Petra Mayer http://krwg.org en Watch Out For That Butterfly: The Lure Of Literary Time Travel http://krwg.org/post/watch-out-butterfly-lure-literary-time-travel Where would you go, if you had a time machine? Ancient Egypt? Tang Dynasty China? The Globe Theater, in 1599? Or maybe to the 25th century, because who knows, Buck Rogers might actually be there.<p>Sadly, no one's likely to invent a working time machine any time soon. But that hasn't stopped the legions of writers who've been exploring time travel ever since H. G. Wells described his first Morlock. Slips and drops and nets and projections and paradoxes — writers have thought up a hundred ways to travel backwards and forwards in time. Sat, 19 Jul 2014 12:05:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 70853 at http://krwg.org Watch Out For That Butterfly: The Lure Of Literary Time Travel History In The Groove: Q&A With Author (And 78 Collector) Amanda Petrusich http://krwg.org/post/history-groove-qa-author-and-78-collector-amanda-petrusich If you've ever enjoyed the ghostly weird-old-America wail of Robert Johnson, the deep blues of Charley Patton or Skip James' guitar wizardry, you can thank the 78 collecting community — those dedicated (okay, obsessive) folks who hunt down the rare old shellac records that hold so much of our musical past.<p>78s — named for the speed at which they revolve — are the distant ancestors of today's digitally downloaded singles. They passed out of use in the late 1940s, but still turn up occasionally at rural flea markets and in dusty cartons under forgotten beds. Sat, 12 Jul 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 70363 at http://krwg.org History In The Groove: Q&A With Author (And 78 Collector) Amanda Petrusich Questions For Earl Swift, Author Of 'Auto Biography' http://krwg.org/post/questions-earl-swift-author-auto-biography This '57 Chevy station wagon was once pristine, the epitome of American automotive glory: two-tone green, with sweeping fins and enough chrome to blind pedestrians. But by the time journalist Earl Swift came across it, those days were gone, and it was subsiding gently into a heap of rust and torn upholstery.<p>Then a newspaper reporter in Norfolk, Va., Swift had been looking for a local car with a story to tell, but it hadn't been an easy search. "I experienced a slew of false starts," he told me via email. Sat, 10 May 2014 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 65827 at http://krwg.org Questions For Earl Swift, Author Of 'Auto Biography' 'Traveling Pants' Author Tries Traveling In Time http://krwg.org/post/traveling-pants-author-tries-traveling-time Author Ann Brashares became a young adult superstar more than a decade ago with the <em>Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants</em>, a feel-good series of books about the adventures of four best friends and a really great pair of jeans. It was eventually made into a couple of movies.<p>Brashares' new book, <em>The Here and Now</em>, ventures into unfamiliar territory for her: a dystopian future of "blood plagues" and time travel. Sun, 20 Apr 2014 12:07:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 64408 at http://krwg.org 'Traveling Pants' Author Tries Traveling In Time Winging It: Biking Around Again In Margaritaville http://krwg.org/post/winging-it-biking-around-again-margaritaville I love Key West, and I go there as often as possible: pina coladas, drag queens, shady hammocks, feral chickens — it's the best. There's just one problem: everyone gets around the island by bike, and I've never learned to ride one. Obviously that had to change.<p>Why didn't I learn? I really don't remember, and neither did my mom, when I asked her about the one time my parents tried to teach me. "You got on a big bicycle that was so big you couldn't really turn the wheels and got discouraged."<p>I've tried to learn a few times since then — particularly after I discovered Key West. Sun, 29 Dec 2013 10:08:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 56777 at http://krwg.org Winging It: Biking Around Again In Margaritaville NPR NSFW? Checking Out The Sexy Books On Mobile http://krwg.org/post/npr-nsfw-checking-out-sexy-books-mobile <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydrtF45-y-g</p> Sat, 14 Dec 2013 12:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 55868 at http://krwg.org NPR NSFW? Checking Out The Sexy Books On Mobile Allons-y! Why We've Been Traveling With 'Doctor Who' For 50 Years http://krwg.org/post/allons-y-why-weve-been-traveling-doctor-who-50-years This afternoon, millions of fez-wearing fans around the world will tune in to a very special episode of <em>Doctor Who</em>. The venerable British sci-fi series turns 50 today — though the time traveling alien Doctor himself is probably somewhere on the wrong side of 1,000.<p>From scrappy, low-budget beginnings (bubble-wrap monsters, anyone?), <em>Doctor Who</em> has become a global phenomenon. Only soap operas can match it for longevity and popularity. So what's the secret to the Doctor's appeal?<p>Well, let's start with a ringtone — mine, to be exact. Sat, 23 Nov 2013 09:21:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 54506 at http://krwg.org Allons-y! Why We've Been Traveling With 'Doctor Who' For 50 Years 'Boxers & Saints' & Compassion: Questions For Gene Luen Yang http://krwg.org/post/boxers-saints-compassion-quesions-gene-luen-yang Gene Luen Yang broke out in 2006 with <em>American Born Chinese</em>, the first graphic novel nominated for a National Book Award. It weaves three stories — about a Chinese-American boy, a terrible stereotype named Chin-Kee and the mythical Monkey King — into a complex tapestry of identity and assimilation.<p>Yang returns to the theme of identity and sense of self in his latest book, another National Book Award candidate. <em>Boxers & Saints</em> is a diptych following a Chinese boy and girl as their lives are upended by the Boxer Rebellion. Tue, 22 Oct 2013 19:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 52316 at http://krwg.org 'Boxers & Saints' & Compassion: Questions For Gene Luen Yang Austen Unvarnished: Q&A With Jo Baker, Author Of 'Longbourn' http://krwg.org/post/austen-unvarnished-qa-jo-baker-author-longbourn The world of Jane Austen — gracious country houses, empire-waist dresses, card parties and suppers and genteel raillery and a touch of social anxiety — is familiar literary ground. And no house is more familar and comforting than Longbourn, home to Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. But what goes on behind the scenes? Who irons those dresses and prepares those suppers? Thu, 10 Oct 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 51535 at http://krwg.org Austen Unvarnished: Q&A With Jo Baker, Author Of 'Longbourn' Did The Cat Eat Your Gymsuit? Then These Books Are For You http://krwg.org/post/did-cat-eat-your-gymsuit-then-these-books-are-you Young adult literature is big business right now; bookstores and movie theaters are full of titles like <em>The Hunger Games</em>, <em>Divergent</em> and<em> The Fault in Our Stars</em>.<p>So what better time to look at the original golden age of YA literature? Author — and occasional NPR reviewer — Lizzie Skurnick has written for and about teens, and now she's starting her own imprint, dedicated to publishing beloved and forgotten YA books from the 1930s through the 1980s — including, let's be truthful, some that made me squeal with excitement when I saw them on her bookshelf. Mon, 30 Sep 2013 20:32:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 50843 at http://krwg.org Did The Cat Eat Your Gymsuit? Then These Books Are For You Questions For Hugh Howey, Author Of 'WOOL' http://krwg.org/post/questions-hugh-howey-author-wool <strong></strong>After a varied career as a computer repairman and yacht captain, Hugh Howey turned his hand to writing. He'd self-published several novels and stories when the sci-fi dystopia <em>WOOL</em>, originally just a novella, found sudden runaway success in 2011. Howey found himself writing sequel after sequel to keep up with reader demand — the latest volume, <em>Dust</em>, was released in August.<p>Over email, Howey describes <em>WOOL</em> as "like the TV show <em>Lost</em>, except with an ending that makes sense. Sat, 31 Aug 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 48665 at http://krwg.org Questions For Hugh Howey, Author Of 'WOOL' Fans Are Like Friends To 'Reigning Queen' Of Women's Fiction http://krwg.org/post/fans-are-friends-reigning-queen-womens-fiction Go to your nearest paperback rack, and odds are, you'll see two or three, or four, or — well, a lot of books by Debbie Macomber, an author <em>The Sacramento Bee</em> has dubbed "the reigning queen of women's fiction."<p>Macomber has 170 million books in print; the newest, <em>Rose Harbor in Bloom</em>, has just been released. Sun, 18 Aug 2013 18:22:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 47757 at http://krwg.org Fans Are Like Friends To 'Reigning Queen' Of Women's Fiction What If The X-Men Were Real? Q&A With Marcus Sakey, Author Of 'Brilliance' http://krwg.org/post/what-if-x-men-were-real-qa-marcus-sakey-author-brilliance What if the X-Men were real? And what if they weren't mutants in spandex, but people like you and me and Bob in accounting, just endowed with superhuman talents for things like pattern recognition, programming and strategy?<p>That's the premise of Marcus Sakey's new novel, <em>Brilliance</em> — yes, "brilliants" are among us, and their outsize abilities have knocked our society off balance. One brilliant money whiz has broken the stock market. Others have jumped medical research forward by decades in just a few years. Sat, 27 Jul 2013 10:30:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 46326 at http://krwg.org What If The X-Men Were Real? Q&A With Marcus Sakey, Author Of 'Brilliance' School's Out: 5 Great Summer Reads For Teens http://krwg.org/post/schools-out-5-great-summer-reads-teens I'm surrounded here at NPR Books by people with sophisticated, grown-up tastes — happy to dive into the latest Claire Messud or Daniel Alarcon or James Salter. Meanwhile, give me — any day — a book about teenagers (and preferably dragons). A good YA novel is a polished gem of solid storytelling, but more than that, it draws us back in time to the teenagers we once were — or never were, or wanted desperately to be. Tue, 11 Jun 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 43084 at http://krwg.org School's Out: 5 Great Summer Reads For Teens 'Cinnamon And Gunpowder': Haute Cuisine On The High Seas http://krwg.org/post/cinnamon-and-gunpowder-haute-cuisine-high-seas Food porn and rip-roaring pirate adventure are two great tastes that taste great together in Eli Brown's rollicking <em>Cinnamon and Gunpowder</em>. Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:01:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 42726 at http://krwg.org 'Cinnamon And Gunpowder': Haute Cuisine On The High Seas Questions For Barbara J. King, Author Of 'How Animals Grieve' http://krwg.org/post/questions-barbara-j-king-author-how-animals-grieve Attributing human characteristics to animals makes for great cartoons, but it's not usually considered rigorous science. Now, a new book argues that animals do think and feel in ways similar to humans.<p>Barbara J. King is a professor of anthropology and a commentator on NPR's science blog, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/">13.7</a>. Mon, 27 May 2013 12:33:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 41996 at http://krwg.org Questions For Barbara J. King, Author Of 'How Animals Grieve' A Bird-Watching Babe In The Woods Stumbles Toward Maturity http://krwg.org/post/bird-watching-babe-woods-stumbles-toward-maturity Oh no, I thought, cracking open Brian Kimberling's debut novel, <em>Snapper</em>. It's a collection of linked stories. Starring an aimless birdwatcher. Who drives an ancient, glitter-encrusted pickup truck named Gypsy Moth and has a grand passion for an honest-to-God <a href="http://www.npr.org/2008/10/09/95507953/manic-pixie-dream-girls-a-cinematic-scourge">Manic Pixie Dream Girl</a> with red hair, floaty dresses, a flute and a killer pancake recipe. And her name is Lola. Lola! I was braced for a thorough beat-down with the dreaded Whimsy Hammer.<p>But then the book ... Tue, 23 Apr 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 39643 at http://krwg.org A Bird-Watching Babe In The Woods Stumbles Toward Maturity Samba, Spiderbots And 'Summer' Love In Far-Future Brazil http://krwg.org/post/samba-spiderbots-and-summer-love-far-future-brazil In the 17th century, fugitive slaves founded a free community in the mountains of northeastern Brazil. They called it Palmares. Thu, 07 Mar 2013 15:27:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 36535 at http://krwg.org Samba, Spiderbots And 'Summer' Love In Far-Future Brazil Questions For Alaya Dawn Johnson, Author Of 'The Summer Prince' http://krwg.org/post/questions-alaya-dawn-johnson-author-summer-prince <strong></strong>Alaya Dawn Johnson has written a number of novels for adults (including the delightful <a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/172038315/moonshine">Zephyr Hollis</a> series), and now she's venturing onto the young adult shelves with <em>The Summer Prince</em>, a complex science-fiction narrative set in post-apocalyptic Brazil. The action takes place in the city of Palmares Tres, which is entirely contained in a giant pyramidal structure on a bay, surrounded and fed by giant algae vats. Fri, 15 Feb 2013 12:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 35215 at http://krwg.org Questions For Alaya Dawn Johnson, Author Of 'The Summer Prince' For 'Wheel Of Time' Fans, The Last Battle Is At Hand http://krwg.org/post/wheel-time-fans-last-battle-hand It's the moment fantasy fans have been waiting for (really!): After more than 20 years, and 13 doorstopper volumes, the last book in the best-selling <em>Wheel of Time</em> series comes out Tuesday. The series unfolds an epic battle between good and evil — think <em>Game of Thrones</em> but more so: more characters, more magic, more tiny little world-building details, more <em>everything</em>.<p>And I've read all 14 of them. Plus the prequel. Sun, 06 Jan 2013 11:15:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 32733 at http://krwg.org For 'Wheel Of Time' Fans, The Last Battle Is At Hand Catching The 'Shadow' Of A Lost World http://krwg.org/post/catching-shadow-lost-world Photographer Edward Curtis started off his career at the tail end of the 19th century, making portraits of Seattle's wealthiest citizens. But a preoccupation with Native Americans and a chance encounter on a mountaintop triggered an idea: Curtis decided to chronicle the experience of the vanishing tribes — all of them. It was an unbelievably ambitious project that would define Curtis, his work and his legacy.<p>Writer Tim Egan has just completed a new biography of Curtis. It's called <em>Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: the Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis</em>. Sun, 07 Oct 2012 10:15:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 27467 at http://krwg.org Catching The 'Shadow' Of A Lost World A Mashup Of Mundane And Magical In 'Dragonslayer' http://krwg.org/post/mashup-mundane-and-magical-dragonslayer It's been a big year — well, a big few years — for young adult fiction, which I'm not going to complain about in the slightest; nothing beats a good YA novel for pure storytelling punch. But I might complain, just a little, about the overwhelming sameness of some of the plots. Dystopian futures, quiet-yet-spunky teenage girls, doomed love triangles — sound familiar? Suzanne Collins has a lot to answer for. Thu, 04 Oct 2012 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 27317 at http://krwg.org A Mashup Of Mundane And Magical In 'Dragonslayer' This Week's 5 Must-Read Stories From NPR Books http://krwg.org/post/weeks-5-must-read-stories-npr-books-0 <h3>1. The Healing Power Of Stories</h3><p>Cambodian author Vaddey Ratner was just a child when the Khmer Rouge came banging on the doors of her aristocratic family's compound in Phnom Penh. Fri, 17 Aug 2012 19:19:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 24438 at http://krwg.org This Week's 5 Must-Read Stories From NPR Books Unicorns And Witches And Wild Mood Swings, Oh My! http://krwg.org/post/unicorns-and-witches-and-wild-mood-swings-oh-my <em>Petra Mayer is an associate editor at NPR Books.</em><p>I love the <em>My Guilty Pleasure</em> series, I really do. But here's the thing — I don't think it's <em>nearly </em>guilty enough. It's like saying your guilty pleasure is '50s pulp novels, but only first editions. Or fried chicken, but only from this <em>one </em>perfect stall in the Taipei night market — not actually guilty at all. Mon, 02 Jul 2012 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 21348 at http://krwg.org Unicorns And Witches And Wild Mood Swings, Oh My! Pack Your Bags For Six Flights Of Fantasy http://krwg.org/post/pack-your-bags-six-flights-fantasy Can't afford the gas to take a road trip this summer? Not willing to spend a month's rent flying somewhere that's probably overcrowded and rainy anyhow? Empty pockets forcing you to embark upon that unholy phenomenon — gulp — the staycation?<p>How nice, then, that even if you're stuck at home, you possess, for free, in your very own brain, a truly amazing capacity to escape. You can lose yourself in other worlds without leaving the house and certainly without shelling out to stand in a security line. Wed, 06 Jun 2012 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 19636 at http://krwg.org Pack Your Bags For Six Flights Of Fantasy