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Arts & Life

Elvis Costello: 'There Is No Absolute Right And Wrong About Music'

NPR | Oct. 13, 2015

Throughout his memoir, Costello grapples with parallels to his father's life.

'Shards' Puts A Fantastic Twist On Jewish Mythology

NPR | Oct. 13, 2015

Matthew Kressel kicks off an Old Testament-flavored fantasy trilogy with this story of a man, abducted by a demon, who learns he's one of 36 hidden saints whose existence preserves the Earth.

This 'Clasp' Doesn't Quite Hold Together

NPR | Oct. 13, 2015

Sloane Crosley's new novel, The Clasp, follows a group of disaffected 30-somethings who gather for a classmate's posh wedding — but the casual misanthropy of the characters dims the book's pleasures.

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Arts | Books

Exhibition Delves Below Deceptively Simple Surface Of Hemingway's Prose

NPR | Oct. 12, 2015 2:10 p.m.

A collection of first drafts, letters, outtakes and photos on display in New York City illuminate the inner workings of Ernest Hemingway's meticulous writing process — failures, flaws and all.

Arts | Books

Parables For Understanding A Nation's Racial 'Sin'

NPR | Oct. 11, 2015 3:37 p.m.

Rev. Jim Wallis leads the Sojourners, a Christian social justice group. He's known for mixing faith with public life, urging candidates to discuss moral issues in ways that transcends divisions.

Arts | Books

'Thirteen Ways' Lifts Darkness Through Storytelling

NPR | Oct. 11, 2015 5:27 a.m.

Colum McCann's latest book, Thirteen Ways of Looking, takes on parenthood, loss and just how arbitrary life can be. McCann says talking about traumatic experiences can be "a fantastic catharsis."

Arts | Books

'Mothers' Tells Stories Too Often Silenced

NPR | Oct. 11, 2015 3:41 a.m.

Bonnie Jo Campbell's confessional, unforgettable new story collection gives a voice to mothers and daughters, struggling to get by, desperate to be heard, but despairing of an audience.

Arts | Books

Sylvia Plath's Husband, Ted Hughes, Lived A Life Of Poetry And Tragedy

NPR | Oct. 10, 2015 7:28 a.m.

Biographer Jonathan Bate says his job is to write about "the quality and endurance of the literary work." His new biography has been disavowed by the Hughes estate.

Arts | Books

'Silver On The Road' Is A Pure American Myth

NPR | Oct. 10, 2015 7:03 a.m.

Laura Anne Gilman creates an authentically spooky Old West in her novel, where it seems perfectly reasonable that the Devil might wear a sharp suit, run a saloon, and always stay true to his bargains.

Arts | Books

'Lime Street' Bewitches With Mystery And Mayhem

NPR | Oct. 10, 2015 4:03 a.m.

David Jaher's account of Harry Houdini attempt to debunk Boston society psychic Mina Crandon mixes history with high-wire theatricality — even though most readers will know who came out on top.

Arts | Books

'Secret Chord' Sings A New Song About An Ancient Hero

NPR | Oct. 9, 2015 2:23 p.m.

Geraldine Brooks' retelling of the biblical epic of King David casts him as larger than life — jester, predator, conqueror and poet. Critic Jean Zimmerman says Brooks "gives the whole king his due."

Arts | Books

In 'Gap Of Time,' Shakespeare Is Updated, But Not Upstaged

NPR | Oct. 9, 2015 9:03 a.m.

Jeanette Winterson's retelling of The Winter's Tale includes hedge fund managers and a New Orleans setting. But critic Annalisa Quinn says the book doesn't quite stand on its own.

Arts | Books

Belarusian Journalist Svetlana Alexievich Wins Literature Nobel

NPR | Oct. 8, 2015 2:37 p.m.

The investigative journalist is known for her in-depth exposes of the former Soviet Union, letting eyewitness accounts shed an unsettling light on tragedies.