Book: The Handsome Man's Deluxe Cafe

Alexander McCall Smith, a Scotsman born in Zimbabwe, writes about Africa with such love and gentle descriptiveness. Readers can feel the relief of parking under an acacia tree, which shades them from the ...

Book: A Great Reckoning

In the most recent installment in her series about deep-thinking detective Monsieur Gamache, “A Great Reckoning,” Louise Penny takes readers down a snowy, twisting road that leads from the ...

Book: Eileen

“Eileen,” by Ottessa Moshfegh, Penguin Press, 2015. “Eileen” may be one of the strangest books you’ll ever read. Not in style — author Ottessa Moshfegh’s narrative ...

Book: What She Knew

"What She Knew," the story of the search for a kidnapped child, is fine if you're looking for a quick-to-read, interesting book. It's the very definition of a "summer read." It's not, however, the ...

The Writing Class

I worried about Alphonse the whole time I was reading “The Writing Class.” A basset hound who prefers dreaming about the chase rather than actually chasing things, Alphonse belongs to Amy ...

Book: The New Yorker Big Book of Cats

“The New Yorker Big Book of Cats,” numerous writers and illustrators, 2013, The New Yorker Magazine. If you love cats, or humor, or, even better, both, you’ll adore “The New Yorker ...

Book: They Left Us Everything

As you start reading "They Left Us Everything," Plum Johnson's memoir about cleaning out her family's longtime home following the death of her parents, you'll think she's talking about all the stuff piled ...

Book: The City Baker's Guide to Country Living

While the title, "The City Baker's Guide to Country Living," doesn't really fit, Louise Miller's debut novel is an enjoyable read. I can see why she (or perhaps her publisher) picked the title: Protagonist ...

Book: A Mother's Reckoning

You’ll probably recognize the surname of author Sue Klebold: The name became indelibly imprinted on our collective conscience when her son, Dylan, and his friend Eric Harris killed 12 of their classmates ...

Book: They May Not Mean To, But They Do

The title of Cathleen Schine’s new novel, “They May Not Mean To, But The Do,” comes from Philip Larkin’s poem, “This Be the Verse.” Larkin asserts that parents pass ...

Book: Don't Ever Get Old

Rumor has it that police detective Buck Schatz was the rogue officer on whom Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character was modeled. It’s not true, Schatz notes as he narrates “Don’t ...

Book: Street of Eternal Happiness

National Public Radio correspondent Rob Schmitz gives readers a fascinating, often disturbing, look at life in China in “Street of Eternal Happiness.” That’s the actual name of the street ...

Book: Windy City

National Public Radio reporter and host Scott Simon takes us behind the doors of city hall in “Windy City,” a novel-slash-love letter set in Chicago. The book pokes fun at political juggling ...

Book: The Circle

"The Circle," by David Eggers, 2013, Alfred A. Knopf. Mae, the main character in David Eggers' novel "The Circle," is a young woman with her head in the Cloud. In the not-too-distant-future, she takes ...

Book: The Beautiful Mystery

“The Beautiful Mystery” is a novel about love and passion that asks the questions, can we do something wrong, but for the right reason, or something right for the wrong reason? Louise Penny ...

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