In a powerful memoir, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey surveys the storm-battered landscape of the place she once called home. Beyond Katrina is a powerful meditation on things long gone that will never come back.
There's been plenty of buzz about Jonathan Franzen's much-anticipated fourth novel ever since President Obama accepted an advance readers copy for his vacation in Martha's Vineyard. Critic Heller McAlpin says inflated expectations aside, she found Freedom to be a surprisingly moving and hopeful epic.
The Daily Beast editor chats with Renee Montagne about the best things she's been reading lately. Brown's focus this month: surviving and thriving in adversity, from the challenges of rescuing a major corporation to the difficulties of readjusting to life after wartime.
It's not unusual to get in a cab and find a paperback novel on the seat next to the driver. What makes Jack Clark's cab different is that he's both the driver and the author.
By Fresh Air/NPR
Jack Clark is a Chicago cab driver who's been driving for 30 years and written three books. The Washington Post called his mystery novel Nobody's Angel a "gem that doesn't contain a wasted word or a false note."
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is a complex, historical novel set on a Dutch trading post in late 18th century Japan. Author David Mitchell explains the extensive research that went into re-creating a bygone era.
If many types of paper-based books are headed for extinction, what will take their place? "E-readers" are a big part of the present and future -- but not the whole story. Video games and multi-narrator online stories will have their places too.
By Linton Weeks/NPR
The premise of Lane Smith's new work for children, It's a Book, is simple: Books are under siege.
On the first page a donkey asks a monkey, "What do you have there?" The monkey replies: "It's a book."
The writer once said about his fellow Americans, "It is astonishing that in a country so devoted to the individual, so many people should be afraid to speak." Baldwin was African-American and openly gay -- but he was not afraid to speak, and his writings challenged black and white readers alike.
A Gilded Age Tale of Love and Deception Across the Color Line
By Morning Edition/NPR
Ada Copeland, an African-American woman born in Georgia just months before that state seceded from the Union, moved to New York City in the mid-1880s. There, she met a man named James Todd. He was light-skinned, handsome, had a good job for an African-American man in that time ? a Pullman porter.
Book reviews can be pretty liberal about comparing authors to Jane Austen, but here's a writer who actually lives up to that association.
By Morning Edition
Allegra Goodman's The Cookbook Collector has much of what Jane Austen is most loved for: admirable and lovable heroines, ridiculous and foolish characters, and love stories that must overcome the impediments both society and fortune place in their path. And there's also food.
It can be tough to read on hot, humid mornings in Kansas City in the summertime ? and then the sun also rises. Always persevering, KCUR's Maria Carter welcomed back the Book Doctors to offer ideas for your summer reading. In the first half of the program, they offer up what they've been reading and invite listeners to pitch in with their current favorites. In the second half, we wish Ernest Hemingway a happy 111th birthday and celebrate some his classic works and their impact on the rest of literature and culture.
The Kansas Notable Book List, a project of the Kansas Center for the Book (KCFB) at the State Library of Kansas, is an annual selection of 15 titles written by Kansans or about Kansas published in the previous year.
By Sara Jane Crane
The 2010 Kansas Notable Books are (alphabetical by title and brief synopsis):
Steve Kraske talks with former First Lady Laura Bush about her new memoir "Spoken from the Heart".
Many in America remember former First Lady Laura Bush as a one-dimensional person - the wife of the most powerful man in the world - who for the most part shied away from the political affairs of her own or those that defined her husband's presidency.
Chosen by Publisher's Weekly as one of the Best Books of 2009, How to Sell is a funny expose novel about the jeweler's trade, in which author Clancy Martin worked for many years before becoming an associate professor of philosophy at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Bestselling author and National Book Award-winner Nathanial Philbrick reveals the context and realities of Custer's unexpected 1876 defeat at the hands of his Indian enemies under Sitting Bull, and the character of each leader.
A literary editor since she graduated from college, Hilda Raz became a public poet after she was sent by Prairie Schooner to the Breadloaf writing conference to represent the magazine, and there, found her own poetic voice as well.
Beth Ann Fennelly has written four books in the last decade, working in creative partnership with her husband, novelist Tom Franklin. Born in New Jersey and raised in Illinois, she talks about her relocation to Mississippi and how the south now reverberates in her work.
Journalist Roxana Saberi shares her experiences of being imprisoned in Iran while researching a book on Iranian society.
Journalist Roxana Saberi spent 4 months in an Iranian prison for espionage in 2009 while researching her book on Iranian society. While the charges were false, the experience led Saberi to speak out about prisoners of conscience in Iran.
New Letters on the Air remembers Robert Dana, former poet laureate of Iowa, who passed away in February, 2010. Recorded on his 80th birthday in 2009, he reminisces about attending the Iowa Writers Workshop after World War II, and being in class with poets Donald Justice and Henri Coulette.
April is poetry month, and at the end of the month, high school students from around the country will be competing in the National Poetry Out Loud competition, sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
By Sylvia Maria Gross
Kansas City, MO – Representing Kansas will be Shawnee Mission North sophomore Casha Mills. She told KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross about her passion for poetry, theater, and gave a taste of her reading.