December 30, 2011 Poet Tracy K. Smith's three favorite poems of 2011 blur the private and public, the personal and political, and will refresh how you look at language and the world.
December 28, 2011 The NPR Music staff presents 12 titles that range from the art of album covers to disco to Def Jam to metal to MTV. This year, our favorite music reads were mostly revealing biographies and wide-spanning analyses.
December 26, 2011 A nuclear bomb wipes out a U.S. city — and it's unclear who the real perpetrator is. Though current events — the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Iraq — have overtaken the plot of Blink of An Eye, the political thriller from former Secretary of Defense William Cohen is exciting nonetheless.
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December 23, 2011 The Artist of Disappearance, from Indian writer Anita Desai, is a trilogy. All three works dwell on themes of change and permanence, and they illustrate the conflicts and challenges of modern Indian culture.
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December 22, 2011 Susan Jane Gilman recommends behind-the-scenes reads about the rich and famous — by a rock star, a hotel concierge, a stuntman and a Brat Packer, all offering backstage passes to their glamorous lives. Entertaining and star-studded, they make for perfect holiday escapism — with a cocktail (or two) in hand.
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December 21, 2011 Critic Dan Kois selects the standout graphic novels of the year, which include books from France and Japan, explicit picaresques, hard-boiled mysteries, memoirs, fairy tales and new twists on old classics.
December 20, 2011 Dagoberto Gilb has published a new collection of stories, some written before he suffered a stroke in 2009 and some after. The book is called Before the End, After the Beginning.
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December 20, 2011 Before the Civil Rights movement, segregated American cities helped give birth to the Chitlin' Circuit, a touring revue that provided employment for hundreds of black musicians. Rock historian Ed Ward profiles two recent books which illuminate the conditions these musicians endured.
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December 20, 2011 These five books take us inside the minds of a founding father and the father of the iPod; the vexing artists who brought us Starry Night and Slaughterhouse-Five; and the couple whose scientific discoveries changed the world in awesome, and awful, ways.
December 19, 2011 Say farewell to prissy princesses. Author Heather Havrilesky recommends three page turners with plucky female protagonists. These satisfying sisters will lift your spirits and open your eyes.
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December 19, 2011 Young adult literature has never been so psychologically probing or artistically ambitious as it is today. Marissa Meyer's favorite novels beguile, thrill and, above all, transport younger readers to a Shakespearean magical theater, futuristic Chicago and a netherworld of ghost hunters.
December 19, 2011 As a journalist and author looking for some inspiration, Jill Abramson looked to James Thurber. His description of working for storied editor Harold Ross isn't just hilarious; it's an illuminating look at an important journalistic icon.
December 15, 2011 Science fiction and fantasy books aren't just getting more popular, they're interbreeding with other genres to produce wild new hybrid forms — swapping DNA with literary novels, commenting on current events, morphing into historical science fiction romances, and evolving into hard-boiled detective fantasy.
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December 14, 2011 He's made his list and checked it twice: critic Alan Cheuse recommends the best books to give as gifts in 2011. This year, it's mostly fiction — books that will light up dark winter nights with warm stories, large characters and beautiful language.
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December 14, 2011 2011 was a terrific year for fiction — both from first-time novelists and much-decorated veterans. Maureen Corrigan's recommendations range from Karen Russell's dazzling debut, to David Foster Wallace's posthumously published novel, to what may be the Sept. 11 novel.
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