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Nancy Pearl Turns Back The Pages With Picks From The Past

NPR's go-to librarian returns to some old favorites from her personal shelves. "All the books on my bookshelves are books that I loved," she says. "Those are the only books I keep." Her picks include a trilogy of novellas filled with British humor and an Irish mystery.

Poetry Uncovers Legacy Of Medgar Evers 50 Years Later

The assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers has been chronicled in films and books. Now the voices of his widow --and his killer-- are reimagined in a collection of poetry. Guest host Celeste Headlee talks with Frank X Walker about his book, "Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers."

Shavit's 'My Promised Land Examines Israel's Complexities

Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep talks to Israeli journalist Ari Shavit about his new book My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. Shavit attempts to capture the complexity and contradictions of modern Israel by examining his country's history.

Written In Secret Behind The Iron Curtain, 'Corpse' Is Revived

An amazing book has surfaced from behind the Soviet-era Iron Curtain says our reviewer, Alan Cheuse. The book is Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky.

Writing 'Rudolph': The Original Red-Nosed Manuscript

Everybody knows Rudolph was the last reindeer to join Santa's crew, but few people know about the department store employee who brought his story to the world. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was written by Robert L. May, a copywriter for Montgomery Ward, who, like his protagonist, had always felt like a bit of an outcast.

After A Cancer Diagnosis, Lessons In Priorities

Teaching high school English came naturally to David Menasche but a terminal brain cancer diagnosis forced him to leave the classroom. So he visited some of his former students to see what impact he's had on them. He writes about the experience in his forthcoming book, The Priority List.

Gene Wolfe Spins A Kafkaesque Travelogue To A Fictional 'Land'

Alan Cheuse reviews Gene Wolfe's The Land Across.

A Pinball Monopoly, Camel Trekking In Texas, Charles Dickens' Mistress

This week on the podcast, we meet a tour guide leading camels through the wilderness, and a pinball manufacturer who wants to shake up his industry. Plus, DJ Bettos Arcos plays some Christmas music from south of the border.

Pictures Books With A 'Clash Bash' Of Culture For Kids

Monica Brown has written more than a dozen children's picture books with English and Spanish text side by side. Raised by a South American mother and North American father, she says, "I wanted to write stories that reflected the multi-ethnic, bilingual nature of my own family."

This British Spy Thriller Shows How Thrill-Less Spying Can Be

The presidential panel on NSA has brought renewed attention to the practice of spying this week. Phone tapping, searching records and general intrigue — these have been popular topics in literature and film for well nigh a century. But espionage is not often a glamorous task, as author Julia Keller reminds us.