When the Nobel Prize for literature is announced, there are some writers who automatically know they didn't make the short list. Some popular writers who make a lot of money believe there is a conspiracy against non-literary writers.
Samuel Scheffler, a philosophy professor at New York University, presents a secular interpretation of life after death. In his book Death and the Afterlife, Scheffler argues that our belief that humanity will outlive us — our faith in the existence of future generations — gives meaning to our lives.
Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis have written a portrait of the city that saw John F. Kennedy's death firsthand. In those years, they say, Dallas was a roiling stew of superpatriotism and Communist paranoia — and, above all, distrust of the president.
The novel Shaman, by science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson is a coming of age novel set in the ice age. Reviewer Alan Cheuse says it is the latest to take up the question of what it was like to live 30,000 years ago on the cusp of change from Neanderthal to Cro-Magnon dominance of the human world.
Smart, who was held captive for nine months at age 14, describes the 2002 ordeal in a new memoir called My Story. She's now an advocate for children's safety education and says "the best punishment" she can give her abusers is to move on with her life and be happy.
Jhumpa Lahiri's new novel, The Lowland, is on the long list for the National Book Award and the shortlist for the Man Booker. Critic Maureen Corrigan says Lahiri should start making room in her trophy cabinet; The Lowland is a beautiful tale of a family transformed by political violence.
Brothers Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru take an exhaustive look at how the NFL has dealt with allegations that playing football can lead to brain damage. They say the NFL has repeatedly avoided tying football to brain injury, even as it has given disability payments to former players with dementia-related conditions.
Bo Burnham got his start in comedy on the Internet rather than in clubs. He found fame on YouTube and parlayed millions of views into a thriving career. Now, he's turned to the printed page with Egghead: Or, You Can't Survive on Ideas Alone, a collection of comedic poetry modeled on Shel Silverstein.
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