Maureen Corrigan

Maureen Corrigan, book critic for NPR's Fresh Air, is a critic-in-residence and lecturer at Georgetown University. She is an associate editor of and contributor to Mystery and Suspense Writers (Scribner) and the winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Criticism, presented by the Mystery Writers of America.

Corrigan served as a juror for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. Her book So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came To Be and Why It Endures was published by Little, Brown in September 2014 (paperback forthcoming May 2015). Corrigan is represented by Trinity Ray at The Tuesday Lecture Agency: trinity@tuesdayagency.com

Corrigan's literary memoir, Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading! was published in 2005. Corrigan is also a reviewer and columnist for The Washington Post's Book World. In addition to serving on the advisory panel of The American Heritage Dictionary, she has chaired the Mystery and Suspense judges' panel of the Los Angeles TimesBook Prize.

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2:01pm

Thu July 23, 2015
Book Reviews

Infidelity Is Steeped In Suspense In 'Among The Ten Thousand Things'

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 5:00 pm

lydia Thompson NPR

Talk about opening with a bang: at the beginning of Julia Pierpont's debut novel, Among the Ten Thousand Things, an 11-year-old girl named Kay Shanley enters the lobby of her New York City apartment building. We readers have already been clued into the fact that Kay is the kind of awkward, shy, pre-teen other girls ridicule. We just want her to get safely into her family's apartment and back to watching the Harry Potter movies she loves. But, just as the elevator doors are closing, the doorman signals for her to hold up.

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1:59pm

Mon July 13, 2015
Book Reviews

Harper Lee's 'Watchman' Is A Mess That Makes Us Reconsider A Masterpiece

Originally published on Mon July 13, 2015 3:11 pm

Cover detail from Go Set a Watchman.
Harper

As another Southern writer once said, "You can't go home again." In Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman, which takes place in the mid-1950s, a 26-year-old Scout Finch takes the train from New York City home to Maycomb, Ala., and finds the familiar world turned mighty strange.

TV and air-conditioning have changed the landscape, and beloved childhood friends like Dill and her brother Jem have vanished. Others, like Calpurnia, look at Scout, here called by her grown-up name of "Jean Louise," as though she were, well, a white lady.

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2:01pm

Mon July 6, 2015
Book Reviews

Dead-Cinch Thrillers: 4 Books To Get Your Heart Pounding

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 6:37 pm

Lydia Thompson NPR

I've just spent much of the past two weeks on my couch, reading suspense fiction. The result of all that heavy lifting is this list of recommendations — four thrillers, very different in style and MO, but all deadly accurate in their aim to entertain.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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2:05pm

Wed June 24, 2015
Book Reviews

'Patience And Fortitude' And The Fight To Save NYC's Storied Public Library

Originally published on Mon June 29, 2015 12:55 pm

Cover detail of Scott Sherman's Patience and Fortitude.
Melville House Books

Since it opened in 1911, the building has become a New York City landmark, praised not only for its beauty but also for its functional brilliance. In the words of one contemporary architect, the main branch of The New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street is "a perfect machine for reading." The grand Reading Room sits atop seven levels of iron and steel books stacks whose contents could, at one time, be delivered to anybody who requested a book within a matter of minutes via a small elevator. Those stacks also support the floor of the Reading Room above.

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3:37pm

Mon June 15, 2015
Book Reviews

Morally Messy Stories, Exquisitely Told, In Mia Alvar's 'In The Country'

Originally published on Thu June 18, 2015 5:00 pm

Lydia Thompson NPR

The initial "selling point" of Mia Alvar's debut short story collection, In the Country, is its fresh subject matter: namely, Filipinos living under martial law in the 1970s in their own country and in exile, working as maids, engineers, teachers, health care workers and hired hands in the Middle East and the United States.

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1:26pm

Mon June 8, 2015
Book Reviews

Bombs Blast And Time Marches On In 'A God In Ruins'

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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1:12pm

Tue June 2, 2015
Books

Four Books That Deliver Unexpected And Delightful Surprises This Summer

Originally published on Tue June 2, 2015 1:16 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Travel near and far, literary souvenirs and the cruise ship companionship of an animal are the subjects of the novels and works of nonfiction on Maureen Corrigan's list of early summer book recommendations.

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3:00pm

Wed May 13, 2015
Book Reviews

Misadventures And Absurdist Charm Take Root In 'George Orwell's House'

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 11:31 am

Emily Bogle NPR

In 1946, reeling from the death of his wife and seeking an escape from the demands of London literary life, Eric Blair, aka "George Orwell," moved to a cottage on the isle of Jura off the west coast of Scotland. What the place lacked in modern conveniences like electricity and running water, it perhaps made up for in misty views of the Atlantic and samplings of the local whiskey.

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1:41pm

Tue May 5, 2015
Book Reviews

'One Of Us' Examines The Damaged Inner Terrain Of Norwegian Mass Shooter

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 8:08 am

Emily Jan NPR

Columbine; Port Arthur, Australia; The Sikh Temple of Wisconsin; Newtown — the list goes on and on. And, by now, the elements of this type of massacre have become ritualized: usually one, but sometimes more than one, deeply disaffected person, almost always male, who is heavily armed with guns and/or explosives, targets the innocent. In the aftermath, which sometimes includes a trial, the crucial question of "Why?" is never really answered. Instead, most of us are left to wonder how any human being, however twisted, could be capable of such horror.

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3:25pm

Tue April 21, 2015
Book Reviews

Revisiting A Suburbia-Gone-Sour In Ross Macdonald's Crime Fiction

Originally published on Tue April 21, 2015 4:54 pm

Ross Macdonald had a smart answer to the tedious question of why he devoted his considerable talents to writing "mere" detective stories: Macdonald said that the detective story was "a kind of welder's mask enabling writers to handle dangerously hot material." Like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler (the great hard-boiled masters whom he revered), Macdonald set out to excavate the dark depths of American life, but to find his own "dangerously hot material" Macdonald descended into uncharted territory.

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2:29pm

Tue April 14, 2015
Book Reviews

'The Children's Crusade': A Heavily Plotted Family Saga To Dive Into And Savor

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 5:13 pm

Ann Packer's new novel, The Children's Crusade, opens in California, on a scene that's so bedrock American, it's borderline corny.

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3:38pm

Mon March 30, 2015
Book Reviews

Open A Critic's 'Poetry Notebook' And Find The Works That Shaped Him

Clive James — an author, critic, broadcaster, poet, translator and memoirist — was diagnosed with leukemia a few years ago.
Courtesy of Liveright

Clive James' most anthologized poem is commonly known by its first two lines: "The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered/And I Am Pleased." Those lines tell the uninitiated almost all they need to know about the pleasures to be found in reading James: chief among them, his wit and his appreciation of the underlying absurdity of so much literary effort — including his own.

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2:37pm

Wed March 25, 2015
Book Reviews

Do You Believe In Ghosts? You Might After Reading This Book

Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 6:13 pm

Who doesn't love a good ghost story? The unseen hand moving a cup or the shadow climbing a staircase promises an existence beyond our mundane realities. Hannah Nordhaus' new book, American Ghost, is an offbeat mishmosh of memoir, cultural history, genealogical detective story and paranormal investigation, but it opens in the classic manner of spooky tales — with a sighting.

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3:39pm

Thu March 12, 2015
Book Reviews

How We Deal With Loss In Different Ways In Two Beautifully Written Memoirs

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 7:16 pm

Loss is the rough tie that binds two memoirs that, otherwise, are as different as day and night. What Comes Next and How to Like It is a sequel of sorts to Abigail Thomas' best-selling 2006 memoir, A Three Dog Life, which chronicled the one-two punch death of her husband — by her account, a sweetheart of a guy who took their dog out for a walk one afternoon in New York and was hit by a car. He suffered brain injuries and lingered for five years. Even after that catastrophe, more losses now loom for Thomas.

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2:09pm

Thu March 5, 2015
Book Reviews

In 'The Buried Giant,' Exhausted Medieval Travelers 'Can't Go On,' But So 'Go On'

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

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