November 16, 2012 Novelist Richard Russo's new memoir, Elsewhere, is the uncompromisingly tragic — yet beautifully told — story of his relationship with his mentally ill mother. Reviewer Michael Schaub calls it "one of the most honest, moving American memoirs in years."
October 31, 2012 Swedish writer Karin Tidbeck's debut story collection, Jagannath, is suffused with the myths of her homeland — and the American oddities she picked up as a student here. Reviewer Alan Cheuse says the stories are weird — but it's a good kind of weird.
October 25, 2012 True Grit author Charles Portis is the cult writer for people who hate cult writers. He hasn't published a book since 1991, and reviewer John Powers says the short pieces collected in Escape Velocity have been treasured for decades, passed around like samizdat by Portis fans.
October 24, 2012 Tom Wolfe's new novel is a sprawling portrait of Miami and its many ethnic groups, centering around a Cuban-American police officer and an immigration conflict. NPR editor Luis Clemens says the book nails the physical descriptions of Miami, but falls down badly in the portrayal of actual humans.
October 18, 2012 In Master of the Mountain, historian Henry Wiencek uses an explosive interpretation of evidence to show how, by the 1780s, Founding Father and slave owner Thomas Jefferson had gone from championing equality to rationalizing an abomination.
October 18, 2012 Film critic and historian David Thomson's new collection of essays covers a wide array of films, from Casablanca all the way to Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. Thomson digs through cinematic history to unearth truths about how what we watch reflects who we are.
October 17, 2012 Argentine author César Aira's newest novel, The Miracle Cures of Dr. Aira, is the story of a doctor's quest for miracle cures for imagined illnesses — and to defeat his wicked archnemesis, the sinister Dr. Actyn. Reviewer Pablo Medina says it's worth a read.
October 17, 2012 Husband and wife cartoonists Robert and Aline Crumb have worked jointly on autobiographical comics for nearly four decades. The panels of their new graphic novel overflow with voluminous speech bubbles filled with the Crumbs' honest observations about anything and everything.
October 11, 2012 In A.M. Homes' suburbia, yawning sinkholes will suddenly open up in front lawns, swallowing cliched plotlines and opening portals to other dimensions. In her latest novel, she serves up an old-fashioned American story that's more Norman Bates than Norman Rockwell.
October 11, 2012 Michael Klarman, a Harvard law professor and former clerk for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, traces the judicial history of gay marriage in America from WWII to the present. According to Klarman, the "handwriting on the wall" indicates the imminent legalization of same-sex marriage.