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Arts & Life

'The Couple Next Door' Ratchets Up Parenting Paranoia

NPR | Aug. 25, 2016

Shari Lapena's novel about a couple whose baby daughter goes missing while they're at a dinner party next door strikes at the heart of parenting fears — but falls down as a police procedural.

Kids On Bikes: The Sci-Fi Nostalgia Of 'Stranger Things', 'Paper Girls' & 'Super 8'

NPR | Aug. 25, 2016

Three recent properties - a Netflix series, a comic book and a 2011 Hollywood film - borrow key elements from Steven Spielberg and Stephen King to comment on adolescence in very different ways.

Newly American 'Dreamers' Are Torn Between Love And Disappointment

NPR | Aug. 24, 2016

Imbolo Mbue's debut novel is one of the best books to deal with the financial crisis of 2007-2008. It's the story of a Cameroonian immigrant couple and the rich, troubled Americans they work for.

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Books | Arts

Texas Bookseller Picks 3 Summer Reads

NPR | Aug. 24, 2016 3:23 p.m.

Julia Green of Front Street Books recommends Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig, City of Women by David R. Gillham and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.

Books | Arts

'Breath Of Earth' Is A Brisk, Relevant Alt-History Barnstormer

NPR | Aug. 23, 2016 1:53 p.m.

Beth Cato's new book is set in an alternate version of San Francisco where geopolitical intrigue and homegrown unrest complicate a young earth magician's attempt to head off the great quake of 1906.

Books | Arts

Better To Reign In Hell: Literature's Unpunished Villains

NPR | Aug. 22, 2016 3:17 p.m.

Snidely Whiplash may have been famous for yelling "Curses, foiled again!" But sometimes the bad guys win — from Milton's Satan to X-men foe Magneto, we're taking a look at the ones who get away.

Books | Arts

Debut Novel Takes On The American Dream ... Racism, Recession And All

NPR | Aug. 21, 2016 7:35 a.m.

Like the protagonists in her novel, Imbolo Mbue came to the U.S. from Cameroon. She says the recession "laid bare a lot about the way in which the American dream is not that accessible to everybody."

Books | Arts

In The Midst Of Future Calamity, A Different Kind Of Ark: The London Zoo

NPR | Aug. 20, 2016 8:21 a.m.

In Bill Broun's dystopian Night of the Animals, zoo-bound creatures ask the main character to let them out. "It's a kind of fulcrum between the old world and a kind of liberating cataclysm," he says.

Books | Arts

In 'Ghost Talkers,' The Spies Are Actual Spooks

NPR | Aug. 20, 2016 4 a.m.

Mary Robinette Kowal's new book imagines a version of World War I where mediums serve in the British Army, and newly dead soldiers are vital sources of information about what's happening at the front.

Books | Arts

Amy Schumer Bares Her Soul In 'The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo'

NPR | Aug. 19, 2016 7:03 a.m.

Schumer's new essay collection is revealing, packed with personal diary entries going back to her pre-teen years — and funny. But she doesn't shy away from difficult topics like her sexual assault.

Books | Arts

Riveting 'Obelisk Gate' Shatters The Stillness

NPR | Aug. 18, 2016 11:48 a.m.

N.K. Jemisin continues the story of the Stillness — a world constantly rocked by quakes, and the rare, gifted people who can control them — in a second volume even more engrossing than the first.

Books | Arts

'The Hike' Turns Traditional Fairy Tales Inside Out

NPR | Aug. 18, 2016 7:31 a.m.

Drew Magary's new novel is the strange story of average guy Ben, whose business meeting at a old country hotel turns into a bizarre odyssey through the woods, full of giant crickets and talking crabs.

Books | Arts

For The 'Oscars Of Romance,' Representation Matters

NPR | Aug. 17, 2016 4 a.m.

The RITA awards are the Oscars of romance writing — but of more than 90 RITA finalists this year, only a handful featured heroes and heroines of color. We have a roundup of the ones that did.