"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
- 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.
- A 'Show Boat' With An Asian-American Cast Hits The Rocks Sat, 28 Feb 2015 10:03:00 -0500
- Racial tensions between blacks and whites are at the heart of the "Ol' Man River" musical. Asian-American actors say it doesn't make sense to get onboard.
- 'The Sellout' Is A Profane Riff On Race And Culture Sat, 28 Feb 2015 08:01:44 -0500
- In Paul Beatty's new satirical novel, The Sellout, the narrator wants to re-segregate his hometown outside of Los Angeles. NPR's Scott Simon talks to the author about using humor to write about race.
- Pakistani Author Mohsin Hamid And His Roving 'Discontent' Sat, 28 Feb 2015 08:01:00 -0500
- Mohsin Hamid combines the personal and political in his new book, Discontent and Its Civilizations. NPR's Scott Simon talks with the Pakistani author about his new collection of essays.
- Uncovering Hidden Black History, On Screen And On The Page Sat, 28 Feb 2015 07:03:00 -0500
- On TV and in the movies, it can sometimes seem like black people only existed during slavery or the civil rights era. K. Tempest Bradford recommends some books that bring hidden history to light.
- The Persistence — And Impermanence — Of Memory In 'The Buried Giant' Sat, 28 Feb 2015 06:08:00 -0500
- Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel in a decade follows an old couple on what might be their last journey: Hunting for memories of a son they think they had, in a land covered with memory-shrouding mists.
- Book Review: 'Satin Island' By Tom McCarthy Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:42:59 -0500
- Alan Cheuse reviews a new experimental novel by Tom McCarthy called Satin Island.
- NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Nonfiction, Week Of February 26, 2015 Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:03:21 -0500
- Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction, about how human activity is affecting different species, appears at No. 6.
- NPR Bestsellers: Paperback Fiction, Week Of February 26, 2015 Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:03:21 -0500
- An isolated bookstore owner starts to change his life after receiving a mysterious package in Gabrielle Zevin's The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. It appears at No. 7.
- NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of February 26, 2015 Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:03:21 -0500
- Falconer Helen Macdonald looks back on her decision to train a fierce goshawk in the wake of her father's sudden death in H is for Hawk. It debuts at No. 7.