August 16, 2013 Pirates, pokers and alleged demonic origins — the history of rum is filled with raucousness and rebellion. To celebrate National Rum Day, we bring you tales from this drink's past, including its laudable origins as a food waste solution.
August 16, 2013 In Brain on Fire, appearing at No. 9, Susannah Cahalan looks back on her battle with a rare disease.
August 16, 2013 The Silent Wife, A.S.A. Harrison's thriller about a dissolving marriage, debuts at No. 14.
August 16, 2013 Debuting at No. 9, Scott Anderson's Lawrence in Arabia looks back on the Arab Revolt of WWI.
August 16, 2013 Juan Gabriel Vasquez's The Sound of Things Falling, a tale of Colombia's drug war, debuts at No. 14.
August 16, 2013 Also: Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka at home in Nigeria; an unexpected Eugene O'Neill artifact; a poet turns to Craigslist.
August 15, 2013 The prestigious publishing company Farrar, Straus and Giroux helped define the intellectual life of post-World War II America. Boris Kachka's book explores the company's history, from its founding in 1946 to its sale to a German conglomerate in 1994 and beyond.
August 15, 2013 Think of everything your brain processes in a single day: your breakfast, a stain on a book cover, a meeting at work. If you remembered all those things, your brain would reach capacity. Author and neuroscientist Penelope Lewis says sleep helps sort through the memories that are worth keeping.
August 15, 2013 Also: Katherine Boo, Robert Hass win PEN Literary Awards; gender at The New York Review of Books; John Cheever's prison visit.
August 15, 2013 Paul Yoon's new novel, Snow Hunters, follows a Korean War POW who starts a new life in Brazil. Yoon drew on his own family's experiences to write the book, and reviewer Alana Levinson says his "ruminations on the role of memory in shaping our identity speak perfectly to the experience of war."
August 14, 2013 Rose George spent several weeks aboard a container ship to research Ninety Percent of Everything, her book about the shipping industry. She writes, "There are more than one hundred thousand ships at sea carrying all the solids, liquids and gases that we need to live."
August 14, 2013 R.J. Palacio explores the life of 10-year-old Auggie Pullman, a tough, sweet kid who was born with a serious facial deformity. He wants a normal life, but adults and children alike turn their eyes away at the sight of him. Join NPR's Backseat Book Club as we read a novel about cruelty and kindness.