May 20, 2013 — In softcover nonfiction, Jenny Rosenstrach examines dinnertime, Kate Summerscale recounts a scandalous Victorian trial, and John Dramani Mahama looks back on his childhood in Ghana. In fiction, Victor Davis Hanson reimagines an ancient battle, and Marie NDiaye follows three women from Senegal to Europe.
Apr 25, 2013 — In 1839, Great Britain and Russia were playing the world map like a chessboard — and for no reason other than geography, Afghanistan got caught in the middle. In Return of a King, historian William Dalrymple tells the story of Britain's calamitous invasion.
Feb 24, 2013 — Philida, a slave, is promised her freedom by her owner, who is also the father of her children. But the promise is broken and she takes the matter into her own hands, in this novel by acclaimed South African novelist Andre Brink that was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
Feb 10, 2013 — In her new book, The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things, author Paula Byrne shows how everyday objects helped shape Austen's life and literature. One example, a topaz cross, a cherished gift to Austen from her brother, plays an important role in Mansfield Park.
Jan 24, 2013 — As the classic novel celebrates its bicentennial, Paula Byrne's The Real Jane Austen examines some of the key objects in Austen's life and how they reveal a much more cosmopolitan awareness of the world than is commonly credited to her.
Jan 16, 2013 — Just nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Lisa Cohen's biography All We Know: Three Lives follows the stories of three women of the early 20th century. "I wanted to write a book that wasn't just about one great person," Cohen says, "but about a kind of collectivity."
Jan 16, 2013 — The National Book Critics Circle has announced that two feminist literary scholars, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, will receive a lifetime achievement award. Critic Maureen Corrigan says their groundbreaking 1979 book, The Madwoman in the Attic, changed the way we read.
Jan 7, 2013 — In a new book, Civil War historian Bruce Levine says that from the destruction of the South emerged an entirely new country, making the Civil War equivalent to a second American Revolution. Integral to the Union's victory, he says, were the nearly 200,000 black soldiers who enlisted.
Dec 27, 2012 — This year's literary heroines aren't defined by their desire to love or be loved — or even to be especially lovable. Writer and critic Parul Sehgal celebrates five sublimely stubborn women, frequently at odds with themselves and always at odds with their times.
Dec 13, 2012 — 2012 was a very jittery year — what with the presidential election, extreme weather events and the looming "fiscal cliff." Fresh Air critic Maureen Corrigan found that her favorite fiction and nonfiction this year directly confronted the atmospheric uncertainty of the age.