Book: Dead Wake

On the day RMS Lusitania was to set sail from New York to London, the German government published notices in American newspapers, warning that merchant ships — even behemoth passenger liners — ...

Book: The Glass Kitchen

Texas native Portia Cuthcart dreams images of food. And when she cooks and bakes her fantasies, the foods fulfill deep-seated needs, heal emotional wounds or set events in motion — sometimes leading ...

Book: Summer Reading

“Summer Reading,” by Hilma Wolitzer, Ballantine Books, 2007. After I read the synopsis for “Summer Reading,” I quickly took it to the check-out desk at the library. But a few days ...

Book: The Tall Pine Polka

Although reading the first two paragraphs of the prologue is as jarring as stepping on a rock, settling in with the first chapter of “The Tall Pine Polka” is like pulling on your favorite, ...

Book: Absolutely True Lies

Holly Gracin was offered a job by her hometown newspaper, but instead she took her newly minted journalism degree to Hollywood. She had always dreamed of reviewing movies and writing about the stars. In ...

Book: The Canterbury Sisters

In this modern — and highly readable — take on Chaucer, a group of American women make a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral, all seeking their own version of a blessing. All except Che, that ...

Book: The Cat Who Played Brahms

“The Cat Who Played Brahms” is a gem — one of the best in author Lillian Jackson Braun’s jewelry box full of “Cat Who ...” books.  Braun, who died in 2011 ...

Book: The Last Word

Ambitious young writer Harry Johnson is assigned to write a biography of one of his heroes, Indian-born journalist and novelist Mamoon Azam. Azam, who’s a bit of a recluse, ranks as one of Britain’s ...

Book: The Art of Not Having It All

British journalist and humor columnist Melissa Kite writes that she turned down, rather rudely, her sweet teenage boyfriend’s proposal of marriage. Now 40-ish, she’s wondering if that was a ...

Book: My Organic Life

When newlywed Nora Pouillon moved to the U.S. from her native Austria in the mid-1960s, a friend showed her around her new neighborhood in Washington, D.C. She was overwhelmed — and horrified — ...

Book: Re Jane

“Re Jane,” the title of Patricia Park’s new novel, is a play on words: It’s all about Jane, the narrator, and it’s also how this 20-something’s name is written in her ...

Book: The Rosie Project

Author Graeme Simsion starts his novel by introducing Don, an associate professor of genetics at a major university in Australia. His colleague Gene, who makes up 50 percent of his total number of friends, ...

Book: This is Paradise! My North Korean Childhood

Hyok Kang knew his native country, North Korea, was paradise because that’s what he was always told. From his infancy until his escape, he was fed a constant diet of propaganda about the superiority ...

Book: Longbourn

Longbourn, the title character of Jo Baker’s historical novel, is a manor house in Hertfordshire — a house you might know if you’ve read “Pride and Prejudice,” the inspiration ...

Book: Pretty Ugly

Here are a few questions you’ll need to consider before starting “Pretty Ugly,” Kirker Butler’s novel that takes an uncomfortably realistic look at the world of child beauty pageants ...

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