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"Nothing more rapidly inclines a person to go into a monastery than reading a book on etiquette. There are so many trivial ways in which it is possible to commit some social sin."

—Quentin Crisp (b. 1908) British author


NPR On Books

A 'Girl In A Band': Kim Gordon On Life After Sonic Youth 
  Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:14:00 -0500 
    Gordon co-founded Sonic Youth with Thurston Moore. When their marriage broke up in 2011, so did the band. Gordon talks about rebuilding her life, writing her memoir and her new band Body/Head.

Black Bodies In White Words, Or: Why We Need Claudia Rankine 
  Wed, 04 Mar 2015 12:03:00 -0500 
    Writer and photographer Syreeta McFadden says that when she's challenged to prove the existence of everyday racism, she directs friends, allies and enemies to Claudia Rankine's powerful Citizen.

A Vivid Portrait Of Tudor Turmoil In 'Lamentation' 
  Wed, 04 Mar 2015 10:03:17 -0500 
    The sixth volume of C.J. Sansom's Shardlake mysteries is set during the last days of England's King Henry VIII, as a potentially explosive religious manuscript written by his queen has gone missing.

Ishiguro's 'Buried Giant' Gets Lost In Its Own Fog 
  Wed, 04 Mar 2015 07:03:00 -0500 
    Kazuo Ishiguro's latest novel is set in a mythical Arthurian England. Though the premise was promising, the book is too vague to make much of an impact.

Prepare For 'The End Of College': Here's What Free Higher Ed Looks Like 
  Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:09:00 -0500 
    In his new book, Kevin Carey envisions a future in which online education programs solve two of colleges' biggest problems: costs and admissions.

'Welcome To Braggsville' Isn't Quite 'Invisible Man,' But It's Close 
  Tue, 03 Mar 2015 14:09:00 -0500 
    T. Geronimo Johnson's latest follows four Berkeley students who take an American history class that leads to disaster. It's an ambitious book about race that wants to say something big about America.

'The Devil's Detective' Is A Grim Tour Through A Noirish Hell 
  Tue, 03 Mar 2015 10:03:00 -0500 
    Hell is actually a bureaucracy in Simon Kurt Unsworth's debut novel. Reviewer Jason Heller says the tale of a demonic murder investigation starts strong but gets mired in the details of infernal life.

A Life Examined — And Examined And Examined In 'Ongoingness' 
  Tue, 03 Mar 2015 07:03:00 -0500 
    Writer Sarah Manguso has been a compulsive diarist since childhood; her new memoir documents the ways motherhood has changed her writing. Critic Heller McAlpin says it's full of lovely observations.

Ever Cheat At Monopoly? So Did Its Creator: He Stole The Idea From A Woman 
  Tue, 03 Mar 2015 03:36:00 -0500 
    The game Charles Darrow sold in the 1930s bore a striking resemblance to a game Lizzie Magie patented in 1904. In The Monopolists, Mary Pilon tells Monopoly's origin story.

Chris Offutt Reveals A Family Secret In 'My Father, The Pornographer' 
  Mon, 02 Mar 2015 13:17:00 -0500 
    Offutt's late father went from running a small insurance agency to writing more than 400 books, mostly pornography. The writer tells Fresh Air his dad believed he would be "extremely famous" for it.

'Beholder' Has An Eye For The Absurd, And A Smirk Beneath Its Beard 
  Mon, 02 Mar 2015 10:03:00 -0500 
    Francis Falbo, sad sack hero of Know Your Beholder, hasn't shaved in weeks. His wife's left him, his mom's died, his band's fallen apart. Good thing his author, Adam Rapp, has kept his sense of humor.

'The Sellout' Is A Scorchingly Funny Satire On 'Post-Racial' America 
  Mon, 02 Mar 2015 07:03:16 -0500 
    Paul Beatty takes no prisoners in this tale of two men trying to save their dying town through provocative moves like reinstituting segregation. Critic Michael Schaub calls it a comic masterpiece.

For An Author In India's Capital, 'Hope, In Many Ways, Is Fiction' 
  Sun, 01 Mar 2015 17:19:00 -0500 
    In his novel She Will Build Him a City, Raj Kamal Jha weaves the reality he sees as a journalist in New Delhi — where many gravitate looking for a better future — into a fictional, magical world.

Robert Christgau Reviews His Own Life 
  Sun, 01 Mar 2015 17:19:00 -0500 
    One of rock music's most loved, feared and prolific scribes, the 72-year-old Christgau says he knew early on that he liked criticism better than journalism: "I didn't want to get into people's faces."

This Weekend, Experience The Enduring Power Of 'The Millstone' 
  Sun, 01 Mar 2015 06:04:35 -0500 
    Margaret Drabble's The Millstone, set in the 1960s, tells the story of a young, unmarried woman who finds herself pregnant. Author Tessa Hadley says this 50-year-old novel is a weekend must-read.
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