May 31, 2010 Who says unlikable characters make for unlikable books? The prickly people in Zoe Heller's The Believers are infused with wit and intelligence. Author Meghan Daum says she has recommended the poignant satire to more friends than she can count.
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May 29, 2010 Susan Stamberg gathers recommendations from booksellers Rona Brinlee, Lucia Silva and Daniel Goldin. Their selections for summertime reading include books about small-town America, a polygamist father in over his head, and a postmistress in New England during World War II.
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May 29, 2010 Driving a Prius and putting up solar panels aren't the only options for cooling the earth's climate. More radical ideas include brightening clouds, creating giant algae blooms in the ocean and launching spacecraft to deploy giant sunshades. It might sound a bit far-fetched, but scientists are considering ideas like these — known as geoengineering — to alter the climate.
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May 28, 2010 Though the 2010 FIFA World Cup is still weeks away, writer Cord Jefferson feels Americans could do with an early tune-up on the world's most popular sport. Here are three books to put your soccer ball in motion.
The flower show Emily Dickinson's Garden: The Poetry of Flowers, at the New York Botanical Garden, re-creates a 19th- century-style New England garden.
May 27, 2010 The reclusive poet Emily Dickinson was a devoted gardener and lover of flowers. Now the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx has re-created Dickinson's gardens, with poems placed between beds of flowers.
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May 26, 2010 Private Life, the new novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley, follows the life of a midwestern woman who moves with her new husband, an astronomer, to California at the start of the 20th century. Reviewer Maureen Corrigan says the story, which spans a half-century, is beautifully observed.
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May 26, 2010 Jessa Crispin reviews Hilary Thayer Hamann's debut novel, Anthropology of an American Girl, which Hamann self-published in 2003. Now out in a new edition from a major publisher, the novel retains much of its unedited bloat, but also an amateurish charm.
The early morning sun strikes the U.S. Capitol on the day before midterm elections in November 2006.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
May 26, 2010 In 2006, voters angry about Iraq and frustrated with President George W. Bush sent a new class of senators to Washington. In The Upper House, Terence Samuel profiles these legislators as they come to terms with the grunt work and gridlock of their new jobs.
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May 25, 2010 The summer of 2001 was the summer of Chandra Levy; the 24-year-old Washington intern vanished without a trace -- amid much speculation. Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz reported the case for the Washington Post. In Finding Chandra, they reexamine the murder mystery.
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May 25, 2010 Maureen Corrigan hails the "genius" of Stieg Larsson's vision, as revealed in his final "Girl Who" mystery. Is Anthropology of an American Girl the next Catcher in the Rye? Neda Ulaby says no. And novelist Aimee Bender evokes the taste of love in The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.
May 25, 2010 Former New York Daily News columnist Zev Chafets has written a new biography of the conservative radio host, whose talk show has been the most popular in the country for nearly 20 years. Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One tracks Limbaugh's career and his attitude toward his newest liberal opponents in the Obama White House.
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May 24, 2010 In The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, the final book in Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, the mysteries of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist come to a thrilling conclusion. Critic Maureen Corrigan says the book reveals the soaring architectural ambition of Larsson's unforgettable series.
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.
Roddy Doyle is the author of the Barrytown Trilogy, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha and The Woman Who Walked into Doors. He lives in Dublin.
May 20, 2010 The Dead Republic is the final installment in Roddy Doyle's trilogy about the life of Henry Smart, a former IRA assassin making his way through the first half of the 20th century. Lynn Neary talks with Doyle about the novel, which finds Henry turning his life story into a movie with film director John Ford.
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The Invisible Gorilla by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons explores how we notice a lot less than we think we do.
May 19, 2010 If you're intensely watching a ball game, and a gorilla walks onto the court, you'd notice him ... right? Believe it or not, there's actually a 50 percent chance you'd miss him entirely. Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, authors of The Invisible Gorilla, explain how our brains trick us into thinking we see and know far more than we actually do.
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