NPR&#039s Book Concierge To The Rescue With Last-Minute Present Suggestions

Books make fantastic last minute gift concepts. Here are a couple of ideas for book shoppers with voids nevertheless to fill, helped by NPR’s Book Concierge.


If you’re searching for the last-minute gift for that book lover in your life, we have got a handy tool that can aid. NPR’s Book Concierge on has far more than 300 recommendations from NPR staffers and freelancers. Books editor Petra Mayer joins us now in the studio to walk us by means of it.

Hi there, Petra.

PETRA MAYER, BYLINE: Hi, Allison. Thanks for possessing me.

AUBREY: Yeah, certain. So tell us – how does the Book Concierge work?

MAYER: It really is extremely simple. Well, you can make it as complex as you like, in fact.



MAYER: It’s a giant matrix of much more than 300 books. And down the left side of the screen is a list of filters, and there are things like book club suggestions, ladies first, science fiction and fantasy, funny stuff, short, long – you name it, we’ve believed of a filter for it. And those filters are stackable, so you can choose much more than 1. You know, you can click – I want a nonfiction book, and I want it to be kind of long since I want to although away the lengthy winter nights. I picked those…

AUBREY: Got it.

MAYER: …Tags at random. But you can – that is how you can sort items.

AUBREY: I get it. So you can pick your filters. So let’s say I want a book for a buddy of mine who loves to cook. She also likes mystery novels, and she loves to travel. What do you got for me?

MAYER: So we have just the thing for you. It is named, “Yashim Cooks Istanbul.” And it really is…

AUBREY: “Yashim Cooks Istanbul”?

MAYER: Yeah. It really is based on a series of mysteries set in 19th-century Istanbul about an inspector, Yashim. And as he solves mysteries, he cooks. And so the guy who writes the series, you know, I guess he got lots of requests for the recipes because they sound so delicious. And so he ended up performing a cookbook of all the items. So you can cook appropriate along with Yashim as he solves crimes. And they are, like, incredibly, delightfully evocative names like assassin’s steak tartare, ladies thighs – which I had to look up due to the fact I was like, what’s that? – it really is a type of lamb meatball, apparently, that you deep-fry.

AUBREY: OK. I love it. So it’s mystery stacked with food…

MAYER: Yeah.

AUBREY: …Lots of intrigue there. I want to challenge you right here for a moment.

MAYER: Yeah.

AUBREY: I’m hunting for a nonfiction book. It really is got to be quick. And I want it to appeal to the other individuals in my book group. So if I toggle by means of and I check – you know, book group, nonfiction, brief side – do you have anything?

MAYER: You will get a real treat. You will get “Alive, Alive Oh!” by Diana Athill. And she is a legendary British author and book editor. She was an editor for some thing like 50 years, and she worked with quite significantly every single huge name of the 20th century, like absolutely everyone from Jack Kerouac to Margaret Atwood. And she also has written a series of actually exciting memoirs. I mean, she’s had this crazy life and worked with all these well-known individuals. It really is a superb book club concept, actually, simply because Diana Athill connects to, sort of, six degrees of separation-style to so a lot of other authors.

AUBREY: Sounds great. Petra, what are you obtaining about how men and women are utilizing this site? What do they search for the most?

MAYER: The most common issue men and women have a tendency to search for each year is staff picks, which is fantastic for us this year because we have way more staff picks than ever. It’s lots of fun due to the fact you get books that way that sort of aren’t the huge buzz books. You get the items that tweaked people’s person interests. And in a place like this, people’s person interests are really exciting.


AUBREY: I see that there’s a category for books on the dark side. Wondering if there is something that skews the opposite – a small more affirmative, uplifting.



MAYER: You know…

AUBREY: Please, inform me there’s something.

MAYER: Nicely, there’s plenty of affirmative and uplifting books in the Concierge. But we don’t have a particular tag for it however.

AUBREY: Men and women just never search that way.

MAYER: No, no. But there is a lot of dark books, so we had to kind – we felt like we had to kind of set that aside on its own specific tag.

AUBREY: OK. We’ll leave it at that.


AUBREY: NPR’s Petra Mayer and the NPR Books group put with each other our Book Concierge. You can check it out at

Thanks, Petra.

MAYER: Thank you.

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Arts &amp Life : NPR

Jesse Eisenberg&#039s New Book Gets Seriously Absurd (And A Small Severe)



Jesse Eisenberg's plays include The Spoils and The Revisionist.

Jesse Eisenberg’s plays contain The Spoils and The Revisionist. Victoria Will/Invision/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Victoria Will/Invision/AP

If you have ever observed Jesse Eisenberg’s byline in The New Yorker or on McSweeney’s World wide web Tendency and thought, “Wait, that Jesse Eisenberg?” — the answer is yes.

Eisenberg, greatest-identified as an Oscar-nominated actor, is also a writer — the author of several plays and, now, a collection of comedy writing known as Bream Gives Me Hiccups.

Bream Gives Me Hiccups

The collection’s title comes from a series of faux-restaurant testimonials that open the book, which Eisenberg 1st wrote for McSweeney’s. The critiques — both funny and poignant — are written from the point of view of a young boy whose divorced mother drags him to fancy dinners on her ex-husband’s dime.

Many of the other pieces are heavy with dialogue, like short comedy sketches. “A Post Gender Normative Man Tries to Choose Up a Lady at a Bar” and its gender-flipped counterpart, for instance, consist completely of one particular-sided (and persistent) conversation.

“Some of these stories I’ve performed,” Eisenberg tells NPR’s Arun Rath. “They’re as enjoyable to carry out as they are for me to write.”

And, as Rath and Eisenberg talk about, the collection will also be produced into a Netflix series.

Click on the audio hyperlink above to hear the full conversation.

Interview Highlights

Hear Eisenberg study an excerpt from the Bream Offers Me Hiccups audiobook.

On his theory of what makes issues funny

I start out, with each and every play I’ve written, with all the stories in here, to create the funniest issue I can think of and then it becomes emotional, I guess. Possibly simply because that is how you are educated as an actor. When you are acting in anything, even if it is a comedy, you’re supposed to uncover the emotional truth in it.

So even when I am in a comedy, you finish up trying to uncover … what’s driving a character and it typically has something to do with one thing that is not that funny. And, of course, the juxtaposition of funny context and critical individual dealing with funny context is what makes it funny.

On his story featuring Alexander Graham Bell’s early telephone calls

When I was younger — I was possibly about 10 years old — I heard a joke on Comedy Central which I thought was the funniest thing. [It] was something along the lines of, the comedian said “I set my cell phone ring tone to Beethoven’s Ninth [Symphony],” due to the fact, at the time, cell telephone ring tones had just come out, and a single of the options was a low-cost, MIDI file of Beethoven’s Ninth. And he said, “I wonder if Beethoven, when sitting around writing his ninth [symphony] thought it’s going to play in 500 years and someone’s going to go, ‘Oh Jesus, it really is my mom.’ “

And … so when I was reading about Alexander Graham Bell’s very first phone get in touch with I believed how funny it is that now, we not only take the technologies for granted, but we kind of resent it when somebody calls us, simply because it really is such a burden now compared to the ease with which we can communicate otherwise. So I believed it would be funny to see how rapidly that could possibly devolve. So it is not the first phone call that devolves into boredom, it is the third.

On the inspiration for a piece at the intersection of basketball and conflict resolution

I always believed, how do men and women go to basketball games who are used to conflict resolution when they’re standing with 14,000 other individuals who are screaming for conflict? And what would that person have been like in the Coliseum?

I always feel about that because my dad is such a sweet and peaceful academic, and I usually consider what would my dad have been like? He wouldn’t have been capable to fit in with the Coliseum and the gladiators. What would he have done? There should have been people like that and we by no means hear about that!

Arts &amp Life : NPR

Marvel Turned Eminem’s Relapse Into A Comic Book Cover

Eminem’s Relapse just got the Marvel remake therapy.

The MC — who’s stated the album was “eh” on “Not Afraid” — was nonetheless honored to be incorporated in the hip-hop variant covers project.

The Scarlet Witch/Slim Shady mash-up is just the latest rap album to get this sort of makeover.

“The most current sampling of Marvel’s Hip-Hop variants contain nods to lyrical innovators, musical game-changers and one particular of rap’s largest stars,” Marvel Editor In Chief Axel Alonso said in a statement. “And who far better to do these classic album covers justice than Ed Piskor, Keron Grant and the legendary Bill Sienkiewicz?”

Want to evaluate? The official album cover is under.

Right here are some a lot more covers that had been created as portion of this campaign:

  1. Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version

  2. Nas’ Illmatic

  3. De La Soul’s three Feet High And Rising

  4. 50 Cent’s Get Rich Or Die Tryin’

  5. GZA’s Liquid Swords

  6. Tyler, The Creator’s Wolf

  7. The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready To Die