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Arts & Life

Welcome To 'The Collapsing Empire:' Questions For John Scalzi

NPR | March 24, 2017

Prolific sci-fi author John Scalzi boots up a new universe in The Collapsing Empire. It's set in a future where far-flung humanity's ability to travel and communicate between planets is under threat.

'The Devil And Webster' Explores Tolerance, Inclusion And Identity

NPR | March 23, 2017

Jean Hanff Korelitz's latest is set at a tony New England college rocked by racial unrest. It's a suggestive exploration of tough issues, but lacks the nuance and intellect of the best campus novels.

Dread Builds As Good Guys Turn To Bad In 'Ill Will'

NPR | March 22, 2017

Dan Chaon's latest novel suggests that even people who seem kind can lead you down dangerous paths, whether they realize it or not.

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Arts | Books

Elastic Lines For An Elastic Life In 'Fire!!'

NPR | March 22, 2017 9:27 a.m.

Cartoonist Peter Bagge's new biography of Zora Neale Hurston swoops through her life at breakneck speed, losing some real-life pathos along the way, but sustaining an electric, colorful energy.

Arts | Books

Hunger, Boredom And Disappointment Are A Literary Feast In 'Bleaker House'

NPR | March 21, 2017 7 a.m.

Nell Stevens retreated to a remote corner of the Falkland Islands in an attempt to write a novel. She came away with something better: This oddly winning memoir of deprivation, rain and penguins.

Arts | Books

'Ghosts' In The Arctic: How The Long-Lost Franklin Expedition Was Found

NPR | March 21, 2017 5:57 a.m.

In the 1840s, two British crews vanished while seeking a passage through the ice at the top of the world. Paul Watson became "obsessed with the mystery" and tells the story in his new book Ice Ghosts.

Arts | Books

'Lucky You' Is A Perfect Balance Of Humor And Tragedy

NPR | March 21, 2017 4 a.m.

Erika Carter's intelligent, unpretentious debut follows an aimless group of friends in their 20s, whose lives spin out of control during a supposedly detoxifying trip to a remote house in the country.

Arts | Books

Rum-Soaked, Bloody, Sprawling 'Heretics' Is A Romp Through Centuries

NPR | March 19, 2017 7 a.m.

Leonardo Padura returns to one of his favorite characters — broken-down Cuban gumshoe Mario Conde — and puts him on the trail of a missing Rembrandt in his gorgeously written new novel Heretics.

Arts | Books

In '2140,' New York May Be Underwater, But It's Still Home

NPR | March 19, 2017 4 a.m.

Kim Stanley Robinson envisions a future that's closer than we like to think in New York 2140. Sea levels 50 feet higher have swamped Manhattan, but there's a tiny thread of hope that we might float.

Arts | Books

Both Pointless And Playful, 'The Idiot' Is Like A Long Dream

NPR | March 18, 2017 4 a.m.

Elif Batuman has sung the praises of "long novels, pointless novels," and she puts her money where her mouth is with The Idiot, a tale of youthful confusion that can be both boring and beautiful.

Arts | Books

Derek Walcott, Who Wrote Of Caribbean Beauty And Bondage, Dies At 87

NPR | March 17, 2017 1:31 p.m.

The Nobel Prize winner celebrated his Caribbean homeland and described its brutal colonial history. "You didn't make yourself a poet," he said. "You entered a situation in which there was poetry."

Arts | Books

Louise Erdrich, Matthew Desmond Lead National Book Critics Circle Winners

NPR | March 17, 2017 10:04 a.m.

The authors — who won awards in the fiction and nonfiction categories, respectively — were just two of the writers who emerged Thursday with one of the literary world's most renowned prizes.

Arts | Books | Entertainment

Pop Culture Happy Hour: Memes, Fads And A Chat With Neil Gaiman

NPR | March 17, 2017 7:40 a.m.

This week, we bring you two segments with comedian Guy Branum from our fall tour, and our friend Petra Mayer chats with author Neil Gaiman about Norse mythology.