NPR stories about Book Reviews
June 2, 2013 Donald Justice's poems are not interested in making us feel comfortable or special. Yet author Mary Szybist says there is something about them that she finds profoundly consoling.
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.
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 20, 2013 Chimamanda Adichie's Americanah is about a young Nigerian woman who moves to the U.S. It's a story of relocation, far-flung love and life as an outsider. But reviewer Rosecrans Baldwin says that despite the author's talent, much of the storytelling feels flat.
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.