books

Latin American author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1982, died Thursday. He was 87. Garcia Marquez, the master of a style known as magic realism, was and remains Latin America's best-known writer.

His novels were filled with miraculous and enchanting events and characters; love and madness; wars, politics, dreams and death. And everything he had written, Garcia Marquez once said, he knew or heard before he was 8 years old.

A Writer Shaped By His Beginnings

Michael Childers

Fear of Flying sold 18 million copies worldwide and helped tip feminism into a new focus on fulfilled sexuality. But it also introduced a meme so pervasive that the book's author, Erica Jong, worried the phrase "zipless f--k" would appear on her tombstone.

Jong recenly defined the phrase on NPR's Weekend Edition:

The zipless f---- was more than a f----. It was a platonic ideal. Zipless, because when you came together, zippers fell away like rose petals. Underwear blew off in one breath like dandelion fluff. Tongues intertwined and turned liquid. Your whole soul flowed out through your tongue and into the mouth of your lover.

So how does the world of 2013 look to the writer who gave us Isadora Wing?

We talk with Jong about feminism and gender in American pop culture and politics.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Thomas Moore was, for 13 years, a Servite monk. In 1992, he burst onto the national scene with "Care of the Soul", which combined the psychotherapeutic of Jung and James Hillman with ancient and contemporary religious and spiritual ideas. It was number 1 on the New York Times best seller list, and stayed on the list for a year.

Moore's central premise is that part of ourselves cannot be fully nourished through purely rational modern thought. We have needs that cannot be met by science and social theory. His new book is kind of a toolkit for people who have that sense - that they need something they're not getting. They may not be comfortable sitting in a pew to get it, so can they make it themselves?

Wolf Gang/flickr creative commons

This interview originally aired September 12, 2011.  

From Faith Middleton: Only Peter Matthiessen, a celebrated author (and Buddhist priest) from The East End of Long Island, would have confessed to me in the interview posted here that he used his meditation time once to work on his book. And he said it with so much earnestness, though he was a little amused. How could I not adore him? 

Ryan Hyde/flickr creative commons

Faith's motto on The Book Show is… Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join Faith and her book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories. If you're in a book club, please tell us what you've read and enjoyed.

BBC

I'll be honest: I hate April Fools' Day, and I'm not a big fan of practical jokes. I hate it the way that some people hate Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve. I think merriment and foolishness should be spread across the year. That's why most of our shows, even pretty serious ones, start with a comedy sketch, because life is so much better when you think of it as a comedy.

We Read The Year's Best New Sci-Fi — So You Don't Have To

Apr 1, 2014

The World Science Fiction Convention is a gathering of fans ranging from sci-fi movie buffs to gamers to comics aficionados — but at its heart, WorldCon is for lovers of literature, and it hosts the Hugo Awards, the Oscars of sci-fi and fantasy.

During the ceremony, one award is given that's not a Hugo: the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer. The Campbell celebrates potential: Nominees are often young, just starting out in the field (though not always), and it serves as a kind of signpost for fans, pointing the way to the next great read.

Jared Narber / Flickr Creative Commons

I'll tell you one of the big thrills of my writing career: I was a contributing editor to Mirabella Magazine in the 80's. I'd written an essay about getting bitten (sort of) by a dog in New Hampshire. The magazine had a huge art budget in those days, and I had already had one of my pieces illustrated by Ed Koren. But they told me this one was being illustrated by George Booth. George Booth! I worship George Booth! And so it came to pass that my article ran with a classing Booth dog cartoon.

Chion Wolf

Once upon a time, comic books were a niche for kids and nerds. Now they are mainstream culture. "The Avengers" is the number three all-time worldwide grossing movie.

I would like to pause, and say that I owned, as a kid, issue number one of The Avengers. I remember distinctly where I got it, and how I felt about it. I do not remember distinctly what happened to it.

walknboston/flickr creative commons

Faith's motto on The Book Show is… Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join Faith and her book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories. If you're in a book club, please tell us what you've read and enjoyed.

YouTube screenshot

Yale University announced the winners of its annual Windham Campbell Prizes. The eight writers were revealed by Yale President Peter Salovey during a press conference at Yale's Beinecke Library. Each winner will receive $150,000 to help them focus on writing.

Among the winners were playwright and television writer Kia Corthron, who has been struggling financially.  "I have been so broke that I needed Medicaid in order for necessary surgery last summer," she told the committee.

Brenda Clarke/flickr creative commons

Today's show originally aired February 6, 2014.  

Faith's motto on The Book Show is… Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join Faith and her book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories. If you're in a book club, please tell us what you've read and enjoyed.

"Marines and soldiers don't issue themselves orders, they don't send themselves overseas," says former Marine Phil Klay. "United States citizens elect the leaders who send us overseas."

Best-selling author Dr. Sherwin Nuland has died. His 1994 book, How We Die, took on the medical establishment and its unwinnable fight with death. 

How We Die describes the messy, often harrowing process of dying. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's National Grammar Day, a time to take stock of the current status of the English language, and possibly get into bitter fights.

I'm old school. I'm the kind of person who will only use "not only" if I intend to follow it with "but also." That's probably a convention that died the quiet death of a feverish sloth many years ago. But I know what's right, and sometimes it feels like I'm helping to hold the language together even as it drifts into chaos.

rtitoun/flickr creative commons

If you're in search of great reads, here's a list to get you started. Gina Barreca joins Faith to talk about the books many of us have forgotten about.  

Ginny/flickr creative commons

Faith's motto on The Book Show is… Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join Faith and her book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories. If you're in a book club, please tell us what you've read and enjoyed.

Javie Delgado, Flickr Creative Commons

It's hard to improve on the poet, Rilke, who wrote, "Love consists of this, that two solitudes meet, protect, and greet each other." But did Rilke have to deal with Angry Birds and Snap Chat?

Brenda Clarke/flickr creative commons

Faith's motto on The Book Show is… Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join Faith and her book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories. If you're in a book club, please tell us what you've read and enjoyed.

Hubble Space Telescope / Creative Commons

Scientists say that the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia this past February was a rare event, unlikely to happen more than every 100 -200 years. But a recent paper in the scientific journal Nature said the earth should expect and plan to get hit by Chelyabinsk-sized asteroids more often-- maybe every decade or two.

This news sparked a flurry of talk about what that means for us on earth. How vulnerable are we and are we doing enough to detect and deflect asteroids?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Today's show originally aired November 18, 2013.  

From Faith Middleton: Wally Lamb's books beat with a human heart.

Many people, especially Wally Lamb's fans, recall that his first novel, She's Come Undone, was selected by Oprah's book club. But what I remember is the experience of riding in the New York subway, and seeing so many people bumping along, engrossed in his story. On one occasion, these subway readers, strangers to each other, started a discussion about the book—possibly the first underground book club. 

The news from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' interviews with NPR and other news outlets — notably, how he uses a new book to criticize many in the White House — has now been widely reported.

But we also want to point to two passages in his conversation with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep that particularly struck us.

Kara Harms/flickr creative commons

Faith's motto on The Book Show is… Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join Faith and her book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories. If you're in a book club, please tell us what you've read and enjoyed.

Digital Vision / Thinkstock

This hour, we talk with neuroscientist James Fallon. He found something shocking when he was looking at brain scans of serial killers. We’ll talk about his book The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist’s Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain and what his research might tell us about Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza.

Thalita Carvalho/flickr creative commons

Faith's motto on The Book Show is… Life is short, but it can be ever so wide.

Join Faith and her book buddies for a call-in show recommending terrific books to read in all categories. If you're in a book club, please tell us what you've read and enjoyed.

Daniel Menaker

If you read magazines and live on the North half of the East Coast there is a good chance that you believe that The New Yorker is the ne plus ultra of magazine writing and if you believe that there's a good chance you run around using phrases like ne plus ultra.

With The New Yorker's Olympian status goes a certain preciousness One of the reasons there's nothing else quite like The New Yorker is The New Yorker deeply believes that to be true and communicates it to us in subtle ways. 

Mark Milloff

When he’s not playing professor at the Rhode Island School of Design, artist Mark Milloff sculpts, paints, and envisions gigantic pastel drawings. He also moonlights as a musician. But all things being equal, he’d rather be fishing.

Chion Wolf

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the epidemic of injury in the game of football - concussions and traumatic brain injuries… but have you ever asked yourself why football helmets are designed the way they are? And how better helmet design might actually have made the game more dangerous? And while you’re at it, have you considered “the divine randomness of prolate spheroid?” That’s science talk for the unlikely evolution for the shape of the football.  

Mark your calendars: According to some scholars, the next time it might happen is the year 79,811. I'm talking, of course, about the hybrid holiday of Thanksgivukkah, a melding of Thanksgiving and the Jewish Festival of Lights. The Borsch Belt-style Pilgrim jokes and mishmash recipes (turkey brined in Manischewitz, anyone?) are flying around the Internet; but since Jews are frequently referred to as "the People of the Book" and Pilgrims pretty much lived by the Book, Thanksgivukkah seems to me like the quintessential (stressful) family holiday to celebrate by escaping into a book.

Wikimedia Commons

Norman Rockwell. It's the day before Thanksgiving. Who else are we gonna talk about? Deborah Solomon (the same one who invented the "Questions for" format in the New York Times magazine) will spend the whole show talking about her new comprehensive biography of Rockwell.

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