NPR stories about Book Reviews
October 22, 2013 The women of Jezebel.com have released a new illustrated encyclopedia of "lady things" from Clueless to Clytemnestra. Reviewer Annalisa Quinn says that although The Book of Jezebel is positioned as lighthearted and unambitious, it has a serious aim — which it does not quite achieve.
October 21, 2013 The author of The Secret History returns with a novel about art, love and loss that's drawn comparisons to Oliver Twist and the Harry Potter series. Reviewer Meg Wolitzer says The Goldfinch marks a departure from Tartt's previous work, but it's a rich, absorbing read — all 771 pages of it.
October 21, 2013 Bridget Jones hasn't aged well. At 51, she's the "geriatric mum" of two small children, and finds herself yearning to plunge back into dating. Critic Maureen Corrigan says if you're looking for jolly feminist cultural commentary, you'd be better off reading a witty "encyclopedia of lady things" from the creators of the website Jezebel.
October 20, 2013 Stay-at-home fathers, missionaries who love their charges, women who make the first move: characters who would have been controversial in previous generations came to the forefront in the Jazz era. Author Ursula DeYoung recommends three books that, after 90 years, still seem fresh in their revolutionary treatment of all kinds of love.
October 18, 2013 Archie and the Riverdale gang find their comfortable existence upset by marauding hordes of the undead in the new Afterlife with Archie series. Reviewer Jody Arlington calls it a "macabre monthly masterpiece" that pays winking homage to classic horror comics and Tales from the Crypt.
October 23, 2013 Bridget Jones, as you may have heard, is back: 51, widowed and juggling two small children and a much younger boy toy. Reviewer Meg Wolitzer says that while she doesn't mind the subtraction of hunky Mark Darcy, she misses the messy but honest charm of the younger Bridget.
October 15, 2013 Anne Rice has just released the second book in her "Wolf Gift" series, The Wolves of Midwinter. It continues the story of a young San Francisco journalist bitten by a werewolf. Critic Alan Cheuse says that while the dialogue is stilted at times, he's enjoyed watching Rice create another world of "strangeness and transformations."
October 13, 2013 Author Antoine Wilson suggests bypassing Proust in favor of a far shorter choice: Nicholson Baker's 1988 novel, which shares the internal monologue of a businessman on an escalator. Shoelaces, drinking straws and the corporate culture of men's bathrooms undergo thorough analysis in this slim book, which Wilson calls "relentlessly perceptive."
October 22, 2013 In Identical, Scott Turow opens a cold case involving a set of twins and a murder long thought solved. Whatever the premise may lead you to believe, though, this novel is neither funny nor especially thrilling. Reviewer Rosecrans Baldwin explains that the book is at its best in the courtroom, but elsewhere, it plods.
October 10, 2013 For centuries, the memory of Jane Franklin has languished in brother Benjamin's shadow. While Ben is on currency and splashed across textbooks, Jane's life of curiosity and hardship has been forgotten. In Book of Ages, historian Jill Lepore draws a portrait of one of the American Revolution's "little women."
October 10, 2013 Jo Baker's Longbourn retells the events of Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of the servants. Baker tells NPR Books editor Petra Mayer that the predicament of the Bennet sisters is well-known, so she wanted to explore the situation of the servant girls with no father, home or dowry.
October 9, 2013 The novel Shaman, by science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson is a coming of age novel set in the ice age. Reviewer Alan Cheuse says it is the latest to take up the question of what it was like to live 30,000 years ago on the cusp of change from Neanderthal to Cro-Magnon dominance of the human world.
October 9, 2013 Nick Mamatas' new Love Is the Law is a mashup of black magic, paranoia, politics and teenage alienation. It's the story of punk-rock girl Dawn, who untangles a web of mysteries while investigating the murder of her mentor. Reviewer Jason Heller calls it a "shambolic free-for-all of esoterica" that "rings profanely and profoundly."