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New Nation, New Cuisine: The First Cookbook To Tackle 'American Food'

Fri, 07/03/2015 - 5:03am

The first American cookbook, published in 1796, promised local food and a kind of socioculinary equality. But generations later, foodies are still puzzling over how to define "American food."

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Book Review: 'The Uses Of The Body,' Deborah Landau

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 2:30pm

Poet Tess Taylor reviews The Uses of the Body by Deborah Landau.

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Get A 'Grip' On This Goofy Noir Sci-Fi Tale

Thu, 07/02/2015 - 9:03am

This reissue of Gilbert Hernandez's series starts out noir — a young man with amnesia and a mysterious lipstick trace — but quickly gets weird. Critic Etelka Lehoczky says it's full of "goofy joy."

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On World Cafe, A Look At The Grateful Dead's Legacy

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 1:19pm

As the Dead's Fare Thee Well Tour comes to a close, World Cafe talks with David Browne, the author of a new book on the legendary band.

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For This Nostalgia Trip, 'We Don't Need Roads'

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 7:32am

This oral history of the Back to the Future movies offers a wealth of fascinating historical trivia — but critic Genevieve Valentine says it's carefully broad scope can mean a lack of sharp analysis.

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Misty Copeland Seeks To Inspire Other African-American Dancers

Wed, 07/01/2015 - 3:07am

Misty Copeland is the American Ballet Theater's first female African-American principal dancer. She discusses her book, Firebird. (This piece initially aired on Sept. 9, 2014 on Morning Edition).

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How A Stolen Backpack In Casablanca Inspired A Novel About Shifting Identity

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 11:33am

The main character in Vendela Vida's new novel is alone in Morocco when her bag with her passport and credit cards is stolen. Vida says The Diver's Clothes Lie Empty was inspired by her own travels.

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After 25 Years, A Comics Publisher Pauses To Collect And Reflect

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 10:24am

A massive new anthology collects the impressive and varied work of the Montreal-based publisher Drawn And Quarterly, whose comics and graphic novels represent a deeply human kind of storytelling.

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A Lyrical Coming Of Age Tale In 'Bird Hill'

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 8:03am

Naomi Jackson's first novel follows a pair of Brooklyn sisters sent to live in their mother's small Barbados hometown. Critic Michael Schaub says "it's not a perfect book, but it's a lovely one."

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'Philosopher Kings' Leaves Plato's Republic Far Behind

Tue, 06/30/2015 - 5:03am

The second volume of Jo Walton's trilogy about the creation of a real-world Republic picks up 30 years after events of the first book. Reviewer Amal El-Mohtar says it's an expectation-shattering read.

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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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