July 29, 2010 Lifelong angler Paul Greenberg fuses investigative journalism, travelogue and personal memoir into one grand meditation on humankind's relationship with the ocean. Four Fish asks readers "to reevaluate whether fish are at their root expendable seafood or wildlife desperately in need of our compassion."
July 28, 2010 Gary Shteyngart's dystopian novel narrates two doomed romances: one between a man and a woman, and one between a writer and his country — or what he fears his country may become. By turns fierce, funny and frightening, Super Sad True Love Story deserves a place on the shelf beside 1984 and Brave New World.
July 26, 2010 Stories about sober, upstanding Dutch trading clerks on assignment in Tokugawa-era Japan aren't exactly trendy in the publishing industry ... but that didn't stop David Mitchell. Critic Michael Schaub finds Mitchell's latest novel so inventive and complex that he expects it to easily qualify as one of the best books of 2010.
July 23, 2010 Author Helen Simonson risks her literary pretensions to admit a lifelong secret attraction to the Regency romance novels of Georgette Heyer. The dampened muslin dresses, the highly polished boots — for her, nothing beats these tales of heroines who require a man with a firm hand on the bridle.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/127749209/128728996" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 23, 2010 First published in 1964 as La violence et la derision, Albert Cossery's The Jokers is light in tone. But underlying its ridiculous set-up and playful nature are dissent and rage — a railing against the idea of an intractable political fate. The Jokers is Cossery's sixth book to be translated from French to English.
July 22, 2010 Medicine woman Ignacia Vigil Romero may be dead, but she's still got a lot to say. She narrates The Ghost of Milagro Creek, which follows Ignacia's grandson Mister and his friend Tomas — two best friends who find themselves in love with the same girl.
July 21, 2010 When Laura Lorson needs a break from the daily grind, she curls up with books that transport her to simpler times. She recommends three titles that take her back to her days of childhood summer reading — absorbing words off sun-dappled pages under the shade of a tree.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/127741628/128668123" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 21, 2010 Contemporary authors have a habit of lazily shoplifting plots and characters from 19th-century fiction — especially the works of Jane Austen. But even though Allegra Goodman's latest novel, The Cookbook Collector, is a modern riff on Sense and Sensibility, her homage quickly comes to have a glorious life of its own.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/128667216/128668277" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 20, 2010 Wendy MacLeod saw Witness at an impressionable age, and has been fascinated with the Amish ever since. MacLeod hoped that Mennonite in a Little Black Dress would be a little bit sexier, but says that Rhoda Janzen's memoir is still plenty of G-rated fun.
July 19, 2010 Former foreign correspondent Dan Fesperman returns with his latest exotic thriller, this time set among the indoor ski slopes and desert strip malls of Dubai. Critic Oscar Villalon says the novel is terrific entertainment, but the book really shines in its dissection of the strange conflicts and contradictions of Dubai's culture.
July 15, 2010 Alexander McCall Smith, author of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, carries on the grand old tradition of serialized novels in Corduroy Mansions. There's plenty of quirk and charm in this high-spirited, rambling tale about the inhabitants of a genteel, comfortably worn apartment block in London.
July 13, 2010 Suzanne Rivecca's seven short stories feature angrily confused, acerbically witty and romantically incompetent female protagonists. In her first work of fiction, Rivecca brilliantly expresses the pain and the humor of becoming a woman.
July 13, 2010 Thomas McMahon's novel isn't long, but writer Sue Miller says it manages to accomplish frequent hilarity, tender sexiness and sheer erudition. With intelligence and humor, McKay's Bees wonders about all that is funny, sad and amazing in the world.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/125635423/128495318" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
July 12, 2010 Sonia Shah's The Fever is a compelling account of a disease that remains out of sight — and out of mind — for most Americans, even as it slowly tightens its grip on other parts of the world. The treatable disease was eradicated in the U.S. 60 years ago, but it still kills about 1 million people around the world each year.
July 9, 2010 Flannery O'Connor's collection of essays explores topics ranging from the act of writing to the art of raising peacocks. But what Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake values most is how seriously O'Connor takes the task of being human.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor