Now Playing:

Arts & Life

A Failed Revolution And A Failed Marriage In 'Dark At The Crossing'

NPR | Jan. 21, 2017

Elliot Ackerman's new novel Dark at the Crossing follows an Iraqi man who tries to cross into Syria to fight Bashar al-Assad, but gets caught up with a charismatic Syrian exile and his troubled wife.

'Martians Abroad' Is An Optimistic Glance Into Humanity's Future

NPR | Jan. 19, 2017

Carrie Vaughn — known for her Kitty Norville urban fantasies — ventures offworld with Martians Abroad, a high-school adventure that pays fun, thoughtful homage to Robert Heinlein's "juveniles."

In 'Homesick,' Ottessa Moshfegh Makes The Unlikable Understandable

NPR | Jan. 18, 2017

The characters in Ottessa Moshfegh's new collection are cold, unfiltered, frequently pathetic — all suffering from unease and nameless longing, made understandable by each perfectly-built story.

More Books

Food | Books | Arts | Entertainment

Ring In 'Lemony Snicket' On Netflix With A Series Of Unfortunate Recipes

NPR | Jan. 17, 2017 11:52 a.m.

In the children's books, food is practically a supporting character. So why not welcome the poor Baudelaire orphans with a delightfully miserable repast while binge-watching the new show?

Books | Arts

'Transit' Is A Journey You Won't Want To End

NPR | Jan. 17, 2017 4 a.m.

Rachel Cusk's latest — the second in a trilogy that began with Outline — follows a writer unmoored by the breakup of her marriage, and the people she meets as she goes about her strange new life.

Books | Arts

Veronica Roth's 'Carve The Mark' Is A Fantasy Inspired By Chronic Pain

NPR | Jan. 14, 2017 6:17 a.m.

The Divergent author's new series takes place in a world where everyone has a gift that reflects their personality. One character has what Roth describes as "a supernatural form of chronic pain."

Books | Arts

In 'Cold Eye,' A Small Story That Packs A Big Punch

NPR | Jan. 14, 2017 4 a.m.

The second installment of Laura Anne Gilman's gritty, mythmaking Devil's West series follows Isobel, the Devil's Left Hand, as she learns the extent of her powers and battles an ancient, angry spirit.

Books | Arts

Free Speech Advocates, Publishers Wrestle With Questions Of Censorship

NPR | Jan. 12, 2017 9:22 p.m.

Simon and Schuster's book deal with controversial Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos drew strong criticism online, and sparked a debate on publishing's role in limiting the availability of ideas.

Books | Arts

Fulfill Your Reading Resolutions With 6 Books From Librarian Nancy Pearl

NPR | Jan. 12, 2017 4:34 a.m.

Every once in a while, NPR's go-to books guru sends host Steve Inskeep a big stack of books. They're generally "under-the-radar" reads — titles she thinks deserve a little more attention.

Books | Arts

Brief But Creepy, 'Fever Dream' Has A Poisonous Glow

NPR | Jan. 12, 2017 4 a.m.

Samanta Schweblin's debut novel starts as a warped child's game, and evolves into a terrifyingly toxic eco-horror tale in the vein of short-but-creepy Latin American classics like Pedro Páramo.

Books | Arts

Earthy 'Lotus' Is A Fascinating Flower

NPR | Jan. 11, 2017 4 a.m.

Lijia Zhang's debut novel — about a young woman in China who fights her way out of the sex trade to become a teacher — is sensitively drawn, full of folk wisdom and concise, touching imagery.

Books | Arts

Immigration And Infertility Bring Two Mothers Together Over One 'Lucky Boy'

NPR | Jan. 10, 2017 3:23 p.m.

Shanthi Sekaran's new novel tells the story of a Mexican woman who has entered the U.S. without papers and an Indian-American chef struggling to have a baby.

Books | Arts | Entertainment

Why It's Literally Not Wrong To Say 'Literally'

NPR | Jan. 10, 2017 12:14 p.m.

Young people have always used language in new ways, and it has always driven older people crazy. But the linguist John McWhorter says all the LOLs are part of an inevitable evolution of language.