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The Annual Awards For Children's Books Are Out

Flora & Ulysses, written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated in black and white by K. G. Campbell, is this year's best children's book. The American Library Association made the announcement Monday. Locomotive, by Brian Floca, is the most distinguished picture book.

A New Look At George Eliot That's Surprisingly Approachable

Rebecca Mead was 17 the first time she read Eliot's Middlemarch, and the book has remained a favorite ever since. But critic Meg Wolitzer says you don't have to read (or re-read) Middlemarch to love Mead's new book, My Life in Middlemarch, which is a mash-up of literary criticism, memoir and biography of Eliot.

Book Review: 'The Guts,' By Roddy Doyle

Alan Cheuse reviews Roddy Doyle's latest novel, The Guts. The book revisits some of the characters from Doyle's debut hit, The Commitments.

On This Spanish Slave Ship, Nothing Was As It Seemed

In The Empire of Necessity, historian Greg Grandin tells the story of a slave revolt at sea. The 1805 event inspired Herman Melville's Benito Cereno, and Grandin's account of the human horror is a work of power and precision.

'Pope And Mussolini' Tells The 'Secret History' Of Fascism And The Church

It's commonly thought that the Catholic Church fought heroically against the fascists in Italy. But in The Pope and Mussolini, historian David Kertzer says the church actually lent organizational strength and moral legitimacy to Mussolini's regime.
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Rebroadcast: "The Good Lord Bird" By James McBride

A surprise winner at this year's National Book Award, James McBride's latest novel takes on the story of abolitionist John Brown's doomed raid on the arsenal at Harper's Ferry. We speak with McBride about the novel, as well as the band he formed to play music that inspired Brown.


In Fragments Of A Marriage, Familiar Themes Get Experimental

Jenny Offill's new book, Dept. of Speculation, uses anecdotes and bits of poetry to tell a nonlinear story of love, parenthood and infidelity. Offill tells NPR's Rachel Martin that her experiences as a mother inspired the book — but that her own marriage is far less dramatic than the one in her novel.

The Mystery Of Isabel Allende: Author Explores New Genre

"I'm not a fan of mysteries," says Isabel Allende. Strange words indeed from a woman whose mystery novel Ripper hits bookshelves this month. The renowned Chilean author talks about taking on a new genre and making it her own.

'Le Divorce' Author Finds Stories Closer To Home In 'Flyover'

Diane Johnson has spent much of her adult life living in France, writing novels like Le Divorce. But it was not until a visit home, to the Midwestern town of Moline, IL, that the Johnson discovered that her pioneer ancestors had lives worthy of writing about. Her new book, Flyover Lives reconstructs their stories.

Before He Fell To Earth, 'The Little Prince' Was Born In N.Y.

Author Antoine Saint-Exupery was French, but his beloved book, The Little Prince, wasn't written in Paris. Saint-Exupery wrote it in New York, and even included references to the island in his original manuscript.