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"I think a good novel would be where a bunch of men on a ship are looking for a whale. They look and look, but you know what? They never find him. And you know why they never find him? It doesn't say. The book leaves it up to you, the reader, to decide. Then, at the very end, there's a page you can lick and it tastes like Kool-Aid."

—Jack Handey [Deep Thoughts], Recurring Saturday Night Live comedy bit


NPR On Books

The Long, Scary Journey From A 'Terrorist's Son' To A Peace Activist 
  Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:39:00 -0400 
    Zak Ebrahim's father was convicted as a conspirator of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. For most of his life, Ebrahim lied to people about who his father was. His new memoir tells his story.

Book News: Fiction Longlist Is Out For The National Book Awards 
  Thu, 18 Sep 2014 07:29:00 -0400 
    Also: A Jane Austen Festival sets a new record; Terrance Hayes on winning a MacArthur.

Calvino's Cosmicomic Collection Treads The Final Frontier: America 
  Thu, 18 Sep 2014 07:03:00 -0400 
    Italo Calvino's delightful "cosmicomic" stories have long been scattered — split into separate books and translated in pieces. Now, a collection new to the U.S. is finally bringing them together.

Jacqueline Woodson On Being A 'Brown Girl' Who Dreams 
  Thu, 18 Sep 2014 05:29:00 -0400 
    In her new memoir for young adults, Woodson uses free verse to tell the story of growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. Her work for young readers often touches on themes of race and identity.

Martin Amis' 'Zone Of Interest' Is An Electrically Powerful Holocaust Novel 
  Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:03:00 -0400 
    Martin Amis' latest novel, which takes place in Auschwitz, has already stirred up controversy in Europe according to the New York Times. But reviewer Alan Cheuse calls it the triumph of Amis' career.

MacArthur Fellow Terrance Hayes: Poems Are Music, Language Our Instrument 
  Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:37:00 -0400 
    Hayes, a professor of writing at the University of Pittsburgh, was recognized for "reflecting on race, gender, and family in works that seamlessly encompass both the historical and the personal."

As A Lyricist And Novelist, The Mountain Goats' Lead Man Writes About Pain 
  Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:43:00 -0400 
    John Darnielle's novel, Wolf in White Van, is about a man who survives a trauma. The songwriter tells Fresh Air about his difficult childhood and finding shelter in music and the Incredible Hulk.

Book News: A Q&A With Alison Bechdel, Cartoonist And MacArthur Winner 
  Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:38:00 -0400 
    Also: a biography of Joan Rivers; the nonfiction longlist for the National Book Award is announced.

'Broken Monsters' Hits Horror Out Of The Park 
  Wed, 17 Sep 2014 07:03:00 -0400 
    We're hard to shock these days, but reviewer Michael Schaub says Lauren Beukes' new novel, Broken Monsters, is flawlessly tense and scary in its tale of a terrible murder in Detroit.

How One Poet's 'Genius Grant' Became A Gift To Future Generations 
  Wed, 17 Sep 2014 04:13:00 -0400 
    Amy Clampitt was named a MacArthur genius in 1992. Today, the home she bought with her award money is used to house rising poets in tuition-free residencies.

The Kaypro II: An Early Computer With A Writer's Heart 
  Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:42:00 -0400 
    Commentator Andrei Codrescu remembers the first word processor he had — the Kaypro II in the 1980s. Its inventor, Andrew Kay, died Aug. 28, at the age of 95.

100 Years Ago, 'New Republic' Helped Define Modern Liberalism 
  Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:11:11 -0400 
    Robert Siegel speaks with The New Republic editor Franklin Foer about the new book Insurrections of the Mind, a collection of seminal essays from the magazine's first 100 years.

Book Review: 'Lovely, Dark, Deep' 
  Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:11:00 -0400 
    Alan Cheuse reviews Joyce Carol Oates' latest collection of short stories, Lovely, Dark, Deep.

13 Days Of High Emotion That Led To The Egypt-Israel Peace 
  Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:23:00 -0400 
    Lawrence Wright's new book examines the 1978 peace deal President Carter brokered between Egypt and Israel. During the tense summit, Carter had "never been angrier," Wright says.

Book News: Rankine, Glück On National Book Awards Longlist For Poetry 
  Tue, 16 Sep 2014 08:39:00 -0400 
    Also: recently discovered letters by Jack Kerouac; Will Self doesn't like hipsters.
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