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Arts & Life

The String Quartet As Chosen Family In 'The Ensemble'


In her debut novel, former cellist Aja Gabel follows four musicians as they come together and entertain ambitions to strike out on their own — on and off stage.

'All The Answers' Can't Answer Its Central Questions — And That's Just Fine


Cartoonist Michael Kupperman's new memoir recounts his attempts to get at a great mystery in his father's life — his childhood in the spotlight as a contestant on the Quiz Kids radio show.

The Vast And Violent Rural Northwest, In 'Come West And See'


Maxim Loskutoff's collection of short stories picks at the tensions between city and country among everyday Westerners — who find themselves living among heavily-armed separatist militias.

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To Play, Protest Or Both? Book Traces 'The Heritage' Of Black Athlete Activists

"This is a question of black body versus black brain," says sports writer Howard Bryant. "In the United States, the black body has always been what's been compensated."

Arts | Books

Blimps Full Of Money And 30 Other Sports Hypotheticals In 'Upon Further Review'

Mike Pesca's new book imagines 31 counterfactual "what if" hypotheticals in sports, from home runs taken off the board to a boycott of the 1936 Olympics in Hitler's Germany.

Arts | Books

Tom Wolfe, Best-Selling Author And Genre-Breaking Journalist, Dies At 88

The author of Bonfire of the Vanities and The Right Stuff used to give himself a quota of 10 triple-spaced pages per day. He also experimented with literary techniques in his non-fiction.

Arts | Books

'Heroic, But He's No Hero': Revisiting Football Great Jim Brown

Dave Zirin's new biography portrays a black liberation activist with a conservative streak, a man with an alleged history of violence against women and maybe the greatest running back in NFL history.

Arts | Books

April Showers Bring These 3 May Romances

Love is in the air, and romance is blossoming like May flowers — so we've gathered a bouquet of the month's best, from a Bollywood-esque confection set in New Jersey to a transatlantic royal romp.

Arts | Books

Bloody-Scepter'd 'Tyrant' Explores Shakespeare's Take On Politics

Scholar Stephen Greenblatt says Shakespeare wrote his histories as a commentary on the era he lived in — and those plays still have important things to say about our current political climate.

Food | Books

Milk! The 'Most Over-Argued Food In History'

Author Mark Kurlansky discusses his new book Milk! with NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro, and the roots of modern debates on dairy.

Arts | Books

My First Existential Crisis: The Sweet Story Of An Angsty 'Square'

Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett are writing a children's book trilogy about shapes who are just like us. The second installment follows a straight-laced square who wonders if he's really a genius.


Mohsin Hamid's 'Exit West' Wins First-Ever Aspen Words Literary Prize

The Aspen Institute's prize recognizes fiction that tackles today's thorniest social issues. But just one writer will win inaugural honors at a ceremony hosted by NPR's Linda Holmes and Michel Martin.


In Zora Neale Hurston's 'Barracoon,' Language Is The Key To Understanding

The book is based on conversations Hurston had with Cudjo Lewis, who was brought to this country on the last trans-Atlantic slave ship. It's a unique document of Lewis' life before and after slavery.