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05:32

A Critic Tours 'Echo Spring,' Home Of Beloved Boozy Writers.

A new book by critic Olivia Laing explores the link between alcohol and writing through the commentaries of famous writers who were themselves alcoholics. Fresh Air's Maureen Corrigan calls Laing's readings "exquisite," and says she wisely avoids "any one-size-fits-all conclusions about the bond between the pen and the bottle."

05:31

Jane Austen's 'Pride And Prejudice' At 200.

As the classic novel celebrates its bicentennial, Paula Byrne's The Real Jane Austen examines some of the key objects in Austen's life and how they reveal a much more cosmopolitan awareness of the world than is commonly credited to her.

05:47

George Saunders Lives Up To The Hype.

At the beginning of January, the cover story of The New York Times Magazine declared: "George Saunders Has Written The Best Book You'll Read This Year." The stories in the author's latest collection, The Tenth of December, prove that The Times may well be right.

20:28

Fresh Air Remembers Writer And Critic Gore Vidal.

We listen back to excerpts of interviews with the acerbic writer, who died Tuesday at 86. Vidal authored the historical novels Burr and Lincoln, wrote plays and provocative essays, ran for office twice — and lost — and frequently appeared on TV talk shows.

07:14

Remembering Wilfrid Sheed, A Master Of Wit.

Wilfrid Sheed, the satirical British essayist known for bringing his trademark wit to a wide range of novels, reviews and nonfiction books, died this week. He was 80. Fresh Air remembers the writer with excerpts from a 1988 interview.

06:39

Book Suggestions For A Passionate Holiday.

The act of passing on a passion is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Book critic Maureen Corrigan promises that the books on this list — mostly slim, unforgettable volumes about places or things that the writers themselves deeply love — are merrily infectious.

05:46

Correspondence Creatively Critiqued In 'Yours Ever.'

Yours Ever: People and Their Letters is a revelatory collection of the nutty and the noble encased in private correspondence. Book critic Maureen Corrigan says Thomas Mallon's unpredictable criticism knocks the book out of the realm of the ho-hum.

06:09

Making The Case For Intellectuals

Public intellectual George Scialabba contemplates the role of great — and not so great — thinkers in his new collection of essays, What Are Intellectuals Good For? Critic Maureen Corrigan calls it "a pleasure to read."

13:49

The Journalists Who Wouldn't Write Straight

Not long ago, "new journalism" referred to changes in approach and style, ushered in by such writers as Hunter S. Thompson and Joan Didion. They're the subject of Marc Weingarten's new book.

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