• A READING LIFE

The Cairo Affair

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

 

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  • A READING LIFE

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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  • A READING LIFE

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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  • A READING LIFE

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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  • A READING LIFE

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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  • A READING LIFE

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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  • A READING LIFE

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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  • A READING LIFE

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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  • A READING LIFE

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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  • A READING LIFE

The Lowland

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

 

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  • A READING LIFE

Ring Lardner: Stories & Other Writings

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

 

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  • A READING LIFE

Archangel

Five stories follow seekers of knowledge in the natural world.

 

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  • A READING LIFE

The Old Filth Trilogy

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

 

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  • A READING LIFE

The Selected Letters of Willa Cather

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

 

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  • A READING LIFE

Ashenden

A tale of an English estate -- and those who cherish, neglect, and covet it.

 

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  • A READING LIFE

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

A critic looks back at her favorite read of the year.

 

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  • A READING LIFE

Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens

Their father was universally beloved, but growing up Dickens led, more often than not, to hard times.

 

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  • A READING LIFE

The Watchers

The network of spies and secret police that kept Good Queen Bess in power.

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  • A READING LIFE

Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain's Greatest Frigate Captain

The unsung deeds of a hero of the Royal Navy.

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  • A READING LIFE

Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany

The True Grit author's short work reveals the range of an inimitable and hilarious American voice.

 

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  • A READING LIFE

Lucky Jim and The Old Devils

The alpha and omega of a comic novelist's oeuvre.

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  • A READING LIFE

Darkness on the Prairie

Reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's surprisingly dark American epic.

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  • A READING LIFE

Enthusiasms

A historian goes on the hunt for the details of literary lives most of us overlook.

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  • A READING LIFE

The Greatest Game

Two new books unveil the work of the double agents who ran circles around the Nazis.

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  • A READING LIFE

Harry Lipkin, Private Eye

A geriatric gumshoe takes the case.

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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 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley 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
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

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.