NPR stories about Book Reviews
July 14, 2013 When crime writer Karin Slaughter was struggling to find a good literary relationship, she turned to the Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsey Davis. She learned about togas and scrolls and came away with a new template for a happy marriage.
July 13, 2013 In I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place Howard Norman recounts his Midwestern boyhood, his travels among Inuit communities in Canada, and a murder-suicide that took place in his house. Reviewer Helen Oyeyemi says the book commiserates with and celebrates the human condition.
July 15, 2013 Mark Kurlansky's Ready for a Brand New Beat chronicles the spectacular success of the 1964 Motown hit "Dancing in the Street." Reviewer Cord Jefferson says that while much of the book feels like filler, it sings when Kurlansky examines all the controversy one song created.
July 11, 2013 An autobiographical exploration of fatherhood and faith, Jeffrey Brown's A Matter of Life is his most personal work to date — which says a lot, given the confessional cartoonist's revealing past works. Reviewer Jody Arlington finds this new book both wise and hilarious.
July 10, 2013 Charlie Huston's new thriller is a fast-paced and action-packed tale of a retired assassin who rejoins the game to protect a roboticist as she tracks a computer virus. But reviewer Alan Cheuse says "the action comes bracketed with a load of rhetoric," which ultimately put him to sleep.
July 9, 2013 Novelist Kate Christensen has written a food memoir like no other. Although the author's food writing is enchanting, says reviewer Maria Russo, the sloppy, thrilling, innovative Blue Plate Special isn't really about food. It's more concerned with the heartbreak that shapes a creative life.
July 8, 2013 In softcover nonfiction, a peek inside Richard Burton's diaries, Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy dive into resilience research and Mark Kriegel tells the story of Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini. In fiction, Tim Tharp's Spectacular Now inspires a film.
July 7, 2013 Austrian writer Adalbert Stifter's 1845 novella Rock Crystal is the seemingly simple tale of two children who get lost in a snowfall on Christmas Eve. But author Susan Choi says the story perfectly captures humanity at its humblest and most resilient.
July 5, 2013 Tash Aw's Five Star Billionaire, set in Shanghai, explores the dynamic tumult of that city. Reviewer Ellah Allfrey says that Aw, with gentle compassion and keen understanding, shows his characters succumb to the lure of a city where everything seems possible.
July 5, 2013 Romance author Eloisa James picks five sweet summer reads that turn trauma into romantic triumph. Whether you've been jilted at the altar, humiliated in the school paper or just plain rejected, James says you'll find these books "as healing as ice cream."
July 4, 2013 Graphic novelist Dash Shaw's latest, New School, is an enigmatic tale of brotherly disconnect, set in a strange time-themed amusement park called Clockworld. Reviewer Glen Weldon says New School is a "defiantly odd, quietly gorgeous, utterly singular book."
July 4, 2013 Cathleen Schine's new novel follows a young boy and his older half-sister, making a life for themselves in Greenwich Village. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says Fin & Lady is entertaining and moving.
July 3, 2013 Also: Infiltrating Jane Austen summer camp; Cengage files for bankruptcy; Stephen Fry reads Oscar Wilde.