books

From the outside, Melania Trump looks like a woman in over her tastefully balayaged head. At public events, she rarely speaks, but assumes the rictus smolder — like a model who has just spotted a lion over the photographer's shoulder — that inspired a thousand #freemelania signs.

As of Friday, 15 of the top 20 bestselling books on Amazon were about race or racism. Earlier this week, Code Switch was number one on Apple Podcasts — which, as host Gene Demby said, is "dope," but unfortunately occurred under "soul-crushing circumstances." And The Help is trending on Netflix (ahem, a film that drew immediate ire upon release).

Johnny Louis

Brick-and-mortar bookstores might not be considered “essential” during the coronavirus pandemic — but books are,  judging from internet sales data.

 

In writing his new book, David Daley was looking to shake off a cynicism that had been following him around for years.

The former editor-in-chief of Salon gained attention in 2016, as the man who chronicled a Republican gerrymandering machine.

Julia Alvarez has written what she calls her first novel as "an elder."

"It took a while to sort of process this stage of life that I'm in," she says. "And you know, what are the stories that I can tell now, from the hindsight and the insights that I've gained that is different. And you have to, you know, learn that."

The author of beloved and bestselling novels for adults and children, including How the García Girls Lost Their Accents and In the Time of the Butterflies, has brought out her first novel for adults in a decade and a half.

Claire Schneider / NPR

The novel coronavirus has upended our lives. Here are some stories that we hope will help you cope:

Why is all this happening? To try and stop the spread of the virus. So we all need to make our spaces as clean as possible: The New Coronavirus Can Live On Surfaces For 2-3 Days. Here's How To Clean Them

Courtesy of Jaquira Díaz / Graphic by Alejandra Martinez

Author Jaquira Díaz's life has been anything but ordinary.

From the early years growing up in el caserio (government housing in Puerto Rico), to struggling through the kind of poverty on Miami Beach she described as, "the kind of poor you felt in your bones, " Díaz felt torn by life. 

She had just left behind a rough life in Puerto Rico when she moved to Miami Beach and at the age of 8 learned her mother was diagnosed as schizophrenic. 

Courtesy of Craig Pittman

In the opening scene of this month’s Sundial Book Club pick, “Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther” by Craig Pittman, hunters in the Everglades chase down a panther shooting tranquilizer darts.

They catch the animal. “I started with the most dramatic scene,” Pittman says.

Flatiron Books, publisher of the controversial new novel American Dirt, has cancelled the remainder of author Jeanine Cummins' book tour after what it called "specific threats to booksellers and the author." This follows several individual event cancellations. [Disclosure: Flatiron Books, publisher of American Dirt, is among NPR's financial supporters]

Anastasia Samoylova

Since 2016, Russian-American photographer Anastasia Samoylova has been capturing images of sea-level rise in South Florida in quiet — and often surprising — ways.

Graphic by Alejandra Martinez

When Fort Lauderdale author Dawn Davies moved to South Florida as a child, she wasn’t really a fan.

“In Florida the outside is always trying to get in and dank Florida smells are everywhere you go,” Davies writes in her latest book, “Mothers of Sparta: A Memoir in Pieces,” the Sundial Book Club pick for January. 

Roz Chast

Thousands of graduates from South Florida colleges and universities will receive their diplomas in the coming weeks during winter commencement ceremonies.

Monroe County Public Library

The Monroe County Public Library system is celebrating its 60th birthday this month. But the Key West library calls itself South Florida's oldest, dating back to the 1800s. 

Illustrator: Anuj Shrestha / Topos Graphics / Publisher Jai Alai Books

South Florida consistently ranks among the worst metropolitan areas nationwide for traffic and congestion. On average, Miamians spend 100 hours a year stuck in gridlock. And as our public transportation system consistently has issues with reliability and usage, we all know how difficult it can be to get around here. 

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