WCBE

Literature

Literature

Anchee Min's best-selling memoir Red Azalea told the story of her youth in China during the Cultural Revolution. Her followup, The Cooked Seed, picks up nearly 20 years later as she arrives in America with $500 in her pocket, no English and a plan to study art in Chicago.

Min tells NPR's Rachel Martin that her life in China ended because of her relationship with Madame Mao, a former actress and the wife of Chairman Mao Zedong.

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

If you said the "s" word in the ninth century, you probably wouldn't have shocked or offended anyone. Back then, the "s" word was just the everyday word that was used to refer to excrement. That's one of many surprising, foul-mouthed facts Melissa Mohr reveals in her new book, Holy S- - -: A Brief History of Swearing.

Many high school seniors who are heading to college this fall have just paid their tuition deposits — the first real taste of what the college experience is going to cost them. These students are heading to school at a time that some consider a transformative moment for American colleges and universities. Costs are skyrocketing, and there are some real questions about what value college students are getting for their money.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin walks away from it all with One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis.

Title: One Step Too Far

Author: Tina Seskis

Pages: 185

Publisher: Kirk Parolles

ISBN: 978-0957544321

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

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

A Cartoon Tribute To Cats, And The Poets Who Loved Them

May 1, 2013

Tuesday marks the close of National Poetry Month, a 30-day celebration of all things versified and all people versifying. And in tangentially related news, for more than eight months, a book of cat-themed poetry — I Could Pee On This — has perched on the NPR best-seller lists. There it sits, insouciantly swishing its tail amid self-help books and memoirs, the poetry world's sole representative on the list.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin travels through time with Duane Swierczynski’s Expiration Date.

Title: Expiration Date

Author: Duane Swierczynski

Pages: 241

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN: 0312363400

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

Dilruba Ahmed: An Outsider Turns To Poetry

Apr 29, 2013

April is National Poetry Month, and to celebrate, Weekend Edition is talking with younger poets about why they chose to write poetry and why it's still important in our everyday lives. This week, we spoke to Bangladeshi-American poet Dilruba Ahmed.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin joins the deadly house hunt with Deader Homes and Gardens by Joan Hess.

Title: Deader Homes and Gardens

Author: Joan Hess

Pages: 310

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

ISBN: 978-1250019493

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin battles the gods with a bunch of kids in Tellulah Darling’s My Ex from Hell.

Title: My Ex from Hell

Author: Tellulah Darling

Pages: 170  

Publisher: Te Da Media

ISBN: 978-0988054035

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

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin enrolls in a school for the criminally gifted with Jeffrey Salane’s Lawless.

Title: Lawless

Author: Jeffrey Salane

Pages: 336  

Publisher: Scholastic Press

ISBN: 978-0545450294

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

As the U.S. economy struggles to recover from the financial crash, and Europe is buffeted by a series of banking crises, attention has focused on the presidents and prime ministers who've tried to cope with it all. Journalist Neil Irwin, an economics writer for The Washington Post, says there's an elite group of policymakers who can make enormously important decisions on their own, often deliberating in secret, and in many ways unaccountable to voters.

As a Mormon missionary, Ryan McIlvain spent two years ringing strangers' doorbells, even as he experienced doubts about his own faith. McIlvain left the church in his mid-20s. His debut novel, Elders, is based on the experiences he had trying to convert people to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "Elder" is the term used for a young Mormon on his mission.

Tina Brown, editor of the Daily Beast and Newsweek, joins NPR's Steve Inskeep again for an occasional feature Morning Edition likes to call Word of Mouth. She talks about what she's been reading and offers recommendations.

This month, as Brown prepares for her annual Women in the World Summit in New York City, her reading suggestions address just that: the role of women in the developing world.

Malala And The Media

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin tries out a new identity with Allie Larkin’s Why Can’t I Be You.

Title: Why Can’t I Be You

Author: Allie Larkin

Pages: 304

Publisher: Plume

ISBN: 978-0452298378

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin reunites with a troubled secret agent in Black Sheep by C. J. Lyons.

Title: Black Sheep

Author: C. J. Lyons

Pages: 341

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

ISBN: 978-1250015341

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

Beyond Teen Spirit: Learning From Kurt Cobain's Mistakes

Mar 25, 2013

Nicole J. Georges' latest book is Calling Dr. Laura.

My mother picked me up from school in early April 1994. I was barely a teenager, lips stretched over braces as I focused my attention on the radio dial, seeking an alternative station when my mom delivered some news: "Oh, your buddy died."

"Who is 'my buddy?' "

"Uhhh ... whatshisname ... the screaming, you know, the blonde. ..."

She was talking about Kurt Cobain.

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin indulges in Jessica Beck’s latest Donut Shop Mystery, Illegally Iced.

Title: Illegally Iced

Author: Jessica Beck

Pages: 277

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN: 978-1250001078

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

In January 2011, writer Emily Rapp was a happy new mother when she and her husband found themselves in a pediatric ophthalmologist's office with their 9-month-old son, Ronan. They were worried about Ronan's development and had gone to the eye doctor to rule out vision problems as the culprit. Checking Ronan's retinas, the doctor saw "cherry-red spots on the backs of his retinas," Rapp writes in her new memoir, The Still Point of the Turning World. Ronan's diagnosis that day was Tay-Sachs disease, a genetic and degenerative condition that is always fatal. There is no cure.

In 2011, Irish milliner Philip Treacy made waves across the world when he designed 36 different hats for the royal wedding. Remember Princess Beatrice's unforgettable hat? Treacy made that.

There's nothing particularly dynamic about Livia Manera and William Karel's documentary Philip Roth: Unmasked. For some 90 minutes, it's pretty much just one guy talking. But what a guy!

Roth is one of the greatest living novelists, possibly even the greatest. He can also be an inflammatory presence, eliciting outrage almost as much as admiration, particularly among women who see him as a misogynist.

At a hearing in Washington on March 6, Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to senators why it has been hard to go after big bank executives:

"It does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy. And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large."

"I am so stressed out" is a common refrain these days, but if you think of stress as a pervasive fact of life, consider this: Before 1976, The New York Times had never published an article about stress as we understand it today. Our idea of stress — as a personal, internal problem — is a recent invention.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin sets out on a classic spy mission with the 1941 thriller Above Suspicion by Helen MacInnes.

Title: Above Suspicion

Author: Helen MacInnes

Pages: 343

Publisher: Titan Books

ISBN: 978-1781161531

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

Of all the posters plastered around Facebook's Silicon Valley headquarters — "Move Fast and Break Things," "Done Is Better Than Perfect" and "Fail Harder" — Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has a favorite: "What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?"

"[It's] something that I think is really important and I think very motivating," Sandberg tells NPR's Renee Montagne. " ... I wrote in my book, what I would do if I wasn't afraid is, I would speak out more on behalf of women."

Back in 1988, it wasn't until the 62nd round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft that the Los Angeles Dodgers finally picked Mike Piazza. Nobody expected him to make it in the big leagues. But he did. He made his major league debut with the Dodgers on Sept. 1, 1992, and he hit his first home run just 12 days later.

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

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