Des Moines Public Library

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An Elegy for the Library

MYSORE, India — It’s an unseasonably hot winter day in this southern city, and the midmorning sun is turning the crumbling yellow stucco of the 100-year-old City Central Library a shade paler. A hawker is yelling on the busy road, trying to drum up business for his collection of old coins and …

Libraries

The seductive allure of romance novels

It's a billion-dollar industry selling sex, love, empowerment, and happily-ever-afters, but when it comes to a romance novel, don't judge the book by …

Literature

A time-travel tale that works: 'All Our Wrong Todays,' by Elan Mastai | Books

Elan Mastai's new novel, <i>All Our Wrong Todays</i>, allows me to indulge in all my favorite time-travel topics.<p>On July 11, 1965, a scientist named Lionel …

Texas

Philip Pullman's Book of Dust should learn from JK Rowling's magic

The two authors have long written in step, and the His Dark Materials promised ‘equel’ will hopefully use similar tricks to Harry Potter’s author in extending Lyra’s story<p>What Philip Pullman describes as an “equel” – a story that extends the His Dark Materials trilogy with a complementary narrative …

Harry Potter

Funny, Profane 'Dark Flood' Doesn't Go Gently

Margaret Drabble's new novel <i>The Dark Flood Rises</i> opens with its protagonist, Francesca Stubbs, tensely driving her Peugeot on an English highway. Fran is an expert on housing for senior citizens; she's herself in her seventies, and lately, she's been obsessed with mortality. Here's the first …

Canary Islands

Joyce Carol Oates’s Novel Plumbs the Depths of America’s Abortion War

<b>A Book of American Martyrs</b><br>By Joyce Carol Oates<br>736 pp. Ecco/HarperCollins Publishers. $29.99.<p>“Only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” Thus the evangelical Luther Dunphy addresses the Lord, in Joyce Carol Oates’s new novel, before firing a double-barreled shotgun into the jaw and throat of …

Literature

An Exclusive Waterstones Q & A with Amor Towles | Waterstones.com Blog

Image: The Modernism Mosaic of The Metropol Hotel,<br>Moscow (c) Rostislav Ageev<p><b>You have said that you spent a large part of your working life, before</b> …

Literature

In Praise of Reading in Wintertime

When it comes to reading material for a hot summer day versus that for a blizzard, beach reads may feel like the more glamorous sell. After all, they inspire a certain element of escapism and oftentimes connect you to those “youthful summer days” you can never get back. But when you think about …

Hot Chocolate

Why Bridge to Terabithia Is as Relevant Today as 40 Years Ago

We all remember how old we were when we first lost a friend in the real world. But friends in literature? That’s another story. Charlotte A. Cavatica was the first I mourned as a child. I remember crying buckets and flipping through earlier chapters of <i>Charlotte’s Web</i> so I could see her with Wilbur …

Literature

Which literary couple are you?

10 Gorgeous Libraries with Gardens

Our apologies to the snow-phobic. Winter isn’t over just yet — at least according to that poor, dear groundhog. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream …

Landscaping

The Sweetest Debut: Jane Corry on Working at a Prison — And Getting Inside Tinkerbell’s Head

<i>Welcome to The Sweetest Debut, a regular installment in which we reach out to debut (or near-debut, we’re flexible!) fiction, poetry and nonfiction</i> …

Publishing

Historically Accurate Mr. Darcy Isn’t Sexy

Well, at least by 21st century standards…<p>The folks over at the Drama Channel recently sought out academics to create a historically-accurate …

Pride and Prejudice

John Darnielle Is Going to Unsettle You

Talking horror, alternate Iowas and working the grain elevator with ‘<i>Universal Harvester’ author and singer-songwriter, John Darnielle</i>Author John …

Storytelling

'The Refugees' Author Says We Should All Know What It Is To Be An Outsider

When author Viet Thanh Nguyen was 4 years old, he and his family fled South Vietnam and came to the U.S. as refugees. That's about the same age his own son is now — and Nguyen wonders if his child will ever know the feeling of "otherness" that he knows so well.<p>"I think it's a very valuable …

Refugees

The Ghost Of V.C. Andrews: The Life, Death, And Afterlife Of The Mysterious “Flowers In The Attic” Author

At age 56, an unknown, wheelchair-bound writer from Virginia published a gothic teen-horror classic and became a phenomenon. Seven years later, she was dead, yet her name and legacy have lived on in nearly 70 subsequent books. For the first time ever, her family and colleagues tell the story of …

Publishing

Little Golden Books Turns 75! A Look Back at the Iconic Collection with Editor Diane Muldrow

<i>Mention a Little Golden Book to someone and you’ll likely be met with a smile in return. From</i> The Poky Little Puppy <i>to</i> Scuffy the Tugboat <i>to Sesame</i> …

Bibliomania: the strange history of compulsive book buying

An essayist looks into the curious past of pathological collectors – and considers her own lifelong urge to hoard ever more volumes<p>When I was a young woman, I drew a sort of perverse pride from my willingness to skip a meal or two in order to afford books. Soon enough, with the ubiquity of credit …

Literature

A Season of Discovery

Get in on the ground floor of great reading in 2017 with this selection of fiction and nonfiction from new voices: these 22 works of fiction and …

Barnes & Noble

Kevin Wilson - Perfect Little World - Book Review

Perfect Little World<p>By Kevin Wilson<p>Ecco<br>$26.99<br>ISBN 9780062450326<br>Published 01/24/2017<p>Fiction / Literary Fiction<p>Buy the book<p>Trending Book …

Publishing

THE DRY by Jane Harper

A mystery that starts with a sad homecoming quickly turns into a nail-biting thriller about family, friends, and forensic accounting.<p>Federal agent …

Forensics

Finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Awards

Ann Patchett’s “Commonwealth,” a novel inspired by her own family, and Michael Chabon’s “Moonglow,” a novel based on the life of his grandfather, are among the finalists for this year’s National Book Critics Circle fiction prize. The fiction finalists, announced Tuesday morning, also include …

Authors

Detecting the origins of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is always among us. Since he first appeared in print in 1887, the legendary detective has been a continual presence on stage, radio, screen and television. BBC’s “Sherlock,” starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is one of the latest in the character’s innumerable reincarnations.<p>For those …

Literature

J.R.R. Tolkien’s war experiences inspire his grandson’s novel, ‘No Man’s Land’

The phrase “no man’s land” conjures up the zone between opposing trenches on the Western Front of World War I. “No Man’s Land” is also the title of Simon Tolkien’s barnburner of a novel, which, according to its dust jacket, was “inspired by the real-life experiences of his grandfather” in the same …

History

Katherine Arden - Interview

Katherine Arden conjures the spirit—and spirits—of medieval Russia in <b>The Bear and the Nightingale,</b> her enchanting fantasy debut. Motherless Vasya …

Writing Teens, in All Their Complex Glory

Debut novelist Lindsey Lee Johnson on Bay Area world-building, privilege and undermining The Breakfast Club teen archetypes.<p>Lindsey Lee Johnson’s …

Marin County

Marlon James reveals first details of African fantasy trilogy

The opening volume of the Dark Star fantasy trilogy is due in 2018 and will be his first book since his 2015 Booker winner A Brief History of Seven Killings<p>Marlon James has revealed the first details of his forthcoming fantasy trilogy, expected to begin appearing next year. Inspired by a row over …

Gary Taubes - Interview

Yes, Gary Taubes, the “prosecutor” in the provocative, eye-opening book <b>The Case Against Sugar</b>, took his 8-year-old son trick-or-treating in his …

Best Books of 2016

Use the filters below to explore more than 300 titles NPR staff and critics loved this year. (You can also combine filters!) Want even more recommendations? Check out our favorite books from 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008<p>Filter by: ו <i></i><br>Clear filters<br>• Staff Picks<br>• Biography & Memoir<br>• Book …

15 Teen Readers on the Last Book They Loved: Dark Queens, Other Earths, and Time Travel

<i>Meet the Young Adults, the B&N Teen Blog’s swat team of awesome teenaged bloggers. YA literature is a strange and wonderful landscape of books that</i> …