Books

2018 Summer Book Show

Jul 4, 2018

Whether it's for a tablet, phone, or hardback, booklovers are always on the lookout for what to read when life slows down in the summer.  We hear what's new in fiction,  including a thriller co-written by a best-selling author and a former President.  For non-fiction fans, we review new works of History, Humour and Self-Help.  And as always, some N.H. authors make the list.  Get your pen and paper ready if you are looking for help with ideas for your reading list this summer! 

Studies have shown that reading over summer vacation keeps kids' brains active and reduces stagnation or setbacks in reading levels (known as the "summer slide"). But how often do kids and teenagers read for pleasure these days? We talk with educators, librarians and authors about why independent reading is so important, what books appeal to kids nowadays, and what strategies help encouraage kids to open a book this summer.

City of Boston Archives / Flickr Creative Commons

The book Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 is an in-depth look at some famous and-not-so-famous figures that all seemed to converge in and around Boston in that one year. 

The catalyst for author Ryan Walsh’s book was the author’s love for Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks album- what many consider the singer-songwriter’s masterpiece- and the little-known fact that Morrison wrote much of the songs for it in Boston.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Ryan Walsh by Skype to learn more.

Sara Plourde

After more than two years and 60 episodes, we are signing off, to make room for new projects and podcasts (but episodes will continue to live online if you’re looking for a dose of inspiration). Thanks to everybody who listened and learned from the show! For other literary offerings from NHPR, check out: The Bookshelf, featuring authors from around New Hampshire and the region, as well as books about New Hampshire by authors from anywhere. Writers on a New England Stage

Abhi Sharma / Wikimedia Commons

Downtown Manchester and the Millyard have undergone redevelopment over the past decade with the opening of new restaurants and shops. But now residents are getting an independent bookstore.

Morning Edition Host Rick Ganley spoke with Liz Hitchcock, co-owner of The Bookery Manchester, which will open this spring. And she plans to make this bookstore more than another retail establishment downtown, but also a gathering place for the community.

Some of you may know Manoush Zomorodi as host of the podcast Note to Self from WNYC. She is also, now, an author. Her book Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self came out of her own experience and curiosity about the creative process and confronting digital distractions - one of the biggest challenges for writers. She asked her audience to help her figure out what it would mean to let all of that go and to learn to shut down in order to build your creative juices up.

Conventional, linear narratives are not really Jennifer Egan’s thing. She's a shape-shifter of fiction – jumping through time, space, voices and forms. She's written a graphic novel, a short story composed of tweets, and, in the Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit From The Goon Squad, a kind of novel-as-concept album. Jennifer Egan takes on historical fiction in her newest novel, Manhattan Beach. We called her at her home in Brooklyn to ask about her process and how she begins her unpredictable novels.

Best Of: Holiday Book Show 2017

Dec 8, 2017
The Exchange

Our popular holiday tradition takes place on Monday, December 11, with Dan Chartrand, owner of Water Street Bookstore in Exeter and Michael Herrmann, owner of Gibson's Bookstore in Concord.  We look at the top books of 2017 and discuss best books for gift-giving...and receiving.  And scroll down to click on the photos below for a look at what some NHPR folks are hoping for this year!


Nina Subin

Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink, co-creators of the phenomenally popular Welcome to Nightvale podcast, the “Nightvale Presents” series of podcasts, and New York Times bestselling co-authors of the new novel, It Devours, their second book set in the fictional world of Nightvale. We caught up with them at the 2017 Boston Book Festival.

Episode Music by Disparition

The blockbuster 2003 thriller The Da Vinci Code launched Dan Brown into the best-selling stratosphere. More than 200 million copies of his books have sold worldwide since. Three of his novels have been made into films starring Tom Hanks as fictional Harvard professor Robert Langdon. Brown is a disciplined writer, rising at 4 a.m. to a breakfast smoothie and "bulletproof" coffee, writing every day, and throwing himself into his research.

Virginia Macgregor, author most recently of Wishbones, has a knack for capturing the voices of children and young adults and projecting her novels through their lenses, giving us young narrators with accurate levels of experience and naivety - and a perspective not often found in adult literature. Our conversation with her centered around that: how she conjures the voices of young people, insures they are three-dimensional, and navigates those voices around complicated adult situations.

Episode music by Broke for Free

Atul Gawande is a surgeon, professor at Harvard Medical School, and writes about medicine and ethics for the New Yorker. He’s author of several best-selling books, most recently, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. The book questions the human cost of miraculous medicine, and urges a shift from the prevailing thought that human decline and death are signs of failures to instead think about how to make old age and the experience of dying better. Despite the grave topic, Gawande views it as a book about living.

Sara Plourde

Celeste Ng came out of the gate strong. Her first novel, Everything I Never Told You, was a New York Times bestseller and Amazon's #1 Best Book of 2014. Her latest, Little Fires Everywhere, continues her exploration of family dynamics and the effect of being included or excluded from belonging. She has said in the past that her stories begin with images, so we began by asking her where those images come from.

Episode Music by Cheetara

Louise Penny was well into her forties when she published Still Life, the first in what has become the wildly popular Armand Gamache mystery series. The novels are set in Québec, where Gamache is Chief Inspector of the provincial police force. They are meticulously plotted, part police procedurals, part exploration of human nature - and the precarious balance between good and evil. Louise Penny is now out with the thirteenth in the series, Glass Houses.

Episode Music by Dana Boulé.

What & How Teenagers Are Reading Today

Aug 28, 2017

Our Week of Summer Favorites continues with a look at teen reading. Smartphones, e-readers, and other internet-based content, like Twitter and Facebook, are changing how and what teenagers read. And despite the image of adolescents with their faces in their phones, it turns out young adult fiction is among the most successful types of books on the market.

  This show originally aired on June 12, 2017.

IIP Photo Archive via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/Pj7gW9

On today's show: 

Richard Phibbs

Michael Cunningham is best known as the author of The Hours, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, which imagines a fateful day in the life of Virginia Woolf and its modern parallels.

But he's a man of many genres - he's also co-written a screenplay, walked readers through Provincetown, Mass with a travelogue, and turned fairy tales on their heads, as he does in his recent collection of short fiction, A Wild Swan and Other Tales.

Episode Music by Blue Dot Sessions
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Ghostowns, Civics 101, & Andrew Greer

Jul 21, 2017
Logan Shannon for NHPR

On today's show:

Ben McLeod via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/2xMv5

On today's show: 

Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/d6GCKA

On today's show: 

This episode, we speak to Roxane Gay, author, essayist, teacher, and all around-superwoman. The author of New York Times bestsellers Bad Feminist and Difficult Women, her latest, Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, is a candid and personal account of life inside her body, of weight, trauma, and self-care. We spoke to Roxane by phone from her home.

Episode music by Blue Dot Sessions
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What to Read Now That It's (Finally) Summer!

Jul 3, 2017
Susan Vaufrey via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/3akZQW

It's been a long time coming, but it's finally summer in New Hampshire!  If that means kicking back with a good book, we have some recommendations to share with you.  From political memoirs to historical novels and nonfiction, there's something for everyone, including the latest from favorite authors Michael Crichton, John Grisham, and Neil Gaiman.

This show originally broadcast on June 21, 2017. 

Author, outspoken vegetarian, social media abstainer and writing teacher Jonathan Safran Foer is author of three novels: Everything Is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and, most recently, Here I Am, which follows four generations of a Jewish family grappling with identity, connection and disaster. His nonfiction book about factory farming, Eating Animals, was also a New York Times best-seller.

Episode music by Broke For Free
Ad music by Uncanny Valleys

via ianrankin.com

Ian Rankin is best known for two characters: Inspector John Rebus, the protagonist of now 21 mystery novels, and the city of Edinburgh, whose dark corners come alive in Rankin’s hands. Rebus made his debut in the 1987 crime novel Knots & Crosses. In Rankin’s newest novel - Rather Be the Devil - a retired Rebus returns to a case that has haunted him for decades.

Episode music by Podington Bear
Ad music by Uncanny Valleys

Todd Bookman/NHPR

Saint Anselm College in Manchester welcomed more than 2,700 books to its political library on Friday. The collection, which focuses on the presidency, first ladies and the founding fathers, includes many first editions and rare texts.

“I grew up in a house full of books, and have spent my  professional life concerned with their care, preservation and dissemination,” says Dr. Arthur Young, who is donating the collection he amassed during the previous 25 years. He and his wife Patricia were both librarians.

6.07.17: Why We Write About Ourselves & Hi, Anxiety

Jun 7, 2017
Beep. via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/9BgJXq

On today's show:

6.05.17: Nonstop Metropolis & Words on the Move

Jun 5, 2017
http://giphy.com/gifs/timelapse-new-york-city-manhattan-SuG8hEiyKDCDe

Whether it's the overuse of like, saying "nuculear", or using the word "literally", figuratively, misuse of language has a way of getting under our skin. A linguist assures us that language is always changing...so loosen up. Today, why dictionaries and grammar sticklers can't stop improper language.

Plus artists, researchers and cartographers re-interpret the city that never sleeps... Illustrating its distinctive culture, history and variety through maps.

© David J. Murray / ClearEyePhoto.com

Krista Tippett is probably best known as the host & creator of the public radio program On Being.  But she's also the author of three books that pull from her decades of interviews with a broad variety of thinkers and seekers, exploring the intersections between spirituality, science, and living. The most recent is called Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery & Art of Living.  We spoke to her backstage at The Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH before a Writers on a New England Stage event.

Music: Podington Bear - "Daydreamer"

Political Speechwriting, Wishbones, & Every Body Yoga

May 19, 2017
Gage Skidmore via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/RUiA2j

On today's show:

Author Virginia MacGregor on Her New Book, Wishbones

May 18, 2017
virginiamacgregor.com

Feather is the complicated, feisty central character in a new YA novel called Wishbonesthe third novel by Virginia MacGregor, who now lives in New Hampshire.

You can join her for the Wishbones launch party on May 23rd at Gibson's Bookstore

 

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