May 16, 2012 After a museum conservator's lover dies, she becomes consumed with reanimating a 19th-century silver swan automaton. Critic Heller McAlpin says that Peter Carey's new novel is part historical, part fanciful and completely wonderful.
May 15, 2012 Toni Morrison's latest novel revisits the story of the prodigal son, as a Korean War veteran returns to his hometown in the pre-civil rights era South. Critic Heller McAlpin says Home is as accessible and visceral as anything Morrison has written.
May 3, 2012 In Nell Freudenberger's new novel, a young Bangladeshi woman marries an American man she meets online and struggles to adjust to life in Rochester, N.Y.
May 1, 2012 Alison Bechdel follows up her smash success Fun Home, a graphic memoir about her closeted gay father, with Are You My Mother? another beautifully crafted "comic drama," this time focusing on her emotionally distant mother.
April 24, 2012 In her new book Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, Anna Quindlen says she "wouldn't be 25 again on a bet, or even 40." Her humorous memoir celebrates the confidence and contentment of women in their 50s.
April 4, 2012 In her 19th novel, Anne Tyler returns to familiar themes, but with a supernatural twist. A grieving widower comes to grips with his wife's recent death with the help of her ghost.
March 29, 2012 What do you do when your 19-year-old son becomes a father? You roll with the punches. Anne Lamott's new book, Some Assembly Required, is a witty and refreshingly honest record of the joys and stresses of becoming a first-time grandmother.
March 14, 2012 Kathryn Harrison's novel about Rasputin's daughter and the blood-soaked last days of the Russian imperial family should be full of wicked intrigue — but critic Heller McAlpin says it falls curiously flat.
March 6, 2012 Peter Cameron's latest novel is a melancholy period piece — turned on its head. A young nurse enters into a curious relationship with her patient's sexually conflicted son.
February 22, 2012 Thomas Mallon's new novelization of the infamous political scandal re-imagines the events through the eyes of the perpetrators. Critic Heller McAlpin says Mallon manages to capture both the metastasizing dishonesty and the ludicrousness of this great American tragedy of political ambition run amok.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/147063867/147305609" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
February 20, 2012 Krys Lee's short stories explore brutal, fracturing families with political and feminist overtones. Critic Heller McAlpin says to read this book twice — if you can bear to.
January 23, 2012 In this cheekily irreverent first novel by Shalom Auslander, an worry-worn family man moves to bucolic upstate New York — only to find that Anne Frank is squatting in his attic.
January 19, 2012 On the verge of foreclosure, bankruptcy and divorce, a couple returns to the site of their honeymoon in a last-ditch effort to make things work.
January 4, 2012 Playwright Alan Bennett offers a pair of deliciously devilish novellas about two middle-aged, middle-class British matrons — who aren't what they seem.
December 1, 2011 This year, the best books are those that remain with readers long after they turn the last page. Whether a sprawling nonfiction narrative, a riveting first novel or a wrenching memoir, these keepers are unforgettable.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor