Literature

Books
1:22 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

This Week's 5 Must-Read Stories From NPR Books

Guiseppe Cacace AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 11:42 am

1. Foodie Fervor

If there's one thing that trumps a great read for me, it's a great meal.

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The Two-Way
6:40 pm
Tue September 18, 2012

Did Jesus Have A Wife? Newly Discovered Ancient Text Reignites Debate

The front of the papyrus fragment.
Karen L. King Harvard

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 10:30 am

An ancient piece of text is reviving an equally ancient debate: Was Jesus Christ married?

Of course, most Christians believe that he wasn't. But today, Harvard Professor of Divinity Karen King presented a scrap of papyrus that dates back to the fourth century. She told a gathering of scholars in Rome that written in Coptic was this surprising sentence: "Jesus said to them, 'My wife...' "

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Books News & Features
6:06 am
Sat September 15, 2012

A Father's Decades-Old Bedtime Story Is Back In Print

Originally published on Sat September 15, 2012 2:13 pm

One night in 1947, an intensely curious 5-year-old boy named Michael McCleery asked his father for a story. So his father, William McCleery, produced a tale that revolved around a wolf named Waldo, a hen named Rainbow, and another little boy, the son of a farmer, named Jimmy Tractorwheel. Over weeks and weeks, William serialized the story, telling it in installments to Michael and his best friend during bedtimes and Sunday afternoon outings.

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Book Reviews
11:27 am
Fri September 14, 2012

Does The Success Of Women Mean 'The End Of Men'?

Hanna Rosin is the co-founder of Slate's Double X blog. She is also a senior editor at The Atlantic.
Nina Subin Riverhead Books

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 10:03 am

Hanna Rosin's pop sociology work The End of Men, based on her cover story in The Atlantic magazine, is a frustrating blend of genuine insight and breezy, unconvincing anecdotalism. She begins with a much-discussed statistic: three-quarters of the 7.5 million jobs lost in our current recession were once held by men.

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Literature
3:24 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

How to Learn to Write "Filth:" An Interview with Donna McMeans

Not sure how bodily functions and acts were described in past eras? Romance author Donna McMeans can help. Also, Cinda Williams Chima discusses her books with OSU student Joe Frazier.

Book Reviews
10:27 am
Wed September 12, 2012

A Supersized Slice Of Life In 'Telegraph Avenue'

Michael Chabon is the author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and The Yiddish Policemen's Union.
Ulf Andersen Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 7:03 am

Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue is an agreeable if ultimately frustrating shaggy-dog tale of a novel that slips its leash and lopes its discursive and distinctly unhurried way through the unkempt backyards of its characters' lives.

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Author Interviews
10:44 am
Mon September 10, 2012

'Good Girls Revolt': Story Of A Newsroom Uprising

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 8:42 am

In the 1960s, Lynn Povich worked at Newsweek — where she became part of a revolution.

"At Newsweek, women were hired on the mail desk to deliver mail, then to clip newspapers, and, if they were lucky, became researchers or fact checkers," Povich tells NPR's Linda Wertheimer, whom she knows personally. "All of the writers and reporters were men, and everyone accepted it as that was the way the world was — until we didn't."

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Book Reviews
10:33 am
Fri September 7, 2012

How Christopher Hitchens Faced His Own 'Mortality'

Christopher Hitchens, who died in December 2011 from complications related to esophageal cancer, was a columnist for Vanity Fair, and the author of Hitch-22 and God Is Not Great.
Brooks Kraft Corbis

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 8:55 am

When a consummately articulate, boundlessly bold journalist stricken with stage 4 esophageal cancer reports from the front lines about facing what he calls, among other things, "hello darkness my old friend," you sit up and pay attention. Mortality, by virtue of its ultimate unavoidability, raises questions about the very meaning of life, making it as challenging a subject as any tackled by Christopher Hitchens in his brilliant career. It is, in fact, one of the subjects, right up there with love, and you can count on Hitchens to eschew weak-kneed sentimentality.

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Author Interviews
3:20 am
Tue September 4, 2012

'Children Succeed' With Character, Not Test Scores

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 12:38 pm

A child's success can't be measured in IQ scores, standardized tests or vocabulary quizzes, says author Paul Tough. Success, he argues, is about how young people build character. Tough explores this idea in his new book, How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character.

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Book Reviews
9:11 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Martin Amis' 'State of England': Anomie In The U.K.

Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 29, 2012 7:03 am

Too much is made of literature's ennobling qualities. There are those of us who come to books for the debasement and danger, for Hannibal and Humbert. For Faulkner's Popeye and Hedda Gabler. We want to meet the monsters.

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Three Books...
10:51 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Fanciful Fauna: 3 Tall Tales Of Clever Critters

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 12:45 pm

Some people suffer from recurring nightmares about being naked on stage, or not having revised for their exams. My bedtime terror is different — I'm gripped with fear that I haven't fed or watered my childhood budgie, with potentially devastating consequences. I loved that bird, Joey, so much, despite the fact that she unmasked herself as female after I'd named her, I still have a tiny box filled with her discarded green feathers. I've never owned a pet as an adult. I prefer animals in novels to avoid the horror of finding two cold, clutched feet in the air.

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Literature
10:37 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Writers Talk

Writers Talk, produced by the Ohio State University’s Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing, interviews a wide variety of authors, focusing on how they produce text and communicate in a variety of genres. Its purpose is to demystify and promote writing, especially for academic writers.

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Author Interviews
12:57 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Paul Auster Meditates On Life, Death And Near Misses

Paul Auster is the author of fiction including The New York Trilogy and In the Country of Last Things.
Lotte Hansen Picador

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 3:28 pm

Paul Auster doesn't take living for granted. At 65, the author has had several "near misses," from sliding face-first into a jutting nail as a child to a traumatic car accident that almost killed him, his wife and his daughter.

Auster's new memoir, Winter Journal, is a series of meditations on his life, aging and mortality — including his mother's death.

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Author Interviews
2:10 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Student 'Subversives' And The FBI's 'Dirty Tricks'

Mario Savio, shown here at a victory rally in UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza on Dec. 9, 1964, was the face of the free speech movement.
AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 1:21 pm

In 1964, students at the University of California, Berkeley, formed a protest movement to repeal a campus rule banning students from engaging in political activities.

Then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover suspected the free speech movement to be evidence of a Communist plot to disrupt U.S. campuses. He "had long been concerned about alleged subversion within the education field," journalist Seth Rosenfeld tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Author Interviews
8:17 am
Mon August 20, 2012

A Novel Endeavor From Molly Ringwald

Molly Ringwald made her name as one of the "Brat Pack" of actors who appeared in John Hughes' teen films in the '80s. She starred in The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, among others.
Fergus Greer HarperCollins

Originally published on Sat August 18, 2012 9:58 am

Most people know Molly Ringwald from her star turns in John Hughes' signature teen comic dramas from the 1980s, including Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink.

And Ringwald is still acting — she currently plays the mother in the ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager. But she's also turned her hand to writing. Her new book — and first novel — is called When It Happens to You.

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Author Interviews
5:01 pm
Sat August 18, 2012

Soccer Star Hope Solo On Loving Lost Parents

Goalkeeper Hope Solo competes against China in Chester, Penn., on May 27. Solo took a gold medal home from this summer's London Games.
Drew Hallowell Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 1:46 pm

Hope Solo is generally regarded as the best women's goalkeeper in the world. Fresh off winning her third-straight Olympic gold medal with the U.S. national team, Solo has been as busy off the field as on it, releasing an autobiography titled Solo: A Memoir of Hope.

The memoir details her rise as an international celebrity, but it also focuses on the complicated relationship she had with her father, who taught her to play soccer.

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Author Interviews
7:39 am
Fri August 17, 2012

'Giving Up The Ghost': Letting Go Of A Haunted Past

In the 1980s, Eric Nuzum became convinced that he was being haunted by the ghost of a little girl in a blue dress who lived in his parents' attic.
Dial Press

Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 2:57 pm

Eric Nuzum barely survived his teen years. The period was scarred by depression, drugs and a brief period of institutionalization.

"I felt, my entire teen years, as many people do to some degree, as kind of an outsider, an outcast," he tells NPR's John Donvan. "I often describe myself as feeling like I was an interloper in my own life ... never feeling much of a sense of connection."

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Books
9:59 am
Wed August 15, 2012

A Rainbow Of Happy Endings In Ethnic Romances

The cover of the romance novel Only in Paradise, by author Michelle Monkou.
Harlequin Books

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 5:14 am

Romance fiction is the Rodney Dangerfield of the publishing world: It don't get no respect.

This, despite the fact that romance is the most consistently profitable genre in an unsettlingly shaky business. Last year, romance alone contributed more than $1 billion to publishing's diminished coffers. And a growing amount of that income comes from romances written by ethnic writers for ethnic readers.

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Author Interviews
12:34 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Looking To The 'Stars' For A Reason To Live

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 12:51 pm

When Peter Heller sat down to work on his first novel, all he knew was that he wanted to have the experience of writing without knowing the ending. As an expedition kayaker, Heller was already the author of many works of travel and outdoor-adventure writing. With his debut novel, The Dog Stars, Heller returned to fiction — his first love. But as the novel took a post-apocalyptic turn, he found himself relying on his real-life scrapes and survival skills.

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Books
2:36 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

Batman's Biggest Secret (No, It's Not Bruce Wayne)

Bill Finger (left) helped create the Batman we know today, including his iconic costume, his tragic backstory, and many of his adversaries.
Ty Templeton

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 4:41 pm

Batman has many secrets — the best-known one, of course, being his millionaire alter ego, Bruce Wayne. But that may not be the Dark Knight's biggest secret.

Since the 1930s, only one man has been given credit for creating the caped crusader and his home city of Gotham. Bob Kane's name appears in the credits of all the movies, the campy TV show and the associated merchandise, from video games and action figures to sheets and underwear.

But what if Bob Kane didn't do it all by himself?

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