Literature

Literature

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin battles a mysterious enemy with the Nowhere Man in author Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X.

Title: Orphan X

Author: Gregg Hurwitz

Pages: 316

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN: 978-1250067845

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

Like many romance readers, I have a list of authors whose new releases are always on my shopping list. But this winter I've been looking for new (to me) novels that reflect the people I see around me. I wanted to read books by authors of color. I also looked for interracial relationships, protagonists from different cultures, and class differences without power imbalances (the Women of Color in Romance website was a great resource). Here are a few that I found.

A new novel takes young readers inside the mind of a 5-year-old fox. Abandoned as a kit, Pax is taken in by Peter, a boy whose mother has died. When Peter's dad joins the military, Peter is forced to send Pax into the wild for the first time. The story — set during wartime in an unidentified time and place — is told from both Peter and Pax's perspectives.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin investigates mystery at a museum with Tim Flannery’s The Mystery of the Venus Island Fetish.

Title: The Mystery of the Venus Island Fetish

Author: Tim Flannery

Pages: 281

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN: 978-1250079428

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

Folklore For Hipsters: Fairy Tales Before They Were Cool

Feb 7, 2016

Reading The Tale of Tales, Giambattisa Basile's 17th-century book of fairy stories, is both exhilarating and exhausting. If that sounds like a warning, it is. If that sounds like a promise, well, good news.

In my house growing up, the walls of every room — including the bathroom — were decorated with several calendars. (Is this a Chinese-American thing? An immigrant family thing? I've always wondered.)

In Hong Kong's densely packed Causeway Bay district, a red sign with a portrait of Chairman Mao looms over the bustling storefronts and shoppers. The sign indicates that there is coffee, books and Internet on offer inside.

Customers go past a window where travelers can exchange foreign currencies, up a narrow staircase and into a room stacked high with books. The walls are painted red and decked out with 1960s Cultural Revolution propaganda posters and other Mao-era memorabilia. The aroma of coffee and the sound of jazz waft over the book-browsing customers.

A Sampler Of Web Comics To Keep You Clicking

Feb 2, 2016

Webcomics have matured a lot in recent years. Today's clickables aren't necessarily artistically superior to those created a decade ago, but they radiate a certain confidence and, in some cases, a more experimental vibe. That may be partly because fast connection speeds provide a more seamless reader experience, and partly because webcomics are somewhat more lucrative these days. Thanks to crowdfunding, more creators can afford to issue print editions or simply pay themselves for their time.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin goes on an audio parenting adventure with Jen Mann’s People I Want to Punch in the Throat.

Title: People I Want to Punch in the Throat

Author: Jen Mann

Runtime: 5 hours, 22 minutes

Publisher: Tantor Audio

AISN: B00QL3HJ2C

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

As many know, parenting isn't an easy job. It can be hugely frustrating and even lonely trying to figure out what's best for your kid. Should you be a taskmaster or a best friend? Is there a middle ground? The pressures of full-time work and round-the-clock activities can make that question even more challenging to tackle.

Readers have waited almost 15 years for a second novel from the acclaimed Alexander Chee, following the highly-praised Edinburgh. The wait is over.

The Queen Of The Night is sprawling, soaring, bawdy and plotted like a fine embroidery. Lilliet Berne is the most famous soprano in the French opera. She is offered the role of a lifetime: an original part written for her. But then she sees that the opera must be based on a part of her life she's kept under wraps.

A long-lost Beatrix Potter book, The Tale of Kitty-in-Boots, is set to be released this fall, 150 years after the beloved author's birth.

The tale about a sharply dressed feline has "all the hallmarks of Potter's best works," editor Jo Hanks, who stumbled upon the story, says in an interview with Penguin U.K., which will publish the book.

'All The Birds' Overturns Sci-Fi And Fantasy, Gently

Jan 26, 2016

As a genre, science-fantasy is often as basic as it sounds: People with swords meet people with lasers. (In some cases, like Star Wars, the swords and lasers are even the same thing.) But there's so much more potential in the overlap between science fiction and fantasy, a fact that's not lost on Charlie Jane Anders.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin heads out on a cross-country comic adventure with Jane Lotter’s The Bette Davis Club.

Title: The Bette Davis Club

Author: Jane Lotter

Pages: 325

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

ISBN: 978-1503951075

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

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Elizabeth McKenzie's clever, romantic comedy broadcasts quirkiness right on its cover, with its potentially off-putting title and its illustration of a squirrel instead of the interlocked wedding rings you might expect. In the tradition of Elizabeth McCracken's The Giant's House and Graeme Simsion's The Rosie Project, The Portable Veblen is a smart charmer about a brainy off-center couple who face up to their differences — and their difficult, eccentric families — only after they become engaged. Although plenty whimsical — the squirrel has opinions!

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin heads back to middle school with a mutant dinosaur in the audio edition of Sink or Swim, the second book in author Bob Balaban’s The Creature from the Seventh Grade series.

Title: Sink or Swim

Author: Bob Balaban

Runtime: 4 hours, 41 minutes

Publisher: Listening Library

AISN: B00EE0Y8P0

Winnie-the-Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood is based on a real forest in the English countryside. NPR's Ari Shapiro visits Ashdown Forest with Kathryn Aalto, author of The Natural World of Winnie-the-Pooh. (This story originally aired on All Things Considered on Oct. 26, 2015.)

After a torrent of criticism, Scholastic has decided to stop distributing A Birthday Cake for George Washington, a picture book about one of George Washington's slaves.

The historical book tells the story of Hercules, a slave used by the president as his chef. It shows Hercules and his daughter Delia happy and taking pride in making Washington a birthday cake.

Almost as soon as the book was released, it received withering criticism for whitewashing the history of slavery.

Great Expectations: Dickens And The Powerball

Jan 13, 2016

The Powerball bonanza, which has touched an unprecedented $1.5 billion, may be the largest jackpot in human history, but the frenzied ticket buying and wild hopes attending it are hardly new. Ask Charles Dickens.

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