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.

Historian Mary Beard says real gladiator competitions were probably not as brutal as the film Gladiator (starring Russell Crowe) would have us believe. Still, she says, "I loved Gladiator and I thought its depiction of gladiatorial combat, although it was an aggrandizing picture, was cleverly and expertly done." Universal/Getty Images hide caption

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Universal/Getty Images

From Gladiator Duels To Caesar's Last Words: The Myths Of Ancient Rome

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Rosa Parks joins in a march at the South African Embassy in Washington, Dec. 10, 1984, protesting that country's racial policies. She's famous for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in 1955, sparking the Montgomery boycotts — but her activism spanned her entire life. AP hide caption

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AP

No Meekness Here: Meet Rosa Parks, 'Lifelong Freedom Fighter'

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iStockphoto

A Star-Crossed 'Scientific Fact': The Story Of Vulcan, Planet That Never Was

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Author David Mitchell's Number9Dream and Cloud Atlas were both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Paul Stuart /Deckle Edge hide caption

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Paul Stuart /Deckle Edge

Soul-Sucking Vampires Of David Mitchell's 'Slade House' Started On Twitter

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Brigitte Lacombe/Doubleday

'This Old Man' Looks Back On A Full Life

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Kenji Lopez-Alt is managing culinary director of Serious Eats, author of the James Beard Award-nominated column "The Food Lab," and a columnist for Cooking Light. His first book is The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. Robin Lubbock/WBUR hide caption

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Robin Lubbock/WBUR
Heather Landis

Hemingway, Mailer, PewDiePie? YouTube Stars Hit The Best-Seller Lists

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The 'Amazing Fantastic Incredible' Life Of Stan Lee, Now In Comic Form

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"I've always been an introverted person," Shonda Rhimes says, and she found the fame that came with her television successes to be "daunting." James White/Courtesy of Simon & Schuster hide caption

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James White/Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

For A Year, Shonda Rhimes Said 'Yes' To All The Things That Scared Her

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Mary-Louise Parker says her father loved words; they used to send poems to each other in the mail. Tina Turnbow hide caption

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Tina Turnbow

'Dear Mr. You' Is A Lifetime In Letters

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'Destiny And Power' Reveals Elder Bush's Criticism Of His Son's Administration

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Zanzibari biryanai, a dish involving spiced poached chicken, fried onions, a rich gravy and rosewater- and saffron-scented rice. Zanzibar was part of Oman until 1965. Courtesy of Ariana Lindquist/Andrews McMeel hide caption

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Courtesy of Ariana Lindquist/Andrews McMeel

Guitarist, actor and writer Carrie Brownstein performing with her band Sleater-Kinney at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Alex Schelldorf/NPR hide caption

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Alex Schelldorf/NPR

All Songs +1: Carrie Brownstein Isn't Who You Think She Is

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