Dec 11, 2013 — Fresh Air's book critic says it's just a fluke that 9 of the 11 titles she picked this year were written by female authors. Her favorites include a jumbo-sized Dickensian novel, a biography of Ben Franklin's sister, a comedy of manners, a stunning Scandinavian mystery and more.
Sep 10, 2013 — Reviewer Susan Jane Gilman wasn't impressed by the title of Someone, but she says Alice McDermott's novel is nowhere near as generic as its name. Nothing extraordinary happens to the Irish-American protagonist, but with spare poetry and deep compassion, McDermott makes familiar territory seem new.
Sep 5, 2013 — In Maher's The Fields, a 14-year-old in 1980s Dublin confronts his father's illness, a girlfriend's mental breakdown and abuse by a priest. But the novel balances these catastrophes with jokes that are both funny and brave. Maher tells NPR about New Age "binjy-banjy," kissing and teenage love.
Sep 4, 2013 — Alice McDermott's characters can often be described as average, and Marie, the heroine of her latest novel, is no exception. But critic Maureen Corrigan says the power of McDermott's writing is that she can make even Marie's run-of-the-mill life one for the record books.
Aug 5, 2013 — Earlier this summer, NPR's Backseat Book Club — our book club for young readers — asked you to weigh in on your favorite books for kids age 9-14. We heard from more than 2,000 of you, and our expert panel has whittled your hundreds and hundreds of nominations down to a list of 100 great reads.
Jun 12, 2013 — Also: A comic book for the blind; Salvador Dali's great, trippy Alice in Wonderland illustrations.
May 26, 2013 — When author Lucas Mann turned 13, his father gave him a copy of Portnoy's Complaint, a novel The New Yorker dubbed "one of the dirtiest books ever published." Mann says the book taught him that life is painful, sometimes gross, and often funny.
May 6, 2013 — The latest novel from three-time National Book Award finalist Gail Godwin takes inspiration from Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. Both stories take place in isolated old houses, and both revolve around mental contests between a governess character and her young charge.
Apr 28, 2013 — Oftentimes, foodie fiction makes you hungry. But author Jessica Soffer recommends three books that deal with food yet aren't in love with it — books to read when you're on a diet, a desert island, or for whatever reason would like a peach tart to not be compared to a summer's day.
Apr 18, 2013 — Meg Wolitzer's The Interestings follows six talented friends for four decades. It debuts at No. 7.