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Great Reads In Store: Indie Booksellers Pick 2012's Best()  

Illustration: A bookseller stands in the doorway of his shop.

December 13, 2012 Susan Stamberg presents the year's best books, picked by independent booksellers around the country. Selections range from gritty, free-verse fairy tales to ballerina photographs and a grim Southern story about a small town that would rather its ghosts remain at rest.

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Librarian Nancy Pearl's Picks For The Omnivorous Reader()  

Illustration: Nancy Pearl peering through bookshelves.

November 27, 2012 The only thing that these books have in common is that NPR's go-to librarian likes them a lot. Nancy Pearl's self-described "higgledy-piggledy" list includes a book of cartoons, a Civil War history, a coming-of-age story, a spy novel and more.

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5 Young Adult Novels That You'll Never Outgrow()  

Illustration: a teen slouches in a chair, reading a book.

December 20, 2012 It was a strange and wonderful year for young adult fiction, says critic Maggie Stiefvater. This list rounds up five magical books for young adults and grown-ups alike.

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Best Music Of 2012

Staff Picks: Our Favorite Music Books Of 2012()  

The Best Music Books of 2012.

December 22, 2012 On subjects familiar (Beethoven's Fifth) and obscure (notoriously tight-lipped cult artists), our favorite writing about music dove deep and showed us new ways to love the sounds in our lives.

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Now You're Talking! The Year's Best Book Club Reads()  

Illustration of a book club meeting.

December 12, 2012 Some of these novels will touch your heart; others will challenge your mind. One will make you laugh — a few might make you cry. But all of these books recommended by NPR's Lynn Neary will give you and your friends plenty to talk about.

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10 Books To Help You Recover From A Tense 2012()  

Illustration: A snowman reads a book.

December 13, 2012 2012 was a very jittery year — what with the presidential election, extreme weather events and the looming "fiscal cliff." Fresh Air critic Maureen Corrigan found that her favorite fiction and nonfiction this year directly confronted the atmospheric uncertainty of the age.

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Courage And Curiosity: The Best Heroines Of 2012()  

Illustration: A woman with a sword and a shield battles a ferocious book.

December 27, 2012 This year's literary heroines aren't defined by their desire to love or be loved — or even to be especially lovable. Writer and critic Parul Sehgal celebrates five sublimely stubborn women, frequently at odds with themselves and always at odds with their times.

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Romantic Reads From Shakespeare To Steampunk (Heavy On The Steam)()  

Romance

December 18, 2012 Writer Eloisa James gathers the best of 2012's romance subgenres. Expect lots of heat, in the most unexpected places and with some unlikely people: From the military to the paranormal, and from Shakespeare to steampunk, James' picks for the year skip across oceans and genres.

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The Year's Outstanding 'Backseat' Reads, For Ages 9 To 14()  

NPR's Backseat Book Club

December 10, 2012 NPR's Backseat Book Club polled children's booksellers and librarians to find 2012's best books for middle-graders. The winners are a heartwarming city kid's tale, a Chinese folklore-inspired adventure, and an encounter with a 10-year-old you'll never forget.

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True Originals: Biographies That Defy Expectations()  

biographies

December 28, 2012 Our list of this year's best biographies focuses on books about individuals who lived their lives off the beaten path. From the story of a spy turned chef to the story of the real Count of Monte Cristo, these books chronicle subjects who refused to conform to the expectations of others.

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Graphic Novels That Flew Under The Radar In 2012()  

Illustration: a superhero flies while reading a book.

December 25, 2012 It's been a great year for high-profile comics creators, producing landmark works destined for many "Best Comics of 2012" lists. But what about the lesser-known artists and their work? Glen Weldon points to outstanding works that haven't gotten the attention they deserve.

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The Year's Best Science Fiction Crosses Galaxies And Genres()  

Science Fiction

December 5, 2012 From post-apocalyptic character studies to speculative paleontology, reviewer Annalee Newitz says this year's best science fiction stretches boundaries and crosses genres. She also sees a strong resurgence in political themes, with a focus on civilizations on the brink of transformation or collapse.

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Recipe Rebellion: A Year Of Contrarian Cookbooks()  

Illustration: Sushi made of books

December 25, 2012 The rebels, rule breakers and renegades who rule this year's Top 10 list aren't looking for a Ph.D. in Traditional Cooking. They're pleasure seekers whose books are filled with quirky facts, gorgeous pictures and ingredients deployed in unexpected places.

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In 2012's Best Mysteries, Mean Girls Rule()  

Best Mysteries of 2012

December 19, 2012 Femmes fatales and their crafty female creators dominate this year's mystery and thriller picks. Critic Maureen Corrigan wonders whether it takes a woman to capture the evil that can hide behind a lip-glossed smile and pair of shining eyes.

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Time Passages: The Year's Best Historical Fiction()  

Historical Fiction.

December 6, 2012 To bring the past to life and make it matter, historical fiction must do more than conjure up an exotic backdrop for a conventional story. These six books challenge our preconceptions and help show how the past shaped the world we live in today.

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Finders Keepers: 2012's Books To Hang On To()  

Illustration: A woman walks down the street with an armful of books.

December 3, 2012 This year's treasures include a heart-racing memoir, a fun first novel, a fascinating study of fraternal bonds, plus Toni Morrison's Home and Christopher Hitchens' last work. Critic Heller McAlpin has sifted through piles of new publications and panned for literary gold.

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Well-Versed: Five Poets With Punch()  

Nishant Choksi

January 3, 2013 Poet Kevin Young picks out his favorite poetry books from 2012, including works from the U.S. poet laureate to up-and-coming writers.

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Short Stories To Savor On A Winter Weekend()  

Short Stories

November 26, 2012 Author Hortense Calisher once called the short story "an apocalypse in a teacup." Critic Jane Ciabattari presents her favorite mini-apocalypses of 2012, from veteran authors like Sherman Alexie to newcomer Claire Vaye Watkins, who combines a unique voice and a shadowed family history in her debut collection.

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10 Eye-Catching Reads For The Book Lover On Your List()  

Gift Books

December 11, 2012 Gift books should be special: arrestingly visual, deeply felt, quirky, comprehensive, important. We've combed the shelves to bring you several such suggestions, guaranteed to put a sparkle in the eyes of any big reader.

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A Wintry Mix: Alan Cheuse Selects The Season's Best()  

Cheuse illustration

November 29, 2012 Critic Alan Cheuse maps out a winter wonderland of fiction and poetry — from ancient Greece to the near-future visions of Walter Mosley, a selection of the best books to give and receive this holiday season. Cheuse says these five books strike the perfect balance between lyricism and narrative.

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