June 20, 2013 Journalist Jonathan Alter regards the 2012 presidential contest as the most consequential election of recent times. In his new book, Alter argues that President Obama's re-election prevented the country from veering sharply to the right, and he dissects the campaign and the events that led up to it.
June 20, 2013 Alfredo Corchado has a complicated relationship with Mexico. He was born there, but became a U.S. citizen. He's returned to Mexico to report on the country's drug violence and corruption, earning multiple death threats. Now he's written about his experience in Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter's Journey Through a Country's Descent into Darkness.
June 20, 2013 Also: The Apple ebook trial wraps up; the unique horror of Kafka's stories; James Salter's woman troubles.
June 20, 2013 The author was handpicked by Margaret Thatcher to write her authorized biography. Though he clearly admires Thatcher, reviewer Annalisa Quinn says that the book is no hagiography — it is staggeringly thorough, and the storytelling is vivid and interesting.
June 20, 2013 James Salter has been acclaimed by critics as one of the greatest writers of his generation. He's been compared to Updike and Roth — but NPR's Lidia Jean Kott says Salter has trouble writing fully realized female characters, depicting them instead as meals to be devoured by the men.
June 20, 2013 More adult fairy tale than conventional novel, In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods follows an unnamed husband and wife who leave their home to start a new life in the wilderness. Reviewer Michael Schaub says this debut from author Matt Bell is a joy to read.
June 20, 2013 From ancient Egyptian bakers to Gordon Ramsay, every era has its foodies. And without them, the history of food would be pretty darn boring, says William Sitwell. His new book chronicles how these epicures shaped our palates, and the recipes they left behind.
June 19, 2013 Shane Harris, an author and journalist who covers intelligence, surveillance and cybersecurity for a number of publications, says that the revelations about the NSA from Edward Snowden are nothing new, and that such programs have a significant recent history in the United States.
June 19, 2013 The word "sociopath" often brings to mind criminals, killers, and people who are cruel and heartless. But writer and diagnosed sociopath M.E. Thomas wants to challenge that conventional wisdom. She says sociopaths are not inherently evil, and can be incredibly productive to society.
June 19, 2013 Also: The folly of marathon readings; Tom Wolfe has a new book; VICE apologizes for tasteless photo spread.
June 19, 2013 Maggie O'Farrell's new novel, Instructions for a Heatwave, follows a troubled Irish Catholic family in London over the course of four scorching July days in 1976. Reviewer Heller McAlpin says Heatwave is a beautiful book about "the importance of forgiving those you love."
June 18, 2013 The anonymous book sculptor of Edinburgh strikes again; the childhood drawings of E.E. Cummings; Jonathan Franzen on literary sexism.