book reviews

On this edition of ST, we listen back to an interview that we did in April with the novelist and essayist Ayelet Waldman (whose books include "Red Hook Road," "Love and Other Impossible Pursuits," "Daughter's Keeper," and "Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes"). Waldman spoke with us about her then-new novel, "Love and Treasure," which has been thus summarized in Booklist: "Classics scholar Jack Wiseman, in the last throes of pancreatic cancer, entrusts an enamel locket to his granddaughter, imploring her to find the rightful owner. It's the only thing he's ever asked of her.

The Tulsa Library Trust's Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature, inaugurated in 1991, aims to "give formal recognition, on behalf of the Tulsa County community, to nationally acclaimed authors who have made a significant contribution to the field of literature for children and young adults." Past winners of the Zarrow Award include Jim Murphy, Jacqueline Woodson, Jane Yolen, Gary Paulsen, Katherine Paterson, Madeleine L'Engle, and S.E. Hinton -- and this year, the highly deserving recipient of this award is Jack Gantos.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Jayne Anne Phillips, the acclaimed fiction writer whose previous books include "Black Tickets," "Machine Dreams," and "Lark and Termite." In her newest book, just out in paperback, Phillips both explores and re-imagines a real crime that occurred in 1931, in a West Virginia town not far from where she herself grew up. Phillips tells us of this novel -- called "Quiet Dell" -- on today's program.

Illustration Credit: NPR

On this installment of ST, we welcome back Nancy Pearl, our longtime book reviewer. Nancy is a former librarian --- and former Tulsan --- who's also a bestselling author, editor, critic, and book advocate. She's also the former Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library. She can be heard on NPR's Morning Edition, where she regularly offers good-reading tips, and her wide-ranging, well-researched recommendations have also been collected into the ongoing and highly popular "Book Lust" series of volumes.

On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with Donis Casey, a mystery author and former librarian who is originally from Oklahoma and has been based in Arizona for many years. "Hell with the Lid Blown Off" -- the seventh title in Casey's popular Alafair Tucker series -- is newly available, and (as with the rest of Casey's fiction) this novel draws heavily upon her Oklahoma roots...as well as the roots of her Sooner State relatives.

On this installment of ST, we speak with Rachel Urquhart, a writer whose work has been published in The New Yorker, Tin House, Elle, The New York Times, Vogue, and Spy, among other publications. Urquhart has recently published her first novel, "The Visionist," which is a widely acclaimed historical drama about a teenage girl who finds refuge --- or perhaps does not find refuge --- in an 1840s Shaker community.

On this edition of ST, we speak with Rebecca Miller, the acclaimed screenwriter, author, and filmmaker, who'll appear tonight (Thursday the 17th) at 7pm at a free-to-the-public Book Smart Tulsa event at the Circle Cinema. At this gathering, she'll be reading from and signing copies of her latest novel, "Jacob's Folly," which is just out in paperback; she'll also deliver an introduction before a screening of her 2009 film, "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" (which she adapted from her novel of the same title).

On this installment of ST, we are pleased to speak once again with the author, critic, former librarian, and die-hard book-lover Nancy Pearl, who's well-known for her frequent appearances on NPR's Morning Edition, her tireless championing of old or out-of-print titles, and her "Book Lust" series of books about books. Nancy used to live in Tulsa, and she's been the book reviewer for this program for 20+ years --- indeed, while she usually joins us by phone from her home in Seattle, this time around, Nancy is with us in the studio.

Today on StudioTulsa, we chat with the esteemed Tulsa-based author and longtime public-speaker and businessman Clifton Taulbert, whose many books include "Once Upon A Time When We Were Colored," "The Last Train North," and "Eight Habits of the Heart." Taulbert joins us to discuss his newest book, a memoir called "The Invitation," which is just out from New South Books.

(Note: This program first aired last year.) On our show today, we speak by phone with David Skinner, an editor and writer whose work has appeared in The Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, The New Atlantis, Slate, The Washington Times, and other publications.

On this installment of ST, we speak by phone with Susan Nussbaum, an accomplished playwright, first-time novelist, and longtime disabilities-rights advocate. Nussbaum tells us about her widely acclaimed and award-winning debut novel, "Good Kings Bad Kings," which is just out in paperback, and which a critic for The Los Angeles Review of Books has called "a knockout.... Nussbaum possesses an astonishing ear for idiosyncratic voices, and a talent for creating characters who appear in full bloom within a few sentences.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, our old pal (and longtime book reviewer, and former Tulsan) Nancy "America's Librarian" Pearl returns with --- just in time for the holidays --- another list of outstanding literary recommendations. Whether you're keen on ficton or non-fiction, a YA novel or a thriller, a work of history or one of satire, Nancy has just the book you're looking for. . . . Here's the rundown of titles/authors that she shares with us on today's program:

Scott Anderson, "Lawrence in Arabia"

(Please note: This show first aired earlier this year.) Our guest is the celebrated American author, Philip Caputo, who was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in Chicago before going on to write several notable works of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, including 1977's "A Rumor of War," one of the most highly praised and widely read volumes ever published on the Vietnam War.

Our guest is the celebrated American author, Philip Caputo, who was a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist in Chicago before going on to write several notable works of fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, including 1977's "A Rumor of War," one of the most highly praised and widely read volumes ever published on the Vietnam War.

On this installment of ST, we welcome back Nancy Pearl, our longtime book reviewer. Well-known for her work as a librarian, bestselling author, and literary critic, Nancy began her career as a bookseller and librarian here in T-Town; she can still be heard recommending books every now and again on NPR's Morning Edition. She was, until August 2004, the Executive Director of the Washington Center for the Book at the Seattle Public Library --- and was also the founder of the pioneering and widely imitated "If All Seattle Read The Same Book" program.

On this installment of ST, a discussion of both the art and craft of making books. Our guest is Jody Williams, a Minneapolis-based book artist, printmaker, teacher, and writer. The (mostly miniature-sized) books that she creates as individual works of art appear under the name Flying Paper Press; books created by Williams have appeared in exhibits all over the country, and some are included in a group show currently on view at the Philbrook Museum of Art (through July 21st) called About Bookworks III.

Sure, you loved "The Catcher in the Rye" at the age of 16...but would you still love it? You appreciated "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Cannery Row" way back when, but would that still be the case today? And on the other hand, if the plays of Ibsen or Shakespeare didn't exactly knock you out during that long-ago sophomore year of college, do you think they'd still miss the mark? Or might they be worth another shot?

Nancy Pearl's Gift-Giving Book Suggestions

Dec 18, 2012

On this installment of ST, we are discussing great reads for the gift-givng season --- for yourself and/or the avid reader(s) on your holiday shopping list. We check in with Nancy Pearl, a former librarian and bookseller here in Tulsa who's now based in Seattle, and who's well-known for her book-promoting appearances on NPR's Morning Edition as well as her popular series of "Book Lust" volumes (which recommend all sorts of books for a range of different readers).

On this edition of our program, we speak with Wendell Berry, who's worked as a prolific and highly principled writer of fiction, essays, and poetry for the past 50 years. Mr. Berry has been named the Tulsa Library Trust's 2012 Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author, and he'll be in town to accept this honor later this week. Indeed, he'll give a free-to-the-public presentation at 10:30am on Saturday the 8th at the TCCL's Central Library, at Fourth Street and Denver Avenue in Downtown Tulsa.

"Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore"

Nov 28, 2012

On this edition of our show, we speak with the Bay Area-based writer Robin Sloan, whose smart, tech-savvy, entertaining, and decidedly adventure-driven debut novel, "Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore," has been drawing some rave reviews. As critic Janet Maslin has noted in The New York Times, this book is a "slyly arch novel about technology and its discontents.... The culture clash at work here --- Google aces wielding the full, computer-assisted strength of their collective brainpower, one scholar fiddling with a quaint astrolabe --- has a topicality that works to this novel's advantage.

Today we speak by phone with Kurt Anderson, the widely acclaimed writer whose novels include "Heyday" and "Turn of the Century," among other books. Andersen writes for television, film, and the stage, contributes to Vanity Fair, and hosts the PRI program Studio 360 (which is heard every Thursday at 8pm on Public Radio 89.5-1 KWGS).

On this edition of StudioTulsa, Nancy Pearl, our longtime book expert and the author of four "Book Lust" volumes of recommended reading --- and now, also, the curator of Amazon.com's new series of reprints of classic, out-of-print books --- offers her summer reading list. (Summer arrives, officially, on Wednesday the 20th!) Here is Nancy's list:

"A Partial History of Lost Causes" by Jennifer Dubois

"After Life" by Rhian Ellis

"The Forgotten Waltz" by Anne Enright

"Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk" by Ben Fountain

"The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green

On today's show, we speak with the gifted Alaskan writer Eowyn Ivey, whose first novel, "The Snow Child" (Reagan Arthur Books), appeared earlier this year to international acclaim. (And yes, in case you're wondering, Eowyn's mother did name her after a character in Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings.") As the following rave review from a critic at Amazon.com has noted: "In her haunting, evocative debut, Eowyn Ivey stakes her claim on a Russian fairy tale, daring the reader --- and the characters --- to be lulled into thinking they know the ending.

[Aired on Friday, March 2nd.] Book reviewer Nancy Pearl joins us to talk about the best new books of 2012 and a few overlooked gems from the past couple of years. Pearl is the author of six highly regarded "books about books" in her Book Lust series, and she's embarking as the series editor for "Book Lust Discoveries," which will revive twelve classic, long-out-of-print titles that are worth a fresh read. The series gets underway in April with Merle Miller's "A Gay and Melancholy Sound."

Here's Nancy's latest picks:

Pages