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In 'Sprinkler,' A Wacky Poet Returns With New Obsessions

Nicholson Baker's latest novel, Traveling Sprinkler, revolves around Paul Chowder, a lonely poet who's fascinated by drone warfare and Debussy. Chowder was the star of Baker's 2009 novel The Anthologist, and reviewer Heller McAlpin welcomes his reappearance — though not his political rants.
NPR

A Predictably Pynchonian Take On The Internet And Sept. 11

Elusive and iconic, author Thomas Pynchon may intimidate some readers, but he has a devoted following. Bleeding Edge, his new new novel, is about a spunky, Upper West Side mother and fraud investigator in the era between the dot-com boom and Sept. 11.
NPR

Kitchen Time Machine: A Culinary Romp Through Soviet History

Author Anya Von Bremzen's new memoir, Mastering The Art of Soviet Cooking, is a tragic-comic history of a family and a nation as seen through the kitchen window. Everything we ate in the Soviet Union was grown ... by the party state," she says. "So, with the food, inevitably, you ingested the ideology."
NPR

National Book Awards Look To Raise Profile ... And It's Not The First Time

When most people think "NBA," they think of the National Basketball Association. This year, in an attempt to maximize coverage, the National Book Foundation is releasing "long lists" of NBA nominees in different genre categories, one day at a time for a week.
NPR

Ray Suarez On Latino Americans: Past Is Prologue?

Over 50 million Latin Americans live in the United States. Host Michel Martin speaks with veteran reporter Ray Suarez about his new book Latino Americans: The 500-Year Legacy That Shaped A Nation.
NPR

Barnard President: Today's 'Wonder Women' Must Reframe Feminism

Many think of the feminist movement as a thing of the past, but Debora Spar says the battle isn't won yet. She tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross about the misinterpretation that got us where we are, and the need to improve support and pay for working women.
NPR

Introducing 'Miss Anne,' The White Women Of A Black Renaissance

That's the collective nickname Harlem-ites used for them: white women who risked family exile and social ostracism to be part of the movement. They were philanthropists and thrill seekers,educators and artists, hostesses and lovers. Carla Kaplan tells their stories in Miss Anne in Harlem.
NPR

New Memoir Recounts Black Lives 'Reaped' Too Young

Author Jesmyn Ward lost her brother in a car wreck — and several friends in quick succession after that — all young black men, all dead before the age of 30. She tells their stories, and her own, in a wrenching new memoir, Men We Reaped.
NPR

Read The Rainbow: 'Roy G. Biv' Puts New Spin On Color Wheel

Pink isn't just for girls — it's also for battleships. In a new book, design writer and synesthete Jude Stewart looks at color from linguistic, scientific and historical perspectives.
NPR

'The Witness Wore Red': A Polygamist's Wife Finds A New Life

Rebecca Musser was raised in an extremist, polygamist church. She tells the harrowing story of her childhood, her first marriage, and her escape in her autobiography.

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