June 6, 2013 For readers in search of tales that step outside familiar viewpoints, these authors unravel conflict, religion, race and love — from new and different angles. In these novels, a child from the slums, an executed zealot, a reluctant immigrant, a guilty survivor and a suffering mother take center stage.
June 2, 2013 Journalist Anna Badkhen chronicles life in a small Afghan village in her new book, The World Is A Carpet. A village of 240 people, Oqa survives on an old-time tradition of carpet weaving. Residents earn about 40 cents a day for carpets that eventually sell for $5,000 to $20,000 abroad.
June 2, 2013 The award-winning children's book author has written more than two dozen books set in the American heartland. He's most famous for his intricate illustrations of the Midwest — sprawling prairie, family farms and his signature mischievous pigs.
June 2, 2013 Donald Justice's poems are not interested in making us feel comfortable or special. Yet author Mary Szybist says there is something about them that she finds profoundly consoling.
May 30, 2013 Vacations are where we do some of our most serious thinking, but when it comes to summer reading, we often reach for mindless reads. This year, beautifully written memoirs — about unspeakable loss, motherhood and the process of healing — offer substantial stories that tear at the heart.
May 28, 2013 "The more carny it got, the better I liked it," King says of his new thriller, Joyland. The book, set in a North Carolina amusement park in 1973, is part horror novel and part supernatural thriller. King talks with Fresh Air's Terry Gross about his career writing horror, and about what scares him now.
May 28, 2013 Philipp Meyer's second novel is a centuries-spanning family saga that chronicles the growth of Texas. Many hands are bloodied in the novel's conflicts: between settlers and Native Americans, between Texan ranchers and Mexicans, and finally, between ranchers and the oil men who take over the land.
May 25, 2013 The gleaming stainless steel arch in St. Louis is, officially, a monument to westward expansion. But in The Gateway Arch: A Biography, Tracy Campbell argues that the monument's meaning is more complicated. He tells NPR about the controversies, the clout and the costs behind the 630-foot structure.
May 19, 2013 Khaled Hosseini's new novel, like his two earlier works, is set partly in Afghanistan — but this time, political turmoil isn't a major element of the plot. Instead, And The Mountains Echoed is a story of a family's loss that spans decades and continents.
May 17, 2013 Designer Katie Shelly's upcoming cookbook offers 50 illustrated recipe "blueprints" for basic meals — from simple snacks to more hefty dishes like eggplant Parmesan. She hopes they'll inspire any level of cook to improvise in the kitchen.