Petra Mayer http://publicradioeast.org en Winging It: Biking Around Again In Margaritaville http://publicradioeast.org/post/winging-it-biking-around-again-margaritaville I love Key West, and I go there as often as possible: pina coladas, drag queens, shady hammocks, feral chickens — it's the best. There's just one problem: everyone gets around the island by bike, and I've never learned to ride one. Obviously that had to change.<p>Why didn't I learn? I really don't remember, and neither did my mom, when I asked her about the one time my parents tried to teach me. "You got on a big bicycle that was so big you couldn't really turn the wheels and got discouraged."<p>I've tried to learn a few times since then — particularly after I discovered Key West. Sun, 29 Dec 2013 10:08:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 30835 at http://publicradioeast.org Winging It: Biking Around Again In Margaritaville Allons-y! Why We've Been Traveling With 'Doctor Who' For 50 Years http://publicradioeast.org/post/allons-y-why-weve-been-traveling-doctor-who-50-years This afternoon, millions of fez-wearing fans around the world will tune in to a very special episode of <em>Doctor Who</em>. The venerable British sci-fi series turns 50 today — though the time traveling alien Doctor himself is probably somewhere on the wrong side of 1,000.<p>From scrappy, low-budget beginnings (bubble-wrap monsters, anyone?), <em>Doctor Who</em> has become a global phenomenon. Only soap operas can match it for longevity and popularity. So what's the secret to the Doctor's appeal?<p>Well, let's start with a ringtone — mine, to be exact. Sat, 23 Nov 2013 09:21:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 28375 at http://publicradioeast.org Allons-y! Why We've Been Traveling With 'Doctor Who' For 50 Years 'Boxers & Saints' & Compassion: Questions For Gene Luen Yang http://publicradioeast.org/post/boxers-saints-compassion-quesions-gene-luen-yang Gene Luen Yang broke out in 2006 with <em>American Born Chinese</em>, the first graphic novel nominated for a National Book Award. It weaves three stories — about a Chinese-American boy, a terrible stereotype named Chin-Kee and the mythical Monkey King — into a complex tapestry of identity and assimilation.<p>Yang returns to the theme of identity and sense of self in his latest book, another National Book Award candidate. <em>Boxers & Saints</em> is a diptych following a Chinese boy and girl as their lives are upended by the Boxer Rebellion. Tue, 22 Oct 2013 19:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 26050 at http://publicradioeast.org 'Boxers & Saints' & Compassion: Questions For Gene Luen Yang Austen Unvarnished: Q&A With Jo Baker, Author Of 'Longbourn' http://publicradioeast.org/post/austen-unvarnished-qa-jo-baker-author-longbourn The world of Jane Austen — gracious country houses, empire-waist dresses, card parties and suppers and genteel raillery and a touch of social anxiety — is familiar literary ground. And no house is more familar and comforting than Longbourn, home to Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. But what goes on behind the scenes? Who irons those dresses and prepares those suppers? Thu, 10 Oct 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 25205 at http://publicradioeast.org Austen Unvarnished: Q&A With Jo Baker, Author Of 'Longbourn' Fans Are Like Friends To 'Reigning Queen' Of Women's Fiction http://publicradioeast.org/post/fans-are-friends-reigning-queen-womens-fiction Go to your nearest paperback rack, and odds are, you'll see two or three, or four, or — well, a lot of books by Debbie Macomber, an author <em>The Sacramento Bee</em> has dubbed "the reigning queen of women's fiction."<p>Macomber has 170 million books in print; the newest, <em>Rose Harbor in Bloom</em>, has just been released. Sun, 18 Aug 2013 18:22:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 21306 at http://publicradioeast.org Fans Are Like Friends To 'Reigning Queen' Of Women's Fiction School's Out: 5 Great Summer Reads For Teens http://publicradioeast.org/post/schools-out-5-great-summer-reads-teens I'm surrounded here at NPR Books by people with sophisticated, grown-up tastes — happy to dive into the latest Claire Messud or Daniel Alarcon or James Salter. Meanwhile, give me — any day — a book about teenagers (and preferably dragons). A good YA novel is a polished gem of solid storytelling, but more than that, it draws us back in time to the teenagers we once were — or never were, or wanted desperately to be. Tue, 11 Jun 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 16143 at http://publicradioeast.org School's Out: 5 Great Summer Reads For Teens 'Cinnamon And Gunpowder': Haute Cuisine On The High Seas http://publicradioeast.org/post/cinnamon-and-gunpowder-haute-cuisine-high-seas Food porn and rip-roaring pirate adventure are two great tastes that taste great together in Eli Brown's rollicking <em>Cinnamon and Gunpowder</em>. Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:01:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 15760 at http://publicradioeast.org 'Cinnamon And Gunpowder': Haute Cuisine On The High Seas Questions For Barbara J. King, Author Of 'How Animals Grieve' http://publicradioeast.org/post/questions-barbara-j-king-author-how-animals-grieve Attributing human characteristics to animals makes for great cartoons, but it's not usually considered rigorous science. Now, a new book argues that animals do think and feel in ways similar to humans.<p>Barbara J. King is a professor of anthropology and a commentator on NPR's science blog, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/">13.7</a>. Mon, 27 May 2013 12:33:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 14973 at http://publicradioeast.org Questions For Barbara J. King, Author Of 'How Animals Grieve' A Bird-Watching Babe In The Woods Stumbles Toward Maturity http://publicradioeast.org/post/bird-watching-babe-woods-stumbles-toward-maturity Oh no, I thought, cracking open Brian Kimberling's debut novel, <em>Snapper</em>. It's a collection of linked stories. Starring an aimless birdwatcher. Who drives an ancient, glitter-encrusted pickup truck named Gypsy Moth and has a grand passion for an honest-to-God <a href="http://www.npr.org/2008/10/09/95507953/manic-pixie-dream-girls-a-cinematic-scourge">Manic Pixie Dream Girl</a> with red hair, floaty dresses, a flute and a killer pancake recipe. And her name is Lola. Lola! I was braced for a thorough beat-down with the dreaded Whimsy Hammer.<p>But then the book ... Tue, 23 Apr 2013 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 12347 at http://publicradioeast.org A Bird-Watching Babe In The Woods Stumbles Toward Maturity Samba, Spiderbots And 'Summer' Love In Far-Future Brazil http://publicradioeast.org/post/samba-spiderbots-and-summer-love-far-future-brazil In the 17th century, fugitive slaves founded a free community in the mountains of northeastern Brazil. They called it Palmares. Thu, 07 Mar 2013 15:27:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 8853 at http://publicradioeast.org Samba, Spiderbots And 'Summer' Love In Far-Future Brazil Questions For Alaya Dawn Johnson, Author Of 'The Summer Prince' http://publicradioeast.org/post/questions-alaya-dawn-johnson-author-summer-prince <strong></strong>Alaya Dawn Johnson has written a number of novels for adults (including the delightful <a href="http://www.npr.org/books/titles/172038315/moonshine">Zephyr Hollis</a> series), and now she's venturing onto the young adult shelves with <em>The Summer Prince</em>, a complex science-fiction narrative set in post-apocalyptic Brazil. The action takes place in the city of Palmares Tres, which is entirely contained in a giant pyramidal structure on a bay, surrounded and fed by giant algae vats. Fri, 15 Feb 2013 12:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 7379 at http://publicradioeast.org Questions For Alaya Dawn Johnson, Author Of 'The Summer Prince' Catching The 'Shadow' Of A Lost World http://publicradioeast.org/post/catching-shadow-lost-world Photographer Edward Curtis started off his career at the tail end of the 19th century, making portraits of Seattle's wealthiest citizens. But a preoccupation with Native Americans and a chance encounter on a mountaintop triggered an idea: Curtis decided to chronicle the experience of the vanishing tribes — all of them. It was an unbelievably ambitious project that would define Curtis, his work and his legacy.<p>Writer Tim Egan has just completed a new biography of Curtis. It's called <em>Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: the Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis</em>. Sun, 07 Oct 2012 10:15:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 3107 at http://publicradioeast.org Catching The 'Shadow' Of A Lost World A Mashup Of Mundane And Magical In 'Dragonslayer' http://publicradioeast.org/post/mashup-mundane-and-magical-dragonslayer It's been a big year — well, a big few years — for young adult fiction, which I'm not going to complain about in the slightest; nothing beats a good YA novel for pure storytelling punch. But I might complain, just a little, about the overwhelming sameness of some of the plots. Dystopian futures, quiet-yet-spunky teenage girls, doomed love triangles — sound familiar? Suzanne Collins has a lot to answer for. Thu, 04 Oct 2012 11:03:00 +0000 Petra Mayer 2892 at http://publicradioeast.org A Mashup Of Mundane And Magical In 'Dragonslayer'