April 11, 2013 Although Venezuela has a rich literary culture, its writers remain largely unknown outside of the country. Marcela Valdes traces the intersection of literature and politics in the large Caribbean nation, showing the forces that have kept Venezuelan writers from getting the praise they deserve.
April 11, 2013 Also: A new T.C. Boyle short story; the problem with the "death" of print; and Maya Angelou speaks with The Daily Beast.
April 11, 2013 Christian Wiman's new essay collection, My Bright Abyss, explores his ideas about faith and life during a time of intense crisis — in Wiman's case, a rare and painful cancer. Reviewer Walton Muyumba says Wiman's "intense questioning and dense resolutions are challenging," but ultimately rewarding.
April 11, 2013 Jarrett Krosoczka's lunch lady doesn't just serve lunch. She serves justice. In her Batman-like lair below the cafeteria, she can monitor the whole school for suspicious characters like the Cyborg Substitute or the Video Game Villain. Join NPR's Backseat Book Club as we follow her adventures.
April 10, 2013 Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings follows a group of teens who meet in the '70s at an artsy summer camp and remain friends for the rest of their lives. Reviewer Lizzie Skurnick says the book is about changes in the world as well as in the characters.
April 10, 2013 Our comics blogger examines the controversy surrounding the decision not to release an issue of the popular SAGA series for Apple devices.
April 13, 2013 In the 19th century, Bolivar freed six countries from Spanish rule. Almost 200 years later, the warrior statesman is still a widely celebrated Latin American hero, but his story is also little understood. In a new biography, Marie Arana aims to separate fact from fiction.
April 10, 2013 The Yellow Brick Road is a well-traveled one; generations of young readers have followed L. Frank Baum's path to the magical Land of Oz. This spring, as members of NPR's Backseat Book Club embarked on their own journeys to the Emerald City, we asked you to share your Oz memories and photos with us.
April 10, 2013 Also: David Axelrod is writing a memoir; a Kindle creator has choice words for Amazon; Matthew Specktor on the purpose of literature.
April 10, 2013 Fiona Maazel's new novel, Woke Up Lonely, is a deliriously inventive tale of love and spycraft. Utopian cult leader Thurlow pines for his ex-wife Esme. She uses her CIA connections to keep him safe under her surveillance in a story layered with espionage, sex and jokes about Kim Jong Il.
April 10, 2013 As a journalist with Britain's The Guardian newspaper, Rory Carroll spent seven years living in Venezuela. His new book on Venezuela's recently deceased president explores Hugo Chavez's popularity with the poor and critiques his failures in governance and management.
April 11, 2013 In the United States, an orphan disease is one that affects fewer than 200,000 patients. These conditions often involve chronic pain or fatigue, and can be controversial and difficult to diagnose. Yet they affect around 30 million Americans. Author Laurie Edwards is one such patient.
April 11, 2013 In her new memoir, Shocked, Volk examines the two women who had a lasting impact on her as she began to parse who she was as a woman: her beautiful, critical mother, Audrey Morgen Volk; and the famous — and unconventional — haute couture designer Elsa Schiaparelli.
April 9, 2013 Also: Christopher Hitchens on being spanked by the "Iron Lady"; Victoria Beale skewers Paulo Coelho; and Robert Silvers on the meaninglessness of the phrase "in terms of."