March 6, 2013 Also: The influence of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables on Hugo Chavez; Jeb Bush's new book on immigration; and a 9-year-old saves himself and friends from quicksand after reading a survival guide.
March 6, 2013 The circus is hard to categorize and easy to overlook as an art form. But author Duncan Wall decided to take a closer look at circus history — and maybe learn some clowning skills along the way — in his new book The Ordinary Acrobat.
March 6, 2013 Mohsin Hamid chooses an unusual second-person structure throughout his new novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. NPR's Steve Inskeep says that, though largely mute in a narrative told to an unnamed "you," the hero "speaks powerfully through his ambition and his longing."
March 5, 2013 Mohsin Hamid's How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia presents itself as a how-to manual for success in South Asia. The story of a street urchin's corrupt path to prosperity, the novel puts critic Alan Cheuse in mind of that quintessential American story of an unscrupulous striver, The Great Gatsby.
March 5, 2013 Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, discusses her new book about the history of the court, and why she doesn't like the term "swing vote." O'Connor served for 24 years, retiring in 2006 to care for her ailing husband.
March 5, 2013 Also: Alice B. Toklas' fudge recipe; a fireproof edition of Fahrenheit 451; and a Milton scholar on ghostwriting the Sweet Valley High series.
March 5, 2013 Dale Stephens says many students would be better off ditching college and finding alternate ways to complete their educations. His new book, Hacking Your Education, explores that idea. "When you think about education as an investment, you have to think about what the return is going to be," he says.
March 5, 2013 Pat Summitt grew up on a rural farm and went on to a stellar career in basketball. As head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols, she won more games than any other basketball coach in NCAA history. Her new memoir, Sum It Up, records her memories even as she is losing them to Alzheimer's.
March 5, 2013 Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says the United States should overhaul its laws to make immigration easier and to give illegal immigrants a way to legal residence, not citizenship. He says granting citizenship would provide an incentive for others to come to the U.S. illegally.
March 4, 2013 In fiction, Nathan Englander's short stories, Amanda Coplin's Pacific Northwest drama and Anthony Giardina's tale of miscalculated suburban escape arrive in paperback. In softcover nonfiction, Rachel Maddow takes stock of America's perpetual wars and Lauren F. Winner reflects on her crisis of faith.
March 4, 2013 Iran is often portrayed as dangerous, violent and politically unstable. But that's only one side of the story. Art, technology and culture are central to Persian identity. The new digital book The Persian Square shows surprising ties between Iran and the U.S. Host Michel Martin speaks with author and NPR Senior Producer Iran Davar Ardalan.
March 4, 2013 Also: The best books coming out this week; Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the movie; and cakes that look like classic works of literature.