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.
January 20, 2010 This week, a novel from Jonathan Dee looks at the costs (and wild benefits) of living wealthy in America, and a memoir by Patti Smith recalls the singer's long friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe. Also, T.C. Boyle offers a new book of short stories, and a novel dives into Britain's mid-1950s "Cyprus Emergency."
January 12, 2010 This week, a novel asks, does God exist? David Malouf reimagines an episode from Homer's Iliad, and surgeon-writer Atul Gawande offers a simple solution for the complicated problem of healing patients. Also, a memoir of life and linguistics in an Amazon tribe.
January 6, 2010 This week, Anne Tyler's new novel explores one man's rudderless existence, and Elizabeth Gilbert offers an older and wiser follow-up to Eat Pray Love. Also, a narrative of life in North Korea, and in Summertime, J.M. Coetzee offers a fictional biography of the author ... J.M. Coetzee.
November 24, 2009 This week, Michael Crichton's last book, ever, sails the seas of pirate adventure. In story collections: Alice Munro's strong and subtly mysterious women; Ha Jin's immigrants caught between two worlds. And a space-program history finds surprising drama in the unmanned voyages.
November 17, 2009 This week's staff picks: Biographies from bad-boy Andre Agassi and 'Rogue' politician Sarah Palin. Stephen King returns to form in a new novel, Zadie Smith fascinates in collected essays, and science writer Nicholas Wade argues that God is just an evolutionary adaptation.
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