WCBE

Literature

Literature

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

The Mysterious History Of 'Marijuana'

Jul 23, 2013

We've decided to take a weekly look at a word or phrase that's caught our attention, whether for its history, usage, etymology, or just because it has an interesting story. This week, we look into how we came to call cannabis "marijuana," and the role Mexico played in that shift.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin explores a doctor’s troubled past in Always Watching by Chevy Stevens.

Title: Always Watching

Author: Chevy Stevens

Pages: 338

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

ISBN: 978-0312595692

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

Ted is a theoretical physicist facing a slew of resolutely concrete problems. His son is racing headlong into puberty. His daughter's prodigious intellect causes her to stand out at school — the very last thing the girl wants. His elderly father-in-law isn't remembering much, these days, save for the fact that he hates Ted's guts. His wife is sick and getting sicker, just as his employer, a prominent think tank, threatens to fire him for lack of productivity. To keep his job, and its health care coverage, Ted needs an idea.

There's been a frenzy of excitement since last year when Disney bought Lucasfilm, creator of the Star Wars franchise, and announced it would make more Star Wars movies. Fans are eagerly awaiting hints of what might happen next in the story, and one way the franchise keeps fans interested is through a pantheon of Star Wars books, the latest of which is Troy Denning's Star Wars: Crucible.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin travels to Texas for a deadly family reunion with Janice Hamrick’s Death Rides Again

Title: Death Rides Again

Author: Janice Hamrick

Pages: 310

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN: 978-1250005557

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

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

In July, NPR's Backseat Book Club traveled to Hanging Moss, Miss., where Gloriana June Hemphill, better known as Glory, is just an ordinary little girl. But this is no ordinary summer — it's 1964 and the town has shut down the so-called "community" swimming pool to avoid integration.

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin delves into the world of reality TV with Alison Gaylin’s Reality Ends Here.

Title: Reality Ends Here

Author: Alison Gaylin

Pages: 236

Publisher: Pocket Star

ASIN: B00A27X6CK

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

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

All over the country on Thursday, fireworks will light up the sky. In many places, those fireworks will come with a patriotic soundtrack — one that wouldn't be complete without "The Star-Spangled Banner." The song officially became America's national anthem in 1931, but it's been around since the early 19th century.

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin goes undercover with American spy Ethan Gage in William Dietrich’s The Barbed Crown.

Title: The Barbed Crown

Author: William Dietrich

Pages: 339

Publisher: HarperCollins

ISBN: 978-0062194077

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

Robert Rotenberg has written four legal thrillers set in Toronto, that old industrial city on the shores of Lake Ontario. He's a criminal lawyer — all his books are centered on trials — and he loves his city so much that he makes multicultural Toronto a character in his books. His first release, Old City Hall, is even named after a Toronto landmark: a beautiful stone building that is now used as a courthouse.

Real Courtrooms, Real Courtesy

Critics have called Margalit Fox's new book, The Riddle of the Labyrinth, a paleographic detective procedural. It follows the story of the laborious quest to crack a mysterious script, unearthed in Crete in 1900, known by the sterile-sounding name Linear B.

It looks like a last-minute gift, like one of those tiny tomes that live near the register on the counter of your favorite bookstore, hoping to catch the attention (or at least the impulse) of shoppers in the check-out line. Given its digest-sized dimensions and jokey title, you'd be forgiven for assuming A User's Guide to Neglectful Parenting is a hastily assembled collection of cornball homilies, like those miniature books about dads, grads and golf that double as greeting cards this time of year. But don't be fooled.

When it comes to diversity, children's books are sorely lacking; instead of presenting a representative range of faces, they're overwhelmingly white. How bad is the disconnect?

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin explores the gospels’ story with Naomi Alderman’s The Liars’ Gospel.

Title: The Liars’ Gospel

Author: Naomi Alderman

Pages: 230

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

ISBN: 978-0316232784

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin checks herself into Jo Piazza’s Love Rehab.

Title: Love Rehab

Author: Jo Piazza

Pages: 142

Publisher: Open Road Media

ISBN: 978-1453295076

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

Walk into any bookstore or library, and you'll find shelves and shelves of hugely popular novels and book series for kids. But research shows that as young readers get older, they are not moving to more complex books. High-schoolers are reading books written for younger kids, and teachers aren't assigning difficult classics as much as they once did.

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin attends group therapy with a monstrous bunch in Jesse Petersen’s Club Monstrosity.

Title: Club Monstrosity

Author: Jesse Petersen

Pages: 194

Publisher: Pocket Star

ISBN: B008X6R6OG

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

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

The search is over for the winner of Round 11 of Three-Minute Fiction, the contest where listeners submit original short stories that can be read in about three minutes.

We received help this round from graduate students at 16 different writing programs across the country. They poured through thousands of submissions and passed the best of the best along to our judge this round, novelist Karen Russell.

Here was your challenge for this round: A character finds something he or she has no intention of returning.

Book News: A.M. Homes Takes Women's Prize For Fiction

Jun 6, 2013

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

NPR's Susan Stamberg asked three of our go-to independent booksellers — Rona Brinlee of The BookMark in Neptune Beach, Fla.; Daniel Goldin of Boswell Book Co. in Milwaukee; and Lucia Silva, former book buyer at the now-closed Portrait of a Bookstore in Studio City, Calif. — to help fill our beach bags with good reads. What they came up with is a summer book list that's full of youth and ritual.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin gets a lesson in Jedi history from Tim Lebbon’s Into the Void

Title: Into the Void (Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi)

Author: Tim Lebbon

Pages: 235

Publisher: LucasBooks

ISBN: 978-0345541932

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

While these days it's not uncommon to meet children with gay parents, in the 1970s it was. Alysia Abbott was one of those kids. When her parents met, her father — Steve Abbott — told her mother he was bisexual. But when Alysia was a toddler, her mother died in a car accident and Steve came out as gay. He moved with his daughter to San Francisco, just as the gay liberation movement was gaining strength.

While her father had not initially wanted a child, Abbott says he enjoyed spending time with her when she was a baby. Her mother's death brought the two of them even closer.

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

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