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The Queen of the Tearling

There is so much to love about Erika Johansen’s novel and very little to dislike. Her characters are realistic, mysterious, and even fun.

Claire of the Sea Light

If any book about human frailty can be described as delicate, Claire of the Sea Light is it.

John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams may not have been one of America’s greatest presidents, but he was definitely one of its greatest citizens.


Much of its audience will be as dazed and confused as Adam is in this brave new world, but Schrag sends you home with a greater understanding of all the permutations of what it means to be human.

Song of the Shank

"Song of the Shank" may be the most challenging narrative many fiction readers have tackled since "The Sound and the Fury."

Midnight in Europe

Here is the master at work again, writing in his smoothly flowing always apt, direct and forward moving and yet deliciously descriptive prose, giving us life on the verge of the Nazi military offensive in all of its particular feel and heft.

Lay It on My Heart

Pneuman is a master of dark comedy, and the grimmer the material, the funnier it becomes in her twisted but capable hands.

A Broken Hallelujah: Rock and Roll, Redemption, and the Life of Leonard Cohen

This book is for both those looking for something in addition to what the biographies tell and those less interested in the facts than in just thinking about the songs.

War! What Is It Good For?

This book focuses on percentages and grand strategy rather than the human suffering and social consequences and distortions brought by war.

The Book of Unknown Americans

“Unknown Americans” is at its most powerful not when it’s giving us a documentarylike look at immigrant life in one Delaware (yes, Delaware) town, but when it’s chronicling the lives of its two central characters: a beautiful Mexican teenager named Maribel Rivera and her admiring friend and neighbor, Mayor Toro.

Last Stories and Other Stories

“Last Stories”shows flashes of Vollmann’s estimable talent, but the bulk of this long book lacks the drive of historical imperative or an absorbing subject.

The Queen of the Tearling

Overall, I did not find the engrossing fantasy I was looking for in The Queen of the Tearling, but it deserves better than to be lauded only as a Frankenstein product of popular literature.

Land of Love and Drowning: A Novel

Bubbling with talent and ambition, this novel is a head-spinning Caribbean cocktail.

Sand and Fire

A realistic portrayal of contemporary military action.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Vividly and beautifully written but extraordinarily bleak.

Half a King

There are moments of funny humour, snappy dialogue and an ending that was genuinely surprising in different ways.

The Walk Home: A Novel

The Walk Home is a quiet, reflective story, still enjoyable even though it was written not so much to entertain but rather to educate.

Love and Treasure

The historical aspects of the book are wonderfully wrought and seemingly expertly researched.

Alias Hook

Alias Hook is a fun and clever follow up to the classic tale, one I think the kid in all of us can appreciate.

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee

“The Mockingbird Next Door” is warm yet wistful, a lament for the books Harper Lee never wrote.