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Literature

Literature

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.

For 20 years, Stephen King has had an image stuck in his head: It's a boy in a wheelchair flying a kite on a beach. "It wanted to be a story, but it wasn't a story," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But little by little, the story took shape around the image — and focused on an amusement park called "Joyland" located just a little farther down the beach.

Attributing human characteristics to animals makes for great cartoons, but it's not usually considered rigorous science. Now, a new book argues that animals do think and feel in ways similar to humans.

Barbara J. King is a professor of anthropology and a commentator on NPR's science blog, 13.7. And her book, How Animals Grieve, makes a powerful case for the presence of love, affection and grief in animals — from a house cat mourning her lost sister to elephants who pay respects to the bones of their matriarchs.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin explores a land that never was with Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden’s Joe Golem and the Drowning City.

Title: Joe Golem and the Drowning City

Author: Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden

Pages: 272

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

ISBN: 978-1250020826

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

After years of trying to conceive, novelist Jennifer Gilmore and her husband decided to pursue a domestic open adoption. They were told they'd be matched within a year; it took four. And along the way they faced complicated decisions and heartbreak.

American Voices On 'The Unwinding' Of America's Values

May 21, 2013

Halfway through The Unwinding, George Packer — author of the highly praised The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq (2005)delineates how quickly political idealism can disappear when one becomes exposed to a world of easy money.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin investigates murder in the Everglades with Heather Graham’s Tall, Dark, and Deadly.

Title: Tall, Dark, and Deadly

Author: Heather Graham

Pages: 268

Publisher: Open Road

ISBN: 978-0451408471

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

Robert Langdon is back. The Harvard art professor in custom tweeds — and an ever-present Mickey Mouse watch — wakes up in a hospital after getting grazed in the head by a bullet, wondering how he ended up in Florence. He's got a sinister artifact sewn into his coat and just a few hours to keep the world from a grim biological catastrophe.

When 20-year-old Amanda Knox left for Italy in August 2007, it was supposed to be a carefree year studying abroad.

No one could have foreseen it ending in her being accused, tried and convicted in the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher.

The case, and Knox, became an international media sensation.

"I think that there was a lot of fantasy projected onto me," she tells weekends on All Things Considered host Jacki Lyden. "And that resulted in a re-appropriation and re-characterization of who I am."

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

Book News: Amazon Debuts Its Virtual Currency

May 14, 2013

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

In 2011, Jessica Buchanan was an aid worker in northern Somalia, helping to raise awareness about how to avoid land mines. The north was the relatively safe section of the country; that October, she traveled to the more dangerous southern region for a training. The night before she left, she texted her husband, Erik Landemalm, also an aid worker in Somalia. She asked him a question: "If I get kidnapped on this trip, will you come and get me?"

In December 1944, the Nazis looked like a spent force: The U.S. and its allies had pushed Hitler's armies across France in the fight to liberate Europe from German occupation.

The Allies were so confident that the Forest of Ardennes, near the front lines in Belgium, became a rest and recreation area, complete with regular USO performances.

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