Dec 4, 2013 — NPR staff and critics selected more than 200 standout titles. Now it's up to you: Choose your own adventure! Use our tags to search through books and find the perfect read for yourself or someone else.
Dec 1, 2013 — Napoleonic Wars? The Royal Navy? Yawn. Novelist Nicola Griffith had low expectations when she started reading Patrick O'Brian's Master and Commander. But soon she was tearing through the 20-volume series, reveling in the deeply rendered friendship between the characters Jack and Stephen. It's a masterpiece, she says: "Jane Austen on a ship of war."
Nov 15, 2013 — The 1853 memoir of free man turned captive Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave, appears at No. 10.
Oct 28, 2013 — In softcover fiction, Tracy Chevalier follows an English Quaker across the Atlantic, Herman Koch serves a meal with a hefty helping of unease and Peter Sis brings an ancient flock of birds into the 21st century. In nonfiction, Jared Diamond mines lessons from traditional societies.
Oct 14, 2013 — A new biography of the writer behind Call of the Wild and White Fang explores the life experiences that informed those works. London grew up in poverty, says biographer Earle Labor. "He was a dreamer, and a visionary. And his dreams and visions almost always outran his finances."
Oct 10, 2013 — Jo Baker's Longbourn retells the events of Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of the servants. Baker tells NPR Books editor Petra Mayer that the predicament of the Bennet sisters is well-known, so she wanted to explore the situation of the servant girls with no father, home or dowry.
Sep 21, 2013 — As a child, author Koren Zailckas was an introvert with numbed emotions. When her fourth-grade teacher, "Mr. Cool," assigned the works of Edgar Allan Poe, she was horrified. Murder? Torture? How inappropriate! But the terrifying stories and poems transformed her: she says they scared her into life.
Aug 17, 2013 — In Shot All To Hell, author Mark Lee Gardner explores the roots of James' life of crime following the Civil War.
Jul 7, 2013 — Thousands of soldiers died at the Battle of Gettysburg, but that number might have been higher had it not been for Jonathan Letterman, chief medical officer of the Union's Army of the Potomac. In Surgeon in Blue, Scott McGaugh explores Letterman's long-lasting legacy.
Jul 2, 2013 — The 19th-century courtesan died at 23 of tuberculosis, but her legacy inspired a successful play, several movies and the great Italian opera La Traviata. In The Girl Who Loved Camellias, Julie Kavanagh tracks her journey from Normandy peasant girl to romantic heroine.