July 29, 2010 Lifelong angler Paul Greenberg fuses investigative journalism, travelogue and personal memoir into one grand meditation on humankind's relationship with the ocean. Four Fish asks readers "to reevaluate whether fish are at their root expendable seafood or wildlife desperately in need of our compassion."
July 21, 2010 Read these books at the beach, and people two towels over will wonder why you're chortling. There are plenty of books that will make you laugh, but critic Heller McAlpin separates the mere giggles from the all-out gut-busters.
July 15, 2010 Alexander McCall Smith, author of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, carries on the grand old tradition of serialized novels in Corduroy Mansions. There's plenty of quirk and charm in this high-spirited, rambling tale about the inhabitants of a genteel, comfortably worn apartment block in London.
June 30, 2010 Sloane Crosley follows I Was Told There'd Be Cake with a new collection of sparkling personal essays. She serves up humorous observations and mordant opinions in carefully calibrated cocktails of self-absorption and self-deprecation.
June 16, 2010 Ever since his 1987 debut, The Object of My Affection, Stephen McCauley has helped revive and update the modern comedy of manners. His new novel, Insignificant Others, takes a gently satiric look at what it means to be in a serious relationship — but also see someone else on the side.
June 4, 2010 Ten years out of the fishing business, Linda Greenlaw was eager to see if she still had what it took to be a swordboat captain. She got herself a boat, a crew and a fishing expedition — then sailed off to find out.
May 21, 2010 Heller McAlpin reviews Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived in That House, Meghan Daum's new book. Following her memoir My Misspent Youth and the novel Quality of Life Report, Daum returns with a new book about all the houses she's lived in or coveted.
May 20, 2010 In The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis, a man in his 50s looks back on the sexual high point of his life, a summer in Italy when he was 20 and torn between three women. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says The Pregnant Widow is both a romp and an exercise in extended nostalgia.
April 15, 2010 Journalist Mark Kurlansky is drawn to singular subjects — cod, salt and oysters, to name a few. In The Eastern Stars, he takes a look at the history of baseball and sugar in the small town of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic.
April 7, 2010 Anne Lamott's seventh novel, about precocious Rosie Ferguson, follows the rebellious girl into her senior year of high school, in which Rosie battles her dysfunctional parents and a powerful drug addiction.
April 1, 2010 In Ian McEwan's novel, a morally corrupt physicist is convinced he has the answer to the world's energy problem. Critic McAlpin recommends sticking out the bumps for an overall "turbocharged" read.
March 18, 2010 Lionel Shriver's novel So Much for That tells the story of Shep Knacker, who is about to retire to a tropical island when his wife gets diagnosed with cancer. To keep his insurance, Shep has to keep his hated job, but he soon discovers that even the full coverage of the fully employed may not be enough to keep him afloat.
March 5, 2010 In This Book Is Overdue — a passionately delivered profile of a profession in the midst of transition — Marilyn Johnson argues that today's librarians are more likely to be tattoo-toting cyber-missionaries than bespectacled old ladies shushing you in the stacks.
Author Roger Rosenblatt with his grandson James. Rosenblatt told Melissa Block in an All Things Considered interview that he titled his book Making Toast because "it is a simple gesture of moving on."
March 2, 2010 When Roger Rosenblatt's 38-year-old daughter — a mother of three — died unexpectedly, he and his wife knew what they had to do: they packed up and moved in with their young grandchildren. In his new memoir, Rosenblatt chronicles his daughter's tragically abbreviated life and his grandkids' resilience in the face of heartbreak.
February 11, 2010 Adam Haslett's debut novel pits a retired history teacher against the young banker trying to build a garish house on her father's land. Reviewer Heller McAlpin calls Haslett's book "a literary go-kart."
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