Displaying articles for: April 2014

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

After the death of his wife and the loss of a rare volume, a curmudgeon of a bookshop owner finds a new meaning in the motto "No man is an island."  The witty and wise novelist Gabrielle Zevin has produced that most precious of things: a tale as entertaining as it is uplifting. 

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Paris at the End of the World

During World War I, the sounds of artillery could be heard on the Champs-Élysées, but the threat of destruction seemed only to inspire Parisians to embrace life more fully.  John Baxter follows his grandfather's steps into a great city's days of peril and perseverance.

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An Explorer's Notebook

Nearly three dozen essays reveal the amazing mind of Tim Flannery: mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist, global warming activist, and a man committed to not only understanding the universe, but improving our little corner of it.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet

Amara Lakhous delivers a mystery novel with its finger on the hot-button issues of today's Europe.  Immigration and multicultural conflicts erupt in the Italian city of Turin, as journalist Enzo Laganà looks to restore peace to his native burg.

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Papers in the Wind

In this insightful novel by Eduardo Sacheri, a young girl left destitute by the death of her soccer-playing father is uplifted by the bold schemes of her uncle, his pals, and one newbie player to the professional leagues.

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The Brunist Day of Wrath

Forty-eight years after the release of his eerie debut The Origin of the Brunists, iconoclast Robert Coover delivers a sequel of an ominous cult that forms in the wake of a mining disaster, spooking their pious township as they prepare for a worldwide reckoning.

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A Man Called Destruction

The fate of the "cult" musician is to be rediscovered early and often.  Such was the journey of rambling man Alex Chilton, singer of the influential bands Big Star and the Box Tops.  Holly George-Warren's thorough interviews and crisp prose dig deep into the hero behind the myths.

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Updike

Adam Begley delivers a finely wrought portrait of the literary magician whose novels and short stories spun the raw stuff of suburban "middleness" into a hoard of glittering treasure.

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Mother of God

At just 18, Paul Rosolie left behind his suburban New Jersey life for the remote region of Peru where the Amazon begins. His education included giant snakes, tribespeople hostile and friendly, and the incalculable, threatend beauty of the rainforest. This is nature -- and adventure --  unfettered and wild.

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Machine Made

"Tammany Hall" has become iconic shorthand for a style of governance and politicking that seemingly long ago vanished from the Earth.  Journalist and historian Terry Golway finds the resonance of the famed organization.

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July 26: On this day in 1602 "A booke called the Revenge of Hamlett Prince Denmarke" was entered in the Stationers' Register by printer James Robertes.

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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