Sep 7, 2013 — Author Jesse Walker argues that believing in shadowy cabals and ominous secrets isn't just for people on the margins — it's as American as apple pie. He says that our nation's paranoia stretches back to the colonial era, and that some conspiracy theories are believed by a majority of Americans.
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.
Jul 5, 2013 — Tash Aw's Five Star Billionaire, set in Shanghai, explores the dynamic tumult of that city. Reviewer Ellah Allfrey says that Aw, with gentle compassion and keen understanding, shows his characters succumb to the lure of a city where everything seems possible.
Mar 28, 2013 — The American South as a region has been defined by change since the Civil War. Twenty years after she left the South, Georgia native Tracy Thompson went on a four-year journey to explore what it means to be Southern in the 21st century. In The New Mind of the South, she shares her discoveries.
Dec 11, 2012 — Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka was the first black African to win the Nobel Prize in literature, in 1986. He tells NPR's Michel Martin that the best part about it was the money. His latest work, Of Africa, is a study of the continent that has dominated his career.
Oct 26, 2012 — Barzun authored dozens of books and essays on everything from philosophy to music to baseball. He died Thursday, just one month shy of his 105th birthday. "I don't know anybody who had such a Renaissance mind," says his friend and colleague, Prof. Henry Graff.
Sep 20, 2012 — Thomas Frank analyzes the U.S. political divide, Siddhartha Deb looks into the heart of India, Emmanuel Carrere writes about the 2004 tsunami, and comic actress Mindy Kaling laughs at everything. In fiction, Britain's Alan Hollinghurst follows the evolution of English society.
Jul 21, 2012 — From the ultimate Olympic reference book to an account of the last London Games, bibliophile cabbie Will Grozier recommends books that put both the 2012 Games and their host city in context.
Jun 26, 2012 — Anthony Heilbut's essay collection, The Fan Who Knew Too Much, features reflections on the Queen of Soul, soap operas and Jewish immigrants. The highlight of this sometimes harsh collection, says Michael Schaub, is a history of LGBT contributions to gospel.
May 12, 2012 — In 1919, Chicago was called the "youngest great city in the world." World War I had just come to a close, troops were coming home, industry was booming and crime was down. But in mid-July, just about everything that could go wrong in Chicago did.