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Updated: 2 days 21 hours ago

Pop Culture Happy Hour, Small Batch Edition: Audiobooks

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 12:37pm

We have a conversation with one of our favorite regular-book enthusiasts about the special matter of the audiobook.

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Mat Johnson On 'Loving Day' And Life As A 'Black Boy' Who Looks White

Mon, 06/29/2015 - 11:31am

As a biracial child growing up in Philadelphia, writer Mat Johnson identified as black – but looked white. His new novel is about a man who returns to his hometown after inheriting a run-down mansion.

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A Bar, Blackjack And Best-Sellers: One Author's Big Break

Sun, 06/28/2015 - 3:18pm

Ben Mezrich had been a struggling author, without a regular job and knee-deep in debt. But that all changed at a dive bar in Boston, when Mezrich saw a local college student whip out a $100 bill.

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Like Seinfeld, 'Festival' Is About Nothing... And Everything

Sun, 06/28/2015 - 5:03am

Milan Kundera's new novel is short on plot, but don't mistake that for dullness. Reviewer Jason Sheehan says the book is slim, funny and stunningly profound.

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Raised By 5 Different Families, 7 Siblings Are Reunited In 'Bastards'

Sun, 06/28/2015 - 3:19am

In her debut memoir Mary Anna King tells the story of her fractured upbringing and how — in the face of poverty — love and hard work were not sufficient to keep her family together.

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Marvel's Half-Black, Half-Latino Spider-Man Is Going Mainstream

Sat, 06/27/2015 - 3:07pm

"It won't be [that] Miles is Spider-Man with an asterisk or some kind of adjective or adverb attached to it," says writer Brian Michael Bendis. "He is going to be Spider-Man — just Spider-Man."

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How To Win The Money Game: A Former NBA Star Shares Financial Advice

Sat, 06/27/2015 - 3:06pm

Adonal Foyle has financial advice for professional athletes. "You really have to put money in its proper place," he says. "If we do that, we will respect it — but not give it too much power over us."

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Daniel Silva On 'Double-Edged Sword' Of Writing An Israeli Spy Protagonist

Sat, 06/27/2015 - 6:09am

"Israel is extremely unpopular in the world right now," Silva says, and he doesn't always share his characters' opinions. The English Spy is Silva's 15th novel starring operative Gabriel Allon.

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Prolific Crime Novelist Turns Talents To Dissecting 'Forensics'

Sat, 06/27/2015 - 6:09am

NPR's Scott Simon speaks with crime novelist Val McDermid about her new book, Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime.

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Alpha, Beta, Heathcliff — An Alphabet Of Romance Heroes

Sat, 06/27/2015 - 6:09am

As part of the NPR Books Summer of Love series, Lynn Neary digs into the history of the romance hero, the difference between alpha and beta heroes, and why Heathcliff is really kind of a jerk.

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The Craft Sequence: Please Do Judge These Books By Their Covers

Sat, 06/27/2015 - 5:03am

This weekend, the NPR Books Time Machine rewinds Max Gladstone's Craft Sequence. Critic Amal El-Mohtar was drawn in by great cover art and discovered a sharp, smart, unusual urban fantasy series.

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How Scientists Created A Typhus Vaccine In A 'Fantastic Laboratory'

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 11:16am

Writer Arthur Allen describes how a WWII scientist in Poland smuggled the typhus vaccine to Jews — while his team made a weakened version for the Nazis. Originally broadcast July 22, 2014.

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: Judy Blume's New Book And Lifetime's 'UnREAL'

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 7:42am

On this week's show, a beloved author of books for kids writes another one for adults, and Lifetime sets a drama behind the scenes of a reality dating show.

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Oxford English Dictionary Adds New Words, Offers Clarity On Old Ones

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 3:58pm

The OED unveils some modern coinage and explains a Supreme Court justice's choice of words.

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Take A Walk With Judy Blume Through Her Old Miami Beach Neighborhood

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 2:37pm

Blume says her time in Miami Beach in the late '40s was the most important time in her childhood. Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself is a slightly fictionalized autobiography of Blume's life there.

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'Keepers' Isn't One: A Critic's Highlight Reel Lacks Spark

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 8:03am

Longtime film writer Richard Schickel's unsatisfying collection of movie musings deems pleasure and intellectualism mutually exclusive.

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Going Through A Midlife Crisis? 'Summerlong' Is No Escape

Thu, 06/25/2015 - 5:03am

Dean Bakopoulos' darkly humorous novel Summerlong features a cast of Midwestern suburbanites suffocating from adulthood.

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'Project Fatherhood' Teaches Parenting Skills To Inner-City Dads

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 12:05pm

Mike Cummings and Jorja Leap are working with men in Los Angeles — many of whom are former gang members — to help them find something that was missing from their lives as they grew up: fatherhood.

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'Patience And Fortitude' And The Fight To Save NYC's Storied Public Library

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 12:05pm

In his new book, Scott Sherman describes how bottom-line business logic nearly gutted New York's preeminent public library. Maureen Corrigan calls it a "slim, smart book" full of colorful characters.

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'Death' Uncovers The Secret History Of Mr. Pickwick

Wed, 06/24/2015 - 5:03am

Stephen Jarvis's debut novel explores the creation of Charles Dickens' classic serial, back when he was an unknown writer going by the name of "Boz," and the real star was illustrator Robert Seymour.

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