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April 26, 2011 The biography of a cigar worker turned respected baseball executive, a petite book of poetry perfect for the season, a huge chronicle of a cook and his vegetable patch, and a mother's day gift book that celebrates moms as fashion plates.
April 19, 2011 Gwyneth Paltrow cooks and tells family stories; a sumptuous illustrated biography of Diana Vreeland now in paperback; a comprehensive Latin American poetry anthology; an expose of working at the mall.
April 12, 2011 A retelling of the famous Johnny Appleseed myth; a devastating memoir about the birth of the organic farming movement and its effect on a homesteading family; an attempt to discover the secrets of Little House on the Prarie; and an NPR contributor's struggle with the recession and its aftermath.
April 5, 2011 The life of French chanteuse Edith Piaf; Tina Fey's hilarious book of zingers; the untold story of Julia and Paul Child in the OSS; and a quiet meditation on the desert wilderness from 10,000 feet above sea level.
March 29, 2011 A memoir of living in close quarters with Susan Sontag; a novel set in the world of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho; and a young-adult novel that covers the very adult themes of labor camps in 1941 Lithuania.
March 22, 2011 Sarah Vowell takes on the American occupation of Hawaii, author Katharine Greider dives into New York history through the lens of her crumbling Manhattan row house, and Lisa Abend follows the apprentices toiling away in the molecular gastronomy labs of Ferran Adria's elBulli.
March 15, 2011 Tea Obreht makes her sparkling debut with the folkloric Tiger's Wife, and another new author, Cara Hoffman, holds her own with the creepy but elegant So Much Pretty. A Jay-Z biography falls short, but Jonathan Coe's humorous novel about Internet loneliness is an acerbic glimpse of modern times.
March 8, 2011 David Brooks' The Social Animal combines neuroscience with philosophy to uncover the secrets of happiness. The Longevity Project draws long-life lessons from an 80-year study of 1,528 10-year-olds. Finally, an all-black crew explores whiteness on an expedition to – where else? – Antarctica in the wickedly satirical Pym.
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 11, 2010 Martin Amis' newest is part Decameron, part Big Chill, as twenty-somethings in an Italian castle navigate the sexual revolution. Laura Bush navigates her way from Midland, Texas, to a life in the White House. A miraculously preserved 18th-century rabbi reanimates (oy gevalt!) in Memphis. And civil rights legend Andrew Young passes life lessons to his godson.
May 4, 2010 It's Jesus versus his evil twin (really) in Philip Pullman's newest. Fierce will and family love take the first lady's brother from the South Side to the Ivy League in a surprisingly affecting memoir. A big novel of a Big Love-style family, in The Lonely Polygamist. And Chelsea Handler goes off in Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang.
April 27, 2010 Isabel Allende's vivid new novel takes us to 18th century New Orleans; a brilliantly exuberant literary treasure hunt dives into the Philippines' past and present; and Scott Simon reviews a taut, crosscutting portrait of Martin Luther King, James Earl Ray and the massive manhunt that captured King's killer.
April 20, 2010 A novel skewers New York's Internet-media nexus; a New York Times health editor examines the ways "Grown-Up" minds are superior to young brains; a reporter visits the small Dominican town that churns out big-league baseball stars.
April 13, 2010 Another animal fable from Life of Pi author Yann Martel; New Yorker editor David Remnick shows how President Barack Obama's life intersects with the story of race in America; and permissive parents cope with sex, drugs and a rebellious teen in Anne Lamott's Imperfect Birds.
March 30, 2010 A new comedy from Ian McEwan; the true-life adventures of the Victorian Brit who stole the secrets of tea from China; a Kenyan contemporary of Obama's father remembers the Mau Mau rebellion; and a new Russian master spins surprising fictional gold from the Godot-like tale of Soviet citizens waiting in an endless line.
March 23, 2010 It took Karl Marlantes 30 years to write Matterhorn, an exhaustive and unsparing war novel. Walter Mosley takes up a new detective case in Known to Evil. Also: Dog Boy, fiction inspired by the true story of a feral child, and a new novel about gossipy parents in Brooklyn Heights.
March 16, 2010 Linda Wertheimer hails a Dickensian novel of London in the boom days of 2007, before the banking bust. An encore by child detective Flavia de Luce (Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie) is both creepy and laugh-out-loud funny. And So Much for That finds the hilarity in a relentless tale of runaway health care costs.
March 9, 2010 Is the biblically inspired Angelology the next Da Vinci Code? James Hynes' Next causes us to inaugurate the genre "Mick lit" (think middle-aged men and the Rolling Stones). A prominent advocate of No Child Left Behind reverses course. And ace spy John Wells is back, undercover and in deep.
March 3, 2010 Novelist Tash Aw takes us to Indonesia on the eve of violent civil war; a history of Austen appreciation, Jane's Fame, traces the author's rise from obscurity to ubiquity; Sam Lipsyte brings the funny to academia in his latest satire; and Enlightened Sexism aims a Buffy-style stake at the media's warped portrayals of "girl power."
February 23, 2010 This week, a crime novel from the other Swedish superstar; mystery and devilment by the son of a horror legend; and a reporter examines the explosive growth in diagnosing — and dosing — kids with psychological disorders.
February 17, 2010 Nina Totenberg passes judgment on the definitive account of Clinton vs. Starr. A true-life tale of Jazz Age medical sleuthing worthy of its own CSI spin-off. And an Ahab-like obsession with whales produces a deeply satisfying natural history of these magnificent monsters.
February 9, 2010 Three novels of past and present: Lynn Neary reviews the "perfect" novel for our down economy — written before the banks failed. Steve Inskeep reads a tale of political infighting resonant of today, but that follows events in Cicero's Rome. And Alan Cheuse celebrates The Lost Books of the Odyssey, a novel both timeless and very contemporary.
February 2, 2010 Things fall apart in Louise Erdrich's Shadow Tag. A woman's gift to science yields medical miracles — and outrage — in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. What will America be like with one-third more people? A strangely optimistic answer in The Next Hundred Million. And a teenager traces down a tragic family mystery in The Girl Who Fell from the Sky.
January 26, 2010 Joshua Ferris (Then We Came To The End) studies the monster within in The Unnamed. Lush language limns a Soviet childhood of privation and paranoia in A Mountain of Crumbs. Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz's Freefall lays blame for the financial failure. And Crash Course tracks the American auto industry "from glory to disaster.
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