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Book Reviews 01/2014

Book Review: 'My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places' by Mary Roach
My Planet: Finding Humor in the Oddest Places, by the New York Times's Mary Roach, will keep you laughing as you read and turn the pages. The stories are timeless and carefully chosen by the Reader's Digest editors. My Planet focuses on many different ...

Comic Book Review: 'Goatman' Written and Illustrated by Tim Vargulish
Horror comics are a big deal right now. Some of that can probably be attributed to the runaway success of Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's The Walking Dead – which was huge even before the television adaptation – and the fact that zombies in general ...

Book Review: Undoing Border Imperialism
Somehow, amidst a flurry of events and other work, she found the time to grace us with her first book, Undoing Border Imperialism, which came out with Oakland's AK Press in the fall. In more ways than one, the book is a true manifestation of theory ...

'The Purity of Vengence' by Jussi Adler-Olsen
The first three books were real gems, finely tuned stage comedy among the three misfits interwoven with outrageous criminal action and taut pacing. The fourth book, “The Purity of Vengeance,'' is written with a different kind of force and seems closer ...

BOOK REVIEW: 'Forgotten Ally'
The complex story of China in World War II is now told by Rana Mitter, a professor of history and politics at Oxford, and the author of several books on modern China. He writes with rare objectivity on subjects that remain controversial today, and his ...

Book Review: Thrive by Mark Hall
Mark Hall, lead singer of US Christian band Casting Crowns, has written a book to be released alongside their new album, called 'Thrive', by the same name. Aimed at teens in particular, Hall draws on his own experience as a follower of Jesus and a ...

Book Review - Americanah and the Diaspora
When people go overseas for studies or work, they are perceived differently, just as when they come back home to settle. However, not so many people want to find out the kind of struggles they go through during their stint overseas. Americanah takes us ...

Book review: 2nd volume of 'Verse by Verse' explores the Savior in the Old ...
Book review: 2nd volume of 'Verse by Verse' explores the Savior in the Old ...

Book Review: "Taste, Memory" by David Buchanan
We buy fruits, vegetables and meats from local farmers as a way to help our economy and get good, fresh food. But author and farmer David Buchanan believes truly local food must pass the test of time. Betsy Kepes reviews his book Taste, Memory ...

Book Review 'The Little Demon' by Fyodor Sologub
Given their penchant for cramming their stories and novels full of devils and demons, you'd think the great progressive Russian writers were trying to stake themselves a corner of the Halloween market. Consider, for example, something like Bulgakov's ...

Book review: 'Little Failure: A Memoir' by Gary Shteyngart
“After finishing the book you hold in your hands,” he relates, “I went back and reread the three novels I've written, an exercise that left me shocked by the overlaps between fiction and reality I found on those pages, by how blithely I've used the ...

Book Review Roundup
Bloggers review books so book publicity folks send me the latest. I get serious theological tomes, the latest Catholic fiction, spirituality self help, autobiographies. You name it. The problem is that many years ago now I made myself a little promise ...

Edward III and the Triumph of England, By Richard Barber: Book review
Richard Barber's book focusses on both the battle of Crécy, and the establishment, two years later, of the Order of the Garter. The Garter proved Edward's most lasting legacy, surviving as the senior order of chivalry in the United Kingdom. Even today ...

'The Empty Chair' by Bruce Wagner
Like many of Wagner's earlier books — including his cellphone trilogy “I'm Losing You,” “I'll Let You Go,” and “Still Holding” — “The Empty Chair” has as much philosophical weight as it does flashy surface. In both novellas, Wagner chronicles the ...

BOOK REVIEW: 'One Souffle at a Time'
There are many food writers in the English-speaking world who have made it their mission to bring French food back to their unawakened compatriots. Some, such as Julia Child, became media superstars. However, among them and animated by an almost ...

Book Review: The Husband's Secret ... The Truth can be a Bitch
If you found a letter from your husband that you weren't find unless he had died, would you go ahead and read it anyway? Be careful—your husband's secret may just change your life. And not in a "I've left you $20 million in a Swiss bank account" kind ...

Book review: Water, water, everywhere in Lamb's newest novel
This book is a story about questions and the people who always ask them as well as the people who arrogantly think they know all the answers. The story takes place over two decades and involves residents of a lovely New England property. In the 1950s ...

Book review: Inspector Wexford assists in the case of the dead vicar
At the end of "No Man's Nightingale," author Ruth Rendell tells us that if this were a Victorian novel, one of the major characters would be sure to marry retired Chief Inspector Wexford's grandson. In a way, however, this latest Wexford mystery, No ...

Book review | 'Bloody Breathitt'
T.R.C. Hutton, a scholar at the University of Tennessee, challenges these notions in his important book, “Bloody Breathitt: Politics and Violence in the Appalachian South.” Through his meticulous examination of Breathitt County's history, Hutton ...

Book review | 'The Funeral Dress'
The chapters in “The Funeral Dress” alternate between Emmalee and Leona while also jumping back and forth in time. This builds tension for both past and future action. The book jacket tells the reader that Leona dies on her way to pick up Emmalee and ...

Book review | 'First Class'
Author and journalist Alison Stewart has written a well-researched look at Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C., the first public high school for African Americans in the U.S. Stewart, whose parents were graduates, begins “First Class ...

Death of The Black-Haired Girl
If you've never read Stone, this is not the place to start — I know that because it's the place where I started. Death of the Black-Haired Girl concerns a callous college professor having an affair with a fiery, loose-cannon student. When he dumps her ...

On Such a Full Sea
He sets his latest work, On Such a Full Sea, in a chaotic, dystopian America, but I'm happy to report that at its heart it's still very much another deeply soulful Chang-rae Lee novel. Like a lot of the end-of-the-world allegories that are popular ...

Book Review Podcast: Diving Into the Wreck
In The New York Times Book Review, Andrew Sean Greer reviews Chang-rae Lee's new novel, “On Such a Full Sea.” Mr. Greer writes: Watching a talented writer take a risk is one of the pleasures of devoted reading, and “On Such a Full Sea” provides all ...

THE INVENTION OF WINGS Sue Monk Kidd
Oprah's latest book-club pick centers on Sarah Grimké, a slave owner's daughter, and her 11th-birthday gift, ''Handful,'' a slave she accepts with a secret promise to liberate her. Via the girls' alternating perspectives, Kidd, author of The Secret ...

Book Review: 'The Sea and Civilization' by Lincoln Paine
The container revolution of the 1950s and '60s, brilliantly described in the last chapter of the book, has driven down the costs of seaborne transport by more than 80%: It is one of the keys to contemporary "globalization." Anyone on a ferry or cruise ...

Book Review: 'Empire of Secrets'
"Empire of Secrets" is the first book on the twilight of empire to be based on declassified intelligence records and includes detailed case studies of Palestine, Malaya and Africa, with a more general overview of imperial security during the first two ...

A Critic Tours 'Echo Spring,' Home Of Beloved Boozy Writers
It's the quintessential "dog bites man" story. I'm talking about a new book I just read about a group of famous writers who — get this — drank too much! I know, right? That's pretty much the equivalent of saying I just read a book about a group of ...

Tough Commute This Morning? Your 'Journey' Could Have Been Worse
As if that weren't demoralizing enough, they still faced a two-month journey back through minus-80 degree weather; their attempt to make it to base camp alive is riveting, even if you know from history books that the primary team is doomed to die of ...

Book Review: 'Piero's Light' by Larry Witham
If Botticelli is the most loved Italian painter of the early Renaissance, then Piero della Francesca (c. 1413-92) is the most revered. The work of almost every other figurative artist seems fussy, histrionic, noisy and slapdash in comparison with Piero ...

Book Review: 'Fortune Tellers' by Walter Friedman
The pioneers of the impossible business of predicting the financial future are the subject of Walter Friedman's carefully wrought "Fortune Tellers." Luckily, the book arrives in time for the New Year's forecasting season. Do you itch to know whether ...

Book Review: 'Friendship' by AC Grayling
According to this analysis, our current habit of fickle friending creates too many shallow relationships and few substantial ones. While Twitter and Facebook provide a superficial sense of connection to other people, such relationships tend to be self ...

Book Review: 'My Age of Anxiety' by Scott Stossel
"My Age of Anxiety," his wide-ranging and personally revealing new book, reflects his desire "to find some redemptive quality or mitigating benefit to my being, too often, a quivering, quaking, neurotic wreck." All of us have our worries, but we're ...

Book Review: 'Return of the Mothman' by Michael Knost
Bram Stoker Award-winning author and editor Michael Knost's new novel, Return of the Mothman, is in some ways a classic monster story, drawing on the Mothman legend, but in other ways, it is something different, a small-town, character-driven horror ...

'The White Lie' by Andrea Gillies
Set in Scotland at a grand but crumbling familial estate called Peattie and stretching in time across the 20th century and into the 21st, the book tells and retells, and then retells a bit more, the story of what happened to Michael Salter, the oldest ...

Book review: Author shares lessons, insights into Book of Isaiah
Christensen, a retired LDS Church Educational System instructor and coordinator, said his target audience for this book is members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have likely always known that Isaiah is an important book but have ...

Book Review: 'The Boys on the Bus' by Timothy Crouse
When Theodore White published his iconic The Making of the President 1960, no one could have predicted its unintended consequences. Up until the publication of White's book, the public had little knowledge of what really took place on the presidential ...

Book Review: 'A Spectre in the Stones' by John Kitchen
A Spectre in the Stones is like a Dean Koontz or Stephen King novel for young adult readers. John Kitchen writes with the same mix of vivid characters, realism and dark fantasy and his main character, Lloyd Lewis, is the same sort of protagonist often ...

Book review: 'Strangers at My Door'
For more than a decade, Jonathan and Leah Wilson-Hartgrove have opened their home in Durham's Walltown neighborhood to those in need. Recovering addicts, the homeless, recently released convicts – all are welcome at the Rutba House. Rutba House ...

Book review: 'How to Train a Train' by Jason Carter Eaton
A note to the readers after the story is told, detailing the situations in the book and warning “all of these things are extremely dangerous and should be performed only by fully trained illustrated characters,” does little to assuage the fear that a ...

Children's Book Review: Lizi Boyd's 'Inside Outside'
Longtime children's author and illustrator Lizi Boyd has several terrific picture books to her credit, including “Bailey the Big Bully” and “Black Dog Gets Dressed.” As good as Boyd's previous books are, her newest one surpasses all of them. This new ...

Book review (nonfiction): The Trip to Echo Spring
As a species, we've enjoyed our alcoholic beverages for a long time — archaeological evidence suggests that beer dates back at least to ancient Sumer. Back then, writing was confined primarily to mundane, cuneiform-bound bookkeeping. It might be the ...

'The Invention of Wings' by Sue Monk Kidd: Book review
“The Invention of Wings”. By Sue Monk Kidd (Viking). Sue Monk Kidd brands herself as a spiritual author, and that's evident in her new book. Both the Southern abolitionist and her former slave whose stories are twinned in this novel meet formidable ...

BOOK REVIEW: 'When the Devil Drives': Second Entry in Jasmine Sharp ...
BOOK REVIEW: 'When the Devil Drives': Second Entry in Jasmine Sharp ...

Book Review: 'Glorioius Misadventures,' by Owen Matthews
After reprovisioning the colonists, Rezanov headed for Russia to make his report to the czar. But first he determined to punish Japan for its diplomatic rebuff. And so, without the authorization of his government, he appropriated for Russia all ...

Book review: 'The Midas Murders' by Pieter Aspe, a mystery in Bruges
The flood of European crime novels in English translations — an ongoing legacy of the Stieg Larsson phenomenon — continues unabated. The latest contender in the Larsson sweepstakes is Belgian novelist Pieter Aspe. Said to be one of the most popular ...

BOOK REVIEW: 'The Map and the T4erritory'
Alan Greenspan began his career in economics as an analyst and forecaster. In his new book “The Map and the Territory,” Mr. Greenspan presents an honest assessment of what economists can and cannot predict, along with many useful insights as to the ...

The Graying of 'The New York Review of Books'
In a world of disappearing and diminishing book reviews, every two weeks The New York Review of Books slaps to the table with a satisfying thud. Printed in a large format, its 60 pages—at least!—reassure those of us obsessed with books that the world ...

Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab - Book Review
The premise that underpins Bob Pflugfelder's and Steve Hockensmith's children's thriller, Nick and Tesla's High-Voltage Danger Lab: A Novel with Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself [Quirk Books, 2013; Guardian ...

Book Review: 'Critical Mass' by Sara Paretsky
Paretsky generally writes books about a female detective who lives and works in Chicago named V.I. Warshawski. In this latest book, Warshawski becomes involved in a case that reverts back to the time of World War II. The book begins in modern times ...


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