December 30, 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.
December 29, 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.
December 28, 2012 Sometimes "the one that got away" is a book that actually was easy to overlook. And sometimes it's something you ignore until you just can't anymore. NPR's Lynn Neary finally comes to terms with the publishing sensation that is Fifty Shades of Grey.
December 26, 2012 The Law & Order creator's detective fiction debut is set in New York after the killing of Osama bin Laden. Although The Intercept borrows stylistically from Wolf's television background, he says novel writing allows him "to tell bigger stories on a bigger canvas."
December 26, 2012 The Virgin Suicides takes teenage angst to the extreme. Writer, blogger and professional teenager Tavi Gevinson explains why it's a book she can't put down, year after adolescent year.
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.
December 24, 2012 Author Ayad Akhtar writes about three books that deal with the intersection of religion and literature in the U.S. What is your favorite book on American faith? Tell us in the comments.
December 23, 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.
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.
December 22, 2012 It was a strange and wonderful year for young adult fiction, says critic Maggie Stiefvater. Debates raged over what constituted a young adult novel versus an adult novel. This list isn't concerned with classification — it rounds up five magical books for young adults and grown-ups alike.
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.
December 19, 2012 It used to be called the "vanity press," a name that carried a sniff of derision. But Lynn Neary reports that self-publishing has become a booming business, spawning best-sellers, and attracting the interest of Amazon and the major publishing houses.
December 13, 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.
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.
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.