Jan 13, 2014 — Organizers of the Winter Games are preparing to serve up quite a bit of the hearty, deep-red Russian soup. Which is kind of ironic, says Russian food writer Anya von Bremzen, since borscht carries with it complicated political implications. And not all borschts are created equal, she warns.
Sep 19, 2013 — Anya von Bremzen's new memoir is a delicious narrative of memory and cuisine in 20th century Soviet Union. She writes about her family's own history and contemplates the nation's "complicated, even tortured, relationship with food."
Sep 17, 2013 — Author Anya Von Bremzen's new memoir, Mastering The Art of Soviet Cooking, is a tragic-comic history of a family and a nation as seen through the kitchen window. Everything we ate in the Soviet Union was grown ... by the party state," she says. "So, with the food, inevitably, you ingested the ideology."
Aug 23, 2012 — In fiction, Robert Harris explores a financial crash and Jennifer DuBois recounts a fateful meeting. In nonfiction, Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum analyze how the U.S. lags, Tony Horwitz looks at abolitionist John Brown and Adam Gopnik considers the meaning of food.
May 21, 2012 — For Nancy Pearl, beach reading doesn't mean light reading. NPR's go-to librarian has dug up a diverse mix of titles old and new — a selection of mystery, memoir and more.
Apr 24, 2012 — Ukrainian novelist Andrey Kurkov writes short, surrealistic stories full of dark comedic surprises. His latest is The Case of the General's Thumb, but critic John Powers suggests starting with his 1996 novel, Death and the Penguin. It's a fast-paced, witty read and what Powers calls "an almost perfect novel."
Mar 7, 2012 — Daily Beast and Newsweek editor Tina Brown highlights a book and an article on two titanic individuals at the center of political change: Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin and pro-democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar.
Mar 1, 2012 — Media suppression, corruption and murder have marked the regime of Vladimir Putin, who is running for his third term as president in Russia's election next week. His rise to power is spelled out in journalist Masha Gessen's new book, The Man Without a Face.
Oct 19, 2011 — In England, where sniping at Booker Prize finalists is a national sport, this year's bickering was especially fierce. But last night's award of the prize to Julian Barnes' absorbing, elegant The Sense of an Ending provided ... just that.
Sep 29, 2011 — Jonathan Franzen's much-discussed Freedom arrives in paperback, along with selected stories from William Trevor and a new Rick Bass novel set in 1950s Nashville. In nonfiction, Nelson Mandela opens the archives to his past, and Ian Frazier explores Siberia.