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Arts & Life

For This Nostalgia Trip, 'We Don't Need Roads'

NPR | July 01, 2015

This oral history of the Back to the Future movies offers a wealth of fascinating historical trivia — but critic Genevieve Valentine says it's carefully broad scope can mean a lack of sharp analysis.

'Philosopher Kings' Leaves Plato's Republic Far Behind

NPR | June 30, 2015

The second volume of Jo Walton's trilogy about the creation of a real-world Republic picks up 30 years after events of the first book. Reviewer Amal El-Mohtar says it's an expectation-shattering read.

After 25 Years, A Comics Publisher Pauses To Collect And Reflect

NPR | June 30, 2015

A massive new anthology collects the impressive and varied work of the Montreal-based publisher Drawn And Quarterly, whose comics and graphic novels represent a deeply human kind of storytelling.

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Arts | Books

A Lyrical Coming Of Age Tale In 'Bird Hill'

NPR | June 30, 2015 7:03 a.m.

Naomi Jackson's first novel follows a pair of Brooklyn sisters sent to live in their mother's small Barbados hometown. Critic Michael Schaub says "it's not a perfect book, but it's a lovely one."

Arts | Books | Entertainment

Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch Edition: Audiobooks

NPR | June 29, 2015 11:37 a.m.

We have a conversation with one of our favorite regular-book enthusiasts about the special matter of the audiobook.

Arts | Books

Marvel's Half-Black, Half-Latino Spider-Man Is Going Mainstream

NPR | June 29, 2015 11:34 a.m.

"It won't be [that] Miles is Spider-Man with an asterisk or some kind of adjective or adverb attached to it," says writer Brian Michael Bendis. "He is going to be Spider-Man — just Spider-Man."

Arts | Books

'Patience And Fortitude' And The Fight To Save NYC's Storied Public Library

NPR | June 29, 2015 9:55 a.m.

In his new book, Scott Sherman describes how bottom-line business logic nearly gutted New York's preeminent public library. Maureen Corrigan calls it a "slim, smart book" full of colorful characters.

Arts | Books

Raised By 5 Different Families, 7 Siblings Are Reunited In 'Bastards'

NPR | June 28, 2015 7:44 a.m.

In her debut memoir Mary Anna King tells the story of her fractured upbringing and how — in the face of poverty — love and hard work were not sufficient to keep her family together.

Arts | Books

Like Seinfeld, 'Festival' Is About Nothing... And Everything

NPR | June 28, 2015 4:03 a.m.

Milan Kundera's new novel is short on plot, but don't mistake that for dullness. Reviewer Jason Sheehan says the book is slim, funny and stunningly profound.

Arts | Books

Daniel Silva On 'Double-Edged Sword' Of Writing An Israeli Spy Protagonist

NPR | June 27, 2015 7:30 a.m.

"Israel is extremely unpopular in the world right now," Silva says, and he doesn't always share his characters' opinions. The English Spy is Silva's 15th novel starring operative Gabriel Allon.

Arts | Books

The Craft Sequence: Please Do Judge These Books By Their Covers

NPR | June 27, 2015 4:03 a.m.

This weekend, the NPR Books Time Machine rewinds Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence. Critic Amal El-Mohtar was drawn in by great cover art and discovered a sharp, smart, unusual urban fantasy series.


#NPRReads: Gun Laws And Mass Shootings

NPR | June 26, 2015 1:10 p.m.

Also this week, the Charleston shooting and forgiveness, cause and effect, and female janitors and rape.

Arts | Books

Friendship, Magic And Danger Blossom In 'Uprooted'

NPR | June 26, 2015 10:25 a.m.

Naomi Novik's latest is a re-worked "Beauty and the Beast," with a powerful female friendship at its heart. Reviewer Amal El-Mohtar calls it "moving, heart-breaking, and thoroughly satisfying."