Book Reviews

Exclusive First Read: Erik Larson's 'Dead Wake'

NPR Books - March 5, 2015 - 7:03am

The Devil in the White City author Erik Larson turns his attention to the sinking of the liner Lusitania almost 100 years ago — a turning point that helped bring the United States into World War I.

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Montana's Almost Crowded Now, Thanks To The Colorful Characters Of 'Crow Fair'

NPR Books - March 5, 2015 - 4:03am

Thomas McGuane's new story collection gives us a large cast of Big Sky dreamers, schemers and down-and-outs. Reviewer Alan Cheuse says it's a fascinating portrait of the state — with bonus bears.

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Erik Larson’s ‘Dead Wake,’ About the Lusitania

New York Times book reviews - March 5, 2015 - 2:30am
Hampton Sides reviews Erik Larson’s “Dead Wake,” which recounts the final voyage of the Lusitania, one of the colossal tragedies of maritime history.






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ArtsBeat: Elizabeth McCracken Wins $20,000 Story Prize

New York Times book reviews - March 4, 2015 - 6:30pm
Ms. McCracken won for her collection “Thunderstruck.”






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A 'Girl In A Band': Kim Gordon On Life After Sonic Youth

NPR Books - March 4, 2015 - 11:14am

Gordon co-founded Sonic Youth with Thurston Moore. When their marriage broke up in 2011, so did the band. Gordon talks about rebuilding her life, writing her memoir and her new band Body/Head.

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ArtsBeat: Chrissie Hynde to Publish Memoir

New York Times book reviews - March 4, 2015 - 10:31am
The Pretenders singer’s memoir will be published by Doubleday in September.






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Black Bodies In White Words, Or: Why We Need Claudia Rankine

NPR Books - March 4, 2015 - 9:03am

Writer and photographer Syreeta McFadden says that when she's challenged to prove the existence of everyday racism, she directs friends, allies and enemies to Claudia Rankine's powerful Citizen.

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A Vivid Portrait Of Tudor Turmoil In 'Lamentation'

NPR Books - March 4, 2015 - 7:03am

The sixth volume of C.J. Sansom's Shardlake mysteries is set during the last days of England's King Henry VIII, as a potentially explosive religious manuscript written by his queen has gone missing.

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Ishiguro's 'Buried Giant' Gets Lost In Its Own Fog

NPR Books - March 4, 2015 - 4:03am

Kazuo Ishiguro's latest novel is set in a mythical Arthurian England. Though the premise was promising, the book is too vague to make much of an impact.

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Prepare For 'The End Of College': Here's What Free Higher Ed Looks Like

NPR Books - March 3, 2015 - 11:09am

In his new book, Kevin Carey envisions a future in which online education programs solve two of colleges' biggest problems: costs and admissions.

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'Welcome To Braggsville' Isn't Quite 'Invisible Man,' But It's Close

NPR Books - March 3, 2015 - 11:09am

T. Geronimo Johnson's latest follows four Berkeley students who take an American history class that leads to disaster. It's an ambitious book about race that wants to say something big about America.

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'The Devil's Detective' Is A Grim Tour Through A Noirish Hell

NPR Books - March 3, 2015 - 7:03am

Hell is actually a bureaucracy in Simon Kurt Unsworth's debut novel. Reviewer Jason Heller says the tale of a demonic murder investigation starts strong but gets mired in the details of infernal life.

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Bookends: Which Books Do You Read Over and Over Again?

New York Times book reviews - March 3, 2015 - 6:30am
Dana Stevens and Rivka Galchen discuss the books they return to, and why.






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A Life Examined — And Examined And Examined In 'Ongoingness'

NPR Books - March 3, 2015 - 4:03am

Writer Sarah Manguso has been a compulsive diarist since childhood; her new memoir documents the ways motherhood has changed her writing. Critic Heller McAlpin says it's full of lovely observations.

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David Vann’s ‘Aquarium’

New York Times book reviews - March 3, 2015 - 3:00am
A seemingly chance encounter cracks open dark family secrets in David Vann’s novel.
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Neil Gaiman’s ‘Trigger Warning’

New York Times book reviews - March 3, 2015 - 3:00am
In horror stories and science fiction, fairy tales and poetry, Neil Gaiman explores the transformative power of imagination.
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Ever Cheat At Monopoly? So Did Its Creator: He Stole The Idea From A Woman

NPR Books - March 3, 2015 - 12:36am

The game Charles Darrow sold in the 1930s bore a striking resemblance to a game Lizzie Magie patented in 1904. In The Monopolists, Mary Pilon tells Monopoly's origin story.

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Chris Offutt Reveals A Family Secret In 'My Father, The Pornographer'

NPR Books - March 2, 2015 - 10:17am

Offutt's late father went from running a small insurance agency to writing more than 400 books, mostly pornography. The writer tells Fresh Air his dad believed he would be "extremely famous" for it.

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