The Bookshelf

Peter Biello / NHPR

Concord-resident Virginia MacGregor's latest novel, Before I Was Yours, is the story of a young Kenyan boy, Jonah, who is brought to England under mysterious circumstances by a friend of his mother's. He's abandoned at the airport and, after a stint in foster care, starts living with two would-be adoptive parents who are desperate for a child. But Jonah, as polite and well-behaved as he is, comes with his own set of complications, prompting the adoptive parents to question their ability to be parents at all. MacGregor spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello about her book.

Peter Biello / NHPR

On a recent morning, in the hazy heat, poet Mark DeCarteret opened up Water Street Books in Exeter, where he works, as what he calls "book clerk extraordinare."

"Alice who works here has got quite the skill with the sign-making," he says, pointing to a sandwich board on which someone has drawn a bird. "So she came up with that for the book launch."

M. Sharkey

In his first novel, Edinburgh, Dartmouth college professor Alexander Chee wrote about a difficult subject: child sexual abuse.

"Part of the reason why I wrote it was because I hadn't seen anything that really dealt with the rage that people feel afterwards, and I wanted to show that in some way," he says.

The novel's protagonist was a Korean American boy who, like Chee, was sexually abused. The novel was well-reviewed, but Chee says the most meaningful response to his novel came from a man serving time in prison for pedophilia.

Stephen Blos 1974

Before his death last month, former poet laureate Donald Hall was preparing to publish his final book, a collection of short essays on life as he approached his 90th birthday, a birthday that he knew he would not reach.

The book came out just weeks after his death and features Hall's reflections on the challenges of growing older, his encounters with famous poets, his life with his beloved wife, poet Jane Kenyon, and the way in which he spent much of his career, exploring death.

Peter Biello/NHPR

It has been a hot week in New Hampshire but the heat has not kept poet hope Jordan Hope from her daily walk on a hiking trail in Canterbury between I-93 and the Merrimack River. All Things Considered host Peter Biello spoke with the poet about her new collection The Day She Decided to Feed Crows.

Hope Jordan’s Top Five Reading Recommendations

Peter Biello/NHPR

This week on The Bookshelf from NHPR, a conversation with Daniel Palmer about his new book, The First Family.

Peter Biello / NHPR

This week on The Bookshelf from NHPR, a conversation with Matt W. Miller about his new book, The Wounded for the Water.

Peter Biello / NHPR

This week on The Bookshelf from NHPR, novelist Elisabeth Hyde discusses her new novel, Go Ask Fannie. 

In this novel, Murray Blair and his three adult children are gathering at his home in northern New Hampshire. His kids bicker almost non-stop, and the drama that the youngest, Lizzie, carries is enough to drive all of them to worry and judge.

Patricia McLaughlin for NHPR

New York Times best-selling author and Peterborough resident Elizabeth Marshall Thomas is out with a new book. It's called, "The Hidden Life of Life," and it traces the history of life on this planet from its microscopic beginnings through mass extinctions and dinosaurs to the present day.

This is a special edition of The Bookshelf. It's an excerpt of the live-recorded event at the Toadstool Bookshop last month in Peterborough. NHPR's Peter Biello interviewed the author about her latest work. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

Author Mario Puzo is best-known as the author of The Godfather, the novel that cemented the mafia's place in popular culture. Publication of The Godfather was a turning point in Puzo's career, and The Godfather and its film adaptations inspired and influenced stories about organized crime for years to come, from Goodfellas to The Sopranos.

Courtesy

This weekend, the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program is celebrating 20 years of building community around poetry. It's considered one of the oldest municipal laureate programs in the country that provides a stipend and support for the laureate. Each laureate launches a project that's meant to bring poetry into the community. Bill Burtis is the co-chair of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Board of Trustees. He spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

How did the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program come to be?

Peter Biello / NHPR

This week on The Bookshelf from NHPR​, poet Liz Ahl of Holderness. Ahl's new collection of poetry, Beating the Bounds, is a proclamation that says: I live here now.

"Here" in this case is rural New Hampshire. In poems that feature town moderators, transfer stations, and the perambulation of town boundaries, Ahl explores what it means for her to have finally set down roots in this place. I spoke with Ahl in her office at Plymouth State, where she teaches poetry.

Peter Biello

NHPR’s literary conversation series The Bookshelf from NHPR is venturing out of the studio and into the stacks, with a special appearance at The Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough.

On Wednesday, April 25, The Bookshelf Host Peter Biello will interview longtime Peterborough resident Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, a New York Times best-selling author.

Marshall Thomas will be reading from her latest work, The Hidden Life of Life: A Walk Through the Reaches of Time, followed by her literary conversation with Peter Biello.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Bookshelf from NHPR is New Hampshire Public Radio's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Bookshelf from NHPR is New Hampshire Public Radio's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Bookshelf from NHPR is New Hampshire Public Radio's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

Peter Biello/NHPR

This is the Bookshelf from NHPR. I'm Peter Biello. This Super Bowl Sunday, people all over the country turned on their televisions to watch the New England Patriots face the Philadelphia Eagles. Among those watching: New Hampshire author Joseph Monninger. He's a Pats fan, but he says he can't believe he still watches football.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Author Paul Durham has a short commute. His writing studio is in the backyard of his home in Exeter.

“I call it an abandoned chicken coop,” Durham says, “because chickens used to live here. It's really an eight by twelve-foot shed with barn-style doors on the front. I have it decorated with a Christmas wreath. There’s my doorknocker and the coop sign. And then—go ahead and step in if you want."

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Bookshelf from NHPR is New Hampshire Public Radio's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Ernest Hebert is best known for his novels. His first book, The Dogs of March, was published in 1979 and cited for excellence by the Hemingway Foundation. It was the first of seven novels in his Darby Chronicles series, which painted a vivid portrait of working class life in rural New Hampshire. 

(Scroll down to the end to read Ernest Hebert's top five reading recommendations.)

Peter Biello / NHPR

In the late 1880s, rail was creeping across western America, connecting towns and changing lives. The west was still relatively wild in those days, and that Wild West is the setting of the new young adult novel by Erin Bowman. Retribution Rails is the story of a young man caught up with a band of cold-hearted killers and thieves and the young woman who aspires to write for a newspaper, any paper, and prove that she can write just as well, if not better, than any man out there. Erin Bowman spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

Peter Biello / NHPR

This week on The Bookshelf, author Joe Hill of Exeter, N.H. joins Peter Biello in studio.

Hill's new book, Strange Weather, is a collection of four short novels. In one, the sky rains needles that rip to pieces anyone unlucky enough to be outside. In another, a skydiver gets stuck on a cloud. And in a story without any supernatural connection, people with easy access to guns use them to devastating effect. Joe Hill is the author of many works, including the novels Horns, NOS4A2, and The Fireman.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Bookshelf from NHPR is New Hampshire Public Radio's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Bookshelf from NHPR is New Hampshire Public Radio's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Earlier this year, Keith Howard stepped down as executive director of Liberty House, a transitional living facility for formerly homeless veterans.  And he started something new.

Howard now lives at a converted hunting camp in northern New Hampshire, on the grounds of Warriors at 45 North, where he's going to run writing retreats for veterans.  Howard himself lives in what he calls the Tiny White Box. I went to visit him there. 

Peter Biello / NHPR

The Bookshelf from NHPR is New Hampshire Public Radio's series on authors and books with ties to the Granite State.  All Things Considered host Peter Biello features authors, covers literary events and publishing trends, and gets recommendations from each guest on what books listeners might want to add to their own bookshelves. If you have an author or book you think we should profile on The Bookshelf, send us an email. The address is books@nhpr.org.

Since the advent of film in the early 20th century, movies have taken up the task of depicting poverty and homelessness. Scenes of the poor have been informed by the culture in which they were made, and in turn influenced public opinions about what it means to be poor or homeless.

Peter Biello for NHPR

Author Tim Weed has spent many years putting together his latest short story collection, which finds inspiration in a variety of settings: Rome, Nantucket, Cuba, Venezuela, and of course New Hampshire.

The collection is called A Field Guide to Murder and Fly Fishing. Tim Weed joined NHPR’s Peter Biello to discuss the work. Scrool down to read a top five reading list from Tim Weed and a transcript of his conversation with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

Tim Weed’s Top Five Reading Recommendations:

Peter Biello / NHPR

Robert Frost is one of America's best-known and beloved poets. He lived many places over the span of his 88 years: San Francisco, Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire, and Vermont.

And then there's the house in Franconia, New Hampshire. From 1915 to 1920, Robert Frost lived on Ridge Road. There he wrote poems, cared for animals, and raised a young family.

That home is now known as The Frost Place, run by a nonprofit dedicated to Frost's memory and legacy. This weekend, it's celebrating its fortieth anniversary. 

Peter Biello

Heather Mulgrew is a young woman with a plan. She’s going to work at Bank of America, make good money, and live in New York City. But first, she’s off to Europe for a last hurrah with her girlfriends before real life begins.

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