced teas available in stores. So in the late 1990s, they started their own company based on the hunch that other people out there felt the same way.

Fiona Maazel's latest novel is Woke Up Lonely.

The way my mom likes to tell it, I wasn't much of a reader growing up. My chief complaint of every book she dumped in my lap was that nothing happens. Ten pages in and no one had died.

A thousand years ago, a Persian poet named Abolqasem Ferdowsi of Tous obtained a royal commission to put the ancient legends and myths of Iran into a book of verse.

He called this epic Shahnameh, or "Epic of the Persian Kings." It took him more than three decades and comprises 60,000 couplets — twice the length of The Iliad and The Odyssey combined.

Author Azar Nafisi, who wrote the memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran, says the importance of this foundational myth epic to Iranians can't really be overstated.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin waits out the end of the world with Countdown City.

Title: Countdown City

Author: Ben H. Winters     

Pages: 316

Publisher: Quirk Books     

ISBN: 978-1594746260s

And read Kristin's full review on NightsAndWeekends.com.

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

N.B. — Book News is going on vacation next week. Your faithful correspondent will be in California sans laptop and praying that Jonathan Franzen doesn't choose that week to reignite any feuds with daytime talk show hosts. In the meantime, as always, leave your hot tips, scurrilous attacks and existential questions in the comments section or direct them to @annalisa_quinn on Twitter.

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

The writer Elmore Leonard has died. He was 87 years old and had recently suffered a stroke.

For decades, Leonard — working at the very top of his profession as a crime writer — had been widely acclaimed, and universally read. He published 46 novels, which resulted in countless movie and TV adaptations, including the movies Out of Sight and Get Shorty and the TV series Justified.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin communes with the dead with Seth Patrick’s debut thriller, Reviver

Title: Reviver

Author: Seth Patrick

Pages: 407

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

ASIN: 978-1250021700

And read Kristin’s full review on NightsAndWeekends.com.

More than 90 percent of Americans say public libraries are important to their communities, according to the Pew Research Center. But the way that love translates into actual financial support varies hugely from state to state.

Vermont, for instance, brags that it has more libraries per capita than any other U.S. state. Some of them are remarkably quaint. In Ludlow, one library is a white clapboard Victorian, slightly frayed, ringed by lilies and sitting by the side of a brook.

Stephen Burt latest book is the poetry collection, Belmont.

We can go to science fiction for its sense of wonder, its power to take us to far-off places and future times. We can go to political fiction to understand injustice in our own time, to see what should change. We may go to poetry — epic or lyric, old or new — for what cannot change, for a sense of human limits, as well as for the music in its words.

Maureen Metcalf, co-author of the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations tells listeners what the hardest part of writing a book like this. Surprisingly, it's not the writing.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin catches up with the grim reaper in Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones.

Title: Fifth Grave Past the Light

Author: Darynda Jones

CDs: 8 (9 hours)

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

ASIN: 978-1427230799

And read Kristin’s full review on NightsAndWeekends.com.

Piper Kerman was a 24-year-old Smith College graduate in 1993, when she flew to Belgium with a suitcase of money intended for a West African drug lord.

This misguided adventure started when she began a romantic relationship with a woman who was part of what Kerman describes as a "clique of impossibly stylish and cool lesbians in their mid-30s." That woman was involved in a drug-smuggling ring, and got Kerman involved, too, though Kerman left that life after several months.

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