Literature

Literature

Robot Birds Teach Kids To Program In 'Secret Coders'

Oct 7, 2015

Four-eyed robot birds really shouldn't be necessary to get kids excited about computers. For that matter, Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes' whole book (in which four-eyed robot birds are prominently featured) ought to be laughably superfluous to the education of today's youth. With computers mediating everything we do, exchanging information in the very air around us, you'd think kids would be learning binary code with their ABCs.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin reunites for a crime-fighter and a criminal for their latest con in The Scam by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg.

Title: The Scam

Author: Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Pages: 188

Publisher: Bantam

ISBN: 978-0345543165

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

"But I will sustain myself

With nothing more than the perfume of jasmine flowers..."

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin is haunted by the ghosts of high school with author Nora Carroll’s Academy Girls.

Title: Academy Girls

Author: Nora Carroll

Pages: 391

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

ISBN: 978-1503947443

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin tries to do it all with the guilt-ridden mom in Elisabeth Egan’s A Window Opens.

Title: A Window Opens

Author: Elisabeth Egan

Pages: 333

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

ISBN: 978-1501105432

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

Advyce For The Sesoun Of Returninge To Scole

Sep 21, 2015

Editor's Note: This piece is part of an occasional series of advice columns from the Internet's own Chaucer Doth Tweet. We've brought him back this fall to advise us on all things school-related. As usual, Middle English is involved.

Gentil folke, yt ys wyse and profitable to seeke advyce and counsel yn all thinges. And whanne the dayes of the scole yeare do return yn fall, then advyce and counsel ys moost necessarye.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

September is about more than kids heading off to school, all bright shining faces and expensive new electronics. This month also kicks off a horrifying gauntlet of fear, tedium and aggravation (mostly aggravation) for a beleaguered species, the college professor.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin joins the battle between demons and jesters in Camp Arcanum by Columbus author Josef Matulich.

Title: Camp Arcanum

Author: Josef Matulich

Pages: 247

Publisher: Post Mortem Press

ISBN: 978-0615965703

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

Here's the good news about Ceridwen Dovey's short story collection Only the Animals: It contains a genuinely moving story told from the point of view of a parrot. That's obviously not an easy thing to pull off, but Dovey manages it beautifully. The bird, adopted by an American divorcée who has moved to Beirut, makes for an intriguing narrator, and the story is clever, biting and wistfully sad.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin returns to battle with grim reaper Charley Davidson in the audio version of Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones.

Title: Seventh Grave and No Body

Author: Darynda Jones

CDs: 9 (10 1/2 hours)

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

ISBN: 978-1427244376

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

'Twelve Kings' Launches A Bold New Fantasy World

Sep 2, 2015

Despite numerous, valiant efforts over the past few years to broaden the palette of epic fantasy, the genre still has a default setting: some fictionalized version of medieval Europe. Add Bradley P. Beaulieu's new novel, Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, to the growing list of proud exceptions. Set in a world covered by desert and lit by twin moons, Twelve Kings includes Islamic and Ancient Egyptian influences among its fabulist mix of cultures.

About two-thirds of the way through Jonathan Franzen's big new novel, Purity, we're told about an "ambitious project" conceived by a young artist named Anabel. Anabel finds it strange that people can go through their lives without "having made the most basic acquaintance with [their bodies] ...

Spoiler alert: Terry Pratchett's final novel begins with the death of one of his toughest and best-developed characters.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin gets a peek beyond the gossip mags with author Hilary Liftin’s fictional celebrity memoir, Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper.

Title: Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper

Author: Hilary Liftin

Pages: 334

Publisher: Viking

ISBN: 978-0670016419

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

Taking chances can sometimes lead to great art. But award-winning poet Carl Phillips says there's a risk to, well, taking risks.

"I think there has to be a place for risk and for restlessness in any kind of fully lived life, and especially I think for an artist," he tells NPR's Arun Rath. "I think it's the only way that imagination gets stimulated and continues — but I think it can easily go unchecked."

His latest work, Reconnaissance, looks for the balance between restlessness and stability — and between the raw and the refined, the omnicient and the intimate.

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin follows a hostage crisis in Manhattan with Stefanie Pintoff’s Hostage Taker.

Title: Hostage Taker

Author: Stefanie Pintoff

Pages: 392

Publisher: Bantam

ISBN: 978-0345531407

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin travels to India for an unusual job interview in The Accidental Apprentice by Vikas Swarup.

Title: The Accidental Apprentice

Author: Vikas Swarup

Pages: 434

Publisher: Minotaur Books

ISBN: 978-1250067760

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin listens in as a reporter investigates the past in the audio version of Allison Brennan’s Notorious.

Title: Notorious

Author: Allison Brennan

CDs: 10 (13 hours)

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

ISBN: 978-1427236319

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

On this week’s Shelf Discovery, Kristin cooks up some romance with author Amy E. Reichert’s The Coincidence of Coconut Cake.

Title: The Coincidence of Coconut Cake

Author: Amy E. Reichert

Pages: 231

Publisher: Gallery Books

ISBN: 978-1501100710

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

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