September 4, 2013 Alice McDermott's characters can often be described as average, and Marie, the heroine of her latest novel, is no exception. But critic Maureen Corrigan says the power of McDermott's writing is that she can make even Marie's run-of-the-mill life one for the record books.
September 4, 2013 Also: Lemony Snicket on poetry and playground slides; tiny secret paintings on the sides of books; Lorin Stein on John Hollander.
September 4, 2013 In softcover nonfiction, Found creator Davy Rothbart discusses his frequent failings at love, Robert Sullivan follows the footnotes of the American Revolution Hannah Rosin heralds a new era of female dominance.
September 4, 2013 Michael Gruber's new novel, The Return, is a tale of memory and revenge: hero Rick Marder, a New York literary type with a medical death sentence, heads south to settle old scores with the narcotraficantes who killed his in-laws. Reviewer Alan Cheuse calls Gruber a "master of the genre."
September 4, 2013 WNYCBiographers of Gandhi or Catherine the Great could rely on paper archives, but those days are fading fast. WNYC's Ilya Marritz reports that that old ways of digging up the past are changing as people rely more and more on electronic communication.
September 3, 2013 Books about quantum mechanics can be pretty dry stuff. But when a novelist conjures up multiple worlds, the results can be spellbinding, even when it's no easy read. Such is the case with Duplex, the latest book from Kathryn Davis. Reviewer Rosecrans Baldwin, says this one's worth the effort.
September 3, 2013 Also: The Hugo Awards; a push to ban a Toni Morrison book from Alabama school reading lists, the best book coming out this week.
September 3, 2013 Read an exclusive excerpt of Sheri Fink's searing new book, Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital. It's the story of the overwhelmed nurses and doctors fighting to save patients at New Orleans' Memorial Medical Center during the worst of Hurricane Katrina.
September 3, 2013 Ben Dolnick's coming-of-age tales themselves mature in the new At the Bottom of Everything, which chronicles a teenaged friendship that's faded after a terrible event. Reviewer Drew Toal says that despite some missteps, Dolnick has a strong sense of his characters and their shared trauma.
September 3, 2013 The Golden 1920s couple didn't fare as well in the 1930s, and the North Carolina mountain town was host to a particularly sad time. NPR's Susan Stamberg discovered a little-known story of the Jazz Age darlings and their devastating connections to Asheville.
September 2, 2013 In the new book God Bless America: The Surprising History of an Iconic Song, author Sheryl Kaskowitz explores the lyrical evolution of Irving Berlin's enduring song and explains how its early popularity reflected the anxiety of the pre-war period and sparked a surprising anti-Semitic and xenophobic backlash.
September 2, 2013 Jassy Mackenzie's crime novels, set in Johannesburg, star the not-always-law-abiding private investigator Jade de Jong. Mackenzie says that de Jong and "Joburg" are well-matched: both the P.I. and her hometown are intimidating on the outside, but kind once you look beyond the surface.
September 1, 2013 Authors Shane Salerno and David Shields spent nine years doing research for Salinger, a new book about one of America's most revered writers. Salerno talks to Weekend Edition Sunday guest host Wade Goodwyn about Salinger's life and the stories behind his work.
September 1, 2013 Eighty-seven-year-old restaurant critic Marilyn Hagerty gained viral fame last year with a positive review of the Olive Garden in Grand Forks, N.D. Her work has now been collected in a new book, Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 128 Reviews.