by Megan Labrise

Though his writing is censored in his native country, Ha Jin says he fails to qualify for full boat-rocker status.

“No, I’m much tamer,” says the National Book Award-winning author, who calls his latest novel The Boat Rocker. In Chinese, he clarifies, that phrase comes across as less iconoclast, more troublemaker—someone whom others would do well to avoid. However ...

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by Alex Heimbach and Claiborne Smith

Jason Reynolds is well-aware that he doesn’t fit the stereotype of a writer. He has long hair and tattoos and prefers sneakers to tweed.When he visits schools, he says, “there’s always one or two kids who say, ‘I didn’t think you were gonna look like this. I didn’t think a writer could look like you.’ ” What they ...

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by Alexia Nader

Music critic David Hajdu says that he’s looking at two book shelves of pop music criticism and history in his office at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism when we speak on the phone. There’s a 700-page book called A History of Popular Music in America by Sigmund Spaeth, published in 1948, when as Hajdu notes, “there’s no rock ...

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by Laurie Muchnick

With all the big-name authors publishing books in September and October, it can be hard for an unknown to get attention (and readers). Here are a few less-heralded titles coming out this month, all from small presses, all of which got starred reviews. 

The Loved Ones by Sonya Chung (Relegation Books): Charles Lee, the African-American father of a biracial ...

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by Leila Roy

The only thing better than reading books is reading books about books. And if you find books about books that are also about the power of story and language and books, well, that’s three layers of joy, and pretty much the epitome of Reading Bliss.

But what to do once you’ve read and re-read Roald Dahl’s Matilda and Cornelia Funke’s ...

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by Julie Danielson

The color yellow gets a bum rap. I think it’s too often seen as being insufferably peppy, but I have an ardent fondness for it. It’s more modest than red and less ingratiating than orange. I even painted my home office yellow so that it will help boost me as I stumble out of bed and get to work. A ...

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by Leila Roy

This she gets: that “first time” meeting with your parents. When they tell you they love you, but you no longer feel like the girl they thought you were or want you to be. The soccer star and perfect student, happy and “killing it” at college. Now past tense, and the new you reflected in their voices, in their eyes ...

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