February 12, 2013 Domenica Ruta's new memoir chronicles her youth in a working-class Massachusetts town, the daughter of a wildly flamboyant mother, an addict and sometime dealer who thought nothing of bashing in the windshield of a woman who'd broken her brother's heart.
February 12, 2013 Swamplandia! author Karen Russell has a new story collection, Vampires in the Lemon Grove. Reviewer Michael Schaub says Russell puts the lie to the popular misconception that literary fiction must be boring and realistic, and fans of George Saunders will be right at home in these stories.
February 12, 2013 Before the roses and the romance, Valentine's Day commemorated the Roman Saint Valentine — Valentinus, in Latin. And in her new cookbook, Nigellissima: Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes, chef Nigella Lawson offers up simple recipes that celebrate the cuisine of the country Saint Valentine called home.
February 11, 2013 As the gun-violence debate ratchets up to include mental health and violent pop culture, video games have become frequent targets of concern. But do violent games influence their players? Experts aren't clear, but violent games remain remarkably popular.
February 11, 2013 The Invisible War looks at the ongoing issue of sexual assault in the military. Victims document the unsettling repercussions of reporting their assault within the military adjudication system. Part of an ongoing series of conversations with Oscar nominated documentary filmmakers.
February 11, 2013 To some, Detroit may be a symbol of urban decay; but to journalist Charlie LeDuff, it's home. In Detroit: An American Autopsy, he says the city's heart beats on. "We're still here trying to reconstruct the great thing we once had," he tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies.
February 11, 2013 Also: our pick of the best books coming out this week; the 50th anniversary of Sylvia Plath's death; and the real identity of a popular romance novelist.
February 11, 2013 Poet and critic Craig Morgan Teicher says The Colossus, Plath's first book of poetry (and the only one published in her lifetime), shows us glimpses of the poet she would later become. Do you have a favorite Plath poem? Tell us in the comments.
February 11, 2013 In fiction, Christine Sneed's short stories about the perils of love, Peter Carey's tale of a mechanical bird, and Nell Freudenberger's portrait of a trans-Atlantic marriage arrive in paperback. In softcover nonfiction, Tom Holland charts the rise of Islam.
February 11, 2013 It's Oscar season, meaning that classic toe-tapper "Hooray for Hollywood" will soon be booming out of TV speakers everywhere. But the cheery cinema hymn has a more complicated compositional past, as NPR's special correspondent Susan Stamberg explains.
February 10, 2013 In her new book, The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things, author Paula Byrne shows how everyday objects helped shape Austen's life and literature. One example, a topaz cross, a cherished gift to Austen from her brother, plays an important role in Mansfield Park.