Lynn Neary

Lynn Neary is an NPR arts correspondent and a frequent guest host often heard on Morning Edition and Weekend Edition.

In her role on the Arts desk, Neary reports on an industry in transition as publishing moves into the digital age. As she covers books and publishing, she relishes the opportunity to interview many of her favorite authors from Barbara Kingsolver to Ian McEwan.

Arriving at NPR in 1982, Neary spent two years working as a newscaster during Morning Edition. Then, for the next eight years, Neary was the host of Weekend All Things Considered. In 1992, she joined the cultural desk to develop NPR's first religion beat. As religion correspondent, Neary covered the country's diverse religious landscape and the politics of the religious right.

Over the years Neary has won numerous prestigious awards including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold Award, an Ohio State Award, an Association of Women in Radio and Television Award and the Gabriel award. For her reporting on the role of religion in the debate over welfare reform, Neary shared in NPR's 1996 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Award.

A Fordham University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Neary thinks she has the ideal job and suspects she is the envy of English majors everywhere.

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Book Your Trip
1:29 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Travel Disasters Bring Out The Best, The Worst ... And The Cannibalism

"When there is danger, when there is destruction, we kind of feel like we're on the edge of life, fully alive, and that can really bring out some strong prose," says author Mitchell Zuckoff.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 12:41 pm

Author Sarah Lotz is terrified of flying, so naturally every time she gets on a plane she imagines the worst. "I imagine how it's going to smell if things start burning," she says. "I imagine the thunk of luggage falling out of the compartments at the top. ... I imagine it all in absolutely horrible detail."

All those horrible imaginings came in handy when Lotz was writing her new book The Three — the story of three children who are the only survivors of four separate plane crashes that occur in different parts of the world on the same day.

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Remembrances
4:01 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Writer Nadine Gordimer Captured Apartheid's Contradictions

In addition to her 15 novels, Nadine Gordimer authored several volumes of short stories and nonfiction.
Radu Sigheti Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 6:32 pm

South African writer Nadine Gordimer, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1991, died Sunday at the age of 90. Gordimer merged the personal and political to create a compelling portrait of the injustice of life under apartheid.

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Book News & Features
2:11 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

In Dispute With Hachette, Amazon Aims New Volley At Authors

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 9:10 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. A fight between Amazon and the publishing company Hachette is getting nastier. Amazon suggested that while talks between the two companies continue, Hachette authors could get 100 percent of the sale price of their e-books. As NPR's Lynn Neary reports, it was an offer Hachette was quick to refuse.

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The Two-Way
4:34 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Authors Take Opposite Sides On Hachette, Amazon Spat

Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 4, 2014 8:43 am

You might think that all writers would be of the same mind about the dispute between Amazon and Hachette Publishing Company over the price of ebooks. Think again. This week two different sets of authors sent open letters to their "readers" urging them to take one side or the other in the ongoing controversy.

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Music News
6:00 am
Sun June 22, 2014

Almost Intermediate: Adults Learn Lessons In 'Late Starters Orchestra'

Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 12:35 pm

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

By our measure, Ari Goldman is a successful man. A former New York Times reporter turned college professor, he is deeply religious and a happily married husband and father. But for all of that, there was something missing in his life. Goldman yearned to play a musical instrument.

ARI GOLDMAN: The cello is sort of the music of my soul. It's the instrument that speaks most directly to me. I never thought that I would be able to play a cello.

(SOUNDBITE OF CELLO)

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Poetry
1:33 am
Fri June 20, 2014

How Rhythm Carries A Poem, From Head To Heart

Irish poet William Butler Yeats makes a recording for the radio. Scroll down to hear him read his poem "The Lake Isle of Innisfree."
Culture Club Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 1:15 pm

Poetry, perhaps more than any other form of writing, delves deep into emotions. And rhythm, from the haunting repetitions of "Annabel Lee" to the taunting questions of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," plays a big part in evoking those feelings.

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Author Interviews
2:06 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

From 'The Magic Tree House,' Kids Branch Out To Chapter Books

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 9:19 am

When Mary Pope Osborne wrote the first set of stories in the Magic Tree House series in 1992, she had a contract for four books, and she figured that would be it. But then she began getting letters from teachers, parents and kids.

"Those letters are priceless," she says. "I've memorized so many of them, like: 'Dear Mrs. Osborne, Your books almost made me smart!' or 'Dear Mrs. Osborne, I'm working on my own novel. ... It's not finished yet, it's scary, it's called The Septic System.'"

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Law
3:43 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Court OKs Universities' Quest To Turn To More Digital Copies Of Books

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 7:43 am

A U.S. appeals court has ruled against a group of authors, deciding in favor of a consortium of universities in a case that hinged on copyright law and provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The universities had allowed Google to make digital copies of more than 10 million books so that they could be searchable by specific terms.

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Book News & Features
2:59 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Amazon's Pricing Dispute Sets Book Expo Buzzing

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 10:02 am

The dispute between retail giant Amazon and publisher Hachette was big news at Book Expo America. Writers, publishers and agents are wondering what the rift could mean for the future of books.

The Two-Way
7:56 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Maya Angelou, Poet, Activist And Singular Storyteller, Dies At 86

Angelou became Hollywood's first black female movie director on Nov. 3, 1971. She also wrote the script and music for Caged Bird, which was based on her best-selling 1969 autobiography. She had been a professional singer, dancer, writer, composer, poet, lecturer, editor and San Francisco streetcar conductor.
AP

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 10:58 am

Poet, performer and political activist Maya Angelou has died after a long illness at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86. Born in St. Louis in 1928, Angelou grew up in a segregated society that she worked to change during the civil rights era. Angelou, who refused to speak for much of her childhood, revealed the scars of her past in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of a series of memoirs.

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Author Interviews
2:59 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Larry McMurtry Loves The West, But Knocks The Cowboy Off His High Horse

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 7:59 am

Larry McMurtry may well be the only Academy Award winner who used some of the precious moments of his acceptance speech to thank booksellers: "From the humblest paperback exchange to the masters of the great bookshops of the world, all are contributors to the survival of the culture of the book, a wonderful culture which we musn't lose," he told the audience in 2006 as he accepted the Oscar for his screenplay for Brokeback Mountain — which was based on a short story.

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Book News & Features
3:40 am
Sat May 3, 2014

One NYC Indie Bookstore Survives By Being Small And Specialized

As bookstores both large and small close across the country, Posman Books is about to open its fourth store in Manhattan.
Harry Zernike Posman Books

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 2:11 pm

New York City's Posman Books is bucking a trend. Other booksellers — both independents and big chains like Barnes & Noble — are closing stores in Manhattan, but Posman is getting ready to open its fourth store in the city. It's one sign that some independent bookstores are managing to thrive despite the problems that have beset booksellers in recent years.

On a recent day, customers browsing at Posman Books in the Chelsea Market had a variety of needs: One was killing time before work, another was looking for a Mother's Day card, and yet another needed a new sketchbook.

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Book News & Features
1:23 am
Mon April 14, 2014

'Grapes Of Wrath' Is 75, But Its Depictions Of Poverty Are Timeless

Dust Bowl farmer drives a tractor with his son near Cland, N.M. (1938). Steinbeck writes: "The tractors came over the roads and into the fields, great crawlers moving like insects, having the incredible strength of insects ... monsters raising the dust and sticking their snouts into it, straight down the country ... through fences, through dooryards, in and out of gullies in straight lines."
Dorothea Lange Library of Congress

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 2:42 pm

Much has been said and written about the Dust Bowl, but if you want to get a visceral feel for how it all began and the way it affected the people who experienced it, you need go no further than the opening pages of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath:

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All Tech Considered
3:11 am
Sun March 30, 2014

Printing Wikipedia Would Take 1 Million Pages, But That's Sort Of The Point

It would take more than 1,000 1,200-page volumes to contain the content of Wikipedia, but PediaPress has made an example volume to show what it might look like. "Our goal is to allow everyone to explore the physical dimensions of Wikipedia," says PediaPress founder Christoph Kepper.
PediaPress

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:55 pm

A German-based group called PediaPress is trying to raise enough money to make a print copy of all of Wikipedia. That's right, Wikipedia, the ever-evolving, always-changing, inherently digital encyclopedia of information gathered by contributors all over the world. To say this would be a massive project is an understatement.

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Author Interviews
2:55 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

'Sous Chef' Reveals The High-Adrenaline Dance Behind Your Dinner

Viktor Cap iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 6:03 pm

A restaurant kitchen at the peak of the dinner rush can be a crazy place — hot, crowded and filled with a kind of intense energy that some people, like Michael Gibney, thrive on. Gibney's been working in restaurants since he was young. In his new book, Sous Chef, Gibney tries to capture the rhythm of the kitchen by taking his readers through one day in the life of a fast-paced New York restaurant.

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Books
3:01 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Common Core Creates Opportunities For Publishers

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 8:28 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne with an opportunity for publishers. Some 45 states and the District of Columbia have now signed onto the new Common Core education standards. And that will draw in not just companies that make textbooks and teaching materials, but also publishers of children's books - novels, nonfiction, the kind of books people read for pleasure.

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The Two-Way
3:14 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

Pew Study: Many Technophiles Also Love Libraries

Julie Ball at a newly renovated computer lab at Shute Park Branch Library in Hillsboro, Oregon. The new lab is set to open on Saturday.
Benjamin Brink The Oregonian/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 3:30 pm

You might think that in a world of Google and Wikipedia, people who love technology wouldn't care much about the musty old local public library. But, according to a new report by the Pew Research Internet Project, you'd be wrong.

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Books News & Features
5:53 am
Sat March 8, 2014

From Uganda To The Midwest, 'All Our Names' Draws Portraits Of Love

creacart iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat March 8, 2014 9:31 am

In his latest book, Ethiopian-American writer Dinaw Mengestu explores the nature of loneliness, violence and love. Mengestu is known for his novels about the immigrant experience in this country, but this book, All Our Names, is something of a departure. Much of the story unfolds in Africa and there are two narrators: One is a young man who flees violence and revolution to seek refuge in America, the other is a white woman who has never left the Midwest.

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Books News & Features
3:09 am
Wed February 26, 2014

When It Comes To Women's Writing, How Do Publications Stack Up?

For the fourth year in a row, VIDA has tallied up the gender breakdown in prominent literary journals — counting both reviewers and authors.
Peter Mautsch iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 8:21 am

If it seems like male authors get more attention, there are hard numbers to back that up: The VIDA count.

VIDA is a women's literary organization, and the "count" is the result of eight months spent tracking gender disparity in leading publications. VIDA tallies the gender of authors whose books are being reviewed as well as the gender of those doing the reviewing.

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Books News & Features
4:10 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Swoon Reads: The Next Romance Bestseller, Selected By You

Swoon Reads, a new young adult romance imprint at Macmillan publishing, solicits manuscripts and invites users to read and rate them. The most popular manuscript gets a first printing of 100,000 copies.
Swoon Reads

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 5:58 pm

The rise of self-publishing has already catapulted a few lucky writers to the top of bestseller lists. And major publishing houses often try to woo these stars into their fold. Swoon Reads, a new young adult romance publisher, is taking this dance a step further. It has added crowdsourcing to the mix, promising a contract to the writer whose book wins the hearts of a community of online readers.

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Author Interviews
3:22 am
Fri January 31, 2014

What Wakes B.J. Novak Up In The Middle Of The Night?

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

When we talk about a triple threat we're often talking about a versatile athlete. Think about a basketball player who can score, defend, and rebound. In show biz, B. J. Novak may be that triple threat. He can do standup, act, and write successfully in all cases. He got his start doing standup comedy. That led to a job on the hit comedy series "The Office" where he had a regular part and was one of the writers.

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Books News & Features
2:58 am
Tue January 28, 2014

The Annual Awards For Children's Books Are Out

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 6:20 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, the Grammy Awards are behind us. The Oscars are around the corner. And now, we have another award that also gets a lot of attention this time of year, from people who love kids' books.

The American Library Association has announced this year's Caldecott and Newbery Award winners. NPR's Lynn Neary reports.

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Education
9:24 am
Sat January 18, 2014

College Costs Are Daunting, Even For The 'Comfortable'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat January 18, 2014 9:35 am

President Obama thinks more poor kids who are good students should be enrolled in the country's best colleges and universities. Too often, he says, kids from lower income families don't even apply to the best schools, where they might have a good chance of getting financial aid.

This week, he gathered the heads of 100 colleges and universities to a meeting at the White House to discuss how to change this situation for the better. I hope he is successful.

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Author Interviews
5:08 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

In An Age Of Slavery, Two Women Fight For Their 'Wings'

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:29 pm

Sue Monk Kidd's new novel is a story told by two women whose lives are wrapped together — beginning, against their wills, when they're young girls. One is a slave; the other, her reluctant owner. One strives her whole life to be free; the other rebels against her slave-owning family and becomes a prominent abolitionist and early advocate for women's rights.

The book, The Invention of Wings, takes on both slavery and feminism — and it's inspired by the life of a real historical figure.

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Books News & Features
6:05 am
Sat December 7, 2013

Don't Call It Fanfic: Writers Rework Their Favorite Stories

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 10:43 am

When writers finish a book, they may think they've had the last word. But sometimes another writer will decide there's more to the story. The madwoman Bertha from Jane Eyre and the father in Little Women are just two examples of secondary characters who have been given a fuller life in a new work of fiction based on a classic novel.

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Parallels
2:42 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

E-Readers Mark A New Chapter In The Developing World

A student at Ntimigom School in Kilgoris, Kenya, uses his e-reader.
Jon McCormack

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 2:58 pm

A former Amazon executive who helped Jeff Bezos turn shopping into a digital experience has set out to end illiteracy. David Risher is now the head of Worldreader, a nonprofit organization that brings e-books to kids in developing countries through Kindles and cellphones.

Risher was traveling around the world with his family when he got the idea for Worldreader. They were doing volunteer work at an orphanage in Ecuador when he saw a building with a big padlock on the door. He asked a woman who worked there what was inside, and she said, "It's the library."

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The Kennedy Assassination, 50 Years Later
2:44 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

50 Years After Assassination, Kennedy Books Offer New Analysis

President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, are greeted by an enthusiastic crowd upon their arrival at Dallas Love Field on Nov. 22, 1963.
AP

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 4:27 pm

In the 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the public has never tired of books about the charismatic young president and his tragic death.

This year, the market has been particularly flooded with Kennedy books — from glossy photograph collections to serious biographies and histories to a new round of books devoted to conspiracy theories.

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Author Interviews
2:53 pm
Sun November 10, 2013

A Panorama Of Devastation: Drawing Of WWI Battle Spans 24 Feet

Detail from Plate 11 of Joe Sacco's The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme. On July 1st, at precisely 7:30 a.m., the attack commences.
Joe Sacco Courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company

Originally published on Sun November 10, 2013 4:58 pm

Joe Sacco is a cartoonist, graphic novelist and journalist; he's best-known for his dispatches from today's regions of conflict, like the Middle East and Bosnia, in cartoon form. But for his latest book, The Great War, Sacco turns his eye on history. He's recreated of one of the worst battles of World War I, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, from its hopeful beginning to its brutal end.

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NPR Story
3:48 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Brick-And-Mortar Bookstores Play The Print Card Against Amazon

Barnes & Noble is one of several stores that have refused to carry Amazon Publishing's books.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 3:24 am

When it comes to book publishing, all we ever seem to hear about is online sales, the growth of e-books and the latest version of a digital book reader. But the fact is, only 20 percent of the book market is e-books; it's still dominated by print. And a recent standoff in the book business shows how good old-fashioned, brick-and-mortar bookstores are still trying to wield their influence in the industry. You might even call it brick-and-mortar booksellers' revenge.

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Author Interviews
1:21 am
Fri October 18, 2013

'A Time To' Revisit Clanton, Miss., In John Grisham's Latest

John Grisham has more than 275 million books in print.
Bob Krasner

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 12:56 pm

In his new novel, Sycamore Row, John Grisham returns to a character close to his heart: Jake Brigance. Grisham introduced Jake to readers in his first novel, A Time to Kill — an adaptation of which is opening soon on Broadway.

Grisham insists that he didn't plan for his first new Jake Brigance book to come out at the same time as the play. "You know it makes us look real smart," he says. "There is no way, if we had planned, that it would ever happen. It is completely coincidental."

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