Childhood and youth
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.
Nov 5, 2013 — Loosely structured as a stroll through New York City, Roger Rosenblatt's memoir includes playful, endearing anecdotes from his childhood in Gramercy Park. But critic Heller McAlpin notes that his rambling riffs and excruciatingly slow pace make it a difficult read.
Aug 9, 2013 — Richard Russo recounts growing up in 1950s upstate New York in Elsewhere, which appears at No. 10.
Jul 29, 2013 — In nonfiction Neil Young presents the story of his career, Susan Sontag reflects on her artistic development and Richard Russo explores his relationship with his mother. In fiction, Alice Munro illuminates the moments that shape a life.
Jul 29, 2013 — Kimberly Rae Miller grew up among piles of junk. Doors wouldn't close, stacks of paper turned to sludge, and the pool was filled with muck; her father was an extreme hoarder. In her new memoir, Coming Clean, Miller writes candidly about the chaos in her home.
Jul 28, 2013 — Najla Said's father, Edward Said, was an outspoken professor and prominent voice for Palestinian independence. Yet Najla's life felt less grounded. Growing up as a Palestinian-Lebanese-American in New York City, she balanced competing cultures and multiple lives, searching for a place to fit in.
Jul 9, 2013 — Have you ever found yourself in the library or a bookstore, about to go on vacation, with no idea what books to bring? NPR's Lynn Neary talks to three book critics about the best reads of the summer.
May 18, 2013 — Colin Broderick's new memoir, That's That, chronicles his childhood in Northern Ireland during the modern-day "Troubles." Broderick says growing up in what was essentially a war zone seemed normal to him at the time.
Mar 1, 2013 — At No. 8, Madeleine Albright's Prague Winter recounts her childhood in Czechoslovakia.
Jan 29, 2013 — In softcover fiction and nonfiction, John Irving explores teen lust; Denise Mina delivers a murder mystery; David Maraniss looks at the young Barack Obama; Robert Kagan defends U.S. sovereignty; and Susan Cain stands up for introverts.