January 17, 2013 When a young Quaker woman in 1850s Ohio comes into contact with the Underground Railroad, she faces a dilemma. If she helps the runaways, her family could go to prison and lose their farm. Tracy Chevalier's contemplative novel offers a powerful testament to the force of conscience.
January 16, 2013 Harlem Renaissance writer Eric Walrond's 1926 story collection, Tropic Death, is being reissued after decades out of print. Reviewer Oscar Villalon says the stories are "disturbing reminders of how utterly vulnerable we are to the injustices of the heart and of community."
January 14, 2013 Intelligent, gregarious and at times disarmingly personal, Justice Sonia Sotomayor's memoir, My Beloved World, recounts her trailblazing journey from a Bronx housing project to a bench on the Supreme Court.
December 7, 2012 Two new biographical studies that read like novels explore the familial relationships that shaped two of the 19th century's most beloved authors. Critic Maureen Corrigan calls Great Expectations: The Sons And Daughters Of Charles Dickens "a Gothic nightmare" and Marmee & Louisa "a romance."
November 27, 2012 The only thing that these books have in common is that NPR's go-to librarian likes them a lot. Nancy Pearl's self-described "higgledy-piggledy" list includes a book of cartoons, a Civil War history, a coming-of-age story, a spy novel and more.
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November 20, 2012 Jami Attenberg's black comedy about the fallout of one woman's food addiction is a tough but affecting story about family members putting up with each other. Critic Maureen Corrigan says the novel's fragmented narration and jumpy timeline add to its emotional punch.
November 20, 2012 The latest book by former New Yorker editor Robert Gottlieb, Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens, reads more like scintillating gossip about the famous writer and his family than literary scholarship. NPR's Heller McAlpin is fine with that.
November 16, 2012 Novelist Richard Russo's new memoir, Elsewhere, is the uncompromisingly tragic — yet beautifully told — story of his relationship with his mentally ill mother. Reviewer Michael Schaub calls it "one of the most honest, moving American memoirs in years."
November 15, 2012 Alice Munro delivers a collection of stories that makes ordinary existence seem extraordinary, from the costly nature of first love to the literal cost of a small-town affair to the love between two strangers who are perfectly unsuited for each other.
November 14, 2012 The novelist has won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Award. His latest novel, however, earns the ire of critic Maureen Corrigan, who usually numbers among McEwan's fans but finds herself dismayed by this book's attitudes toward women.