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Don't Know What To Do With Your Life? Neither Did Thoreau

A new biography reveals that young Thoreau took quite a few detours on his path to Walden. A gossipy young man who loved eating popcorn, ice skating and listening to his music box, schoolmates and neighbors found him standoffish and regarded his fascination with plants and Indian relics as downright odd.

What Honest Abe's Appetite Tells Us About His Life

Abraham Lincoln is known as one of America's greatest presidents. Turns out, he was also a cook who used to join his wife in the kitchen after work. In her new culinary biography of Lincoln, a food historian walks us through his life with stories — and recipes — of what he ate, cooked and served.

Muses And More: 3 Books We Owe To Writers' Lovers

Author's partners often serve as sources of inspiration — but sometimes their influence is even more direct. In honor of Valentine's Day, Shannon McKenna Schmidt and Joni Rendon recommend three books that would not exist without their writers' significant others.

Through The Mind Of A Novelist, Lincoln Shares His Life Story

Countless books and films have been made about Abraham Lincoln, but not many have been told in his voice. Jerome Charyn's latest novel, a sort of fictional autobiography, does just that. Charyn spoke with NPR's Scott Simon about Lincoln's poetry, depression, and fictionalizing a life.

'Eliot Ness': Actually Untouchable, Except When It Came To Women

Author Douglas Perry's new book, Eliot Ness: The Rise and Fall of an American Hero, paints a portrait of the legendary lawman as a flawed but genuinely good guy who floundered when away from the excitement of police work. Ness "helped invent the modern police force," Perry says, but couldn't stop drinking and cheating on his wives.

Author Isabel Allende Apologizes For Comments About Mystery Novels

Last month, the best-selling writer told NPR that her new book, Ripper, which is itself a mystery novel, was written as a "joke." Fans of the genre, as well as booksellers and writers, weren't amused.

Author Of Book Yanked In India Says Move Has Backfired

Penguin Books, India, withdrew Wendy Doniger's The Hindus: An Alternate History after a Hindu group's court challenge. The group said the book denigrated Hinduism. Doniger defended the publisher but said the Indian law that makes offending religious sentiment a crime should be changed.

To Strive, To Seek, To Find: The End Of A Baseball Era

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter announced this week that he would retire at the end of the season. "For the last 20 years I've been completely focused on two goals: playing my best and helping the Yankees win. ... It's time for something new." Author Julia Keller saw the move as a poetic flourish on a long career.

Swoon Reads: The Next Romance Bestseller, Selected By You

Macmillan's new young adult romance imprint solicits manuscripts and then invites users to read and rate them. The author whose manuscript is most popular with the community gets a contract and a first printing of 100,000 copies.
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Sylviane Diouf: "Slavery's Exiles"

They are known as "maroons:" escaped slaves who lived on the margins of settlements throughout the southern U.S. A new book explores how and where they lived, and what day-to-day survival meant for those who fled slavery.