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Literature

Literature

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.

There are numbers all around us. They are in every word we speak or write, and in the passage of time. Everything in our world has a numeric foundation, but most of us don't see those numbers. It's different for Daniel Tammet. He's a savant with synesthesia, a condition that allows him to see beyond simple numerals — he experiences them.

Tammet drew attention around the world about a decade ago when he recited, from memory, the number pi. It took him five hours to call out 22,514 digits with no mistakes.

Don't Like Hamlet? Now's Your Chance To Rewrite It

Aug 8, 2013

To be or not to be? You decide.

Shakespeare's most famous question appears in Hamlet, but now readers will get to answer it themselves with Ryan North's To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure, a "Choose Your Own Adventure"-style rewrite of Shakespeare's classic play.

For Robert Pinsky, the pleasure in poetry comes from the music of the language, and not from the meaning of the words. So he put together an anthology of 80 poems that are models by master poets -- from Sappho to Allen Ginsberg, Shakespeare to Emily Dickinson.

Before I read Adelle Waldman's brilliant debut novel, The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P., I had about as much interest in reading about the hip, young literary types who've colonized Brooklyn as I do in watching Duck Dynasty, that reality show about a family of bearded Luddites who live in the Louisiana swamps. Both clans are ingrown and smug, each, in their own way, disdainful of the American mainstream.

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On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin takes a chance on the romance of An Accidental Kiss by Dawn Douglas.

Title: An Accidental Kiss

Author: Dawn Douglas

Pages: 35

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press

ASIN: B00BK9V6PI

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

On the Noodle Road is one attempt to answer an old chestnut: Did Marco Polo really bring noodles from China to Italy? If not, where did they really come from? Or — to put it another way — from what point along the storied byways of the Silk Road did that humble paste of flour and water first spring into its multifarious existence?

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

Andrew Carnegie was once the richest man in the world. Coming as a dirt poor kid from Scotland to the U.S., by the 1880s he'd built an empire in steel — and then gave it all away: $60 million to fund a system of 1,689 public libraries across the country.

Carnegie donated $300,000 to build Washington, D.C.'s oldest library — a beautiful beaux arts building that dates back to 1903. Inscribed above the doorway are the words: Science, Poetry, History. The building was "dedicated to the diffusion of knowledge."

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin finds trouble in paradise in the latest Dixie Hemingway mystery, The Cat Sitter’s Cradle

Title: The Cat Sitter’s Cradle

Author: Blaize and John Clement

Pages: 290

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN: 978-1250009326

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

What if the X-Men were real? And what if they weren't mutants in spandex, but people like you and me and Bob in accounting, just endowed with superhuman talents for things like pattern recognition, programming and strategy?

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.

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