July 13, 2013 In I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place Howard Norman recounts his Midwestern boyhood, his travels among Inuit communities in Canada, and a murder-suicide that took place in his house. Reviewer Helen Oyeyemi says the book commiserates with and celebrates the human condition.
July 13, 2013 Food is one of the most important world-building tools in a writer's kit — it defines a world and the people in it. Self-described "food writer with a wicked sci-fi addiction" Jason Sheehan muses on food in science fiction — and whether, in the future, we'll all be eating dinner in pill form.
July 12, 2013 BuzzFeed's Joseph Bernstein compiles a list of books that are signs of serious character flaws in people who say these are their favorites. But these books are not the problem, nor are the people reading them. The problem is jumping to conclusions.
July 15, 2013 Mark Kurlansky's Ready for a Brand New Beat chronicles the spectacular success of the 1964 Motown hit "Dancing in the Street." Reviewer Cord Jefferson says that while much of the book feels like filler, it sings when Kurlansky examines all the controversy one song created.
July 12, 2013 Also: Embattled celebrity chef Paula Deen to star in a comic book; Nathaniel Rich on noir lit; a profile of a literary fraudster.
July 11, 2013 It's the summer of 1964, and everything's changing for 11-year-old Glory. She was looking forward to celebrating her 12th birthday at the local pool, but the town has shut it down to avoid integration. Members of NPR's Backseat Book Club share their questions with author Augusta Scattergood.
July 11, 2013 The celebrity cook has seen her TV shows and corporate sponsorships disappear following reports of her use of racist language. But a publisher who has written a comic about her life is going ahead with its plans — after a short update. Still, "we're not going to flambé her," the publisher says.
July 11, 2013 Also: a literary history of silly walks; Judy Blume on why Margaret will always be an A cup; Oliver Sacks on hallucinations.
July 11, 2013 An autobiographical exploration of fatherhood and faith, Jeffrey Brown's A Matter of Life is his most personal work to date — which says a lot, given the confessional cartoonist's revealing past works. Reviewer Jody Arlington finds this new book both wise and hilarious.
July 11, 2013 Around the world, cities like Rio de Janeiro are using new technologies to solve their problems. And while there's great promise in many of these "smart" city programs, urban planner Anthony Townsend is wary of putting so much power in the hands of tech companies.
July 10, 2013 When Twinkies hit the stores again on July 15, their shelf life will be nearly twice as long as it used to be: 45 days. (We were surprised it wasn't longer.) There's a whole lot of food science employed to help the creme-filled cake defy the laws of baked-good longevity.
July 10, 2013 Novelist Kate Christensen makes a plot line of her own life in a memoir that describes her struggles to come to terms with her family, her relationships and her sometimes violent father. A passionate lover of food, Christensen weaves recipes into a story of survival.
July 10, 2013 Our modern fruits, grains and vegetables aren't nearly as nutrition-packed as their wild counterparts were thousands of years ago, says health writer Jo Robinson. Her new book offers advice on how to shop the produce aisle to select for foods that offer the best nutritional bang for the bite.