Shakespeare in America

The Bard's lasting influence on U.S. icons during some of the nation's most pivotal moments.

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The Heathen School

How a New England school embodied a young nation's missionary zeal.

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The Cairo Affair

As the Arab Spring catches fire, a murdered diplomat's widow looks for answers amid the chaos.

 

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The Broken Road

The long-awaited final volume of an epic memoir of pedestrian travel.

 

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Free Falling, As If in a Dream

The culmination of a trilogy spins a complex fictional intrigue around one of history's great unsolved crimes.

 

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An Officer and a Spy

The author of Fatherland and Pompeii sets his time machine for the Paris of the Dreyfus Affair.

 

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Flight by Elephant

A true story of escape and survival in World War II Burma is also a tale of pachyderm heroism.

 

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Flyover Lives: A Memoir

The author of effervescent transatlantic fiction maps the Middle America of her forebears.

 

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Killing the Tiger

Gene Kerrigan's tales of Irish crime and corruption topped one critic's year in reading.

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Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal

This history of an element's grip on human imagination -- and the  devastating consequences of that fascination.

 

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Death of the Black-Haired Girl

An ominously mysterious murder in a college town leads a professor into a psychic abyss.

 

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Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World

The author of Gulliver's Travels was a wit, a ladies' man, a champion of the oppressed -- and a mystery.

 

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One Summer: America, 1927

Sacco and Vanzetti, the Great Flood, Lindbergh, and the Bambino -- a snapshot of America in one tumultuous year.

 

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Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure

A new biography fills in the gaps in the life of one of the twentieth century's most beloved memoirists and travel writers.

 

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The Lowland

Two brothers of Calcutta take divergent paths in a tale of 1960s rebellion.

 

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Ring Lardner: Stories & Other Writings

The master ventriloquist of the American vernacular in all its comic variety.

 

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Archangel

Five stories follow seekers of knowledge in the natural world.

 

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American Pastimes: The Very Best of Red Smith

Listening to baseball through the voice of one of its greatest chroniclers.

 

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The Old Filth Trilogy

A century-spanning epic of bittersweet marriages and friendships concludes.

 

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Italian Ways

Italy by train is "not for beginners."

 

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The Boys in the Boat

How a scrappy team of rowers from Washington State pulled ahead of the world.

 

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TransAtlantic

The author of Let the Great World Spin spans genres and generations in his latest historical fiction.

 

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A Delicate Truth

In an espionage master's latest, war is a booming private enterprise.

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The Woman Upstairs

How selfish must an artist be?

 

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The Selected Letters of Willa Cather

Revealing the candid passions and ambitions of the austere O Pioneers! author.

 

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Merivel: A Man of His Time

The frustrated doctor at the center of Restoration travels to Versailles and beyond.

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The Enchanted Wanderer

A nineteenth-century Russian comic storyteller shines in a bold new English translation.

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Middle Men

Small tales offer medium-sized heroes a grand forum.

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Graven with Diamonds

Henry VIII's diplomat (and Anne Boleyn's lover) as seen through his vivid poetry. 

 

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P. G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters

The blithe soul of Bertie Wooster can be spotted in his creator's correspondence.

 

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About the Columnist
Katherine A. Powers received the 2013 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle. She is the editor of Suitable Accommodations: An Autobiographical Story of Family Life: The Letters of J. F. Powers, 1942–1963.

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."