NPR stories about Book Reviews
February 21, 2013 No good deed goes unpunished, and no one escapes Ismail Kadare's satire in this madcap indictment of Balkan totalitarianism. Set in Albania during WWII and its aftermath, The Fall of the Stone City is an incisive, biting work by a master of dark comedy.
February 21, 2013 The author of Swamplandia! has a new collection of short stories called Vampires in the Lemon Grove. Critic Maureen Corrigan says the stories are daring and devastating, and with them Russell establishes herself as one of the great American writers of our young century.
February 21, 2013 Chris Morgan Jones' The Jackal's Share finesses the fundamentals of the spy novel with admirable economy. The clever premise has our detective investigating his own client in order to certify his sterling character. Naturally, complications arise.
February 20, 2013 The novel by Herman Koch is structured around a five-course meal shared by two couples. But it's not all fun and food. What's really going on at this meal is much more gruesome. Reviewer Rosecrans Baldwin says the novel offers a fresh, modern take on basic moral questions.
February 20, 2013 Laura Kasischke offers her signature blend of the mundane and the uncanny in her first story collection, If a Stranger Approaches You. In these tight, dark stories, unease and impotence lurk behind tidy suburban facades.
February 20, 2013 There are an increasing number of LGBT characters in mainstream superhero comics — but visibility isn't everything. NPR's comic-book guy Glen Weldon has a roundup of manga and independent graphic novels that offer a deeper and more nuanced portrayal of LGBT life.
February 19, 2013 Journalist Jess Bravin's new book details the secretive system of military tribunals used to try terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay. Reviewer Jason Farago says the book reads like a thriller — but the violation of American values inherent in the tribunals is a true tragedy.
February 17, 2013 The money and mansions of the turn of the century provide rich fodder for some fabulous reads. Author Janet Wallach recommends three books that give a glimpse of Gilded Age houses. Do you have a favorite book that highlights architecture? Let us know in the comments.
February 15, 2013 Karen Russell's new collection of short stories has dead presidents reincarnated as horses, girls turning into silkworms, and vampires who quench their thirst for blood with lemons. Reviewer Meg Wolitzer says that in Russell's world we aren't fixed in space and time but can change at any moment.
February 14, 2013 By the time Wendy Plump learned that her husband had a longtime mistress and an 8-month-old son, their union already bore the scars of adultery — both his and hers. Plump's marital post-mortem, Vow, is a frank, intelligent inquiry into the thrills and anguish of infidelity.
February 14, 2013 A lot of people think Valentine's Day is a commercial, made-up holiday — but even Chaucer noted it as a day to send sweets and gifts to loved ones. And what better than to read romance on such a romantic day? Author Bobbi Dumas has recommendations for great romance reads in every genre.
February 13, 2013 The confounding title of the self-referential novel Percival Everett by Virgil Russell signals its method, which seeks to erase lines between author and subject, reality and fiction. For Alan Cheuse, Percival Everett's (or is that Percival Everett's?) postmodern mind games spoil what might have been a fine novel.
February 12, 2013 In a new memoir, James Lasdun describes how a former-student-turned-friend stalked and slandered him online. Give Me Everything You Have is a meditation on what it means to control your reputation on the Internet — and the book is Lasdun's attempt to fight back.