Petra Mayer

Petra Mayer is an associate editor and resident nerd at NPR Books, focusing on genre fiction. She brings to the job passion, speed-reading skills, and a truly impressive collection of Doctor Who doodads.

Previously, she was an associate producer and director for the weekend editions of All Things Considered. She handled all of the show's books coverage, and she was also the person to ask if you wanted to know how much snow falls outside NPR's Washington headquarters on a Saturday, how to belly dance, or what pro wrestling looks like up close and personal.

Mayer originally came to NPR as an engineering assistant in 1994, while still attending Amherst College. After three years spending summers honing her soldering skills in the maintenance shop, she made the jump to Boston's WBUR as a newswriter in 1997. Mayer returned to NPR in 2000 after a roundabout journey that included a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a two-year stint as a producer at the Prague headquarters of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. While at Columbia, she made a three-part documentary on pirate radio in America.

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7:51am

Sun June 28, 2015
The Salt

Do Try This At Home: Hacking Ribs — In The Pressure Cooker

Originally published on Wed July 1, 2015 11:59 am

To make baby back ribs in an hour, instead of the usual three to four hours, you'll need a pressure cooker.
Photo Illustration by Ryan Kellman and Emily Bogle NPR

This summer, NPR is getting crafty in the kitchen. As part of Weekend Edition's Do Try This At Home series, chefs are sharing their cleverest hacks and tips — taking expensive, exhausting or intimidating recipes and tweaking them to work in any home kitchen.

This week: Making delicious, fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs in only about an hour — with a surprising piece of kitchen equipment.

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7:03am

Sat June 20, 2015
Book News & Features

Summer Of Love: Meet Our Expert Panelists!

Originally published on Mon June 22, 2015 1:20 pm

Mary McLain

While our intern is diligently tallying up the 18,000 nominations that came in for the Summer of Love reader poll (sorry, Intern Laura!), we thought we'd take the time to introduce you to the expert panel that will help us wrestle this massive list down to 100 finalists.

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7:03am

Thu June 11, 2015
Book News & Features

Tell Us About Your Favorite Romances — It's The NPR Books Summer Of Love!

Originally published on Fri June 19, 2015 5:12 pm

Mary McLain NPR

We're bringing back our famous summer reader poll this year, and as the days get longer (and the nights get hotter), we think it's the perfect time to celebrate romance.

Whether you love historicals, paranormals, inspirationals, young adult, Amish, romantic suspense, contemporaries (or, like some people around here, you'd be perfectly happy never leaving the Regency), we want to hear about it! And with your help, we'll spend this summer putting together a great big bonbon box of 100 delicious love stories.

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4:58pm

Mon May 4, 2015
Book News & Features

Ruth Rendell Dies, Pioneered The Psychological Thriller

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 2:02 am

Ruth Rendell won countless awards for her work, including the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master Award and the Crime Writers' Association Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement.
Jerry Bauer

Famed British crime writer Ruth Rendell died this past weekend in London. She was 85 and had suffered a stroke in January.

Best known for her long-running Inspector Wexford series — which was adapted for television — she pioneered a psychological approach to thriller writing. She also wrote darker, more contemplative books as Barbara Vine. In her later years, she was made a baroness and took up Labour Party politics.

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11:18am

Thu April 30, 2015
The Two-Way

Dozens Of Writers Join Protest Of Free Speech Award For 'Charlie Hebdo'

Originally published on Thu April 30, 2015 2:28 pm

This pair of Charlie Hebdo covers from 2012 pokes fun at the magazine's "irresponsible" approach to humor.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

The protest over a free speech award to Charlie Hebdo continues to grow.

Earlier this week, six authors withdrew from the PEN American Center's annual gala in response to the organization's decision to give the French satirical magazine its Freedom of Expression Courage Award.

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2:21pm

Fri April 3, 2015
Author Interviews

Questions For David Levithan, Author Of 'Hold Me Closer'

Emily Jan NPR

Tiny Cooper is your new boyfriend (well, not mine, he doesn't swing that way). Readers met the flamboyant high school football player and would-be musical impresario as a side character in the 2010 novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson and fell in love — about as quickly as Tiny did with each of his 18 exes.

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5:40pm

Thu March 12, 2015
Remembrances

Author Terry Pratchett Was No Stranger To Death

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 7:44 pm

Terry Pratchett wrote more than 70 books.
Rob Wilkins Courtesy of Doubleday

Fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett was prolific: He wrote more than 70 books, dozens of them about the Discworld — a flat planet borne through space by four elephants on the back of a giant turtle. Pratchett died Thursday at age 66. He had been suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

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3:26am

Mon November 3, 2014
Book News & Features

After 'Fifty Shades,' Could This Be The Next Big Online Hit?

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 11:49 am

Charles Sykes /AP

Much like Fifty Shades of Grey, After is an epic, erotic fan fiction that's being repackaged by a major publishing house. But where Fifty Shades was inspired by the Twilight books, After is loosely based on real people: The British boy band One Direction. And the first volume of After has just hit stores — but let's rewind a little, to those words, "fan fiction." I know, you're probably making a face right now, but bear with me.

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7:07pm

Sat October 18, 2014
Author Interviews

Back Across The Wall: Questions For Garth Nix

Cover crop

Australian author Garth Nix anticipated the boom in young adult literature almost 20 years ago with Sabriel, a dark and delightful tale of a young woman from a long line of necromancers tasked with making sure the dead stay dead. Sabriel and its sequels Lirael and Abhorsen were set in two neighboring countries divided by a mysterious wall: to the south, unmagical Ancelstierre, roughly analogous to 1920s England — and to the north, the Old Kingdom, saturated by magic and menaced by the roaming Dead.

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7:46am

Sun September 21, 2014
Book News & Features

Finding A Voice — Again — In The Pages Of A Comic Book

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 11:15 am

Recall and Given recasts the story of David Rector and Roz Alexander-Kasparik as a superhero comic.
Roz Alexander-Kasparik

This is a story about love. It's a story about bad things happening to good people, about memory and perseverance — and comic books. But most of all, it's a story about a voice. A mellow, smooth voice, just right for late-night jazz.

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