On NPR’s All Things Considered, Petra Mayer offers advice to those who she describes as the “unpunished” villains of literature (O’Brien from Orwell’s 1984, X-Men’s Magneto, Milton’s Satan): win over the audience with your cause and relatable personal faults, and you’ll not only survive to the last page but maybe also land a spot in the English canon....more
Posts Tagged: NPR
Rachel Martin, host of the NPR series Next Chapter, sits down with Sandra Cisneros, beloved author of The House on Mango Street, to reflect on Cisneros’s experience of moving into her first apartment. Cisneros speaks on the independence she found away from her “father’s roof,” and delivers brilliant wisdom on how to accept loneliness, how to own yourself, how to control your destino—by controlling your fertility and your money....more
For NPR Books, Quil Lawrence talks with a handful of soldiers-turned-authors about the genre of war literature that has been catalyzed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These authors want their audiences to know that war is not all Hollywood-scale battle scenes, and warn against the glamorization of war stories and hero-worshipping of veterans....more
The publishing industry is at a cultural turning point, with recognition and celebration of writers of color on the rise. But despite the surge in the publishing industry’s interest in works by writers of color, the people working behind the scenes still lack much-needed diversity....more
NPR talks with the creators of Serial Box, a company self-described as the “HBO for readers.” Serial Box releases “episodes” you read over a 10-16 week season, in the hopes that readers will anticipate the next installment like they would the next episode of The Bachelorette, or binge-read a series after purchasing the complete box set....more
He flipped similes and metaphors like a battle rapper holding court in a cipher that was his and his alone. Even his jabs were like couplets that told you more about yourself than you could have ever hoped to know.
NPR reflects on the legacy of the late Muhammad Ali, an artist who fought for freedom and truth through words in and out of the ring....more
At NPR Education, Byrd Pinkerton looks at the emergence of children’s literacy and literature, starting with 17th century learning primers through to the late 20th century’s complex young adult literature, all of which have helped define the idea of “childhood” through the centuries....more
In 2014, archivists discovered previously unpublished poems in the private collections of the late and great Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda. These found pieces will be available in English for the first time in Then Come Back: The Lost Neruda, available May 1....more
A discussion with your kid about the birds and the bees might be one of the more intimidating moments of parenthood, but YA novelists can lend a hand. When YA writers confront modern issues of sex, rape, consent, abuse, and gender, they help parents—and schools—introduce these sensitive topics:
Consent doesn’t even have to be about sex, per se, says Earl Sewell, who has written several young adult novels, including one where a boy pressures a girl to send explicit photos after they start sexting.
The incredible cacophony of the bridge on Wilco’s definitive ballad “Misunderstood” is all the more striking because of its contrast with the rest of the tender, harmonious song. The brilliance of songwriter Jeff Tweedy is on full display here as the speaker laments his own bad attitude with a self-deprecating tone....more
Once I decided I wasn’t going to stop if I flinched, I figured I was opening myself up to some hard stuff. So, when it came, I kind of expected it. Maybe some of the beautiful moments of my life surprised me.
“I was looking at books… Gary and I had seen each other. We didn’t know one another. And he walked over to me in this particular bookstore and handed me a book by Teran and said, ‘You’ve gotta read this book, it’s really good.'”
NPR shares the love story of Gary Shulze and Pat Frovarp, retiring owners of Once Upon a Crime, a mystery bookstore in Minneapolis....more
The Lonely City bristles with heart-piercing wisdom. Loneliness, according to Laing, feels “like being hungry when everyone around you is readying for a feast.” Later, she admits that at one point during her own hermetic existence in New York, “I felt like I was in danger of vanishing.” Thankfully The Lonely City goes far beyond a cry for connection in an overcrowded, overstimulated world.
NPR explores whether and how putting “girl” in the title of your crime novel will garner favorable comparisons to heavy-hitters like Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train—and therefore benefit from an increase in sales:
So in a way, the girl insignia is trying to tie it into this larger marketing purpose, but sometimes it can be a disservice.
He loves Argentinian empanadas and dulce de leche. In 2015, he said that if he had only one wish, it would be to travel unrecognized to a pizzeria and have a slice—or two or three. In other words, he may be protected by the world’s smallest army and be responsible for the spiritual governance of 1.2 billion people, but when it comes to eating, Pope Francis loves comfort food as much as the next person.
“‘We have to leave the country,’ I informed my wife as I went over the final proofs. ‘We won’t be able to stay here after this book is published.'”
NPR looks at the satirical novel/memoir Native by Sayed Kashua and explores how Kashua transverses the two different worlds that make up Jerusalem....more
If you’re disappointed you didn’t win the Powerball jackpot, head over to NPR to read Charles Dickens’s account of the lottery in Naples, an event he seemed to find both amusing and horrifying:
Dickens heard of a man being thrown fatally from his horse, only to be pounced on by a punter—a person who places a wager—who begged him, “If you have one gasp of breath left, mention your age for Heaven’s sake, that I may play that number in the lottery.”
The New York Public Library has made 180,000 high-res images available for download, and they’re challenging the public to come up with creative new uses for old pictures....more
The Folger has 82 First Folios—the largest collection in the world. It’s located several stairways down, in a rare manuscript vault. To reach them, you first have to get through a fire door … (if a fire did threaten these priceless objects, it would be extinguished not with water—never water near priceless paper—but with a system that removes oxygen from the room).
Over at NPR, authors Claire Vaye Watkins and Marlon James talk about Watkins’s recent essay, “On Pandering,” which she describes as:
…internalizing the sexism that I’d encountered in the writing world, and the world beyond, and adjusting what I wrote accordingly so that it would be more well-received … by the people I wanted to impress, which was a white male voice that I had in my mind.
The road has been viewed as a male turf. If you think of the classic “Odyssey,” of, you know, classical literature or Jack Kerouac or almost any road story, it’s really about a man on the road. There’s an assumption that the road is too dangerous for women.
NPR traces the history of Stephen King’s Misery from the novel, to the film, and, most recently, to the stage, and argues that this journey may have caused the story t0 lose a few key components:
It is almost literally drained of blood and, more important, it is drained of urgency.
This is a story is about a con that unfolded very slowly over two decades. When the con was finally exposed, some of the victims defended the people who had been fooling them. They preferred to believe the lie.
NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast recently featured an episode called “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” a moving story about loneliness, love letters, and illusions....more