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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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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Books News & Features
3:44 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

'Quiet Dell' Revives A Depression-Era Murder Story

Crowds gather on Aug. 30, 1931, at the site of the Quiet Dell murders. Evidence of the killings was found in and around murderer Harry Powers' garage (center).
AP

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 4:12 pm

The Quiet Dell murders were among the first big, sensational crime stories of the Depression: A serial killer corresponded with vulnerable widows he met through lonely hearts clubs, then lured them to their deaths.

As a child, writer Jayne Anne Phillips learned about the murders from her mother, who was a child in 1931, when the murders took place. Phillips says she didn't talk a lot about the tragedy, but whenever they drove close to where the crime occurred — near Clarksburg, W.Va. — her mother would say, "There's the road to Quiet Dell."

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Books News & Features
2:05 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

New E-Book Lending Service Aims To Be Netflix For Books

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 3:24 pm

Movie lovers have Netflix, music lovers have Spotify — and book lovers (whether they read literary fiction or best-selling potboilers) now have Scribd. The document sharing website has been around since 2007, but this week it launched a subscription service for e-book lending.

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Remembrances
3:33 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

Tom Clancy Dies, Left 'Indelible Mark' On Thriller Genre

Tom Clancy, seen here in 2010, was an insurance agent before publishing The Hunt For Red October in 1984.
David Burnett

Originally published on Wed October 2, 2013 5:56 pm

Best-selling author Tom Clancy has died. He was 66 years old. Beginning with the publication of his 1984 megahit The Hunt for Red October, Clancy wrote a string of blockbuster thrillers inspired by his fascination with military hardware and history.

Clancy didn't mince words when he talked to would-be writers. "If your objective is to write a book, get a computer and write the damn book," he told members of the military at a 2004 writing workshop. "Yes, you can do this if you try hard enough. It's a lot easier than you realize it is."

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Author Interviews
1:57 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Political Violence, Uneasy Silence Echo In Lahiri's 'Lowland'

Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies.
Marco Delogu Courtesy of Knopf

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 12:02 pm

Earlier this month, Jhumpa Lahiri rejected the idea of immigrant fiction. "I don't know what to make of the term," she told The New York Times. "All American fiction could be classified as immigrant fiction."

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Books News & Features
3:15 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

National Book Awards Look To Raise Profile ... And It's Not The First Time

The 2013 National Book Award long list for Young People's Literature was announced Monday. Click here to see the full list.
nationalbook.org

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 12:19 pm

You may be hearing a lot about the National Book Awards this week — at least that's what the National Book Foundation hopes. That's because they've made some changes to the awards that they hope will get more people talking about them. Over four days starting Monday, they will roll out their nominees in four different categories — beginning with Young People's Literature and ending Thursday with Fiction.

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Author Interviews
1:25 am
Thu September 5, 2013

'Winter's Bone' Author Revisits A Tragedy In His Ozarks Hometown

Daniel Woodrell's novel Winter's Bone -- a dark family saga set in the Ozarks — was adapted into a film in 2010. Woodrell returned to his hometown of West Plains, Mo., about 20 years ago and has been writing there ever since.
Alexander Klein AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 4:42 pm

The Ozarks mountain town of West Plains, Mo., is the kind of town where a person can stand in his front yard and have a comfortable view of his past.

"My mom was actually born about 150 or 200 feet that way, and my grandfather's house is I guess 200 yards that way," says Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone, and most recently, The Maid's Version.

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Remembrances
3:27 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Crime Novelist Elmore Leonard Dies At 87

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Elmore Leonard, sometimes called the Dickens of Detroit, created some of the most memorable characters in modern crime fiction. The 87-year-old writer died after suffering a stroke several weeks ago. Until then, he had never stopped writing. His first book, published in 1953, was a Western. Later, he turned to crime novels and left an indelible imprint on that genre. NPR's Lynn Neary has this remembrance.

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Books News & Features
4:59 am
Mon August 5, 2013

E-Books Strain Relations Between Libraries, Publishing Houses

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 12:23 pm

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

E-books have strained the relations between libraries and the major publishing houses. Libraries say they're being cut out of the market because publishers are afraid they could lose money selling e-books to libraries. After much negotiation, the publishers are experimenting with new ways of doing business. But some libraries are already looking to bypass the high prices and restrictions that publishers place on e-books.

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Books News & Features
3:58 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

How Scholastic Sells Literacy To Generations Of New Readers

Scholastic started out in 1920 as a four-page magazine written for high school students. Above, an early issue published in September 1922.
Courtesy of Scholastic

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 4:13 pm

Chances are you have had contact with Scholastic Publishing at some point in your life: You might have read their magazines in school, or bought a book at one of their book fairs, or perhaps you've read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games? From its humble beginning as publisher of a magazine for high schoolers, Scholastic has become a $2 billion business and one of the biggest children's book publishers in the world.

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2013
5:03 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Best Of The Summer: 6 Books The Critics Adore

Andrew Bannecker

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 2:30 pm

There is no one definition of a summer book. It can be a 1,000-page biography, a critically acclaimed literary novel, a memoir everyone is talking about — or it might be your favorite guilty pleasure: romance, crime, science fiction. Whatever you choose, it should be able to sweep you away to another world, because there is nothing like getting totally lost in a book on summer day. Here are a few books that swept away some of our favorite critics.

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The Salt
6:08 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Preserving The Season's Fruits With A Canning Evangelist

For the sweetest, smoothest strawberry jam, author Kevin West suggests staying as far away as possible from what he calls "Pamela Anderson fruit": the big strawberries found in regular supermarkets. He prefers picking small, red berries from farm stands, instead.
Kevin West Knopf

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 1:44 pm

Shopping at a farmers market on a weekend morning can turn bittersweet if your eye for just-picked summer fruit is bigger than your refrigerator and appetite.

That's a crisis first-time cookbook author Kevin West found himself in a few years back. After one particular farmers market spree, West's buyer's remorse came from a big package of fresh strawberries.

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Monkey See
3:16 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

What Kids Are Reading, In School And Out

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 5:11 pm

Walk into any bookstore or library, and you'll find shelves and shelves of hugely popular novels and book series for kids. But research shows that as young readers get older, they are not moving to more complex books. High-schoolers are reading books written for younger kids, and teachers aren't assigning difficult classics as much as they once did.

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Author Interviews
2:52 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

McCann's 'TransAtlantic' Crosses Fiction And Fact, Ireland And U.S.

Colum McCann won the National Book Award in 2009 for Let the Great World Spin.
Dustin Aksland

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 4:22 pm

About five years ago, Colum McCann stumbled upon a small piece of history he had never known: In 1845, Frederick Douglass, then an escaped slave who was already famous for his anti-slavery writings and speeches, visited Ireland to raise money and support for his cause. McCann says he knew almost immediately that he wanted to turn this historical fact into fiction: "This intersection between history and fiction, between what is real and what is not real, fascinates me," he says.

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Author Interviews
1:44 am
Tue May 28, 2013

'The Son': A Texas Saga With Guilt And Gore To Go Around

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 8:16 am

The American West has always been fertile ground for writers. Now Philipp Meyer steps into that territory with his new novel The Son. It's a family saga that traces the settling of Texas from its days as a wild frontier to the oil boom — with no shortage of violence.

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Books News & Features
3:33 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

What's In A Category? 'Women Novelists' Sparks Wiki-Controversy

The "American novelists" category on Wikipedia now includes a controversial subcategory: "American women novelists."
Wikipedia

Originally published on Mon April 29, 2013 3:48 pm

It all started one night when writer Amanda Filipacchi was browsing through Wikipedia and noticed an absence of women under the category "American novelists." At first, she thought the female writers being moved off the page were not important enough to be on it. But then she discovered some obscure male novelists were still listed, while some well-known women were not.

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Author Interviews
3:03 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

'Burgess Boys' Author, Like Her Characters, Finds Refuge In New York

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed April 3, 2013 11:10 am

Elizabeth Strout, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Olive Kitteridge, sets much of her work in Maine, where her family has lived for eight generations. But Strout herself has lived most of her adult life in New York. In her new novel, The Burgess Boys, she writes for the first time about the city she now calls home.

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Books News & Features
3:22 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Amazon Could Expand Recommendation Services With Goodreads Purchase

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 5:55 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Online retailer Amazon has acquired Goodreads. It's a popular site where people who love to read exchange reviews and recommendations about books. As NPR's Lynn Neary reports, Amazon now has a powerful new tool for enhancing its customers' ability to find out about books they might want to buy.

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Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court
3:29 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

How Ellen DeGeneres Helped Change The Conversation About Gays

Ellen DeGeneres during a taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2011 in Burbank, Calif.
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros. AP

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 3:59 pm

In 2008, during the brief window when it was legal for same-sex couples to get married in California, perhaps no couple drew more attention than Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi.

After their wedding, photos of the couple were everywhere; DeGeneres, beaming, in a white suit and holding hands with de Rossi, the very picture of the princess bride so many young girls dream of being one day. It was a cultural touchstone, and Dietram Scheufele, a communications professor at the University of Wisconsin, says it was neither the first nor the last time DeGeneres has played that role.

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Author Interviews
1:40 am
Tue March 5, 2013

'Wave' Tells A True Story Of Survival And Loss In The 2004 Tsunami

This Dec. 26, 2004, photograph shows a trail of destruction in the southern Sri Lankan town of Lunawa after tidal waves lashed more than half of Sri Lanka's coastline.
Sena Vidanagama AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 5:56 am

On Dec. 26, 2004, Sonali Deraniyagala was vacationing with her husband, her two sons and her parents in Yala, Sri Lanka. The day was just beginning when she and a friend noticed that something strange was happening in the ocean. Within a matter of minutes, the sea had wiped out life as she had known it. In a new memoir, called simply Wave, she recalls her experience with the tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people, including her own family.

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