Lynn Neary

Lynn Neary is an NPR arts correspondent and a frequent guest host often heard on Morning Edition and Weekend Edition.

In her role on the Arts desk, Neary reports on an industry in transition as publishing moves into the digital age. As she covers books and publishing, she relishes the opportunity to interview many of her favorite authors from Barbara Kingsolver to Ian McEwan.

Arriving at NPR in 1982, Neary spent two years working as a newscaster during Morning Edition. Then, for the next eight years, Neary was the host of Weekend All Things Considered. In 1992, she 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.

Over the years 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 Fordham University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Neary thinks she has the ideal job and suspects she is the envy of English majors everywhere.

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6:34pm

Thu July 3, 2014
The Two-Way

Authors Take Opposite Sides On Hachette, Amazon Spat

Originally published on Fri July 4, 2014 10:43 am

Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

You might think that all writers would be of the same mind about the dispute between Amazon and Hachette Publishing Company over the price of ebooks. Think again. This week two different sets of authors sent open letters to their "readers" urging them to take one side or the other in the ongoing controversy.

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5:17pm

Tue June 10, 2014
Law

Court OKs Universities' Quest To Turn To More Digital Copies Of Books

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 9:43 am

A U.S. appeals court has ruled against a group of authors, deciding in favor of a consortium of universities in a case that hinged on copyright law and provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The universities had allowed Google to make digital copies of more than 10 million books so that they could be searchable by specific terms.

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4:36pm

Mon June 2, 2014
Book News & Features

Amazon's Pricing Dispute Sets Book Expo Buzzing

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 12:02 pm

The dispute between retail giant Amazon and publisher Hachette was big news at Book Expo America. Writers, publishers and agents are wondering what the rift could mean for the future of books.

10:06am

Wed May 28, 2014
The Two-Way

Maya Angelou, Poet, Activist And Singular Storyteller, Dies At 86

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 12:58 pm

Angelou became Hollywood's first black female movie director on Nov. 3, 1971. She also wrote the script and music for Caged Bird, which was based on her best-selling 1969 autobiography. She had been a professional singer, dancer, writer, composer, poet, lecturer, editor and San Francisco streetcar conductor.
AP

Poet, performer and political activist Maya Angelou has died after a long illness at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86. Born in St. Louis in 1928, Angelou grew up in a segregated society that she worked to change during the civil rights era. Angelou, who refused to speak for much of her childhood, revealed the scars of her past in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first of a series of memoirs.

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5:06pm

Tue March 25, 2014
Author Interviews

'Sous Chef' Reveals The High-Adrenaline Dance Behind Your Dinner

Originally published on Tue March 25, 2014 8:03 pm

Viktor Cap iStockphoto

A restaurant kitchen at the peak of the dinner rush can be a crazy place — hot, crowded and filled with a kind of intense energy that some people, like Michael Gibney, thrive on. Gibney's been working in restaurants since he was young. In his new book, Sous Chef, Gibney tries to capture the rhythm of the kitchen by taking his readers through one day in the life of a fast-paced New York restaurant.

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5:30pm

Thu March 13, 2014
The Two-Way

Pew Study: Many Technophiles Also Love Libraries

Julie Ball at a newly renovated computer lab at Shute Park Branch Library in Hillsboro, Oregon. The new lab is set to open on Saturday.
Benjamin Brink The Oregonian/Landov

You might think that in a world of Google and Wikipedia, people who love technology wouldn't care much about the musty old local public library. But, according to a new report by the Pew Research Internet Project, you'd be wrong.

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5:22am

Fri January 31, 2014
Author Interviews

What Wakes B.J. Novak Up In The Middle Of The Night?

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 7:58 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

When we talk about a triple threat we're often talking about a versatile athlete. Think about a basketball player who can score, defend, and rebound. In show biz, B. J. Novak may be that triple threat. He can do standup, act, and write successfully in all cases. He got his start doing standup comedy. That led to a job on the hit comedy series "The Office" where he had a regular part and was one of the writers.

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4:58am

Tue January 28, 2014
Books News & Features

The Annual Awards For Children's Books Are Out

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 8:20 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK, the Grammy Awards are behind us. The Oscars are around the corner. And now, we have another award that also gets a lot of attention this time of year, from people who love kids' books.

The American Library Association has announced this year's Caldecott and Newbery Award winners. NPR's Lynn Neary reports.

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7:08pm

Wed January 8, 2014
Author Interviews

In An Age Of Slavery, Two Women Fight For Their 'Wings'

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:29 pm

iStockphoto

Sue Monk Kidd's new novel is a story told by two women whose lives are wrapped together — beginning, against their wills, when they're young girls. One is a slave; the other, her reluctant owner. One strives her whole life to be free; the other rebels against her slave-owning family and becomes a prominent abolitionist and early advocate for women's rights.

The book, The Invention of Wings, takes on both slavery and feminism — and it's inspired by the life of a real historical figure.

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8:05am

Sat December 7, 2013
Books News & Features

Don't Call It Fanfic: Writers Rework Their Favorite Stories

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 12:43 pm

When writers finish a book, they may think they've had the last word. But sometimes another writer will decide there's more to the story. The madwoman Bertha from Jane Eyre and the father in Little Women are just two examples of secondary characters who have been given a fuller life in a new work of fiction based on a classic novel.

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4:09pm

Mon December 2, 2013
Parallels

E-Readers Mark A New Chapter In The Developing World

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 4:58 pm

A student at Ntimigom School in Kilgoris, Kenya, uses his e-reader.
Jon McCormack

A former Amazon executive who helped Jeff Bezos turn shopping into a digital experience has set out to end illiteracy. David Risher is now the head of Worldreader, a nonprofit organization that brings e-books to kids in developing countries through Kindles and cellphones.

Risher was traveling around the world with his family when he got the idea for Worldreader. They were doing volunteer work at an orphanage in Ecuador when he saw a building with a big padlock on the door. He asked a woman who worked there what was inside, and she said, "It's the library."

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5:05pm

Mon November 18, 2013
The Kennedy Assassination, 50 Years Later

50 Years After Assassination, Kennedy Books Offer New Analysis

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 6:27 pm

President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, are greeted by an enthusiastic crowd upon their arrival at Dallas Love Field on Nov. 22, 1963.
AP

In the 50 years since the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the public has never tired of books about the charismatic young president and his tragic death.

This year, the market has been particularly flooded with Kennedy books — from glossy photograph collections to serious biographies and histories to a new round of books devoted to conspiracy theories.

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4:53pm

Sun November 10, 2013
Author Interviews

A Panorama Of Devastation: Drawing Of WWI Battle Spans 24 Feet

Originally published on Sun November 10, 2013 6:58 pm

Detail from Plate 11 of Joe Sacco's The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme. On July 1st, at precisely 7:30 a.m., the attack commences.
Joe Sacco Courtesy of W. W. Norton & Company

Joe Sacco is a cartoonist, graphic novelist and journalist; he's best-known for his dispatches from today's regions of conflict, like the Middle East and Bosnia, in cartoon form. But for his latest book, The Great War, Sacco turns his eye on history. He's recreated of one of the worst battles of World War I, the first day of the Battle of the Somme, from its hopeful beginning to its brutal end.

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5:48am

Wed October 30, 2013
NPR Story

Brick-And-Mortar Bookstores Play The Print Card Against Amazon

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 5:24 am

Barnes & Noble is one of several stores that have refused to carry Amazon Publishing's books.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

When it comes to book publishing, all we ever seem to hear about is online sales, the growth of e-books and the latest version of a digital book reader. But the fact is, only 20 percent of the book market is e-books; it's still dominated by print. And a recent standoff in the book business shows how good old-fashioned, brick-and-mortar bookstores are still trying to wield their influence in the industry. You might even call it brick-and-mortar booksellers' revenge.

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5:02pm

Tue October 15, 2013
Books News & Features

'Quiet Dell' Revives A Depression-Era Murder Story

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 6:12 pm

Crowds gather on Aug. 30, 1931, at the site of the Quiet Dell murders. Evidence of the killings was found in and around murderer Harry Powers' garage (center).
AP

The Quiet Dell murders were among the first big, sensational crime stories of the Depression: A serial killer corresponded with vulnerable widows he met through lonely hearts clubs, then lured them to their deaths.

As a child, writer Jayne Anne Phillips learned about the murders from her mother, who was a child in 1931, when the murders took place. Phillips says she didn't talk a lot about the tragedy, but whenever they drove close to where the crime occurred — near Clarksburg, W.Va. — her mother would say, "There's the road to Quiet Dell."

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3:36am

Mon September 23, 2013
Author Interviews

Political Violence, Uneasy Silence Echo In Lahiri's 'Lowland'

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 2:02 pm

Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies.
Marco Delogu Courtesy of Knopf

Earlier this month, Jhumpa Lahiri rejected the idea of immigrant fiction. "I don't know what to make of the term," she told The New York Times. "All American fiction could be classified as immigrant fiction."

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4:44pm

Mon September 16, 2013
Books News & Features

National Book Awards Look To Raise Profile ... And It's Not The First Time

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 2:19 pm

Click here to see the full list." href="/post/national-book-awards-look-raise-profile-and-its-not-first-time" class="noexit lightbox">
The 2013 National Book Award long list for Young People's Literature was announced Monday. Click here to see the full list.
nationalbook.org

You may be hearing a lot about the National Book Awards this week — at least that's what the National Book Foundation hopes. That's because they've made some changes to the awards that they hope will get more people talking about them. Over four days starting Monday, they will roll out their nominees in four different categories — beginning with Young People's Literature and ending Thursday with Fiction.

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3:25am

Thu September 5, 2013
Author Interviews

'Winter's Bone' Author Revisits A Tragedy In His Ozarks Hometown

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 6:42 pm

Daniel Woodrell's novel Winter's Bone -- a dark family saga set in the Ozarks — was adapted into a film in 2010. Woodrell returned to his hometown of West Plains, Mo., about 20 years ago and has been writing there ever since.
Alexander Klein AFP/Getty Images

The Ozarks mountain town of West Plains, Mo., is the kind of town where a person can stand in his front yard and have a comfortable view of his past.

"My mom was actually born about 150 or 200 feet that way, and my grandfather's house is I guess 200 yards that way," says Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone, and most recently, The Maid's Version.

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5:31am

Wed August 21, 2013
Remembrances

Crime Novelist Elmore Leonard Dies At 87

Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 12:03 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Elmore Leonard, sometimes called the Dickens of Detroit, created some of the most memorable characters in modern crime fiction. The 87-year-old writer died after suffering a stroke several weeks ago. Until then, he had never stopped writing. His first book, published in 1953, was a Western. Later, he turned to crime novels and left an indelible imprint on that genre. NPR's Lynn Neary has this remembrance.

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6:59am

Mon August 5, 2013
Books News & Features

E-Books Strain Relations Between Libraries, Publishing Houses

Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 2:23 pm

iStockphoto.com

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

E-books have strained the relations between libraries and the major publishing houses. Libraries say they're being cut out of the market because publishers are afraid they could lose money selling e-books to libraries. After much negotiation, the publishers are experimenting with new ways of doing business. But some libraries are already looking to bypass the high prices and restrictions that publishers place on e-books.

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5:37pm

Mon July 15, 2013
Books News & Features

How Scholastic Sells Literacy To Generations Of New Readers

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 6:13 pm

Scholastic started out in 1920 as a four-page magazine written for high school students. Above, an early issue published in September 1922.
Courtesy of Scholastic

Chances are you have had contact with Scholastic Publishing at some point in your life: You might have read their magazines in school, or bought a book at one of their book fairs, or perhaps you've read Harry Potter or The Hunger Games? From its humble beginning as publisher of a magazine for high schoolers, Scholastic has become a $2 billion business and one of the biggest children's book publishers in the world.

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7:03am

Tue July 9, 2013
Critics' Lists: Summer 2013

Best Of The Summer: 6 Books The Critics Adore

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 4:30 pm

Andrew Bannecker

There is no one definition of a summer book. It can be a 1,000-page biography, a critically acclaimed literary novel, a memoir everyone is talking about — or it might be your favorite guilty pleasure: romance, crime, science fiction. Whatever you choose, it should be able to sweep you away to another world, because there is nothing like getting totally lost in a book on summer day. Here are a few books that swept away some of our favorite critics.

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8:08am

Sat June 29, 2013
The Salt

Preserving The Season's Fruits With A Canning Evangelist

Originally published on Sat June 29, 2013 3:44 pm

For the sweetest, smoothest strawberry jam, author Kevin West suggests staying as far away as possible from what he calls "Pamela Anderson fruit": the big strawberries found in regular supermarkets. He prefers picking small, red berries from farm stands, instead.
Kevin West Knopf

Shopping at a farmers market on a weekend morning can turn bittersweet if your eye for just-picked summer fruit is bigger than your refrigerator and appetite.

That's a crisis first-time cookbook author Kevin West found himself in a few years back. After one particular farmers market spree, West's buyer's remorse came from a big package of fresh strawberries.

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4:51pm

Tue June 11, 2013
Monkey See

What Kids Are Reading, In School And Out

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 7:11 pm

iStockphoto.com

Walk into any bookstore or library, and you'll find shelves and shelves of hugely popular novels and book series for kids. But research shows that as young readers get older, they are not moving to more complex books. High-schoolers are reading books written for younger kids, and teachers aren't assigning difficult classics as much as they once did.

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6:22pm

Tue June 4, 2013
Author Interviews

McCann's 'TransAtlantic' Crosses Fiction And Fact, Ireland And U.S.

Colum McCann won the National Book Award in 2009 for Let the Great World Spin.
Dustin Aksland

About five years ago, Colum McCann stumbled upon a small piece of history he had never known: In 1845, Frederick Douglass, then an escaped slave who was already famous for his anti-slavery writings and speeches, visited Ireland to raise money and support for his cause. McCann says he knew almost immediately that he wanted to turn this historical fact into fiction: "This intersection between history and fiction, between what is real and what is not real, fascinates me," he says.

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5:00pm

Mon March 25, 2013
Same-Sex Marriage And The Supreme Court

How Ellen DeGeneres Helped Change The Conversation About Gays

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 5:59 pm

Ellen DeGeneres during a taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2011 in Burbank, Calif.
Michael Rozman/Warner Bros. AP

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.

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3:40am

Tue March 5, 2013
Author Interviews

'Wave' Tells A True Story Of Survival And Loss In The 2004 Tsunami

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 7:56 am

This Dec. 26, 2004, photograph shows a trail of destruction in the southern Sri Lankan town of Lunawa after tidal waves lashed more than half of Sri Lanka's coastline.
Sena Vidanagama AFP/Getty Images

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.

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4:14pm

Mon January 28, 2013
All Tech Considered

E-Readers Track How We Read, But Is The Data Useful To Authors?

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 6:23 pm

Data gleaned from e-readers gives writers a new kind of feedback to take into consideration — or ignore.
iStockphoto.com

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."

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4:18pm

Fri December 28, 2012
Books

'Fifty Shades' Is The One That Got Away. At Least From Me

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 5:06 pm

Vintage Books

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.

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3:49am

Wed December 19, 2012
Books News & Features

Self-Publishing: No Longer Just A Vanity Project

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 5:44 am

iStockphoto.com

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.

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