Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 11:12 am
Publishers, reporters and authors gathered Tuesday at the New School in New York City to celebrate this year's exceptional nominees for the National Book Awards. In advance of the awards on Wednesday night, NPR recorded the 10 nominated authors for fiction and nonfiction reading from their works.
These 10 books — which tell the stories of a young drug smuggler, lovable philanderers, holograms in the Saudi desert, and more — inspired, informed and entertained readers in 2012.
Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 2:14 pm
It's a cold March night in New York, and journalist Susannah Cahalan is watching PBS with her boyfriend, trying to relax after a difficult day at work. He falls asleep, and wakes up moments later to find her having a seizure straight out of The Exorcist. "My arms suddenly whipped straight out in front of me, like a mummy, as my eyes rolled back and my body stiffened," Cahalan writes. "I inhaled repeatedly, with no exhale. Blood and foam began to spurt out of my mouth through clenched teeth."
In the Gospels, the Virgin Mary is the alabaster embodiment of grace and suffering, the mater dolorosa — but also largely voiceless. We know little about her except for her virginity and her grief.
In the grim and lovely Testament of Mary, Colm Toibin gives voice to the mother of Jesus. Elderly and isolated in Ephesus, menaced by the persecutors of her dead son as well as by his followers, Mary narrates her memories of the Crucifixion in cold, vivid detail.
Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 2:41 pm
Da Chen is the author of My Last Empress.
In fiction, setting is a local goddess you must kowtow to before you lift up your pen and attempt to create an authentic fictional world. It is a lofty stage to be erected — an ornate frame within which a masterful painting will be hung.
Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 8:21 am
I love Thanksgiving. It is the best food holiday on the calendar. However, one thing has always bothered me. Even the most accomplished cooks take unnecessary short cuts when it comes to preparing the Big Meal.