NPR stories about Book Reviews
May 30, 2013 Vacations are where we do some of our most serious thinking, but when it comes to summer reading, we often reach for mindless reads. This year, beautifully written memoirs — about unspeakable loss, motherhood and the process of healing — offer substantial stories that tear at the heart.
June 6, 2013 In We Need New Names, NoViolet Bulawayo tells the story of Darling and her friends, desperate children who live in a shantytown called Paradise. Although the early chapters are told in a child's voice, there is no whimsy in this novel of a turbulent Zimbabwe.
May 28, 2013 Philipp Meyer (American Rust) has crafted a multigenerational epic that captures the Lone Star State's contradictions and vast sweep. Critic Michael Schaub calls The Son "one of the most solid, unsparing pieces of American historical fiction to come out this century."
May 27, 2013 Just in time for Memorial Day, here's a roundup of romantic fiction set during the World War II era. Reviewer Bobbi Dumas says the war was a time of horror — but also a time of heightened emotion and even a little romantic. These books are a great way to remember.
May 26, 2013 When author Lucas Mann turned 13, his father gave him a copy of Portnoy's Complaint, a novel The New Yorker dubbed "one of the dirtiest books ever published." Mann says the book taught him that life is painful, sometimes gross, and often funny.
May 26, 2013 The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan's 1915 spy thriller, has been reborn as an "interactive novel." Part book, part game, the digital adaptation is innovative and gorgeous, but comes with a set of frustrations.
May 23, 2013 A poor father sells his daughter to a wealthy, childless couple, dividing her from her beloved brother and setting a chain of stories in motion in Khaled Hosseini's And the Mountains Echoed. Moving and morally complex, this is the most ambitious book yet from the author of The Kite Runner.
May 22, 2013 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's latest, Americanah, follows the trials and tribulations of Ifemelu, a middle-class Nigerian immigrant to America. Reviewer Jennifer Reese calls Americanah a "rich and gloriously detailed tapestry ... hung on the sturdy scaffolding of a sweet love story."
May 21, 2013 George Packer's The Unwinding explores the social and economic upheavals that have transformed the U.S. over the past 30 years. In a nuanced work of literary journalism, colorful characters from across the class divide tell their own stories of a social contract in tatters.
May 19, 2013 Author Ethan Rutherford started reading Daphne du Maurier's collection of stories, Don't Look Now, while it was still light out and didn't move from his chair until dark. Each one features characters who endure the strange and the extreme, and who are forever changed by the events that befall them.