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'Speculation' Shows Good Stories Come In Small Packages, Too

Jenny Offill's sparse and experimental novel Dept. of Speculation is a reminder that bigger isn't always better. Through short vignettes, Offill builds a narrative about an unnamed husband and wife. It's a sly, profound glimpse into a fragile domestic sphere — and, while the form may be unusual, the book is highly readable.
NPR

Patchett: In Bad Relationships, 'There Comes A Day When You Gotta Go'

Ann Patchett got married and divorced young. When she met the man who would eventually become her second husband she said: "I'll be true; I'll be faithful; I'll see you every day ... but I don't want to get married and I don't want to live together.'" Her new book is This Is The Story of a Happy Marriage.
NPR

Skeptic Takes A Tour Of Self-Help's 'Promise Land'

Despite being the daughter of a child psychologist and self-help author, Jessica Lamb-Shapiro has spent most of her life recoiling from the self-help industry. But eventually, her curiosity got the best of her. She tells Fresh Air about self-help's high- and low-brow iterations and the ways the industry helped her address her fears.
NPR

For World Superpowers, The Negotiating Table Often Had A Net

Melissa Block talks with Nicholas Griffin about his book, Ping-Pong Diplomacy, which explores the importance of the tabletop game in Chinese political history and foreign policy.
NPR

Book Review: 'Starting Over,' By Elizabeth Spencer

Alan Cheuse reviews a collection of stories by Elizabeth Spencer called, Starting Over.
NPR

Biography Argues Roger Ailes Uses Fox To Divide Nation

Roger Ailes is a hero to the political right and a boogeyman to the left for leading the Fox News Channel to become the top-rated force in cable news --- the competition is not even close. Ailes and Fox refused to cooperate with author Gabriel Sherman.
NPR

'Death Class' Taught Students A Lot About Life

After covering the shootings at Virginia Tech, journalist Erika Hayasaki became interested in how people respond to death. Her new book is about a nurse and professor named Norma Bowe who taught an entire class to help students confront death head-on.
NPR

'I'll Take You There': The Staple Singers' Rise From Church To Fame

The group's sound broke down musical walls and inspired civil rights leaders. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with biographer Greg Kot about his new book, I'll Take You There: Mavis Staples, the Staple Singers, and the March Up Freedom's Highway.
NPR

A Film Producer On The Rise, Hollywood Gets Biblical

Ozy.com co-founder Carlos Watson talks about a rising film producer getting his big break this year, and the swath of films on the horizon dealing with biblical or Greco-Roman times.
NPR

Living, And 'Forgiving,' In A Brilliant Writer's Orbit

Jay Cantor is a hard author to nail down. He's written about topics as wide-ranging as Che Guevara and Krazy Kat. His latest work expands his range even more, fictionalizing the lives of four of Franz Kafka's friends and lovers. It's called Forgiving the Angel, and Cantor tells NPR's Lynn Neary it's a book born out of gratitude.

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