October 30, 2009 How long has it been since you felt the needle jab of panic or were startled to glimpse a pale face in the window? Nothing makes you feel more alive — or cherish the relative safety and normalcy of life — than dangling your foot over the edge of a cliff and then withdrawing it. These books will do just that.
October 29, 2009 The impulse to scare ourselves has been around for centuries, as American Fantastic Tales, the new two-volume horror anthology from The Library of America, proves. Editor Peter Straub has done a superb job with both his story selections and hyperliterate introductions.
October 28, 2009 The Humbling blooms brightly in the extraordinary garden of Philip Roth's later work. Swift but piercing, uncluttered yet nuanced, the novel tells the tale of an actor who loses his talent and therefore his sense of self.
October 27, 2009 Dark Horse Comics has commissioned short stories from several creators behind the current crime comic renaissance. The result, Noir: A Collection of Crime Comics, is a seamy, exploitative walking tour through man's basest desires. Which is to say, it's a lot of fun.
October 26, 2009 Michelle Huneven's new novel — featuring a repeat-offender drunk driver who kills a mother and daughter — raises questions about self determination and fate.
October 26, 2009 Literature is full of reminders that houses have souls, a fact characters forget at their own peril. In some novels, the house is as much a force as any of the people in the story. When that happens, the human characters had better beware.
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October 23, 2009 Jonathan Lethem's new novel, featuring a fatuous former child TV star and his stoner friend, swirls around aimlessly, lifted only occasionally by the author's dazzling prose.
October 22, 2009 Jane Gardam has spent her long career writing dry, honest books about British life. Her new novel, The Man in the Wooden Hat, showcases the regrets of a woman never quite sure that marrying her husband was the right choice. Critic Maureen Corrigan calls Gardam the best British writer you've never heard of.
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October 20, 2009 Author Lisa See is drawn to books by Japanese-American women and the issues they tend to write about: love, race, identity, place and history — and its effect on the present.
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October 19, 2009 Richard Powers' Generosity features a preternaturally buoyant Algerian refugee who is found to have a gene for happiness. Is joyousness catching? Reviewer Jane Ciabattari says it is.
October 16, 2009 The godfather of cartoon counterculture takes on the Bible in his new comic, The Book of Genesis Illustrated. Reviewer Susan Jane Gilman says R. Crumb's latest effort is serious — and brilliant.
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October 15, 2009 Author Oscar Casares never used to be a reader — until the excitement of The Burning Plain and Other Stories showed him what he had been missing.
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October 14, 2009 In When Everything Changed, Gail Collins outlines the way the women's liberation movement transformed of the lives of women in the United States. Reviewer Glenn Altschuler says Collins takes on topics from the Pill to Sarah Palin.
October 13, 2009 If a comic book about surviving middle school doesn't sound like a must read to you, think again. Critic Maureen Corrigan says that Jeff Kinney's Dog Days — the latest in his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series — hits home with any crowd.
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October 12, 2009 Sarah Hall's How to Paint a Dead Man weaves together time-shifted stories of four visual artists, all at crisis points in their lives. The book is clever in structure and sweeping in ambition. Hall's skill makes the journey worth the commitment.
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