August 31, 2010 From when not to say thank you, to an embarrassing run-in at a Shanghai Taco Bell, Deborah Fallows recounts her tumultuous journey through the Chinese language in her new book, Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons in Life, Love, and Language.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/129552512/129556812" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
August 31, 2010 Sara Paretsky's latest novel, Body Work, takes her heroine into the world of cutting-edge performance art, PTSD and the mob. It's the 14th installment of Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski crime thriller series, which she started writing more than 20 years ago.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/129555599/129555580" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
August 31, 2010 Alex Cohen may be a public radio reporter by day, but by night she goes by her roller derby name — Axles of Evil. Cohen has joined forces with fellow L.A. Derby Doll Jennifer "Kasey Bomber" Barbee to write Down and Derby, an insider's guide to a rough-and-tumble sport.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/129536182/129546740" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Jonathan Franzen is also the author of The Corrections: A Novel and The Discomfort Zone, a memoir.
August 30, 2010 Jonathan Franzen's new novel, Freedom, doesn't come out until Tuesday but The New York Times has already declared it a "masterpiece" and Time magazine has dubbed Franzen a "Great American Novelist." The book has gotten so much attention in the media that it's led to accusations of both gender and genre bias among the literary elite.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/129529565/129537156" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
August 25, 2010 In a powerful memoir, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey surveys the storm-battered landscape of the place she once called home. Beyond Katrina is a powerful meditation on things long gone that will never come back.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/129378912/129431188" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
August 25, 2010 A recent debate over book reviews and the ubiquity of similar Brooklyn writers stresses the desperate need to put away the term "chick lit" forever.
Jonathan Franzen is also the author of The Corrections: A Novel, and The Discomfort Zone, a memoir.
August 24, 2010 There's been plenty of buzz about Jonathan Franzen's much-anticipated fourth novel ever since President Obama accepted an advance readers copy for his vacation in Martha's Vineyard. Critic Heller McAlpin says inflated expectations aside, she found Freedom to be a surprisingly moving and hopeful epic.
August 24, 2010 Playwright Quiara Alegria Hudes has gone back to the basics — the very basics of the ABCs. Her latest project — a children's book called Welcome To My Neighborhood! A Barrio ABC — follows a young girl who takes her best friend on an alphabetical tour through her North Philadelphia neighborhood.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/129379017/129395267" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Jack Clark's pulp mystery was inspired by his years of driving customers around Chicago after hours.
Courtesy Jack Clark
August 23, 2010 It's not unusual to get in a cab and find a paperback novel on the seat next to the driver. What makes Jack Clark's cab different is that he's both the driver and the author. Clark is a Chicago cab driver who's been driving for 30 years — and written three mystery novels.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/129376474/129378627" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Caroline Richard Simon holds Elise Simon, 11 months old, on the day her adoption was approved by Chinese officials in Nanchang.
Courtesy of Scott Simon
August 23, 2010 NPR host Scott Simon became a father for the first time at the age of 50, when he and his wife Caroline adopted the first of their two daughters from China. He describes how he felt becoming a father relatively late in life, how his family changed — and how his daughters continue to inspire him, in a new memoir, Baby We Were Meant For Each Other.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/129375629/129377749" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
August 23, 2010 It's safe to say that most Americans don't spend much time thinking about intellectual property law. But in Common As Air, Lewis Hyde explains why these laws profoundly affect our culture — and how they are based on assumptions that are artificial, illogical and outdated.
It's Kindle, and other e-readers, vs. The Book.
August 20, 2010 If many types of paper-based books are headed for extinction, what will take their place? "E-readers" are a big part of the present and future — but not the whole story. Video games and multi-narrator online stories will have their places too.
James Baldwin, an American novelist, essayist, playwright and poet, grew up in New York City but moved to France in 1948.
August 19, 2010 The writer once said about his fellow Americans, "It is astonishing that in a country so devoted to the individual, so many people should be afraid to speak." Baldwin was African-American and openly gay — but he was not afraid to speak, and his writings challenged black and white readers alike.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/129281259/129293282" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Natasha Trethewey and her brother Joe stand in front of Fort Massachusetts on Ship Island, Miss., circa 1999.
Courtesy of the author
August 18, 2010 In a new memoir, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey revisits her own memories of the Gulf Coast region, and details how members of her family worked to rebuild their lives after the storm. She asks how the identity of the Gulf will be remembered — and how the region's stories will be told.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/129252666/129277115" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
August 18, 2010 The days are getting shorter, and it's hard to breeze though pages like you did on vacation just a few short weeks ago. Critic Cord Jefferson offers five nonfiction titles — true stories that will gently ease you out of the summer months, and back into the routines of fall.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor