Books

Monkey See
3:59 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Spurred By Success, Publishers Look For The Next 'Hunger Games'

Originally published on Tue March 6, 2012 7:19 pm

The film version of the young adult book sensation The Hunger Games opens March 23rd. The hype around the movie has sent the sales of the already best-selling trilogy to new heights. And publishers are eagerly churning out more books set in post apocalyptic dystopian worlds — just like The Hunger Games.

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Books News & Features
3:35 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

The Unlikely Best-Seller: 'A Wrinkle In Time' Turns 50

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 5:40 pm

Imagine, for a moment, that you're a publisher hearing a pitch about a children's book whose tangled plot braids together quantum physics, fractions and megaparsecs (a measure for distances in intergalactic space). The book also casually tosses out phrases in French, Italian, German and ancient Greek. Sound like the next kids' best-seller to you?

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Author Interviews
4:43 pm
Sun March 4, 2012

They're Nobody And Want To Know Everything

Two mysterious men pull up to the courthouse and head to the public records office. They're strangers, and they ask a lot of strange questions like, "I'd like to look at Mayor John Doe's property deeds." Or, "I want to see Congressman Smith's voting records."

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Author Interviews
2:25 pm
Sun March 4, 2012

A Road Trip In Search Of America's Lost Languages

Trip of the Tongue cover detail
Bloomsbury Publishing

Originally published on Mon March 5, 2012 1:38 pm

The vast majority of the 175 indigenous languages still spoken in the United States are on the verge of extinction.

Linguist Elizabeth Little spent two years driving all over the country looking for the few remaining pockets where those languages are still spoken — from the scores of Native American tongues, to the Creole of Louisiana. The resulting book is Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America's Lost Languages.

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Author Interviews
4:55 pm
Sat March 3, 2012

'Enchantments' Of Rasputin's Lion-Taming Daughter

Rischgitz Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 3, 2012 5:09 pm

The famed mystic Rasputin — notorious for his otherworldly powers and his sexual escapades — may not have seemed like a traditional family man, but in fact, he had a wife and three children.

His eldest daughter, Maria, is at the center of Kathryn Harrison's new novel, Enchantments, a dark fairytale mash-up of history and magical realism set during the last days of Imperial Russia.

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NPR's Backseat Book Club
7:16 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Two Books For Kids About How Hard It Is To Fit In

Cover detail: The Hundred Dresses

One of the great things about being a reader is that over time, the books on your shelf seem to start talking to one another. Themes echo and resurface and resonate in new ways. That's why in February, NPR's Backseat Book Club — our monthly feature aimed at young readers — selected a pair of books published 60 years apart that still seem to speak directly to each other.

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Author Interviews
3:24 am
Mon February 27, 2012

How You Can Harness 'The Power Of Habit'

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 6:52 am

The 19th century psychologist William James observed, "All our life ... is but a mass of habits."

Ad men in the 20th century took this aphorism to heart. It wasn't enough to simply sell a product; the goal was to hook consumers and keep them coming back.

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Author Interviews
12:01 am
Mon February 27, 2012

'Space Chronicles': Why Exploring Space Still Matters

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson says valuing space exploration "transforms the culture into one that values science and technology."
AP

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 12:02 pm

After decades of global dominance, America's space shuttle program ended last summer while countries like Russia, China and India continue to advance their programs. But astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of the new book Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier, says America's space program is at a critical moment. He thinks it's time for America to invest heavily in space exploration and research.

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Author Interviews
3:03 pm
Sun February 26, 2012

How Sugar Brought An End to Hawaii's Nationhood

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 7:40 am

If you've seen a Hawaiian tourism commercial, a beach movie, or even a cartoon with Daffy Duck in a lei and a grass skirt, you've heard the poignant strains of "Aloha Oe."

But the tune has a history stretching far beyond cartoons and commercials: It was composed in 1878 by the woman who would become the last queen of Hawaii, Lili'uokalani.

Hawaii is the only state to have once been an independent monarchy. And when Lili'u, as she called herself, was born in 1838, it was at its height.

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Author Interviews
5:40 pm
Sat February 25, 2012

A Theologian Has A Falling Out With God In 'Still'

HarperOne

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 11:46 am

Theologian Lauren Winner was 21 when she became a Christian.

Although she was raised in a Jewish household and had converted to Orthodox Judaism, she says she felt drawn to Christianity. Her surprising conversion is the subject of her first memoir, the bestseller Girl Meets God.

In Winner's new book, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, she writes about a spiritual crisis.

Winner, an ordained Episcopal priest who teaches Christian spirituality at Duke University, says it happened around the time her mother died and her marriage collapsed.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:25 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Beautiful Souls: How Humans Overcome Evil

Amid stories of horrific atrocities like the Holocaust and the ethnic cleansing that took place in the Balkans in the 1990’s, occasional tales of courage emerge: the stories of individuals who fly in the face of convention – or even the law – to stand up for what they know is right.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
10:00 am
Thu February 23, 2012

The Beauty of No

Author Interviews
2:58 am
Wed February 22, 2012

A 'Favored Daughter' Fights For Afghan Women

On the day she was born, Fawzia Koofi nearly died after being left outside in the unrelenting Afghan sun. But against all odds, Koofi survived and went on to become Afghanistan's first female deputy speaker of Parliament. Today, Koofi's name is floated in discussions about whether Afghanistan is ready for a first female president.

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You Must Read This
5:50 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

A Depressive Diarist Chronicles His Descent

istockphoto.com

Patrick deWitt is the author of The Sisters Brothers.

"Doesn't the act of noticing matter as much as what's noticed?" So asks the narrator of Harry Mathews' masterpiece of minutia, The Journalist.

On the mend from a nervous breakdown (though it's mentioned only in passing — "the steering wheel came off in my hands," he says), he's been encouraged by his doctor to keep a journal. A seemingly benign idea, and he throws himself into the task with gusto — far too much gusto, it turns out, as the journal soon eclipses his entire life.

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The Exchange
10:00 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Author Colin Woodard and his new book "American Nations" (REBROADCAST)

According to our guest today, Colin Woodard, America's political divisions aren't between red states and blue states, right and left, Republicans and Democrats but between 11 distinct North American cultural regions.  They are regions the he names "Yankeedom", "Greater Appalachia", "The Deep South" and "The Far West" and they have been created by centuries of Americans who settled there, each with their own unique cultures, religions, political traditions and ethnographic characteristics.  Woodard suggests that only by truly understanding these regions can we begin to see beyond these deep 

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