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NPR

Book News: Sushmita Banerjee, Indian Author Who Fled Taliban, Shot Dead

Also: Rush Limbaugh is coming out with a childrens' book; T.C. Boyle on writing; Batwoman authors plan to quit the series.
NPR

What's Mittens Thinking? Make 'Sense' Of Your Cat's Behavior

Kitties don't play — they hunt. And their aloof appearance has evolutionary roots. In a new book, anthrozoologist John Bradshaw explains cats' mysterious nature and looks at how the cat's relationship with humans has changed over the years.
NPR

Lions, Leaders And Lingerie: 5 Great Reads From Syria

Do recent events have you wishing for more insight into Syria? critic Marcela Valdes — with some help from experts on the region — recommends five great reads. From the diaries of a threatened novelist to a study of Syrian lingerie, these books reveal new facets of a complex country.
NPR

Wild Things Hanging From Spruce Trees

There was a spruce tree in Stanley's garden, and when September rolled around, a family of garden snakes used it to sunbathe. They'd squiggle out on a branch, flop down and warm themselves in the sunshine — sometimes dangling in braided pairs. Stanley, envious, decided to join in ... and here's what happened next.
NPR

Book News: Did A Missing Testicle Make J.D. Salinger A Recluse?

Also: Ladbrokes breaks down the favorites to win the Nobel Prize; Edward Albee on character; poet Natasha Trethewey on meeting Seamus Heaney.
NPR

Tina Brown: Women Are Terrifyingly Vulnerable In Many Places

For our regular feature "Word of Mouth," Renee Montagne talks with Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast and founder of the annual Women in the World summit. She has three must-reads on women whose lives were changed by kidnapping and captivity.
NPR

'Winter's Bone' Author Revisits A Tragedy In His Ozarks Hometown

For nearly a century, Daniel Woodrell's hometown of West Plains, Mo., has been haunted by a dance hall explosion that killed dozens of the town's young people in 1928. Woodrell explores the disaster — and his Ozarks roots — in his new novel The Maid's Version.
NPR

From McDermott, An Extraordinary Story Of An Ordinary 'Someone'

Alice McDermott's characters can often be described as average, and Marie, the heroine of her latest novel, is no exception. But critic Maureen Corrigan says the power of McDermott's writing is that she can make even Marie's run-of-the-mill life one for the record books.
NPR

Book News: Malala, Girl Shot By Taliban, Calls Books 'Weapons That Defeat Terrorism'

Also: Lemony Snicket on poetry and playground slides; tiny secret paintings on the sides of books; Lorin Stein on John Hollander.
NPR

For Biographers, The Past Is An Open (Electronic) Book

Biographers of Gandhi or Catherine the Great could rely on paper archives, but those days are fading fast. WNYC's Ilya Marritz reports that that old ways of digging up the past are changing as people rely more and more on electronic communication.

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