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The Speculator

Logical Surprise

Jane Smiley's history of the computer's genesis, and why science fiction never saw the Internet coming.

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Drawn to Read

Boozehound

From the proper way to handle Aquavit to a bar's worth of variations on the Manhattan, Ward Sutton follows this charming odyssey in a cocktail glass.

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The Thinking Read

The Berlin-Baghdad Express

The story of a German-Turkish railroad and Ottoman Empire's entry into World War I eerily foreshadows today's conflicts in the Middle East.

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Reading Romance

Not So Easy to Love

When the dashing hero is closed off from his own feelings, can love break through?

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Library Without Walls

A Visit to Don Otavio

Bruce Chatwin called Sybille Bedford's classic of travel writing a "book of marvels," and Michael Dirda agrees.

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Drawn to Read

Big Girls Don't Cry

Ward Sutton's visual review of Rebecca Traister's mashup of memoir and political history.

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Reader's Diary

A Life Like Other People's

The acclaimed British playwright details the shyness and madness that were his family inheritance.

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Rock & Roll &

Ain't That a Shame

Four biographies of rock'n'roll greats try to place music legend in the world of documentable fact.

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Reading Romance

'Til Death Do Us Part

Eloisa James on four novels that illustrate why weddings in romances need to be more than just happy endings.

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The Speculator

Zero History

A slyly potent thriller that cocks an eyebrow at our trend-maddened culture.

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Library Without Walls

The Long Ships

The masterpiece of a 20th-century Swedish historical novelist who belongs in the company of Dumas, Sabatini, and Patrick O'Brian.

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The Thinking Read

Exploring Happiness

From the Stoics to the psychology lab, a quest to understand what makes us happy.

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The Criminalist

The Legacy of Charlie Chan

Yunte Huang's new study of the fictional detective yields far more than the history of a stereotype.

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The Thinking Read

Bomber County

Memoir, history, and personal journey, this book about poetry and the Second World War is a telling, poignant, and singular testament.

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Drawn to Read

Common as Air

An illustrated review of Lewis Hyde's new treatise about creativity in the public sphere.

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April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.