February 10, 2013 "Mister hit Josephine with the palm of his hand across her left cheek and it was then she knew she would run." So begins Tara Conklin's debut novel, The House Girl, which links the stories of an artistically talented 19th-century slave and an ambitious 21st-century lawyer.
February 8, 2013 In the '40s and '50s, Cristobal Balenciaga was an international fashion star — but a lot has changed since then. Fashion writer Robin Givhan says today's fashion world demands that designers "have the personality of a celebrity." That may not have gone over well with the secretive Spaniard.
February 7, 2013 Also: A look at Winston Churchill's poetic side; Twitter buzzes over Tim Geithner's book plans; and Philip Roth is the object of a takedown.
February 6, 2013 Reporter-turned-novelist Gene Kerrigan sets his story in Ireland after the 2008 financial crisis. The Rage is a boundlessly readable portrait of a country in which ordinary citizens have been hit the hardest and all the old certainties have vanished.
February 6, 2013 Also: What to do when a book makes you cry on public transportation; Amazon launches its own currency; and Ping Fu's memoir comes under attack.
February 21, 2013 No good deed goes unpunished, and no one escapes Ismail Kadare's satire in this madcap indictment of Balkan totalitarianism. Set in Albania during WWII and its aftermath, The Fall of the Stone City is an incisive, biting work by a master of dark comedy.
February 6, 2013 Journalist Lawrence Wright's new book, Going Clear, is a penetrating look at Scientology and its famous practitioners. The book centers on Crash and Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis, who famously left the church over its support for an anti-gay marriage initiative in California.
February 5, 2013 A new book chronicles the antics of hard-partying literary giants like Jack Kerouac and Dorothy Parker. But underneath the misbehavior there is a quieter — and much more admirable — story of perseverance.
February 5, 2013 Also: Scandal-mongering author Kitty Kelley turns her gaze on women in Congress; Goodreads makes some unexpected new rules; and Mark Athitakis explains why Barnes & Noble brought literary culture to the suburbs.
February 5, 2013 See Now Then, Jamaica Kincaid's first novel in a decade, follows a neglected wife in a small New England town. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says the book reads as if "Gertrude Stein and Virginia Woolf had collaborated on a heartbroken housewife's lament."
February 5, 2013 In fiction, a novel from Nobel Prize-winner Nadine Gordimer, a posthumous thriller from Michael Crichton and a sensual werewolf tale from Anne Rice arrive in paperback. In softcover nonfiction, Paul Krugman confronts our economic depression, and Charles Murray looks at the U.S. class divide.
February 5, 2013 Folk musician Woody Guthrie wrote thousands of songs in his lifetime — but as far as anyone knows, he only wrote one novel. Recently discovered, House of Earth is the story of struggling young sharecroppers who dream of creating a safe haven amid the dust storms and economic depression of the 1930s.