Living with a Wild God

A tenacious journalist takes up a bold new investigation into the potential existence of divine forces and the mystical nature of faith.

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Boy, Snow, Bird

Ancient stories entwine with twenty-first-century themes in Helen Oyeyemi's fiction.

 

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Eugénie Grandet

Balzac's incisive story of wealth, desire, and fraud has never been more timely.

 

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Brown Dog

The adventures of Jim Harrison's "wonderful backwoods nitwit" are collected in one rollicking set of linked tales.

 

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Charmers Return

An annual rundown of books as diverting as they are thought-provoking.

 

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This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage

Compassion is the central theme in these essays from the author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto.

 

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The Two Hotel Francforts

The sensitively mapped tale of an affair on the eve of war is cloaked within a comedy of manners.

 

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Someone

A girl grows in Brooklyn, in the latest from the author of Charming Billy.

 

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Dreams of My Russian Summers

The power of memory and longing is undimmed in this classic memoir.

 

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Ten Things I've Learnt About Love

A long-estranged father and daughter, on a collision course.

 

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The Faraway Nearby

An unclassifiable writer looks at how stories take us on unexpected journeys.

 

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An Interview with Elinor Lipman

The charming writer of I Can't Complain on self-esteem, second chances, and happy endings.

 

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The Interestings

Old friends at the top and bottom of the art world meet in the middle.

 

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How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia

A wry take on "self-help" skewers our globalized economy.

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Schroder

A prisoner's letters reveal the harrowing and often triumphant life of a fraud.

 

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The Inventor and the Tycoon

Two unlikely collaborators project the dawn of film technology.

 

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Charmers

A short list of books that are equal parts entertainment and provocation.

 

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Friendship in Eden, and After

Revisiting Wallace Stegner's bittersweet tale of two couples whose lives are braided together.

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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

A technological adventure story lurks on these shelves.

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This Is How You Lose Her

A cheater's guide to love is also a poignant study of what keeps us from understanding ourselves.

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There but for the

A dinner party attendee's refusal to leave occasions reflection among his fellow guests.

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How to Be a Woman

A British writer's memoir attacks sexism with humor and a take-no-prisoners attitude.

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Workers' Compensations

Why a writer's luminous memoir makes inspiring reading for recent graduates -- and their families.

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In One Person

A story that blurs the line between the sexes can stimulate discussion.

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Conversation Pieces

Finding the balance between pleasure and challenge when selecting that group read.

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About the Columnist
Heller McAlpin is a New York-based critic who reviews books for NPR.org, The Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, and other publications.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

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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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.