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In A Funny New Novel, A Weary Professor Writes To 'Dear Committee Members'

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 1:15pm

Julie Schumacher's anti-hero pens recommendations for junior colleagues, lackluster students and former lovers. The novel deftly mixes comedy with social criticism and righteous outrage.

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Book News: George R.R. Martin Was Told Sci-Fi Would Rot His Brain

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 6:47am

Also: a history of novels written entirely in dialogue; the subversiveness of Harriet the Spy.

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Exclusive First Read: Jules Feiffer's 'Kill My Mother'

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 5:00am

Read an exclusive pre-publication excerpt of Jules Feiffer's first graphic novel, Kill My Mother. It's a classic noir tale with delightfully strong, flawed female leads and some modern plot twists.

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Author Explores Irony And Identity In 'A Chinaman's Chance'

Tue, 08/12/2014 - 2:02am

Eric Liu, a former presidential speech writer, addresses in his book how his American identity is "completely infused by [his] Chinese-ness."

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Nuclear 'Command And Control': A History Of False Alarms And Near Catastrophes

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 1:33pm

Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, spent six years researching America's nuclear weapons. In Command and Control, he details explosions, false attack alerts and accidentally dropped bombs.

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Book News: Petitions, Orwell And The Amazon-Hachette Fight

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 6:49am

Also, an interview with Ursula Le Guin; notable books coming out this week.

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WWII POWs Build A Deathly Railway In 'The Narrow Road'

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 5:39am

NPR's Linda Wertheimer talks to Richard Flanagan, author of the new book The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

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'Blackboard' Chalks A Nostalgic Portrait Of School Days

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 5:03am

Lewis Buzbee's account of his idyllic youth in the California public school system is relentlessly positive, though bracketed with criticism of current school policy and a firm call for more funding.

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Albert Camus' Poker-Faced 'Stranger' Became A Much Needed Friend

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 5:03am

At age 14, author Aaron Gwyn was lonely and angry. His dad was dead. His mom was addicted to pills. Then he discovered The Stranger, a novel of absurdity and detachment. Somehow, it helped him deal.

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Sept. 11 Changed Everything: Following 3 Women In The National Guard

Sun, 08/10/2014 - 3:28am

In spring 2001, Desma Brooks, Michelle Fischer and Debbie Helton signed up for the National Guard expecting just a few days of drills each month. Soldier Girls tells the stories of their deployments.

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A Beautiful Book, Whether Or Not It Makes You 'Happy'

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 5:03pm

Eleanor Davis' gorgeous new How to Be Happy doesn't actually tell you how to be happy; rather, it dramatizes the promise of happiness, and the funny and tragic effects that follow on from it.

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'Building A Better Teacher': Dissecting America's Education Culture

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 3:12pm

Author Elizabeth Green argues that effective teaching is a craft, not a skill teachers have naturally. She says teachers need more mentorship — not just more mandates.

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Effort To Preserve Yiddish Works Not 'Bupkes'

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 6:49am

The preservation of Yiddish as a spoken language gets more attention, but Yiddish once had a vibrant written tradition as well, filled with plays, poetry, novels and political tracts.

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Lev Grossman: A 'Magician' Grows Up

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 3:03am

NPR's Petra Mayer sees the sights at San Diego Comic-Con with Magicians Trilogy author Lev Grossman — and discusses what happens when wizardly kids have to face an adult world, without mentors.

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In 'Dirty Work,' A Doctor Turns To Fiction To Talk About Abortion

Sat, 08/09/2014 - 3:02am

Gabriel Weston is an ear, nose and throat surgeon. She says writing Dirty Work — about an obstetrician-gynecologist who performs abortions — made her more sensitive to all sides of the debate.

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