November 13, 2012 British author Ian McEwan is known for multilayered tales with surprise endings, and his latest novel doesn't disappoint. The story of a Cold War intelligence agent who falls for the target of her investigation is sprinkled with hints of subversive intents, making it a clever bonbon of a book.
November 14, 2012 Colm Toibin's latest novel reimagines the life and death of Jesus through the eyes of his mother. Elegantly subversive, The Testament of Mary examines the nature of truth and storytelling from the point of view of the world's most famous virgin.
November 14, 2012 In 2009, New York Post reporter Susannah Cahalan was hospitalized for one horrific month because of a rare disorder. After recovering, she remembered almost nothing about the ordeal, so she decided to find out what happened. Her new book provides a remarkable reconstruction of the events of her sickness.
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.
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 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 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 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 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.
Books featured in this story:
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."