Displaying articles for: January 2012

The Beginner's Guide to Hunting Deer for Food

The ancient art of deer-hunting gets a locavore makeover in this lucid DIY manual for bagging and butchering one's own venison. Self-taught stalker Jackson Landers covers not only the practical how-to aspects of the hunt but also deeper philosophies behind living off the land.

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The Leopard

Mordant Oslo police inspector Harry Hole returns from exile in Hong Kong to his old Nordic stomping grounds to track down a serial killer who drowns his victims in their own blood. Chilly brutality and suspenseful cat-and-mouse games reign in Jo Nesbø's follow-up to The Snowman, even during a side trip to sunny Africa.

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Reprobates

Was ever another war fought with more literary panache than the English Civil War? The pugnacious royalist poets known as the Cavaliers receive vivid treatment from the erudite John Stubbs, who dispels the cliché of their dandified nature and shows such men as Robert Herrick and Sir John Suckling in all their brawling glory.

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Smut

In his hilarious and moving tale The Common Reader, Alan Bennett deliciously imagined England's monarch as a woman whose mind is set free by a surprising turn to reading. Now, in this pair of novellas, the writer turns his unmatched pen onto the lives of  two women caught up in decidedly less literary concerns. Wicked -- and insightful -- fun.

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The Vineyard at the End of the World

How did Argentina and its Malbec wines grow from near obscurity, oenologically speaking, to international prominence so rapidly? Wine journalist Ian Mount tells, with clarity -- and yet no loss of complexity -- the colorful story of how a French grape turned the unlikely region into a wine-producing powerhouse. With lively tales of backroom dealings, brilliant schemes, and big dreams, there's a lot to savor for the discerning palate.

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Broadway Baby

Pity the poor stage mother, living out her dreams through her put-upon offspring. In his first work of fiction, poet and memoirist Alan Shapiro brings us an archetypal doozy: Growing up, Miriam Bluestein imagined her glamorous future on the stage. Those ambitions faded with the arrival of her family, but they are revived when her son, Ethan, shows talent as a performer. Miriam's single-minded drive on her disinterested son's behalf tears her family apart: readers get front-row seats for this arresting drama.

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Mistaken

Who doesn't love a novel in which a doppelganger plays a central role? Filmmaker and novelist Neil Jordan (The Crying Game) here introduces two boys growing up on the opposite side of the proverbial tracks in 1960s Dublin. One of them, not insignificantly, lives next door to the former home of Dracula scribe Bram Stoker. This masterfully structured tale is both a gothic thriller and an intimate musing on childhood and loss. It's also, it turns out, much more.

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New

Human beings are biologically wired to be fascinated by novelty. But how do we keep the constant flow of new products, ideas, and data from overwhelming us? Winifred Gallagher (the author of Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life) digs into our natural inclination toward the new and offers ways to distinguish passing fancy from permanent improvement.

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The Evening Hour

In this extraordinary debut, Carter Sickels mines the beautiful, damaged landscape of West Virginia for fictional treasure. Sickels' characters are often trapped by greed and addiction, but for Cole Freeman, a drug-dealing nursing-home aide whose family land is being threatened by a big mining concern, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

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Forever Rumpole

John Mortimer's death three years ago, and the subsequent cessation of new Rumpole adventures, can be ameliorated slightly by the appearance of this volume, an expansion of The Best of Rumpole that adds seven stories to the seven which Mortimer himself selected as his prime cuts. The bewigged barrister shines here, triumphing in case after case against impossible circumstances.

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Shards

The pieces of Bosnia-Herzegovinia-born author's dazzling, dynamic debut combine to create a multilayered picture of the Bosnian War, as seen through the eyes of two Muslim teens with dramatically different fates. The novel's truths are slippery and shifting, keeping readers on their toes, but Prcic's grip on the deeper truths of war and survival is unshakeable.

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The Russian Origins of the First World War

Casting a contrarian eye on the first major conflict of the twentieth century, Sean McMeekin finds the roots of WWI inside Russia, whose leaders deliberately sought -- for their own ends -- to expand a brawl that the Germans wanted to keep local. The author tracks the fallout of these antique plots right down to the present geopolitical landscape.

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Hope: A Tragedy

On the run from history and the modern world, Solomon Kugel flees with his family to rural New York -- but history follows, in the form of an unlikely figure in the attic. Shalom Auslander follows his blazingly funny and bracingly honest memoir, The Foreskin’s Lament, with an irreverent and unforgettable novel.

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Sometimes There Is a Void

South Africa-born novelist, poet, and playwright Zakes Mda evokes the sights, sounds, and smells of his early life growing up in a Soweto family of lawyers, facing deprivation and abuse while struggling to find his identity as the child of a man exiled by the apartheid regime. The true story of his exile and return, his embrace of politics, music, and writing, and his eventual journey to America is crowded with emotion, color, and drama.  

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A Short History of England

Compacting two dense millennia into a comparatively short and eventful narrative, Simon Jenkins treats readers to the gem-like historical highlights of one of the most successful and idiosyncratic nations on the planet. Whether outlining the transition from monarchy to democracy or speculating on Great Britain's future role in the world, the author maintains a lively, bantering, exuberant tone.

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Murder at Mount Holly

This dark satire by Paul Theroux, beloved chronicler of travel and trains, tells the story of a small-town bank caper carried out by a trio of oldsters looking to do something patriotic. (The bank is run by a man they think might be a Communist.) Set in the strange Sixties, against the backdrop of war and the draft, and replete with quirky characters, this, Theroux's third novel, originally published in 1969, is an unusual work by a master storyteller.      

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Fire the Bastards!

This text -- which excoriates the book-reviewing establishment with healthy indignation -- originally appeared in an underground magazine in 1962, but receives its first book instantiation only now. Keenly dissecting the failure of mainstream critics to appreciate William Gaddis's novel The Recognitions, Jack Green widens his thesis to damn the blindness and conventionality of all arbiters of taste in a blistering, cautionary tale full of meaning for today's publishing scene.

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The Operators

Michael Hastings' startling 2010 Rolling Stone essay "The Runaway General" painted a portrait of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, that shocked readers and resulted in McChrystal's ouster. In this revealing book, Hastings delves deeper into the conduct of high-level military brass and the complexities of our involvement in the chaotic region. An irreverent take on the realities of modern conflict.

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Extra Virginity

All E.V.O.O. is not created equal. Tom Mueller takes readers deep into the murky, high-stakes world behind a kitchen counter staple, where soaring demand has led to a thriving black market that deals in fake, sometimes toxic, olive oil. Eye-opening and thoroughly researched, this book beautifully blends a variety of ingredients (business, politics, history), progressing with surety through slippery territory.

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Deadly Powers

Once upon a time, humanity stood naked and armed with only a stick against a world raging with vicious predators. Paul A. Trout theorizes with elegant persuasiveness that this long night of falling prey was instrumental in the genesis of our folklore and fears. Building on Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth, Trout teases out the evolutionary wiring of our narratives about monsters, from the many-headed Hydra to the ferocious Griffin.

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The Nun

This sensuous Italian historical novel, set in the early and mid-1800s, follows headstrong Agata Padellani, whose family falls on hard times after the death of her father. Agata is compelled to join a convent, dashing her hopes for marriage. There, she passes the time reading novels sent to her by an English sea captain for whom she eventually discovers she has feelings that threaten to unsettle her life inside the convent. Readers will be seduced by Simonetta Agnelo Hornby's lush romance.

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July 29: On this day in 1878 Don Marquis was born.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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