October 23, 2013 Claudia Roth Pierpont's new Roth Unbound looks at themes in the work of Philip Roth (no relation). All the themes, in every book by the famously prolific writer. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says it's "a dazzling if sometimes exhausting journey" that dutifully addresses Roth's foibles as well as his talent.
October 22, 2013 Graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang's new book, Boxers & Saints, has been nominated for a National Book Award. It's the tale of a young Chinese boy and girl whose lives are upended by the Boxer Rebellion. Yang tells NPR's Petra Mayer that he was inspired by the controversial canonization of several Chinese saints in 2000.
October 22, 2013 Also: the winners of the Whiting Awards were announced; Cheryl Strayed's memoir inspires other women to take to the Wild; and Dwight Garner on what makes a critic.
October 22, 2013 The women of Jezebel.com have released a new illustrated encyclopedia of "lady things" from Clueless to Clytemnestra. Reviewer Annalisa Quinn says that although The Book of Jezebel is positioned as lighthearted and unambitious, it has a serious aim — which it does not quite achieve.
October 22, 2013 Janet Hamlin was the only courtroom sketch artist allowed at the Guantanamo Bay military tribunals in 2006. Her work has been collected in a new book, Sketching Guantanamo — and she tells NPR's Renee Montagne that getting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's nose right ended up being a challenge.
October 21, 2013 In softcover fiction, Emma Donoghue imagines migrations and meanderings. In nonfiction, David Denby warns of film's descent into spectacle; Jake Tapper memorializes an ill-fated military outpost; Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele examine the dwindling American middle class; and Caleb Daniloff puts on his running shoes to confront his demons.
October 21, 2013 The author of The Secret History returns with a novel about art, love and loss that's drawn comparisons to Oliver Twist and the Harry Potter series. Reviewer Meg Wolitzer says The Goldfinch marks a departure from Tartt's previous work, but it's a rich, absorbing read — all 771 pages of it.
October 21, 2013 Wall Street Journal reporters Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell say that champion cyclist Lance Armstrong was at the center of "the greatest sports conspiracy ever." Their book chronicles everything from group blood transfusions on the team bus to extensive efforts to silence and intimidate those who might expose the abuse.
October 21, 2013 Bridget Jones hasn't aged well. At 51, she's the "geriatric mum" of two small children, and finds herself yearning to plunge back into dating. Critic Maureen Corrigan says if you're looking for jolly feminist cultural commentary, you'd be better off reading a witty "encyclopedia of lady things" from the creators of the website Jezebel.
October 21, 2013 Also: Justice Stephen Breyer on Proust; a rush-printing of more copies of Eleanor Catton's award-winning The Luminaries; and the best books coming out this week.
October 21, 2013 Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. now stretches from Australia to India, Great Britain and the United States. In a new book, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik looks at how News Corp. publications covered the company's hacking scandals, and its punitive attitude toward critics.
October 21, 2013 Adams managed to turn his failure at office work into a gigantic success — a syndicated comic strip about a hapless, cubicle-bound engineer. In his new book, How To Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big, Adams offers some sage advice such as: "Goals are for losers."
October 21, 2013 At its core, StoryCorps founder Dave Isay says, the project is about letting people know their lives matter and won't be forgotten. The result often means that listeners have a good cry on their way to work. As the oral history project marks its 10th anniversary, NPR will be revisiting some of your favorite stories.
October 20, 2013 You may not find South Sudan at the top of most dream destination lists, but the authors of a new travel guide say the young country, long isolated by a violent civil war, has much to offer tourists in search of wildlife, culture and natural beauty.