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
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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Business
3:21 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Has The Nook Saved Barnes & Noble From Going The Way Of Borders?

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 7:44 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Barnes & Noble Chairman and chief stockholder, Leonard Riggio, is looking into the possibility of buying the company's retail book business, but not the Nook, the e-book, the company had staked it future on.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

That news comes as the company is set to release its third quarter earnings on Thursday. Barnes & Noble has already signaled the report will be disappointing, especially with the e-reader.

NPR's Lynn Neary reports on the future of the bookstore chain.

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Books News & Features
1:20 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Woody Guthrie's 'House Of Earth' Calls 'This Land' Home

The cover of House of Earth is an oil painting that Guthrie made in 1936 called In El Rancho Grande.
Courtesy HarperCollins

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 11:51 am

Woody Guthrie wrote thousands of songs in his lifetime — but as far as anyone knows, he only wrote one novel. Recently discovered, House of Earth is the story of a young couple living in the Texas Panhandle in the 1930s. They dream of building a house that will withstand the bitter winds and ever-present dust that constantly threaten the flimsy wooden shack they call home.

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All Tech Considered
2:14 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

E-Readers Track How We Read, But Is The Data Useful To Authors?

Data gleaned from e-readers gives writers a new kind of feedback to take into consideration — or ignore.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 4:23 pm

Reading always seemed to be the most private of acts: just you and your imagination immersed in another world. But now, if you happen to be curled up with an e-reader, you're not alone.

Data is being collected about your reading habits. That information belongs to the companies that sell e-readers, like Amazon or Barnes & Noble. And they can share — or sell — that information if they like. One official at Barnes & Noble has said sharing that data with publishers might "help authors create even better books."

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Books
1:24 am
Mon January 28, 2013

A Colorful Anniversary: The Caldecott Medal Turns 75

The Polar Express won the Caldecott Medal in 1986, and was turned into an animated movie with Tom Hanks in 2004.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 8:11 am

Some children's book illustrators might not have gotten a lot of sleep over the weekend. That's because they might have been wondering if this could be the year they win one of the grand prizes of children's literature: the Randolph Caldecott Medal.

This year is the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott, which is given to the most distinguished children's picture book of the year. The winner is being named Monday morning at a meeting of the American Library Association.

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Books
2:07 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

'Fifty Shades' Is The One That Got Away. At Least From Me

Vintage Books

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 3:06 pm

Sometimes "the one that got away" is a book that was easy to overlook. A little gem of a first novel, or a memoir by an unknown writer that unexpectedly captured everyone's imagination.

But sometimes, it's the elephant in the room that you just haven't looked at yet. Everyone knows about it. It's one of the biggest sellers of all time. It's a cultural phenomenon — it's Fifty Shades of Grey. And I ignored it until I couldn't anymore.

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Books News & Features
1:49 am
Wed December 19, 2012

Self-Publishing: No Longer Just A Vanity Project

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:44 am

They used to call it the "vanity press," and the phrase itself spoke volumes. Self-published authors were considered not good enough to get a real publishing contract. They had to pay to see their book in print. But with the advent of e-books, self-publishing has exploded, and a handful of writers have had huge best-sellers.

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Best Books Of 2012
5:03 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Now You're Talking! The Year's Best Book Club Reads

Nishant Choksi

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 9:04 am

A young boy seeks justice. A young woman wants to stay alive. A friendship is tested. The child of a commune comes of age. A solitary man gives himself over to love. These are the bare actions underpinning the novels that I'm suggesting for book clubs this year. Some are first novels; others the work of well-known writers. Some might touch your heart; others might challenge the way you think. At least one will make you laugh — and a couple might make you cry. They are all good reads. And they are, above all, books you'll want to talk about with your friends.

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Books
1:04 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Oprah's Book Club Turns Over A New Page

Oprah Winfrey's revamped book club uses her magazine and OWN cable network as platforms.
Chris Pizzello AP

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 3:58 am

Oprah Winfrey became a publishing powerhouse when she started her book club in 1996. Her picks went to the top of best-seller lists — and stayed there for weeks. But when Winfrey's daily talkfest went off the air, the book club ended as well.

Now she is reviving it: Winfrey has just announced her second pick for the Book Club 2.0: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, a novel by first-time author Ayana Mathis about the Great Migration of African-Americans out of the rural South.

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Author Interviews
1:18 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Oprah's Second Pick: A First-Time Novelist

Oprah Winfrey's OWN cable channel and her magazine have revived her book club, now known as Book Club 2.0.
Charles Sykes AP

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 8:55 am

Earlier this year, Oprah Winfrey announced an updated version of her popular book club, this time called Book Club 2.0. Her first pick, Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild, experienced best-seller list success thanks to what some people are calling the "Oprah bump." And last week Winfrey announced her second pick, a novel called The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis, a first-time author.

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Books
2:48 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Independent Bookstores Find Their Footing

President Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia go shopping at a small bookstore, One More Page, in Arlington, Va. This is shaping up to be a better holiday season for independent booksellers than in past years.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 4:18 pm

In recent years, the start of the holiday shopping season has meant nothing but gloom for independent bookstores. But this year, the mood seems to be lifting, and a lot of booksellers are feeling optimistic. Even President Obama kicked off his Christmas shopping at a neighborhood bookstore in Northern Virginia.

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Books
3:08 am
Thu November 15, 2012

'Round House' Wins National Book Award For Fiction

Eric Miller AP

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 2:42 pm

The National Book Awards announced Wednesday night honored both longtime writers and new authors, from Louise Erdrich who won for her novel The Round House to Katherine Boo, who was honored for her debut nonfiction work, Behind the Beautiful Forevers.

Erdrich has been a highly regarded author for nearly 30 years. She'd been a finalist twice before but said being honored is "all the more meaningful when you're older ... because you don't know if your years of writing at your very best are behind you."

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