Lynn Neary

Lynn Neary is an NPR arts correspondent covering books and publishing.

Not only does she report on the business of books and explore literary trends and ideas, Neary has also met and profiled many of her favorite authors. She has wandered the streets of Baltimore with Anne Tyler and the forests of the Great Smoky Mountains with Richard Powers. She has helped readers discover great new writers like Tommy Orange, author of There, There, and has introduced them to future bestsellers like A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles.

Arriving at NPR in 1982, Neary spent two years working as a newscaster on Morning Edition. For the next eight years, Neary was the host of Weekend All Things Considered. Throughout her career at NPR, she has been a frequent guest host on all of NPR's news programs including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, and Talk of the Nation.

In 1992, Neary joined the cultural desk to develop NPR's first religion beat. As religion correspondent, Neary covered the country's diverse religious landscape and the politics of the religious right.

Neary has won numerous prestigious awards including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold Award, an Ohio State Award, an Association of Women in Radio and Television Award, and the Gabriel award. For her reporting on the role of religion in the debate over welfare reform, Neary shared in NPR's 1996 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Award.

A graduate of Fordham University, Neary thinks she may be the envy of English majors everywhere.

The American West has always been fertile ground for writers. Now Philipp Meyer steps into that territory with his new novel The Son. It's a family saga that traces the settling of Texas from its days as a wild frontier to the oil boom — with no shortage of violence.

It all started one night when writer Amanda Filipacchi was browsing through Wikipedia and noticed an absence of women under the category "American novelists." At first, she thought the female writers being moved off the page were not important enough to be on it. But then she discovered some obscure male novelists were still listed, while some well-known women were not.

Elizabeth Strout, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Olive Kitteridge, sets much of her work in Maine, where her family has lived for eight generations. But Strout herself has lived most of her adult life in New York. In her new novel, The Burgess Boys, she writes for the first time about the city she now calls home.

In 2008, during the brief window when it was legal for same-sex couples to get married in California, perhaps no couple drew more attention than Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi.

After their wedding, photos of the couple were everywhere; DeGeneres, beaming, in a white suit and holding hands with de Rossi, the very picture of the princess bride so many young girls dream of being one day. It was a cultural touchstone, and Dietram Scheufele, a communications professor at the University of Wisconsin, says it was neither the first nor the last time DeGeneres has played that role.

On Dec. 26, 2004, Sonali Deraniyagala was vacationing with her husband, her two sons and her parents in Yala, Sri Lanka. The day was just beginning when she and a friend noticed that something strange was happening in the ocean. Within a matter of minutes, the sea had wiped out life as she had known it. In a new memoir, called simply Wave, she recalls her experience with the tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people, including her own family.

Woody Guthrie wrote thousands of songs in his lifetime — but as far as anyone knows, he only wrote one novel. Recently discovered, House of Earth is the story of a young couple living in the Texas Panhandle in the 1930s. They dream of building a house that will withstand the bitter winds and ever-present dust that constantly threaten the flimsy wooden shack they call home.

Reading always seemed to be the most private of acts: just you and your imagination immersed in another world. But now, if you happen to be curled up with an e-reader, you're not alone.

Data is being collected about your reading habits. That information belongs to the companies that sell e-readers, like Amazon or Barnes & Noble. And they can share — or sell — that information if they like. One official at Barnes & Noble has said sharing that data with publishers might "help authors create even better books."

Some children's book illustrators might not have gotten a lot of sleep over the weekend. That's because they might have been wondering if this could be the year they win one of the grand prizes of children's literature: the Randolph Caldecott Medal.

This year is the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott, which is given to the most distinguished children's picture book of the year. The winner is being named Monday morning at a meeting of the American Library Association.

Sometimes "the one that got away" is a book that was easy to overlook. A little gem of a first novel, or a memoir by an unknown writer that unexpectedly captured everyone's imagination.

But sometimes, it's the elephant in the room that you just haven't looked at yet. Everyone knows about it. It's one of the biggest sellers of all time. It's a cultural phenomenon — it's Fifty Shades of Grey. And I ignored it until I couldn't anymore.

They used to call it the "vanity press," and the phrase itself spoke volumes. Self-published authors were considered not good enough to get a real publishing contract. They had to pay to see their book in print. But with the advent of e-books, self-publishing has exploded, and a handful of writers have had huge best-sellers.

Oprah Winfrey became a publishing powerhouse when she started her book club in 1996. Her picks went to the top of best-seller lists — and stayed there for weeks. But when Winfrey's daily talkfest went off the air, the book club ended as well.

Now she is reviving it: Winfrey has just announced her second pick for the Book Club 2.0: The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, a novel by first-time author Ayana Mathis about the Great Migration of African-Americans out of the rural South.

Earlier this year, Oprah Winfrey announced an updated version of her popular book club, this time called Book Club 2.0. Her first pick, Cheryl Strayed's memoir Wild, experienced best-seller list success thanks to what some people are calling the "Oprah bump." And last week Winfrey announced her second pick, a novel called The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis, a first-time author.

The Virgin Mary is one of the most familiar icons of Christianity. For centuries, artists have depicted her on everything from backyard statues of a rosy-cheeked innocent to paintings of magnificent Madonnas hanging in museums all over the world. But few writers have taken up her story or tried to create their own version of the events of her life.

Now, Irish writer Colm Toibin does just that. His novella, The Testament of Mary, raises questions about the life of Jesus' mother and the stories that laid the groundwork for the creation of a church.

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