Faceoff: Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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Countdown

Alan Weisman's Countdown asks -- and potentially answers -- the big question: how can we ensure that human life has a future on Earth?

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Concerning Hobbits and New Zealand Vacations

"It was misting when I first set eyes on Bag End." An excerpt from Nicole Hill's terrific essay "Concerning Hobbits and New Zealand Vacations."

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A Shared Wilderness: Benjamin and Jennifer Percy

Sibling authors Jennifer and Benjamin Percy of the Discover Great New Writers program on terror's infection and the power of research.

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The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters: Kenneth Calhoun and Lysley Tenorio in Conversation

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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Marquez at Camp Liberty

When I heard that Gabriel García Márquez had died, I immediately thought of three things: the fine grit of Iraqi sand that scratched between the page and my fingertips, the metal cot with springs that squeaked like those beneath a prostitute's well-worn bed, and the way my forearms ached as I lay in my hooch on Camp Liberty (Baghdad, 2005) and held a hardbound copy of 100 Years of Solitude above my head, absorbed in what I'd long put off reading.

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The Pulitzer Winners

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping and slightly paralyzing literary experience, such that if you submit to it in the proper spirit your Twitter feed may go unchecked, your Facebook page unrefreshed, for days or perhaps weeks."

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Fiction's Grand Illusionist: An Interview with Christopher Priest

Nicole Hill talks to Christopher Priest about film adaptation, dream states, and putting words into the mouth of H.G. Wells in his new book The Adjacent.

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Shaman

In Kim Stanley Robinson's Shaman, one of the greatest science fiction writers of our time takes his furthest trip yet: back to the dawn of man.

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Darwyn Cooke's "Parker: Slayground"

Slayground is the fourth adaptation by Darwyn Cooke of one of the Parker-themed crime novels of "Richard Stark" (Donald Westlake) to the graphic novel format.

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Eyewitness Reportage, Gripping Stories from Abroad Triumph at NBCC Awards

This year's 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award winners proved far-reaching and international in scope.

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An Addiction and an Award

"Because I am, essentially, a reading addict, my impulse is simply to rip right through a book, fiction or nonfiction, just for the animal pleasure of it. But sad experience has shown that if I abandon myself in this way, I will finish the book without being able to say much except: Boy was that ever good, you should read it." -- BNR columnist Katherine A. Powers, this year's recipient of the National Book Critic's Circle's Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing.

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The 2013 Discover Award Winners

Anthony Marra and Justin St. Germain are the winners of the 2013 Discover Great New Writers awards.

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The Future of the Mind

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Michio Kaku's first book, Hyperspace. Since then, the personable (his many media appearances testify to his charm), verbally gifted, enthusiastic, science-proselytizing physicist has shared his own feelings of awe at the universe and the humans who inhabit it. Reading one of his books is like hijacking Kaku's oversized intelligence and enthusiasms to stoke your own sense of wonder. His latest is no exception.

 

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Shovel Ready

Adam Sternbergh's taut, laconic, so-grim-you-have-to-laugh-to-stop-from-crying debut novel recalls two previous outstanding first genre novels which, curiously enough, are almost polar opposites.

 

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And the Finalists Are...

We're very proud to announce the 2013 Discover Award Shortlist.

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What Makes This Book So Great

Alert readers will note something important directly from the cover of Jo Walton's accomplished and deeply enjoyable  collection of essays ruminating on the books she (mostly) loves: there is no question mark in the title. To parse that punctuational distinction plainly: Walton is not asking herself or her readers any questions about her favorite books. She is not uncertain or in doubt over their worth or qualities.

 

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Pete Seeger, 1919-2014

Today the world mourns the passing of musical icon Pete Seeger, the singer, songwriter and activist who spearheaded the revival of American folk music, wrote and performed some of the most resonant anthems of 1950s and 60s, and remained throughout his long and intensely active life a figure of inspiration to millions.

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"We Are All—Every One of Us—Unreliable Narrators"

Mary Miller and Alethea Black cover similar territory in their writing: their characters long for connection, and look to be understood -- and understand their places in the world.  In this far-ranging conversation for the Discover blog, Miller and Black discuss starting their writing careers later in life; the differences between writing long form fiction vs. short stories, and for an adult audience vs. a YA audience; and how shifting a story’s POV can electrify it, among many, many other things.

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Five Books: The Civil Rights Movement

To mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a list of essential reading to remember and celebrate the movement he championed.

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Lines to Remember: A Year in Poetry

The critic and author of The Forage House looks back on some of 2013's most memorable verse.

 

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A Dickens of a Christmas

Dickens did not quite "invent" Christmas, as it is sometimes claimed, but, ever since A Christmas Carol was published in 1843, Scrooge's Yuletide nightmares and joyful Christmas morning have become as much a part of the popular idea of the season as Christmas trees and endless, maddening renditions of "Jingle Bells." A little searching yields about 1,700 different editions of A Christmas Carol for sale, and theatrical performances are an annual tradition.

 

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A Peruvian Investor Walks into a Packard Plant

"A Peruvian investor recently purchased the Packard Plant, the iconic Detroit ruin, closed since the nineteen-fifties and sprawling over 40 acres. Fernando Palazuelo, the proud new owner, forked over $400,000 for the factory, which he described to Bloomberg News as 'the best opportunity in the world.' He plans to live on the premises, with the future rehab transforming the mouldering site, in the words of the article, into 'a vibrant hub of automotive suppliers, offices, shops, lofts and maybe even a go-kart track...'"

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Culinary Charmers of 2013

Critic and ardent home cook Heller McAlpin recommends new cookbooks whose winning voices and visual delights are just as beguiling as the dishes they highlight.

 

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Five Overlooked SF/F/H Books of 2013

What are the four novels and one knockout story collection that our speculative fiction expert Paul Di Filippo proclaims 2013's greatest "Overlooked SF, Fantasy, & Horror"?

 

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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013

"It was during those long and lonely years that my hunger for the freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people, white and black. I knew as well as I knew anything that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. A man who takes away another man's freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else's freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. The oppressed and the oppressor alike are robbed of their humanity." -- Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5th, at the age of 95

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Wiley Cash: the Kind of Thing You Still Write About: A Guest Post

Novelist Wiley Cash uncovers the notebook of his seventh-grade self: "Halloween Hallow,"  Die Hard, and an apprentice writer's first work of suspense.

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Reading Lessing: Writers Reflect

"No one else does this like her; the pulling apart of what is going on within a human mind in the space of a few seconds, the fearless, truthful portrayal of it all."  --- Writers discuss the legacy of Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing's work.

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Discover Authors and the 2013 Whiting Writers Awards

Few things better in the world than watching a writer receive an award, if you ask me.  Last night in New York, the Whiting Writers Awards were presented, and among the 10 recipients were three Discover writers: C.E. Morgan (2009, shortlisted for the Discover Award -fiction), Amanda Coplin (2012, winner of the Discover Award - fiction), and Jennifer Dubois (2013).  Jennifer discusses the inspiration for the new novel; challenging her characters’ -- and readers’ – preconceptions, (mis)interpretations, and snap judgments; and a list of the books she’s been reading lately with Discover Great New Writers.

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Alice Munro, Nobel Laureate

"In my own house, I seemed to be often looking for a place to hide—sometimes from the children but more often from the jobs to be done and the phone ringing and the sociability of the neighborhood. I wanted to hide so that I could get busy at my real work, which was a sort of wooing of distant parts of myself." That’s the unmistakable voice of Alice Munro, who has just been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

 

We congratulate the Swedish Academy on its very good taste. If you’ve never read Munro's work, you’ll find the story I’ve quoted ("Miles City, Montana") and other splendid works here.

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July 24: On this day in 1725 John Newton, the slave trader-preacher who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace," was born.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).