NPR stories about Book Reviews
April 30, 2013 How do creative geniuses do what they do? Daily Rituals, which assembles the working regimens of 161 artists and thinkers into a lean, engaging volume, makes one thing clear: There's no such thing as the way to create good work, but all the greats have their way — and some are spectacularly weird.
May 2, 2013 Time is special. How we see it helps determine how we see the rest of the Universe. Physicist Lee Smolin has a new book out that says we've been looking at time the wrong way. Adam Frank digs in and offers his own perspective on Smolin's argument.
May 1, 2013 Irish novelist Edna O'Brien looks back on eight tumultuous decades in a new memoir, Country Girl. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says the book is "a generous gift to readers" but too circumspect about O'Brien's personal life — which included encounters with Samuel Beckett, Richard Burton and Paul McCartney.
May 2, 2013 A girl with the soul of a bird finds her wings in Audrey Niffenegger's haunting Raven Girl. The author of The Time Traveler's Wife illustrates this slight volume with her own moody etchings.
May 4, 2013 Comedian Marc Maron just released his newest book, Attempting Normal, and his TV show Maron premiered on IFC this month. He still found time to speak with NPR's Molly Hart about learning from heartbreak, not wanting to be alone, and stealing from Whole Foods.
May 5, 2013 Ahmadou Kourouma's Allah Is Not Obliged recounts the story of a child soldier in Liberia. Author A. Igoni Barrett says in this book, horror and humor become bedfellows, making for a heartbreaking yet laughter-filled read.
May 6, 2013 The latest novel from three-time National Book Award finalist Gail Godwin takes inspiration from Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. Both stories take place in isolated old houses, and both revolve around mental contests between a governess character and her young charge.
May 6, 2013 Anthony Marra's debut novel, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, takes place in war-torn Chechnya — a world of perpetual violence, fear and exploding land mines. But reviewer Meg Wolitzer says the characters are so vivid and the language so brilliant you want to stay there.
May 7, 2013 Full of sex, intrigue and clues based on Victorian poetry, Elanor Dymott's Every Contact Leaves a Trace is a literary mystery about a murder at Oxford University. This tale of a clueless husband who discovers his wife's true nature too late reminds critic Maureen Corrigan a little of Gone Girl.
May 8, 2013 In the multilayered graphic novel Red Handed, an ace detective solves a series of odd and seemingly unrelated crimes, only to find that they're all part of a grand design. Critic Glen Weldon admires artist Matt Kindt's mastery of the comics medium.
May 9, 2013 Lucas Mann's Class A combines baseball and sociology in this chronicle of a farm team from a fading Iowa factory town. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says Mann "uses the full tool kit of literary nonfiction" in a book that "encompasses nostalgia, hope and failure."
May 12, 2013 Andrzej Szczypiorski's The Beautiful Mrs. Seidenman is a book set in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Author Courtney Angela Brkic says reading it helped her understand her father, whose family had lived through the second world war.
May 13, 2013 Albert Camus' Algerian Chronicles, finally available in translation, collects essays, columns and speeches from the writer's days as a young journalist. Camus was criticized for his moderate approach to the French-Algerian war, but reviewer Jason Farrago says Chronicles is a guide to "how to be just in a difficult world."