Also: the case for a more inclusive literary culture; healthcare and the modern writer.
Congressman and former Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan discusses his new book, The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea.
When you're making plans to become a famous author, just remember that you're going to want health care — especially when 40 rolls around and your body is no longer made of rubber.
David Mitchell's new novel might span five perspectives and six decades, but he brings this complex mix together with signature elegance. The combination makes for a thrilling read.
Also: Leslie Jamison on a lonely whale; Ben Lerner on writing fiction.
Veteran cartoonist Jules Feiffer has just written his first graphic novel, the noirish Kill My Mother. Reviewer Alan Cheuse is discovering graphic novels equally late, but still finds it a good read.
Blending history, myth and geopolitics, Lily Hyde uses fairy tales to teach children and young adults about Eastern European history. To cover the current unrest, though, she has put fiction on hold.
This Thursday is comics legend Jack Kirby's birthday; the creator of Captain America would have been 97. Comics stores and creators all over the country are hosting celebrations in his honor.
Also: Kobo will release a waterproof e-reader; new poems from Idra Novey and Marylen Grigas.
John Scalzi's new Lock In is a successful genre mashup that balances the needs of a police procedural (dead body, damaged detective) with those of a science fiction yarn (hard-core world building).
Michael Pitre, author of Fives and Twenty-Fives, served two tours in Iraq. He says, "It was not glamorous and it's not SEAL Team 6; it's just work, and I wanted to tell a story about that."
Also: a lively defense of the font Comic Sans; Elissa Schappell on finding her muse.
David Mitchell's new novel, The Bone Clocks, mixes fantasy and literary fiction in a decades-spanning saga of ordinary people who get caught up in a war between two factions of ancient near-immortals.
Katy Simpson Smith's debut novel, The Story of Land and Sea, is a story of suffering centered on an ex-pirate and his daughter just after the American Revolution. It's flawed, but a worthwhile read.
Also: an excerpt of Lena Dunham's new book; notable books of the week.
In The Sultan of Byzantium, Turkish author Selcuk Altun takes his hero into forgotten corners of the city, where once-majestic monuments go unnoticed amid the bustle of daily life.
Before Coe Booth was a writer, she was a caseworker, often tasked with placing kids with foster families. Her latest novel for middle-grade readers looks at two young members of a foster family.
Chief Inspector Gamache is back, in Louise Penny's latest novel, The Long Way Home. NPR's Linda Wertheimer talks to Penny about the tenth book in the Gamache mystery series.
This back-to-school season, it's time to reevaluate a few common assumptions about how best to study. Benedict Carey, the author of How We Learn, says science shows that discipline isn't everything.
The younger Scarry, also an illustrator, found a draft of Best Lowly Worm Book Ever! in his dad's Swiss chalet. He says all that was missing was the final art, "so that's what I did."