The Bookshelf is NHPR's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State. All Things Considered features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. 

Writers On A New England Stage: Anne Rice

Aug 24, 2015
© David J. Murray /

NHPR and The Music Hall present Writers on a New England Stage with author Anne Rice who reinvented a genre when she published Interview with the Vampire nearly 40 years ago.

The Bookshelf: Short Story Writer Robin McLean

Jul 3, 2015
Robert McLean

The Bookshelf is NHPR's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State. All Things Considered host Peter Biello interviews authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves.

If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is

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Serving today’s ultra-rich may not be so much about finicky Downton Abbey-esque table settings, but it often involves lots of unexpected duties. On today’s show, we’ll talk to a writer who enrolled at the nation’s foremost “Butler Boot Camp,” where students learn to navigate the whims and habits of today’s elite. Then, the story of Sylvester Graham and his signature snack: the graham cracker, which was borne out of philosophy that promoted chastity, temperance, and the prohibition of alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and spices. All of which could excite our animal desires. 

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Disasters in developing nations bring out the better angels of foreign governments and world citizens, but not all aid, or media coverage, is distributed equally. On today’s show we discover why the world’s worst disasters don’t always get the most aid.

Then, if you’ve ever binge-watched a show until you feel sick, you may be suffering from: “shoverdose”.  Check your phone obsessively? Well, you may be “figital”. Later in the show, the joys of made-up words.

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Once relegated to fanzines and the occasional bookstore, “fan fiction” is quickly becoming more accessible, more mainstream, and in some cases, more of a headache for authors who inspired the fans in the first place. On today’s show, why some authors are bucking against the trend.

Then, the days of the charity 5k may be over. Despite an improving economy, many of the biggest charity races are reporting drops in participation and funds raised. We’ll find out why adventure races like Tough Mudder may be to blame.

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It’s presented as the be-all end- all metric by economists, politicians, and newscasters, but what exactly is GDP? 

On today’s show, the surprisingly fascinating process of measuring gross domestic product, and what this all important economic indicator overlooks.

Plus, the non-profit “Mars One” received over 200,000 applicants for its one way mission to Mars. A new short documentary follows three of the candidates as they vie for a trip they’ll never return from and a place in the history books.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

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It’s September, put down that beach novel, it's time to get serious about your to-be-read list. Thankfully, fall is the biggest season in the publishing world, so there's plenty of titles to choose from. Michele Filgate, freelance writer, critic, and independent bookseller at Community Bookstore in Brooklyn brings us her must read list for early fall. Click on the book titles for more information.

Carl Hiassen's "Bad Monkey"

Jun 26, 2014

Word of Mouth presents a special rebroadcast of Writers on a New England Stage with Carl Hiassen, presented by NHPR and The Music Hall and recorded live at The Music Hall in Portsmouth. Hiassen joined Virginia on stage last June to talk about “Bad Monkey,” a volume of comic crime fiction. It is now available in paperback

Photo of Nicholson Baker courtesy the Poetry Foundation

Author Nicholson Baker joins us to talk about his recurring character Paul Chowder. The procrastinating poet first tuned up in Baker's novel The Anthologist, and is now the center of his latest book, Traveling Sprinkler.

This month All Things Considered has been talking with authors who write in or about New Hampshire.

We conclude the series with D.M. Cataneo. His new novel Eggplant Alley tells the story of Nicky Martini, a 13 year old growing up in a run-down New York City neighborhood during the turbulent year of 1970.

D.M. Cataneo talks about the book with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson.

This month All Things Considered has been been talking with authors who write in or about New Hampshire.

Today’s guest writes in the Granite State, but her book is definitely not set here.

It’s a dark fantasy novel set in an alternate version of 14th century England, with sorcery, battles, and plenty of blood.

It’s called Elisha Barber, and the author is E.C. Ambrose, who joins host Brady Carlson in the studio to talk about the book.

Between 1978 and 1988, the murders of seven women in New Hampshire and Vermont were attributed to the “Connecticut River Valley Killer”. Investigations of several suspects, and one deathbed confession went cold, and the killer was never found. Novelist Joseph Olshan’s “Cloudland,” is a fictionalized crime thriller based on the case. We spoke to Joe Olshan last spring when the book was released, now, it’s out in paperback. He lived in the upper valley when the sixth and final victim was found, and he explained what, as an outsider, he saw happen to local residents.

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Most of us read 1984 and Lord of the Flies in high school, but the new dystopian novel has grown in popularity beyond the required reading list to include a new generation of young fans.  David Sobel looks at the legion of apocryphal novels set in worlds devastated by wars and environmental collapse now aimed at teens as emblematic of a rising tide of hopelessness. He is a member of the senior faculty at Antioch New England, and his article “Feed the Hunger” was published in the November-December issue of Orion magazine.

Next week the band Level3 will perform at the Lane Memorial Library in Hampton - despite the fact that Level3 is a fictional band.

Confused yet? Not to worry – it’s all part of a new young adult novel called Reunited, in which three young women drive from New England to Texas to see the one-night-only reunion concert of their once-favorite band, Level 3.

It’s a fiction writer’s job to create authentic worlds  and suspend disbelief. One of the more time-consuming techniques in their toolbox? Inventing new languages – like the two forms of elvish used throughout J.R.R Tolkien's the Lord of the Rings. Michael Adams is a professor of English at Indiana

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Novels, movies, TV and games engage the human imagination with tragedy, comedy, sex, violence, twisted families, rapacious gangsters, mysteries and monsters. But could all this fantasy be good for us?

Jonathan Gottschall is author of The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make us Human. He wrote about research into how fiction influences our views for The Boston Globe.

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Imagine the Olympics with no gold medal…the prom without a queen...Top Model without a Top Model. Much of the literary world is bereft after the Pulitzer Prize board snubbed the fiction category in this year’s awards. It’s the first time since 1977 that the 'Lords of lit' deemed no book worthy of the honor.

Ready for some creative competition? Weekends on All Things Considered is launching Round 8 of its Three-Minute Fiction contest. Here's what we look for: original, short fiction that can be read in less than three minutes — that's no more than 600 words.

If you listen to All Things Considered often enough, you’ll notice that many of the stories and conversations we share with you work out to around three minutes long.

NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered has turned that scenario on its head, through its Three Minute Fiction contest.

A Depressive Diarist Chronicles His Descent

Feb 20, 2012

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.

'Plotto': An Algebra Book For Fiction Writing

Feb 15, 2012

It's been said that there are only seven basic plots in fiction. Pulp novelist William Wallace Cook would beg to differ.

According to Cook, there are a whopping 1,462 plots, all of which he laid out in his 1928 book, Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots.