Books

As second novels go, this one should prove a doozy. More than five decades after Harper Lee published her first — and, so far, only — novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lee's publisher has announced that she plans to release a new one. The book, currently titled Go Set a Watchman, will be published July 14.

What if you could drink the elixir of life — sip from a magical spring that would make you live forever? Would you do it? That's the question at the heart of Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting, a celebrated book for young readers that's marking its 40th anniversary this year.

In the book, 10-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles upon a secret spring and the family the spring has given eternal life to. The father, Angus Tuck, takes Winnie out in a rowboat to explain how unnatural it is to live forever; how the great wheel of life has to turn:

David Williams

A Houston author who went to high school in San Antonio returns to the Alamo City for a bookstore visit.

“I am Walker Smith; I write historical novels.”

Smith has a fascinating backstory.

“My mother was a sort of beatnik type — a very literary beatnik type, [who] listened to classical and jazz. My father was a jazz musician. He was a drummer.”

They didn’t have money, but they used their library card a lot. And she could tell she had a literary bent of mind.

“It was either going to be music or it was going to be literature, so it ended up being both.”

Fans of Ayn Rand rejoice. The New American Library announced today that Rand's novel Ideal is finally being published in the form in which she intended it.

Rand, who died in 1982, wrote Ideal as a novel in 1934. But she didn't like it and set it aside. Later that year, she reworked it as a play, which The Wall Street Journal notes had its New York premiere in 2010.

Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews three jazz books out this holiday season—a singer's biography, a pianist's autobiography, and a fat coffee table book. Whitehead says they're all worth a look, though he has a couple of quibbles — and also a confession.

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