Books

Book Reviews
9:40 am
Thu July 19, 2012

A Little Advice On 'How To Be A Woman'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 11:03 am

Funny feminists should never die; there are too few of them who've gained any cultural prominence in the first place. That's why Nora Ephron's death earlier this summer flattened me, even though I hadn't read her in a while and had mixed feelings about the whole "I Feel Bad About My Neck," self-flagellation routine. Still, she made me laugh at the same time she often made me think: I wanted her playing on Team Feminist forever.

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Books
2:08 am
Thu July 19, 2012

A Network Head Reflects In 'Interview'

David Westin was the president of ABC News from 1997 to 2010.
Rene Macura AP

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 9:10 am

On Nov. 7, 2000, producers and editors at ABC News prepared to make a very public decision.

It was election night, with George W. Bush facing off against Al Gore. And it was, memorably, undecided until the early hours of the following morning, when other TV networks began calling the election for Bush.

David Westin, then the president of ABC News, recalls the agony as his network's elaborate election unit was beaten on the call — they had held back.

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The Sound of Books
7:50 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Widely-Praised New Memoir from California Writer and Grief Therapist Claire Bidwell Smith

Today on The Sound of Books with Fred Kasten: the widely-praised new memoir from California writer and grief therapist Claire Bidwell Smith, The Rules of Inheritance.

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Tina Brown's Must-Reads
2:04 am
Wed July 18, 2012

Tina Brown's Must Reads: Modern Warfare

Veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin, shown here in Cairo, was killed in February while reporting in Homs, Syria.
Ivor Prickett AP

Originally published on Tue September 11, 2012 7:42 pm

Tina Brown, editor of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, tells us what she's been reading in a feature that Morning Edition likes to call "Word of Mouth."

This month, Brown shares reading recommendations related to the changing nature of war, including a book on Obama's foreign policy and an article about the ongoing destruction of Timbuktu's ancient monuments.

A Reporter Who Wouldn't Quit

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The Reading Life
7:00 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

James Lee Burke

This week on The Reading Life, our entire show is devoted to a conversation with James Lee Burke, whose new novel in the Dave Robicheaux series is Creole Belle.

Crime In The City
4:04 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Big Crime, Little State: Murder, Mystery In R.I.

Roger Williams, memorialized with a statue in Prospect Terrace Park, founded Providence in 1636. According to crime writer Bruce DeSilva, corruption set in not long after.
Will Hart via Flickr

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 9:20 am

Providence, R.I., has a history of mob violence rivaling that of New York or New Jersey, but it comes with a gritty intimacy that could only be found in the nation's littlest state. Author Bruce DeSilva says that's what makes Providence the perfect place to set his crime fiction.

"It is big enough to have the usual array of urban problems," he says. "But it's so small that it's claustrophobic. It's very hard to keep a secret in places like that."

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"Help Me To Find My People"
1:15 pm
Mon July 16, 2012

Piecing Together Stories Of Families 'Lost In Slavery'

While many families were ripped apart, some were preserved. Charlie Crump, a former slave from North Carolina, kept ties with his granddaughter.
Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:26 am

For decades, slavery tore apart African-American families. Children were sold off from their mothers, and husbands were taken from their wives. Many desperately tried to keep track of each other, even running away to find loved ones. After the Civil War and emancipation, these efforts intensified. Freed slaves posted ads in newspapers and wrote letters — seeking any clue to a family member's whereabouts.

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Author Interviews
3:31 pm
Sat July 14, 2012

'Sunny Chernobyl': Beauty In A Haze Of Pollution

Garbage litters the banks of India's holy Yamuna River on World Water Day 2010. For decades, the Yamuna has been dying a slow death from pollution. According to Blackwell, even its most ardent defenders refer to it as a "sewage drain."
Manan Vatsyayana AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 15, 2012 3:04 am

In some of the dirtiest places on Earth, author and environmentalist Andrew Blackwell found some beauty. His book, Visit Sunny Chernobyl, tours the deforestation of the Amazon, the oil sand mines in Canada and the world's most polluted city, located in China.

Blackwell says his ode to polluted locales is a bid for re-engagement with places people have shrunk away from in disgust.

Radioactive To Its Core

His first stop was the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster, Chernobyl.

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NPR Story
12:54 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Writer Puts Expendable 'Redshirts' In The Spotlight

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 11:08 am

Fans of Star Trek long ago noted that anonymous security officers who accompanied the show's stars rarely survived the experience. Shortly after being beamed down, they would be vaporized, stomped or eaten for dramatic effect. It's a plot device so common that these expendable crewmen became known collectively as redshirts.

In his novel Redshirts, science fiction writer John Scalzi follows Andrew Dahl, a similarly expendable ensign as he sorts out this life-expectancy issue.

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Book Reviews
11:23 am
Wed July 11, 2012

'A Door In The Ocean' Leads To Dark Depths

Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 1:23 pm

Many of the key scenes in David McGlynn's striking new memoir, A Door in the Ocean, take place at the beach or in swimming pools. McGlynn was a surfer and competitive swimmer in his school days and still squeezes into his Speedos for races like the annual 5K "Gatorman" off the coast of La Jolla, Calif. Ocean swimming, in particular, transports McGlynn to another realm, and he does a terrific job of dramatizing the allure of solitary swims in open water. Midway through his book, he writes:

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