In her new book The Lives of Muhammad, Boston University professor Kecia Ali discusses the different ways that Muslim and non-Muslim biographers have depicted the prophet over the centuries.
NPR's Rachel Martin speaks with Azar Nafisi about her new book, The Republic of Imagination, a reflection on America through three of its most memorable books.
Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi talks with Rachel Martin about the difference between supermarket hummus and Middle Eastern hummus and why he doesn't like to call his cookbooks "vegetarian."
It's literary awards season. The Nobel, the National Book Awards shortlists, and the Man Booker Prize were all recently announced. Author Jason Sheehan recommends some reading on all this reading.
It's not often that a book can mix machetes with hedge funds. Then again, few industries are as chaotic, and compelling, as debt collection — which Jake Halpern's book reveals in alarming detail.
Eric Kaplan's son had a zoo trip canceled because one mom worried about reindeer-induced questions. So Kaplan, a comedy writer and philosophy grad student, started pondering the puzzle of St. Nick.
A son with cerebral palsy inspires a new way to think about imperfection, exaltation and love in a new memoir by Brazilian novelist and screenwriter Diogo Mainardi.
Blake Butler's new novel, 300,000,000, is not for the squeamish. This portrait of a serial killer and the detective who hunts him will curdle the blood — and possibly the soul — of any reader.
Author Garth Nix returns to the world of the Old Kingdom with Clariel, the story of a young woman of great magical power who, denied the freedom to live as she wants, chooses a dangerous path.
In his second poetry collection, The New Testament, Jericho Brown weaves together strains of religious invocations with his uneasy identity as a southern, gay, black man into a beguiling self myth.
Oscar Pistorius, superstar athlete, was back in court this week for his sentencing hearing, after a culpable homicide conviction. Journalist Mandy Wiener says his case reminds her of a favorite book.
The art of letter writing is also an act of preserving history. The correspondences gathered in the book Letters Of Note tell stories of delight, hope and loss — and the nature of human connection.
Appearing at No. 13, The Map of Heaven examines people's near-death experiences alongside beliefs about the afterlife.
Someone, Alice McDermott's story of a young Irish-American woman in Brooklyn, appears at No. 9.
In Being Mortal, Atul Gawande argues against the premise that medical practitioners should always aim to extend life. It debuts at No. 3.
A wandering woman falls in love with a reverend in Marilynne Robinson's latest novel. Lila debuts at No. 2
The lists are compiled from weekly surveys of close to 500 independent bookstores nationwide.
Audie Cornish speaks with Frank Ciulla about a poignant letter cherished by his family. It was written after his father was killed in the Lockerbie bombing in 1988.
The former International Space Station commander achieved Internet stardom with his in-space rendition of David Bowie's "Space Oddity." His new book is An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.
Ben Tripp's young adult debut is a charming romp through a thoroughly theatrical 18th-century England populated by swashbuckling highwaymen, fairies and circus performers.