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The World's Smallest Time Machine Is Still Pretty Big()  

Almanac cover

The Time Traveler's Almanac is a gigantic new compilation of — you guessed it — stories about time travel. Reviewer Jason Sheehan says the selection of stories and authors is very nearly perfect.

Summary

'Story Of The Jews' Illuminates Centuries Of Suffering()  

Promo Image

March 18, 2014 Simon Schama's new history of the Jews covers several millenia in the first of two planned volumes. Reviewer J.P. O'Malley says it drives home an important point: anti-Semitism is nothing new.

Summary

Book Review: 'Falling Out Of Time'()  

March 18, 2014 Alan Cheuse reviews the odd little novel Falling Out of Time, by Israeli writer David Grossman.

Transcript

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What U.S. Learned From 'Heathen School' Wasn't Part Of The Lesson Plan()  

The Heathen School

March 18, 2014 The 19th century Connecticut school sought to convert young men from Hawaii, China, India and the Native American nations and then send them home as Christian missionaries. It did not go as planned.

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All Sides Of A Divorce, Told In Fresh, Lively 'Papers'()  

Divorce Papers cover

March 18, 2014 Susan Rieger's new The Divorce Papers is a modern epistolary novel, chronicling a crumbling marriage in court filings, emails and hand-written notes. Critic Alan Cheuse calls it serious yet charming.

Summary

Novel Reflects Desperate But Futile Search For Answers()  

March 16, 2014 Inspired by the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, author Jonathan Evison recommends the novel Songs for the Missing, by Stewart O'Nan, as a book with something to say about mysterious disappearances.

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The Lively Linguistical Exuberance Of 'Being Blue'()  

On Being Blue cover

March 16, 2014 The NYRB Classics imprint has reissued William Gass's 1976 raucous philosophical inquiry into the color blue. Reviewer Juan Vidal says it's more an experience to be had than a book to be read.

Summary

A Delicate Arson: 'The Blazing World' Consumes Its Readers()  

The Blazing World cover

March 15, 2014 Siri Hustvedt's latest uses fragmented documents to tell the story of an artist who chooses men to present her work. Reviewer Amal El-Mohtar calls the book complex, harrowing, playful and engrossing.

Summary

When You Befriend A Killer, You Can't Not Write About It()  

In addition to Blood Will Out, Walter Kirn is the author of four works of fiction and one other work of nonfiction.

March 13, 2014 In 2008, Clark Rockefeller kidnapped his daughter and led police on a weeklong chase. Turned out he wasn't a Rockefeller at all; he was an impostor who happened to be friends with writer Walter Kirn.

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American Jazzmen Swing Overseas In 'Shanghai'()  

Cover of Night In Shanghai

March 13, 2014 Nicole Mones' new Night in Shanghai follows an African-American pianist making his way in the city's nightclub scene on the eve of World War II. Reviewer Alan Cheuse says the story really swings.

Summary

Poetry

Twinning Grief And Hope, A Poet Softens Pain's Sharp Edge()  

detail from cover of book of hours

March 12, 2014 The Book of Hours, Kevin Young's eighth collection, tracks the emotional extremes of a father's death and a son's birth. The poems present a gentle vision of mourning — a habitable kind of hurt.

Summary

In 'Googleplex,' Plato Makes A Bid For Continuing Importance()  

Plato and Aristotle

March 11, 2014 In her new book, novelist and philosopher, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, drops Plato into modern situations and imagines what he'd think of this century's existential dilemmas.

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Out Of Footsteps And Questions, Walking Man Makes A Song To Share()  

The Man Who Walked Away cover.

March 11, 2014 Albert has been to dozens of cities across Europe. Trouble is, he can't remember how he got to any of them. Maud Casey's novel, The Man Who Walked Away, infuses his spotty story with charm and music.

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Review: 'E.E. Cummings: A Life'()  

March 10, 2014 Alan Cheuse reviews E.E. Cummings: A Life, a new biography by Susan Cheever, and discusses the origins of his own fascination with the American poet.

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PG-13: Risky Reads

For A Sheltered Teen, 'Thorn Birds' Was A Much-Needed Eye-Opener()  

A young girl holding a Bible.

March 9, 2014 Therese Walsh knows Colleen McCullough's famous novel — which contains not just sex, but sex with a priest — might not be "appropriate" for teens. But, she says, it's the perfect sort of dangerous.

Summary

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