January 17, 2013 When a young Quaker woman in 1850s Ohio comes into contact with the Underground Railroad, she faces a dilemma. If she helps the runaways, her family could go to prison and lose their farm. Tracy Chevalier's contemplative novel offers a powerful testament to the force of conscience.
January 17, 2013 The National Book Critics Circle has announced that two feminist literary scholars, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, will receive a lifetime achievement award. Critic Maureen Corrigan says their groundbreaking 1979 book, The Madwoman in the Attic, changed the way we read.
January 19, 2013 Just nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Lisa Cohen's biography All We Know: Three Lives follows the stories of three women of the early 20th century. "I wanted to write a book that wasn't just about one great person," Cohen says, "but about a kind of collectivity."
January 16, 2013 Harlem Renaissance writer Eric Walrond's 1926 story collection, Tropic Death, is being reissued after decades out of print. Reviewer Oscar Villalon says the stories are "disturbing reminders of how utterly vulnerable we are to the injustices of the heart and of community."
January 15, 2013 Imagine a library without books — only computers and gadgets. That's the vision of one Texas county that plans to launch a digital-only public library. Despite the project's cost-efficiency, one librarian argues that the plan may be too ambitious.
January 20, 2013 Everyone has relationship problems, even God — at least, according to humorist Simon Rich. His funny, surreal new collection, The Last Girlfriend on Earth: And Other Love Stories, explores dating and relationships, but also magic talking goats and rocket ships.
January 20, 2013 In Words From the White House, linguist Paul Dickson looks at the ways presidents have used the office to create and shape American language. Presidents, Dickson says, must be eloquent and spontaneous, but they also need to communicate in a way that gives listeners something to latch onto.
January 15, 2013 At the beginning of January, the cover story of The New York Times Magazine declared: "George Saunders Has Written The Best Book You'll Read This Year." The stories in the author's latest collection, The Tenth of December, prove that The Times may well be right.
January 15, 2013 In fiction, Karen Thompson Walker's sci-fi debut and Vladimir Nabokov's unfinished final novel arrive in paperback. In softcover nonfiction, Toby Wilkinson reviews Egypt's political past; Alec Wilkinson surveys 19th-century polar exploration; and William Broad probes the science of yoga.
January 15, 2013 Dav Pilkey has just released his 10th Captain Underpants book. The series, packed with potty humor and goofy illustrations, delights reluctant readers and horrifies many grown-ups. Pilkey says he wanted to create books that would appeal even to readers who struggle, the way he did as a child.