Petra Mayer http://ktep.org en Winging It: Biking Around Again In Margaritaville http://ktep.org/post/winging-it-biking-around-again-margaritaville I love Key West, and I go there as often as possible: pina coladas, drag queens, shady hammocks, feral chickens — it's the best. There's just one problem: everyone gets around the island by bike, and I've never learned to ride one. Obviously that had to change.<p>Why didn't I learn? I really don't remember, and neither did my mom, when I asked her about the one time my parents tried to teach me. "You got on a big bicycle that was so big you couldn't really turn the wheels and got discouraged."<p>I've tried to learn a few times since then — particularly after I discovered Key West. Sun, 29 Dec 2013 10:08:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 31753 at http://ktep.org Winging It: Biking Around Again In Margaritaville NPR NSFW? Checking Out The Sexy Books On Mobile http://ktep.org/post/npr-nsfw-checking-out-sexy-books-mobile <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydrtF45-y-g</p> Sat, 14 Dec 2013 12:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 30890 at http://ktep.org NPR NSFW? Checking Out The Sexy Books On Mobile Allons-y! Why We've Been Traveling With 'Doctor Who' For 50 Years http://ktep.org/post/allons-y-why-weve-been-traveling-doctor-who-50-years This afternoon, millions of fez-wearing fans around the world will tune in to a very special episode of <em>Doctor Who</em>. The venerable British sci-fi series turns 50 today — though the time traveling alien Doctor himself is probably somewhere on the wrong side of 1,000.<p>From scrappy, low-budget beginnings (bubble-wrap monsters, anyone?), <em>Doctor Who</em> has become a global phenomenon. Only soap operas can match it for longevity and popularity. So what's the secret to the Doctor's appeal?<p>Well, let's start with a ringtone — mine, to be exact. Sat, 23 Nov 2013 09:21:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 29581 at http://ktep.org Allons-y! Why We've Been Traveling With 'Doctor Who' For 50 Years 'Boxers & Saints' & Compassion: Questions For Gene Luen Yang http://ktep.org/post/boxers-saints-compassion-quesions-gene-luen-yang Gene Luen Yang broke out in 2006 with <em>American Born Chinese</em>, the first graphic novel nominated for a National Book Award. It weaves three stories — about a Chinese-American boy, a terrible stereotype named Chin-Kee and the mythical Monkey King — into a complex tapestry of identity and assimilation.<p>Yang returns to the theme of identity and sense of self in his latest book, another National Book Award candidate. <em>Boxers & Saints</em> is a diptych following a Chinese boy and girl as their lives are upended by the Boxer Rebellion. Tue, 22 Oct 2013 19:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 27531 at http://ktep.org 'Boxers & Saints' & Compassion: Questions For Gene Luen Yang Austen Unvarnished: Q&A With Jo Baker, Author Of 'Longbourn' http://ktep.org/post/austen-unvarnished-qa-jo-baker-author-longbourn The world of Jane Austen — gracious country houses, empire-waist dresses, card parties and suppers and genteel raillery and a touch of social anxiety — is familiar literary ground. And no house is more familar and comforting than Longbourn, home to Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. But what goes on behind the scenes? Who irons those dresses and prepares those suppers? Thu, 10 Oct 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 26748 at http://ktep.org Austen Unvarnished: Q&A With Jo Baker, Author Of 'Longbourn' Did The Cat Eat Your Gymsuit? Then These Books Are For You http://ktep.org/post/did-cat-eat-your-gymsuit-then-these-books-are-you Young adult literature is big business right now; bookstores and movie theaters are full of titles like <em>The Hunger Games</em>, <em>Divergent</em> and<em> The Fault in Our Stars</em>.<p>So what better time to look at the original golden age of YA literature? Author — and occasional NPR reviewer — Lizzie Skurnick has written for and about teens, and now she's starting her own imprint, dedicated to publishing beloved and forgotten YA books from the 1930s through the 1980s — including, let's be truthful, some that made me squeal with excitement when I saw them on her bookshelf. Mon, 30 Sep 2013 20:32:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 26074 at http://ktep.org Did The Cat Eat Your Gymsuit? Then These Books Are For You Questions For Hugh Howey, Author Of 'WOOL' http://ktep.org/post/questions-hugh-howey-author-wool <strong></strong>After a varied career as a computer repairman and yacht captain, Hugh Howey turned his hand to writing. He'd self-published several novels and stories when the sci-fi dystopia <em>WOOL</em>, originally just a novella, found sudden runaway success in 2011. Howey found himself writing sequel after sequel to keep up with reader demand — the latest volume, <em>Dust</em>, was released in August.<p>Over email, Howey describes <em>WOOL</em> as "like the TV show <em>Lost</em>, except with an ending that makes sense. Sat, 31 Aug 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 24134 at http://ktep.org Questions For Hugh Howey, Author Of 'WOOL' Fans Are Like Friends To 'Reigning Queen' Of Women's Fiction http://ktep.org/post/fans-are-friends-reigning-queen-womens-fiction Go to your nearest paperback rack, and odds are, you'll see two or three, or four, or — well, a lot of books by Debbie Macomber, an author <em>The Sacramento Bee</em> has dubbed "the reigning queen of women's fiction."<p>Macomber has 170 million books in print; the newest, <em>Rose Harbor in Bloom</em>, has just been released. Sun, 18 Aug 2013 18:22:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 23262 at http://ktep.org Fans Are Like Friends To 'Reigning Queen' Of Women's Fiction What If The X-Men Were Real? Q&A With Marcus Sakey, Author Of 'Brilliance' http://ktep.org/post/what-if-x-men-were-real-qa-marcus-sakey-author-brilliance What if the X-Men were real? And what if they weren't mutants in spandex, but people like you and me and Bob in accounting, just endowed with superhuman talents for things like pattern recognition, programming and strategy?<p>That's the premise of Marcus Sakey's new novel, <em>Brilliance</em> — yes, "brilliants" are among us, and their outsize abilities have knocked our society off balance. One brilliant money whiz has broken the stock market. Others have jumped medical research forward by decades in just a few years. Sat, 27 Jul 2013 10:30:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 21832 at http://ktep.org What If The X-Men Were Real? Q&A With Marcus Sakey, Author Of 'Brilliance' School's Out: 5 Great Summer Reads For Teens http://ktep.org/post/schools-out-5-great-summer-reads-teens I'm surrounded here at NPR Books by people with sophisticated, grown-up tastes — happy to dive into the latest Claire Messud or Daniel Alarcon or James Salter. Meanwhile, give me — any day — a book about teenagers (and preferably dragons). A good YA novel is a polished gem of solid storytelling, but more than that, it draws us back in time to the teenagers we once were — or never were, or wanted desperately to be. Tue, 11 Jun 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 18695 at http://ktep.org School's Out: 5 Great Summer Reads For Teens 'Cinnamon And Gunpowder': Haute Cuisine On The High Seas http://ktep.org/post/cinnamon-and-gunpowder-haute-cuisine-high-seas Food porn and rip-roaring pirate adventure are two great tastes that taste great together in Eli Brown's rollicking <em>Cinnamon and Gunpowder</em>. Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:01:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 18359 at http://ktep.org 'Cinnamon And Gunpowder': Haute Cuisine On The High Seas Questions For Barbara J. King, Author Of 'How Animals Grieve' http://ktep.org/post/questions-barbara-j-king-author-how-animals-grieve Attributing human characteristics to animals makes for great cartoons, but it's not usually considered rigorous science. Now, a new book argues that animals do think and feel in ways similar to humans.<p>Barbara J. King is a professor of anthropology and a commentator on NPR's science blog, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/">13.7</a>. Mon, 27 May 2013 12:33:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 17665 at http://ktep.org Questions For Barbara J. King, Author Of 'How Animals Grieve' A Bird-Watching Babe In The Woods Stumbles Toward Maturity http://ktep.org/post/bird-watching-babe-woods-stumbles-toward-maturity Oh no, I thought, cracking open Brian Kimberling's debut novel, <em>Snapper</em>. It's a collection of linked stories. Starring an aimless birdwatcher. Who drives an ancient, glitter-encrusted pickup truck named Gypsy Moth and has a grand passion for an honest-to-God <a href="http://www.npr.org/2008/10/09/95507953/manic-pixie-dream-girls-a-cinematic-scourge">Manic Pixie Dream Girl</a> with red hair, floaty dresses, a flute and a killer pancake recipe. And her name is Lola. Lola! I was braced for a thorough beat-down with the dreaded Whimsy Hammer.<p>But then the book ... Tue, 23 Apr 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 15336 at http://ktep.org A Bird-Watching Babe In The Woods Stumbles Toward Maturity Samba, Spiderbots And 'Summer' Love In Far-Future Brazil http://ktep.org/post/samba-spiderbots-and-summer-love-far-future-brazil In the 17th century, fugitive slaves founded a free community in the mountains of northeastern Brazil. They called it Palmares. Thu, 07 Mar 2013 15:27:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 12259 at http://ktep.org Samba, Spiderbots And 'Summer' Love In Far-Future Brazil Questions For Alaya Dawn Johnson, Author Of 'The Summer Prince' http://ktep.org/post/questions-alaya-dawn-johnson-author-summer-prince <strong></strong>Alaya Dawn Johnson has written a number of novels for adults (including the delightful <a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/172038315/moonshine">Zephyr Hollis</a> series), and now she's venturing onto the young adult shelves with <em>The Summer Prince</em>, a complex science-fiction narrative set in post-apocalyptic Brazil. The action takes place in the city of Palmares Tres, which is entirely contained in a giant pyramidal structure on a bay, surrounded and fed by giant algae vats. Fri, 15 Feb 2013 12:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 10962 at http://ktep.org Questions For Alaya Dawn Johnson, Author Of 'The Summer Prince' For 'Wheel Of Time' Fans, The Last Battle Is At Hand http://ktep.org/post/wheel-time-fans-last-battle-hand It's the moment fantasy fans have been waiting for (really!): After more than 20 years, and 13 doorstopper volumes, the last book in the best-selling <em>Wheel of Time</em> series comes out Tuesday. The series unfolds an epic battle between good and evil — think <em>Game of Thrones</em> but more so: more characters, more magic, more tiny little world-building details, more <em>everything</em>.<p>And I've read all 14 of them. Plus the prequel. Sun, 06 Jan 2013 11:15:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 8309 at http://ktep.org For 'Wheel Of Time' Fans, The Last Battle Is At Hand Catching The 'Shadow' Of A Lost World http://ktep.org/post/catching-shadow-lost-world Photographer Edward Curtis started off his career at the tail end of the 19th century, making portraits of Seattle's wealthiest citizens. But a preoccupation with Native Americans and a chance encounter on a mountaintop triggered an idea: Curtis decided to chronicle the experience of the vanishing tribes — all of them. It was an unbelievably ambitious project that would define Curtis, his work and his legacy.<p>Writer Tim Egan has just completed a new biography of Curtis. It's called <em>Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: the Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis</em>. Sun, 07 Oct 2012 10:15:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 2626 at http://ktep.org Catching The 'Shadow' Of A Lost World A Mashup Of Mundane And Magical In 'Dragonslayer' http://ktep.org/post/mashup-mundane-and-magical-dragonslayer It's been a big year — well, a big few years — for young adult fiction, which I'm not going to complain about in the slightest; nothing beats a good YA novel for pure storytelling punch. But I might complain, just a little, about the overwhelming sameness of some of the plots. Dystopian futures, quiet-yet-spunky teenage girls, doomed love triangles — sound familiar? Suzanne Collins has a lot to answer for. Thu, 04 Oct 2012 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 2457 at http://ktep.org A Mashup Of Mundane And Magical In 'Dragonslayer' This Week's 5 Must-Read Stories From NPR Books http://ktep.org/post/weeks-5-must-read-stories-npr-books <h3>1. The Healing Power Of Stories</h3><p>Cambodian author Vaddey Ratner was just a child when the Khmer Rouge came banging on the doors of her aristocratic family's compound in Phnom Penh. Fri, 17 Aug 2012 19:19:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 291 at http://ktep.org This Week's 5 Must-Read Stories From NPR Books