The Bay Area's Jazz Station to the World
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

New In Paperback April 9-15

Fiction and nonfiction releases from Mary Gordon, Henning Mankell, Jim Rasenberger, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, Charles J. Ogletree Jr. and Meghan O'Rourke .

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit

New In Paperback April 9-15

The Love of My Youth

by Mary Gordon

Set in Rome in 2007, The Love of My Youth focuses on two Americans, Adam and Miranda, who haven't seen each other in nearly 40 years but are brought together for a dinner by a mutual friend. Having fallen in love at 16 and remained together after college, they parted when Adam betrayed Miranda. They married other people. But as Maureen Corrigan notes, "much more is at stake in Gordon's novel than the suspense of a possible holiday hookup. Gordon's characters explore the hard costs of maturing, and share the dazed epiphany of late middle age — namely, that it takes so long to grow up, and then you die."

The Troubled Man

by Henning Mankell and Laurie Thompson

After a 10-year hiatus, popular Swedish writer Henning Mankell has returned with what is likely to be the his last book about moody Swedish police detective Kurt Wallander, The Troubled Man. Based on a Cold War incident involving Sweden and the Soviet Union, it involves the father-in-law of Wallander's daughter, a Swedish submariner who goes missing. Yet as Wallander tries to solve the crime, his health is slowly worsening. "I believe that life is very complicated," Mankell says. "And the only way you can show life in a truthful way is to show ... [the] relation between a complicated life and the complications you have inside you."

The Brilliant Disaster

by Jim Rasenberger

In April 1961, a brigade of around 1,500 CIA-trained soldiers stormed the beach in Cuba's Bay of Pigs. It was the opening phase of a secret mission to overthrow Fidel Castro and, President John F. Kennedy hoped, halt the spread of communism throughout the world. Things did not go as planned. In his new book, The Brilliant Disaster, Jim Rasenberger suggests that the debacle marked the start of the Vietnam era, when Americans began to question whether the country was run by competent men engaged in worthwhile enterprises. "Not only did [the Bay of Pigs] appear immoral to many people," Rasenberger says, "but it was also incompetent."

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon

In The Dressmaker of Khair Khana, journalist Gayle Tzemach Lemmon tells the story of how an Aghani woman opened a small business in the midst of civil war and political repression. It begins in September 1996, when Kamila Sidiqi was a teenager and the Taliban overtook Kabul, prompting her father and a brother to flee for political reasons. The Taliban soon forbade women to work outside the home or to attend school, leaving those without a husband, father or brother to support themselves in secret. So Sidiqi asked her sister to teach her to sew — and eventually grew a sewing business out of her home that employed more than 100 women from her neighborhood.

The Presumption of Guilt

by Charles J. Ogletree Jr.

In 2009, Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested in front of his home in Cambridge, Mass., on charges of disorderly conduct that were dismissed four days later. One of the first people Gates called after his arrest was his colleague at Harvard, Charles Ogletree. The Presumption of Guilt is Ogletree's book about the arrest and its aftermath. He argues that the incident should serve as a lesson on the abuse of power by police, and law enforcement's systemic suspicions about black men. "I think that some of this is a traditional town/gown problem," he says. On one side, there is the working-class police officer, and on the other the well-known Harvard professor.

The Long Goodbye

by Meghan O'Rourke

Meghan O'Rourke's memoir, The Long Goodbye, chronicles her mother's cancer and eventual death based on a series of essays that appeared in Slate. As critic Alice Gregory observes: "She poetically situates her own grief within a larger examination of mourning rituals in contemporary American life, or rather our lack of mourning rituals. She envies her Jewish friends who sit shiva and wonders why certain co-workers refuse to ask how she's doing. 'Although our culture has become more open about everything from incest to sex addiction,' she writes, 'grief seemed to me like the last taboo. In our culture of display, the sadness of death is largely silent.' The book itself is a mourning ritual, the writing process one that summons sweet memories, forces unfair questions and provokes difficult introspection."