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Book Reviews
9:06 am
Tue September 17, 2013

In 'Sprinkler,' A Wacky Poet Returns With New Obsessions

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Nicholson Baker has become a sort of poet of the particular and the peculiar. His books are filled with people who focus minutely on what captivates them – in other words, obsessives. A positive way of looking at obsession is as passion taken to an extreme. The danger, of course, is that the object of one person's intense fascination — such as the broken shoelaces in his unforgettable first novel, The Mezzanine, or the disquisitions on Debussy, dance music, and drones in his latest, Traveling Sprinkler — may spell another's total snore.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:45 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Always, Always There

An Iraqi civilian walks through the vault of the National Museum in Baghdad, Iraq, on April 12, 2003. Looters opened the museum vault, went on a rampage breaking ancient artifacts stored there by museum authorities before the war started.
Jerome Delay AP

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 1:26 pm

I'm going to tell two stories here, two very different stories. One's about bad guys hurting good guys that made me think the world is going to hell; the other is about good guys outfoxing bad guys and made me smile — made me think there's hope, always hope. I found them in different books.

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NPR Story
8:38 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Is It Possible To Remove Chemical Weapons In Syria Under Current Conditions?

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. Let's talk next with the United Nations official who oversaw the U.N.'s report on the use of poison gas in Syria. This report does not specify who used those chemical weapons, but the United States and others say evidence in that report backs their claim that the Assad regime was behind the attack.

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The Two-Way
8:27 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Company Promises To Pay For Hawaii's Massive Molasses Spill

One of the fish thought to have died because of the molasses spill off Honolulu.
Hugh Gentry Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 9:33 am

Matson Inc., the shipping company that spilled 233,000 gallons of molasses into Honolulu Harbor earlier this month, has pledged to pay all the costs stemming from the disaster that has devastated marine life there.

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Book Reviews
8:24 am
Tue September 17, 2013

A Predictably Pynchonian Take On The Internet And Sept. 11

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Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 6:07 pm

I approached this review with a little bit of dread. How do you write about the iconic novelist Thomas Pynchon, whose books are strange and difficult things, and whose die-hard readers gather online to wax poetic, and use words like Pynchonian, Pynchonalia and Pynchonesque? They are just so into him, and often so articulate about their love. If you read the thoughtful and detailed writing by Pynchon devotees, they make a very persuasive case.

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