The Week's Best Stories From NPR Books This week: Meg Wolitzer's latest, Charles Frazier returns to the Civil War, the pressures of being the only black person in the room, a new Macbeth, and marriage-saving tips from a divorce lawyer.
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The Week's Best Stories From NPR Books

This week: Meg Wolitzer, Charles Frazier, Jo Nesbo, Nafissa Thompson-Spires and James Sexton.

Janis Joplin Tucker Ransom/Hulton Archive/Getty Images hide caption

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Tucker Ransom/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Backstage With Janis Joplin: Doubts, Drugs And Compassion

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Free-range chickens stand in a pen at an organic-accredited poultry farm in Germany. Joern Pollex/Getty Images hide caption

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Joern Pollex/Getty Images

Chicken Confidential: How This Bird Came To Rule The Cultural Roost

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After The Ferguson Decision, A Poem That Gives Name To The Hurt

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David Quammen's new book is an extended excerpt of his previous one, Spillover, which explored how dangerous pathogens jump from animals to people. Courtesy of David Quammen hide caption

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Courtesy of David Quammen

Former President George W. Bush (right) and his father, former President George H.W. Bush, wave as they leave a family wedding in Washington, D.C., in May 2006. Normand Blouin-Pool/Getty Images hide caption

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Normand Blouin-Pool/Getty Images

43 On 41: A President Traces The Life Of His Father

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These Bookish Millennials Make Memes Worth Reading Into

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In Mallory Ortberg's modern retelling of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, Miss Havisham texts wedding dress photos from a blocked number. Madeline Gobbo/Courtesy of Henry Holt & Company hide caption

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Madeline Gobbo/Courtesy of Henry Holt & Company

If Literature's Great Characters Could Text, They'd Charm Your Pantalets Off

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For Political Junkies, A (Literary) Post-Election Fix

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Philippe Petain, head of the French World War II collaborationist government in Vichy, greets French prisoners arriving from Germany in 1941. AP hide caption

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AP

A French Best-Seller's Radical Argument: Vichy Regime Wasn't All Bad

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After 'Fifty Shades,' Could This Be The Next Big Online Hit?

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According to biographer Anthony Flint, Le Corbusier (seen here in an undated photo) once proposed razing Paris' historic Marais neighborhood in order to give the dilapidated district a fresh start. AP hide caption

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AP

Like It Or Not, Architect Le Corbusier's Urban Designs Are Everywhere

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John Cleese got his first big break in London's West End and as a script writer and performer on The Frost Report. Andy Gotts/Courtesy of Crown Publishing hide caption

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Andy Gotts/Courtesy of Crown Publishing

'Comedy Is Extraordinarily Difficult': John Cleese On Being Funny

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Professor and author Cornel West in 2008. Richard Alan Hannon/Getty Images hide caption

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Reviving A Grand Tradition Of 'Black Prophetic Fire'

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Amy Poehler plays Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation, which will air its final season next year. Poehler says, "It's a privilege in television to be able to have a proper goodbye." Colleen Hayes/NBC hide caption

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Colleen Hayes/NBC

A Candid Memoir From Comedian Amy Poehler? 'Yes Please'

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W.H. Auden at the 92nd Street Y Poetry Center in 1966. Diane Dorr-Dorynek/Courtesy of the 92nd Street Y hide caption

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Diane Dorr-Dorynek/Courtesy of the 92nd Street Y

75 Years Of 'Colossal Poets' And Live Literature At NYC's 92nd Street Y

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