For the past 80 years, the Man of Steel has endured in books, movies, radio serials, comic books and cartoons. "Americans embrace Superman partly because he captured so many things that are part of our psyche and part of our sense of ourselves," says biographer Larry Tye.
Jess Walter's latest novel spans decades and traverses the Atlantic to create a kaleidoscopic collection of "beautiful ruins." Characters include a hotelier, a young script reader and real-life movie star Richard Burton. NPR's Maureen Corrigan says the book is a "literary miracle."
In Barack Obama: The Story, journalist David Maraniss chronicles the president's "classic search for home." Maraniss says Obama's young life was defined by his experience of being an outsider — a feeling that stayed with him well into early adulthood.
Lynn Neary talks to three critics about the books you absolutely shouldn't miss this summer. Critic Laura Miller of Salon.com, says it's a particularly rich literary summer because in election years, publishers release their juiciest books before the fall.
Up-and-coming Garden & Gun showcases fine Southern living in a way backers say had been lacking. The magazine also holds events so readers can live out the "G&G experience," which critics say is more elitist than representative of the South as a whole.
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