February 13, 2013 One of Kenya's most famous citizens is author and professor Ngugi wa Thiong'o. His criticism of that nation's post-colonial government led to his arrest and eventual exile. But he says he can't be knocked down. Host Michel Martin talks with Ngugi about his new memoir, In the House of the Interpreter.
February 13, 2013 In a new book, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography, religious scholar and author John J. Collins tells the history of the scrolls and the controversies they have prompted, and explores the questions they ask and answer about Judeo-Christian history.
February 13, 2013 Charlie LeDuff's hard-boiled memoir, Detroit: An American Autopsy, gives readers a rough image of the decaying Rust Belt metropolis. But far from being belly up, the city is finally on the rise, as a recent transplant from Detroit explains.
February 13, 2013 Also: An award for the year's most cutting book review; how it feels to hold Sylvia Plath's hair; and Donna Tartt's new book will be out this fall.
February 13, 2013 The confounding title of the self-referential novel Percival Everett by Virgil Russell signals its method, which seeks to erase lines between author and subject, reality and fiction. For Alan Cheuse, Percival Everett's (or is that Percival Everett's?) postmodern mind games spoil what might have been a fine novel.
February 12, 2013 In a new memoir, James Lasdun describes how a former-student-turned-friend stalked and slandered him online. Give Me Everything You Have is a meditation on what it means to control your reputation on the Internet — and the book is Lasdun's attempt to fight back.
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 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 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.