March 19, 2013 Emily Rapp lived every parent's nightmare when her infant son was diagnosed with a fatal disease. The Still Point of the Turning World is not only a powerful memoir of a mother's endurance but also a meditation on how our mortality should inspire us all to live life ferociously in the present.
March 14, 2013 In her new story collection, This Close, Jessica Francis Kane depicts a group of women who are worn down, overwhelmed by love and loss, yet familiar as old friends. Reviewer Jane Ciabattari says they are "our family, our friends and neighbors. They are us, at our most vulnerable."
March 13, 2013 William H. Gass' fiction has been a secret handshake among brainy readers for years. Critics universally adored The Tunnel, his 1995 opus, even though it was nearly impossible to read. With Middle C, Gass has given us another dense, suffocating novel about language and the self.
March 12, 2013 Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has drawn a lot of attention with her "sort of a feminist manifesto" Lean In. Critic Maureen Corrigan finds that much of the book is bland, but toward the end, Sandberg's intellectual charisma breaks through.
March 12, 2013 Comics veteran Ben Katchor's new book, Hand-Drying in America, examines the spaces we live and work in, and the ways we build and navigate through them. Critic Glen Weldon says Katchor's panels "celebrate the mundane world around us by revealing it to be anything but."
March 7, 2013 Marisa Silver's new novel, Mary Coin, is a fictionalized look at a famous Depression-era photograph: Dorothea Lange's iconic "Migrant Mother." Reviewer Heller McAlpin says Silver skilfully weaves together different eras and narratives, creating "quietly heroic yet very human characters."
March 6, 2013 The circus is hard to categorize and easy to overlook as an art form. But author Duncan Wall decided to take a closer look at circus history — and maybe learn some clowning skills along the way — in his new book The Ordinary Acrobat.
March 6, 2013 Mohsin Hamid chooses an unusual second-person structure throughout his new novel, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia. NPR's Steve Inskeep says that, though largely mute in a narrative told to an unnamed "you," the hero "speaks powerfully through his ambition and his longing."
March 5, 2013 Set at the turn of the century within the grand houses of Princeton, The Accursed is populated with specters, demons and even a vampire. But the real monsters in Joyce Carol Oates' chilling tale are the members of Princeton's elite, who preach from the pulpits and judge without compassion.
February 28, 2013 Marisa Silver's new novel imagines the meeting of a Depression-era photographer and her now-iconic subject. Giving the characters different names but similar stories to their real-life counterparts, Silver tackles big questions about the morality of art.