NPR stories about First Reads
October 17, 2012 Barbara Kingsolver's new novel weaves together a story of personal awakening with larger themes of environmental stewardship and climate change. Heroine Dellarobia Turnbow's life begins to change when she sees a strange vision in the Appalachian hills — a lake seemingly afire.
September 19, 2012 Author Mark Helprin's latest novel is a sprawling tale of love, honor and danger in the years just after World War II. Returned soldier Harry Copeland spots a mysterious woman in white on the Staten Island Ferry. She turns out to be an heiress with Broadway dreams and a complicated past that threatens their growing love.
September 12, 2012 Jasper Fforde is known to older readers for his Thursday Next literary fantasies. His first young adult novel follows 15-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange, who runs a wizard management agency in a world that's rapidly losing magic — but business is about to pick up.
August 22, 2012 Michael Chabon's sprawling novel features a multiracial cast of characters, from gay teens to former blaxploitation stars. It's a celebration and gentle sendup of the countercultural norms and racial politics of life in the Bay Area, revolving around efforts by two men to save their record store.
August 15, 2012 When conventional fertility treatments fail, the rich, childless couple at the heart of Chase Novak's novel travel to Slovenia for an experimental procedure. Breed has drawn comparisons to Rosemary's Baby, but in this over-the-top tale, it's not the baby who's the monster.
July 25, 2012 A dispossessed Indian princess and her large-footed servant unravel a mystery among a crowd of classic British eccentrics in Julia Stuart's charming new novel, The Pigeon Pie Mystery. Who poisoned the unpleasant Major-General Bagshot? The answer may surprise you.
July 18, 2012 Set in the Rocky Mountains after an epidemic has killed off most of society, The Dog Stars, by adventure writer Peter Heller, casts an unusual mood as it alternates between elegiac reflection, lyrical nature writing and intense, high-caliber action. The Dog Stars will be published on Aug. 7.
May 14, 2012 Darkly funny, suspenseful and cunningly plotted, Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl will be published June 5. In this exclusive selection from the book's opening, we meet Nick and Amy, the seemingly perfect couple whose alternating chapters soon reveal them to be unreliable narrators — and spouses.