Petra Mayer

On a storm-tossed sea, a blind young man with crow-shaped scars carved into his chest and a jewel-eyed, trouble-prone sea captain are heading for an uncertain, probably terrible destiny. And a street beggar-turned-High Priest struggles to maintain position and power in a treacherous city.

In Rebecca Roanhorse's new fantasy novel Black Sun, all paths lead towards the city of Tova, where a coming eclipse could signal rebirth — or disaster.

The 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature has been given to the U.S. poet Louise Glück for what the Swedish Academy calls "her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal."

Glück is the 16th woman to win a literature Nobel, and she already has a bookshelf's worth of heavyweight awards: a National Book Award, a National Humanities Medal and a Pulitzer Prize for her 1992 collection The Wild Iris.

This year's MacArthur Fellows — recipients of what's commonly known as the Genius Grant — are engineers and writers, scientists and musicians, artists and scholars and filmmakers. They've mapped the universe and the human brain, created new worlds and picked apart what makes our own world tick.

The National Book Foundation has announced the 25 finalists for this year's National Book Awards, in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, literature in translation, and young people's literature.

This year's authors are a diverse group that includes several debuts — from Deesha Philyaw and Douglas Stuart in the fiction category, and Tommye Blount and Anthony Cody in poetry.

Yadriel is a lot of things: He's queer, he's trans, he's Latinx and he's a brujo, born to free the souls of the dead so they can pass over — or he would be if only his family could accept him as he is. They carry on the ancient traditions of guiding the dead and healing the living, but only men can free spirits. And they don't believe Yadriel's truly a man.

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This month marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of science fiction writer Ray Bradbury. Oh, I remember reading "The Illustrated Man" when I was a kid in school. NPR's Petra Mayer reports on his legacy.

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George Orwell's "Animal Farm" turns 75 this week. The book is now considered a classic, but NPR's Petra Mayer reminds us that it almost wasn't published at all.

Lauren Beukes' new Afterland takes place in a world that exists not long after our own — a very near future in which a terrible virus has wiped out almost all the men in the world, leaving a scant few million, mostly held in government research facilities.

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Want to social-distance in style this fall? Couturiers at Viktor & Rolf — known for campy, high-concept looks — are introducing a fall collection they're describing as "three wardrobes for three mindsets in extraordinary times of change." Those three mindsets: Anxiety, Confusion and a hopeful ending with Love.

In the early 1960s, Rudolfo Anaya was teaching high school during the day and writing at night, struggling to find the voice that would bring his first novel alive.

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SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

The CEO of Macmillan — one of the Big Five book publishing houses — has announced he'll step back from day-to-day responsibilities, following an industry-wide day of action protest against racism organized by five Macmillan employees.

Gather 'round, children, and let me tell you a story about the amazing group of authors, librarians and critics we've assembled to help judge this year's Summer Reader Poll!

A long, long summer is stretching ahead of us — many summer camps and programs are closed, kids are restless and parents and caregivers are stretched thin. But story time is always a little moment of escape.

So this year, we want to hear all about your very favorite books for the littlest readers, specifically picture books and very easy chapter books. Is it something you loved as a kid? Something the kids in your life demand at Every. Single. Bedtime? Something they love to read by themselves? Something you gift to every kid you know? Tell us about it!

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