Contemporary Literature Sitemap - Page 4 2015-12-01

Diary by Chuck Palahniuk
For the first time since his first novel, Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk is writing in a woman's voice, albeit the obsessed and borderline deranged voice of Diary's

Hegemony or Survival by Noam Chomsky
From Noam Chomsky, the world's foremost intellectual activist,

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
To call Middlesex a coming-of-age novel about a hermaphrodite would be like calling The Odyssey a story about some guy on a boat. Middlesex is nothing short of epic; one family's survival on a twisted path through Greece to 20th Century America; battles ranging from the fires of the Turkish wars, the igniting of Michigan race riots, and the burning desires hidden within a girl named Callie and the man named Cal who she is to become.

Schott's Original Miscellany
Schott’s Original Miscellany is a small book, much smaller than you’d expect for what’s packed inside. It’s about the size of an average paperback, perhaps smaller. It’s the kind of book you should leave lying around on a coffee table or perhaps in the bathroom...

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd - review of The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
In 'The Secret Life of Bees,' Sue Monk Kidd wraps a coming-of-age tale around a search for one's mother, plunks it down into the racially-charged South Carolina of the 1960s and sets it all alight with a dose of feminine spirituality. . It is an inspirational feminist tale with strong female characters.

Ten Little Indians by Sherman Alexie
“Nine is a much funnier number than eleven,” explained Sherman Alexie in a recent book signing for Ten Little Indians, a collection of nine contemporary Native American tales. This much-anticipated work dances the line between banality and classic Alexie brilliance at its best, leaving the reader exuberate at its finish, but almost wishing they hadn’t read those first few.

To Live by Yu Hua

True Notebooks by Mark Salzman
When Mark Salzman is invited to visit a writing class at Central Juvenile Hall, a lockup for Los Angeles’s most violent teenage offenders, he scrambles for a polite reason to decline. He goes—expecting the worst—and is so astonished by what he finds that he becomes a teacher there himself. True Notebooks is an account of Salzman’s first years teaching at Central. Through it, we come to know his students as he did: in their own words.

Villa Incognito byTom Robbins
On one level, Tom Robbins' Villa Incognito is a book about identity, masquerade and disguise--about the false mustache of the world - but neither the mists of Laos nor the smog of Bangkok, neither the overcast of Seattle nor the fog of San Francisco, neither the murk of the intelligence community nor the mummery of the circus can obscure the linguistic phosphor that illuminates the pages of Villa Incognito.

Dry by Augusten Burroughs

DisneyWar by James B. Stewart
When Roy Disney, chairman of Walt Disney Animation and nephew of founder Walt Disney, abruptly resigned in November 2003 and declared war on chairman and chief executive Michael Eisner, he sent shock waves through the entertainment industry, corporate boardrooms, theme parks, and living rooms around the world-everywhere Disney does business and its products are cherished. DisneyWar is the inside story of what drove America's best-known entertainment company to civil war.

The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth
The Weather Makers is both an urgent warning and a call to arms, outlining the history of climate change, how it will unfold over the next century, and what we can do to prevent a cataclysmic future. Along with a history of climate change, Tim Flannery offers suggestions for action, from investing in renewable power sources like wind, solar, and geothermal energy, to offering a plan with steps each and every one of us can take right now to reduce deadly CO2 emissions by as much as 70 percent.

The Best American Essays 2008 - Review of The Best American Essays 2008
The essays within 'The Best American Essays 2008' range from humorous to heart-wrenching and from underwhelming to unforgettable. As always in the Best American collections, it's a mixed bag, but because the editors cull these from countless submissions, what's good in the collection is really good.

The Funny Thing Is... by Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres published her first book of comic essays, the #1 bestselling

I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert - Book Review
From Stephen Colbert, the host of television's highest-rated punditry show The Colbert Report, comes the book to fill the other 23½ hours of your day. I Am America (and So Can You!) contains all of the opinions that Stephen doesn't have time to shoehorn into his nightly broadcast.

The Instructions by Adam Levin - Review of Adam Levin's The Instructions
In over one thousand pages, Adam Levin's The Instructions follows four days in the life of Gurion ben-Judah Maccabee, a fifth grader in Aptakisic Junior High's

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, Book Review
The history of Afghanistan is marked by death, loss and unimaginable grief. And, yet, people find a way to survive, to go on. Ultimately, this is more than a story of survival in the face of what seem to be insurmountable odds. It is a story of the unconquerable spirit of a people seen through the eyes of two indomitable women. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, is a must read for those who wish to understand the modern history (1964 - 2003) of Afghanistan.

Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Pynchon is known for the brilliant and complex novels that he wrote in the 1960's and 70's: V, The Crying of Lot 49, and Gravity's Rainbow. Pynchon devotees have waited a long time for the author's sixth novel, Against the Day, and want to know - is it brilliant, or just complex?

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold - Book Review

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Astonishing Splashes of Colour by Clare Morrall
Booker finalist Astonishing Splashes of Colour takes its title from J. M. Barrie's description of Peter Pan's Neverland. It follows the life of Kitty, a woman who, in a sense, has never grown up. She lives an improvised life reviewing children's books, visiting her husband who lives in the apartment next door, and fostering a growing obsession to replace her lost child. Clare Morrall's debut novel is a sparkling original.

The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton - Book Review of The Bible Salesman by Clyde Edgerton
In Clyde Edgerton's 'The Bible Salesman,' Preston Clearwater, a criminal, picks up hitch-hiking Henry Dampier, an innocent nineteen-year-old Bible salesman. Clearwater immediately recognizes Henry as just the associate he needs--one who will believe Clearwater is working as an F.B.I. spy; one who will drive the cars Clearwater steals as Clearwater follows along in another car at a safe distance. Henry joyfully sees a chance to lead a dual life as Bible salesman and a G-man.

The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine - Review of The Blue Notebook
James A. Levine's standout debut novel, 'The Blue Notebook,' is a difficult kind of fiction. It's the kind of fiction that reveals a truth so painful you hope it remains within the book's pages. It's the kind of fiction that convinces you of a disturbing reality that exists beyond the story itself, even though you wish it didn't.

Body Surfing by Anita Shreve, Book Review
At the age of 29, Sydney has already been once divorced and once widowed. Trying to regain her footing once again, she has answered an ad to tutor the teenage daughter of a wellto- do couple as they spend a sultry summer in their oceanfront New Hampshire cottage. But when the Edwards' two grown sons, Ben and Jeff, arrive at the beach house, Sydney finds herself caught up in a destructive web of old tensions and bitter divisions.

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell - Review of David Mitchell's Black Swan Green
David Mitchell's story-telling abilities are unparalleled and his characters fully realized, becoming like people you actually know, or used to. But it is in mining truth from the lessons of childhood that the novel derives its true power. Such truths are rarely vocalized in real life, and if they are, they are never illustrated as fully or as powerfully as in Black Swan Green.

The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster
A retired insurance salesman, estranged from his family and diagnosed with lung cancer, returns to Brooklyn to die. Instead, he reacquaints himself with his long-lost nephew, a spiritual seeker working in a used bookstore. Despair is swept away in favor of discovery, in Brooklynite, Paul Auster's

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
Tom Langdon, a weary and cash-strapped journalist, is banned from flying when a particularly thorough airport security search causes him to lose his cool. Now, he must take the train if he has any chance of arriving in Los Angeles in time for Christmas. To finance the trip, he sells a story about a train ride taken during the Christmas season. Along the way, Tom encounters a ridiculous cast of characters, unexpected romance, and an avalanche that changes everyone's Christmas plans.

Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis, Book Review
A burned–out private detective is enlisted by an army of presidential goons to retrieve the U.S. Constitution...the real one. Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman, Crooked Little Vein is packed with action, adventure, and a wild cast of characters that are sure to appease not only hardcore comic fans, but a whole new slew of mystery readers waiting for a surprisingly surreal treat that infuses the madness of the graphic–novel world.

Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje - Book Review
Michael Ondaatje's novel, 'Divisadero,' is sensuous, languid, filled with images, both sublime and earthy. It is a story of separation, division, that feeling of not belonging quite any place or to any relationship. Every character seems to be alone, abandoned, fading in and out of the movie of Life. Concurrently, each character seems to be seeking a place to be, a partner to be with.

Dragon House by John Shors - Review of Dragon House
'Dragon House' marks John Shors' third novel, after 'Beneath a Marble Sky' and 'Beside a Burning Sea.' Each novel has moved forward in time from Moghul India to World War Two to the present. A fourth novel is due for release in September 2010, 'The Wishing Tree.' All of his novels have been set in some corner of Asia. Each has deftly caught the milieu and language of its setting.

Drop City by T.C. Boyle - Review of Drop City
It is 1970, and a California commune devoted to peace, free love, and the simple life has decided to relocate to the last frontier - the unforgiving landscape of interior Alaska. Armed with the spirit of adventure and naive optimism, the inhabitants of Drop City arrive in the wilderness of Alaska only to find their utopia already populated by other homesteaders.

Engleby by Sebastian Faulks - Book Review
Something about Mike Engleby is not quite right. When he becomes fixated on a classmate and she goes missing, we are left with the looming question: Is Mike Engleby involved? Mike becomes more and more detached from those around him in an almost anti-coming-of-age. His inability to relate to others and his undependable memory lead the reader down an unclear and often darkly humorous path where one is never completely comfortable or confident about what is true.

Everyman by Philip Roth - Book Review of Everyman by Philip Roth
Philip Roth turns his attention to one man's confrontation with mortality. Roth's Everyman is a hero whose youthful sense of independence and confidence begins to be challenged when illness commences its attack in middle age. A successful commercial advertising artist, he is the father of two sons who despise him and a daughter who adores him. He is the lonely ex-husband of three very different women. Inevitably, he discovers that he has become what he does not want to be.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer - Review of Everything is Illuminated
With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man - also named Jonathan Safran Foer - sets out to find the woman who might or might not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war, an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior, and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past.

Eve’s Apple by Jonathan Rosen
Jonathan Rosen's Eve's Apple on the surface appears to be a story about a man obsessed with his girlfriends' eating disorder. What it turns out to be is something much more intriguing; a mystery novel where the crime is both the eating disorder and the obsession to solve it. The internal unknown of a disease still incurable by both medicine and psychology is for Joseph Zimmerman both a source of deep distress and his raison-d'etre.

Family Planning by Karan Mahajan - Book Review of Family Planning
As this comic tour de force says,

Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee, Book Review
Casey Han's four years at Princeton gave her many things,

Homecoming by Bernhard Schlink - Book Review
The first novel by Bernhard Schlink since his international best seller

Indecision by Benjamin Kunkel
Dwight Wilmerding, the narrator of Benjamin Kunkel's comic novel, Indecision, is encouraged by one of his roommates to try an experimental pharmaceutical meant to banish indecision. And when all at once he is

Indignation by Philip Roth - Review of Indignation by Philip Roth, author of The Plot Against America
Philip Roth's 'Indignation' is narrated by a young Jewish man from New Jersey and follows him as he escapes his overly-protective father by transferring to a college in Winesburg, Ohio for his sophomore year, having spent his freshman year a little too close to home at a local college. Although he comes from a long line of kosher butchers, he is determined to work hard to improve his social status, and to avoid being drafted by the armed forces for service in the Korean War.

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks - Review of The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
It seems that it took only a moment for 'The Last Song' to reach number one on both the USA Today and New York Times lists of best-selling books. Such is the norm when Nicholas Sparks publishes a new novel. His previous novels, and the films made from them, have created a built-in and extraordinarily loyal audience. And, he is loyal to his audience, always trying to give them what they want.

The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

Little Bee by Chris Cleave - Book Review
'Little Bee' is the story of a tenuous friendship that emerges between a Nigerian refuge girl and a white British magazine editor.

Lunar Park by Bret Easton Ellis
Bret Easton Ellis's new novel, Lunar Park, is a feat of literary sleight-of-hand, a bait and switch game that finds Ellis addressing his controversial work and his relationship to it in a fictionalized confession. Its first spellbinding chapter relates the lurid story of Ellis's rise to stardom, exactly the sort of tell-all that readers have craved. Ellis blames his abusive, manipulative father for the bleak worldview that would inform his writing.

Lowboy - Review of Lowboy by John Wray
John Wray's novel 'Lowboy' is about a schizophrenic teenager who has stopped taking his medication and escaped the asylum into the New York subway. The novel follows William Heller, aka

The Man In My Basement by Walter Mosley - Review of The Man In My Basement by Walter Mosley
Walter Mosley, author of the Easy Rawlins detective novels, weaves a more philosophical story in The Man in My Basement. Charles Blakely is an unemployed African-American who rents his basement to a wealthy white man for a large amount of money. What ensues is an exploration of heavy themes: guilt and redemption, power and manipulation, and race.

Man in the Dark by Paul Auster Review - Review of Man in the Dark by Paul Auster
Paul Auster's newest book, 'Man in the Dark,' creates an alternate universe in which the twin towers never toppled, the war in Iraq never began, and instead the United States wages against itself, divided in civil war. More than a compelling what-if, Auster's book confronts the most important questions of our times in a way that is gut-wrenchingly real.

The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty
Meet Smithson “Smithy” Ide, an overweight, friendless, chain-smoking, forty-three-year-old drunk who works as a quality control inspector at a toy action-figure factory in Rhode Island. By all accounts, including Smithy's own, he's a loser. But when Smithy's life of quiet desperation is brutally interrupted by tragedy, he stumbles across his old Raleigh bicycle and impulsively sets off on an epic journey that might give him one last chance to become the person he always wanted to be.

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd - Review of The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
Sue Monk Kidd, author of the bestselling 'Secret Life of Bees,' is back with her second novel, 'The Mermaid Chair.' Jessie Sullivan returns to Egret Island,off the coast of South Carolina, to care for her mother and finds herself attracted to a young monk at a Benedictine Monastery where

Only Revolutions by Mark Z. Danielewski
Mark Danielewski's experimental novel, Only Revolutions surrounds a 200 year road journey taken by two teenage lovers, Hailey and Sam. It is narrated by each of these characters, and readers are instructed to flip the book over every 8 pages to switch viewpoints. This sort of experimentalist literature is not new to Danielewski whose experimental horror novel, House of Leaves became a cult favorite and is now dissected in literature classrooms at Universities the world over.

People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks - Book Review
In 1996, Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, is offered the job of a lifetime: analysis and conservation of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, which has been rescued from Serb shelling during the Bosnian war. Priceless and beautiful, the book is one of the earliest Jewish volumes ever to be illuminated with images. When Hanna, a caustic loner with a passion for her work, discovers a series of tiny artifacts in its ancient binding, she begins to unlock the book's mysteries.

The Sea of Tears by Nani Power

The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
It is the return of America's favorite chronicler of absurdity, Christopher Moore, with his eighth book

Terrorist by John Updike
John Updike's twenty-second novel tells of eighteen-year-old Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy, the son of an Irish-American mother and an Egyptian father who disappeared when he was three, and his devotion to Allah and the words of the Holy Qur'an, as expounded to him by a local mosque's imam. Ahmad is pulled by two forces: that of a guidance counselor who strives to steer Ahmad from fundamentalist influences, and of a Lebanese jihadist, whose guidance would lead Ahmad in a more dangerous direction.

Testimony by Anita Shreve - Review of Testimony by Anita Shreve
'Testimony' opens with a shocking description of child pornography that may leave Anita Shreve's regular audience gasping for air, and perhaps even reaching for one of her previous novels to make sure she is the same author that they remember. As the story progresses, however, it becomes clear that this was in fact the author's intention, and not merely an unfortunate miscalculation by a normally perceptive writer.

The Age of Shiva by Manil Suri - Book Review
Following his spectacular debut novel,

The Darling by Russell Banks
Russell Banks'

The Entitled by Frank Deford, Book Review
In The Entitled, six-time National Sportswriter of the Year and NPR commentator Frank Deford takes the reader deep inside the game of baseball and evokes the roles of the players as well as the one man who can make or break a team and a season.

The Good Life by Jay McInerney
On a September 2001 morning in New York, brightness falls horribly from the sky, and people worlds apart suddenly find themselves working side by side at the devastated site, feeling lost anywhere else, yet battered still by memory and regret, by fresh disappointment and unimaginable shock. What happens, or should happen, when life stops us in our tracks, or our own choices do? What if both secrets and secret needs, long guarded steadfastly, are finally revealed? What is the good life?

Transmission by Hari Kunzru
Transmission, Hari Kunzru’s new novel of love and lunacy, immigration and immunity, introduces a daydreaming Indian computer geek whose luxurious fantasies about life in America are shaken when he accepts a California job offer. Award-winning novelist Hari Kunzru was hailed as a

Until I Find You by John Irving

Wake Up, Sir! by Jonathan Ames
What kind of book has Jonathan Ames written this time? Well, think of Cervantes' Don Quixote, except that

The Wild Things - Review of The Wild Things by Dave Eggers
'The Wild Things' is a novelized version of 'Where the Wild Things Are,' Maurice Sendak's wonderfully captivating children's book about a young boy, who after being sent to his room for making

The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho
Internationally bestselling author Paulo Coelho's latest novel, The Winner Stands Alone, is like his bestselling The Alchemist, but with a murderer on the loose. In this psychological thriller, the action takes place during twenty-four hours at the Cannes Film Festival, where supermodels, film producers, and fashionistas are all vying for their fifteen minutes of fame. And one man is there to thwart that moment in the spotlight. Read more.

The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins
Loosely based on the form of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Richard Dawkins'

The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805
In an attempt to stop the legendary Barbary Pirates of North Africa from hijacking American ships, William Eaton set out in 1805 on a secret mission to overthrow the government of Tripoli. The operation was sanctioned by President Thomas Jefferson, but at the last moment he grew wary of

Queen Emma and the Vikings by Harriet O'Brien
Emma, one of England's most remarkable queens, made her mark on a nation beset by Viking raiders at the end of the Dark Ages, a period often neglected by conventional history. At the center of a triangle of Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and Normans all jostling for control of England, Emma was a political pawn who became a power broker and an unscrupulous manipulator. In Queen Emma and the Vikings, Harriet O'Brien affords her readers a view into the world of late Anglo-Saxon England.

Rats by Robert Sullivan
With a notebook and night-vision gear, Robert Sullivan sits in the streamlike flow of garbage and searches for fabled rat kings, sets out to trap a rat, and eventually travels to the Midwest to learn about rats. Sullivan looks deep into the largely unrecorded history of the city and its masses -- its herd-of-rats-like mob. Funny, wise, sometimes disgusting yet always compulsively readable,

Storyteller: The Authorized Biography of Roald Dahl - Review of Roald Dahl Biography
It's no small feat to write about such a complex person as Roald Dahl - and Storyteller is no small book. Weighing in at 2.5 pounds and 660 pages, this fascinating authorized biography is worth every word. Roald Dahl was a larger-than-life person, and Donald Sturrock writes about him with a sure hand.

Chronicles, Volume One by Bob Dylan
By turns revealing, poetical, passionate and witty, Chronicles: Volume One is a mesmerizing window on Bob Dylan's thoughts and influences. Dylan's voice is distinctively American: generous of spirit, engaged, fanciful and rhythmic. Utilizing his unparalleled gifts of storytelling and the exquisite expressiveness that are the hallmarks of his music, Bob Dylan turns Chronicles, Volume I into a poignant reflection on life, and the people and places that helped shape the man and the art.

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux - Book Review of The Great Railway Bazaar

Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg - Book Review of Hurry Down Sunshine
In the opening pages of his memoir, Michael Greenberg says it's

Jesus Land by Julia Scheeres
Julia Scheeres' Jesus Land is an unforgettable memoir of trying to survive childhood. During the mid-1980s, Julia Scheeres and her black, adopted brother, David are sixteen years old and have just moved to rural Indiana, to a racism neither of them is prepared for. At home, a distant mother-more involved with her church's missionaries than with her own children-and a violent father only compound their problems. Scheeres' Jesus Land is a heart-breaking and compelling memoir.

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
When Chef Anthony Bourdain wrote

A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke

My Friend Leonard by James Frey

Night by Elie Wiesel
Night is Elie Wiesel’s candid, horrific, and poignant account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie’s wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author’s original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man’s capacity for inhumanity to man.

Tony and Me by Jack Klugman
The close professional relationship between Jack Klugman and Tony Randall has long been famous, but the details of their personal friendship have never been revealed until now. In Tony and Me by Jack Klugman with Burton Rocks the depth of this friendship is fully explored and touchingly revealed for the very first time.

The Wilderness Warrior by Douglas Brinkley - Review of The Wilderness Warrior
In March 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt declared Pelican Island in Florida

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Joan Didion's journalistic skills are displayed as never before in this story of a year in her life that began with her daughter in a medically induced coma and her husband unexpectedly dead due to a heart attack. This powerful and moving work is Didion's

Decoding the Universe by Charles Seife, Book Review
Previously the domain of philosophers and linguists, information theory has now moved beyond the province of code breakers to become the crucial science of our time. In Decoding the Universe, Charles Seife draws on his gift for making cutting-edge science accessible to explain how this new tool is deciphering everything from the purpose of our DNA to the parallel universes of our Byzantine cosmos.

Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver has been writing poetry for nearly five decades, and in that time she has become America's foremost poetic voice on our experience of the physical world. This collection presents forty-two new poems, all written within the last two years. This volume includes poems on crickets, toads, trout lillies, bears; on greeting the morning, watching deer, and, finally, on lingering in happiness.

The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden - Book Review
The bestselling book for every boy from eight to eighty, covering essential boyhood skills such as building tree houses, learning how to fish, finding true north, and even answering the age old question of what the big deal with girls is.

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
In 'A New Earth' spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle (

The Mandala of Being by Richard Moss, Book Review
In The Mandala of Being, Richard Moss invites readers to become aware of the entity that is the self, and in so doing, to realize that there must yet be a larger Self that contains this awareness. He points out the myriad ways in which we distract ourselves from the Self, how we lose ourselves in creations of our own minds, and he invites us to build relationships with our true selves, to bring our awareness fully into the Now.

West of Jesus by Steven Kotler
In West of Jesus, Steven Kotler sets out to find the origins of a very particular surf legend about a surfer called

Arthur and George by Julian Barnes - Review of Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
The story of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a man of letters and the creator of Sherlock Holmes, and George Edalji, an unfortunate outsider unjustly imprisoned. In Arthur and George, Julian Barnes delivers a fictional retelling of a true story in which the lives of two most disparate individuals are surprisingly woven together.

Beside A Burning Sea by John Shors - Book Review of Beside A Burning Sea
It's 1942. A U.S. hospital ship is torpedoed and sunk by a Japanese plane somewhere in the South Pacific and the survivors, including a wounded Japanese prisoner and two ship's nurses he saved, make it to a deserted island. Beside a Burning Sea, John Shors' ('Beneath a Marble Sky') second novel, finds the nine castaways playing out a story of love and hate against the backdrop of war.

Empress by Shan Sa
In seventh-century China, during the great Tang dynasty, a young girl from the humble Wu clan entered the imperial gynaecium, which housed ten thousand concubines. Inside the Forbidden City, she witnessed seductions, plots, murders, and brazen acts of treason. Propelled by a shrewd intelligence, an extraordinary persistence, and a friendship with the imperial heir, she rose through the ranks to become the first Empress of China.

The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie - Review of Salman Rushdie's the Enchantress of Florence
The Enchantress of Florence is Salman Rushdie's most recent sweeping and masterfully-written historical novel, set in sixteenth century Florence and Sikri, the seat of the Mughal Empire of the East. The plot orbits the fortunes of a young adventurer with many names, the Mughal emperor Akbar, and the enchantress Qara Koz; however, subplots abound, and even the most clever, insightful reader will not manage to guess the tale in its entirety.

Europe Central by William T. Vollmann
Seven hundred fifty pages long, with an additional fifty pages of notes, William T. Vollman's Europe Central is dense with allusions to art, to music, to literature, and to history. Its characters include Kurt Gerstein, Käthe Kollwitz, and generals on both sides of the Eastern front in the Second World War; Vollmann's psychological portrayals of these individuals are both plausible and intense.

Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow - Review of Homer & Langley by E.L. Doctorow
Homer and Langley Collyer were hoarding hermits who lived in the Harlem of the early 20th Century. They died in 1947 when the hoard they had collected over the years collapsed. Langley, who created traps among the collection, was caught by one of them and crushed to death. Homer, who was blind, then starved to death at age 70 after a lifetime in their four-story Fifth Avenue mansion. E.L. Doctorow turns their story into a masterpiece that captivates the reader throughout.

The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld
Inspired by Sigmund Freud's only visit to America, The Interpretation of Murder is an intricate tale of murder and the mind's most dangerous mysteries. It unfurls on a sweltering August evening in 1909 as Freud disembarks from the steamship George Washington, accompanied by Carl Jung, his rival and protégé. Across town, in an opulent apartment high above the city, a stunning young woman is found dangling from a chandelier—whipped, mutilated, and strangled.

The Plot Against America by Philip Roth - Book Review of Plot Against America by Philip Roth
In The Plot Against America by Philip Roth, isolationist Charles A. Lindbergh defeats incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election and negotiates a cordial

The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes - Book Review
In the first paragraph of Jonathan Barnes'

Telegraph Days by Larry McMurtry
Telegraph Days is a delightful bagatelle of a novel.

The Widow of the South by Robert Hicks
In an extraordinary debut novel, based on a remarkable true story, Robert Hicks draws an unforgettable, panoramic portrait of a woman who, through love and loss, found a cause. Known throughout the country as

The 5th Horseman by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
A young mother is recuperating in a San Francisco hospital when she is suddenly gasping for breath. The call button fails to bring help in time. The hospital's doctors, some of the best in the nation, are completely mystified by her death. How did this happen? This is not the first such case at the hospital. Just as patients are about to be released with a clean bill of health, their conditions take a devastating turn for the worse.

Absolute Friends by John LeCarre
In Absolute Friends, John le Carre delivers the masterpiece he has been building to since the fall of communism: an epic tale of loyalty and betrayal that spans the lives of two friends from the riot-torn West Berlin of the 1960s to the grimy looking-glass of Cold War Europe to the present day of terrorism and new alliances. This is the novel le Carre fans have been waiting for, a brilliant, ferocious, heartbreaking work for the ages.

Bangkok Tattoo by John Burdett
John Burdett's Bangkok 8 (2004) chronicles the adventures of Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a police detective in District 8 of the Royal Thai Police. Sonchai is a devout Buddhist, driven into the religion by a childhood sin and exiled by monks into the police force to make a statement and lead by example. Bangkok Tattoo, the 2005 sequel, is no less strange and wonderful, starting as it does with the other fascinating character of the books, Sonchai's brothel-owning, entrepreneurial mother.

'The Broken Window' by Jeffery Deaver - Book Review of 'The Broken Window'
Fastidious author Jeffery Deaver has his ace forensic specialist and consultant for the NYPD, Lincoln Rhymes, come up against a mastermind killer who has unlimited access to the world's most detailed bank of data on the people of the world. That's you and me, and the implication is clear: the possibility of our most personal information falling into the hands of a serial killer fills us with dread.

The Camel Club by David Baldacci
David Baldacci is the author of ten previous consecutive New York Times bestsellers and #1 international bestsellers: Absolute Power, Total Control, The Winner, The Simple Truth, Saving Faith, Wish You Well, Last Man Standing, The Christmas Train, Split Second, and Hour Game, as well as his Freddy and the French Fries children's series. In The Camel Club, David Baldacci paints a frightening portrait of a world that could be our own soon.

The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith
The Lost Art of Gratitude is the sixth installment of the Alexander McCall Smith's Dalhousie chronicles, a series which concerns the adventures of a well-meaning Edinburgh academic who too often sets out to restore her own faith in humanity by helping others, only to become overly involved in their affairs.

The Gate House by Nelson DeMille - Book Review of The Gate House
'The Gate House,' a sequel to Nelson DeMille's successful 'The Gold Coast,' has all the elements of a 2009 beach read. There is a lot of sex; he does wait until the second page for the first episode. There are mafia dons, murder, divorce, reconciliation, alcohol, in-law troubles, and rich families down on their luck, or not.

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben - Book Review of Hold Tight by Harlan Coben
If there was ever a novel that called for a sociological flow chart, 'Hold Tight,' a community murder mystery, is it. Harlan Coben has constructed a yarn with multiple points of view - a patchwork of tragically affected people connected to an incident of callousness and bad taste that festers into murder and suicide. And no one participant has any way of knowing how it all connects.

I Heard That Song Before by Mary Higgins Clark, Book Review
In the psychological thriller,

Improbable by Adam Fawer
David Caine is a gambler. He gambles at cards and life, always with the belief that his almost savant ability to determine probabilities will keep him afloat. What he doesn't factor into his equation are the devastating epileptic seizures that have been arriving with increased frequency. Up until now, they've hardly impaired his visits to some of the seediest underground poker clubs in New York City, where he's used his probability calculations with cunning and for profit. Up until now.

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown - Review of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
Robert Langdon has been invited to Washington at the last minute to make a speech about the fraternal order of Masons and to bring a certain box entrusted to him by a 33rd degree Mason. This box allegedly holds the secret to the Ancient Mysteries. A very real angel of death is searching for it; indeed, he has made all the arrangements that have brought Langdon to Washington. The story unfolds at breakneck speed, the main action taking place in less than twenty-four hours.

Mary, Mary by James Patterson
People make enemies easily in Hollywood. To track down a merciless killer, Alex must navigate a world where the stars and players sip San Pellegrino at the Ivy as hopefuls hover around studio gates armed with 8 x 10 glossies. Everyone is desperate for a close-up, but this is one fan Hollywood could do without. Members of the A-list fear they're next on Mary's list, and the case catapults into blockbuster proportions as Cross and the LAPD scramble to find a pattern.

The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen
PECCAVI - The Latin is scrawled in blood at the scene of a young woman's brutal murder: I HAVE SINNED. It's a chilling Christmas greeting for Boston medical examiner Maura Isles and Detective Jane Rizzoli, who link the victim to celebrity psychiatrist Joyce O'Donnell - Jane's professional nemesis and member of a sinister cabal called the Mephisto Club.

Monday Mourning by Kathy Reichs
Monday Mourning is Kathy Reichs' seventh Temperance Brennan novel. It is as chillingly good as her first, Deja Dead, a NY Times bestseller which won the 1997 Edgar Award for best first novel. One of the book blurbs for Monday Mourning says she is as

The Old Wine Shades by Martha Grimes
The latest in Martha Grimes’s Richard Jury mystery series. The story is told by Harry Johnson, a stranger who sits down next to Richard Jury as he’s drinking in a London pub called the Old Wine Shades. Over three successive nights Harry spins this complicated story about a good friend of his whose wife and son (and dog) disappeared one day as they were viewing property in Surrey. They’ve been missing for nine months—no trace, no clue, no lead as to what happened.

One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
Two years after the events of Case Histories left him a retired millionaire, former detective Jackson Brodie has followed Julia to Edinburgh for its famous summer arts festival. But when he watches a man brutally attacked in a traffic jam--the apparent victim of an extreme case of road rage--a chain of events is set in motion that will pull the wife of an unscrupulous real estate tycoon, a timid but successful crime novelist, and a hardheaded female police detective into Jackson's orbit.

Ordinary Heroes by Scott Turow
Stewart Dubinsky knew his father had served in World War II. And he'd been told how David Dubin had rescued Stewart's mother from the horror of the Balingen concentration camp. But when he discovers, after his father's death, a packet of wartime letters to a former fiancée, and learns of his father's court-martial and imprisonment, he is plunged into the mystery of his family's secret history and driven to uncover the truth about this enigmatic man who'd always refused to talk about his war.

Prey by Michael Crichton
In the Nevada desert, an experiment has gone horribly wrong. A cloud of nanoparticles — micro-robots — has escaped from the laboratory. This cloud is self-sustaining and self-reproducing. It is intelligent and learns from experience. For all practical purposes, it is alive. As fresh as today's headlines, Michael Crichton's most compelling novel yet tells the story of a mechanical plague and the desperate efforts of a handful of scientists to stop it.

Rain Gods by James Lee Burke - Review of Rain Gods by James Lee Burke
Rain Gods is the most clearly literary novel of James Lee Burke's distinguished career as a novelist. After 17 Dave Robicheaux, four Billy Bob Holland, six miscellaneous golden novels and two collections of short stories, Burke has struck platinum. The protagonist is Sheriff Hackberry Holland. He is 74-years-old and suffers from chronic back pain and night terrors due to his Korean War POW experiences. Plus, he has quit drinking and is fending off the attentions of his young deputy.

Silverfin by Charlie Higson
What does it take to become the greatest secret agent the world has ever known? In this thrilling prequel to the James Bond series, readers meet a thirteen-year-old schoolboy whose inquisitive mind and determination set him on a path that will one day take him all over the world, in pursuit of the most dangerous criminals known to man. Acclaimed British writer Charlie Higson has written a tale that ingeniously uncovers the story of a boy who became one of the most iconic figures of our time.

The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz, Book Review
Meet Isabel

State of Fear by Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton's techno-thriller State of Fear takes the reader from the glaciers of Iceland to the volcanoes of Antarctica, from the Arizona desert to the deadly jungles of the Solomon Islands, from the streets of Paris to the beaches of Los Angeles. Like Crichton's previous works,

Book Review : Step On a Crack by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge:
In his bestselling novel, Step on a Crack, James Patterson introduces Detective Michael Bennett, an NYPD homicide detective thrust into the middle of a mass kidnapping. Patterson is the well-known author of 39 books(The Fifth Horseman and Mary, Mary are both reviewed on this site). Step on a Crack is James Patterson's first book with mystery-suspense author, Michael Ledwidge (The Narrowback, Bad Connection, and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead).

The Collectors by David Baldacci
The four aging misfit crime solvers are back from David Baldacci's The Camel Club to solve a mystery surrounding a murder at the Library of Congress while simultaneiously trying to foil a con artist in Atlantic City.

The Husband by Dean Koontz
With each and every new novel, Dean Koontz raises the stakes -- and the pulse rate -- higher than any other author. Now, in The Husband, he brings us the story of an ordinary man whose extraordinary commitment to his wife will take him on a harrowing journey of adventure, sacrifice, and redemption to the mystery of love itself -- and to a showdown with the darkness that would destroy it forever.

Eldest by Christopher Paolini
Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in the skills of the Dragon Rider: magic and swordsmanship. Soon he is on the journey of a lifetime, his eyes open to awe-inspring new places and people, his days filled with fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and nothing is what it seems.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke - Review of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
Susanna Clarke's breakthrough novel weaves magic into a flawlessly detailed vision of historical England. English magicians were once the wonder of the known world, with fairy servants at their beck and call; they could command winds, mountains, and woods.

Spook Country by William Gibson - Review of William Gibson's Spook Country
Open onto a room in L.A.'s Mondrian Hotel; the French art curator's white lego robot bumps about the legs of an Aegean-blue table while Hollis Henry, the female lead-singer of a now defunct indie rock band, receives a 3 am call from her editor at Node, a yet unknown British version of Wired Magazine. Did I happen to mention the empty can of Asahi Draft on the bedside table? Yes - you've unmistakably found yourself in the middle of the latest William Gibson novel, Spook Country.

The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson - Book Review
In Jeanette Winterson's

Black Hole by Charles Burns
Charles Burns' graphic novel about an alien plague attacking teenagers in suburban Seattle during the mid-1970s,

The World Without Us by Alan Weisman - Review of The World Without Us
What if, by plague or divine rapture, the entire human race disappeared from the planet? What would that look like? There are perhaps some who would prefer not to consider such a possibility, while others of us find the notion somehow irresistible. Science writer Alan Weisman taps directly into this latter reaction in his exhaustively researched

Writing About Books - How to write about books.
Explore different literary genres and literary terms. What makes a work of fiction, literary? And what is poetry?

Jose Saramago Bio - Biography of Jose Saramago
Portugese novelist Jose Saramago was well known for the poignant brand of surrealist experimentation and allegory that since the 1970s earned him international acclaim. Saramago was born in 1922 in a small Portugese village and spent a good portion of his life working pursuing various other occupations before making his name as an author.

Victoria Zackheim
Victoria Zackheim lives in San Francisco and is the author of The Bone Weaver. She can be reached at, or through

How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers
Dave Eggers' 'How We Are Hungry

Men and Cartoons by Jonathan Lethem
Jonathan Lethem is the author of six novels, including the bestsellers The Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named novel of the year by Esquire. Sparkling with off-beat humor and subtle insights that have made Lethem one of today's most highly praised writers, the stories in MEN AND CARTOONS will delight Lethem's legion of fans and appeal to a host of new readers.

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link - Book Review of Pretty Monsters
'Pretty Monsters,' Kelly Link's third collection of short stories, is billed as her first for young adult readers, though it works just fine on adults as well. It's an eclectic mix of fantasy, science fiction, and horror with stops all along the fear meter. Kelly Link is a gifted story-teller. If you're not yet familiar with her work, it's time you get that way.

The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson - Book Review
A thrilling historical account of the worst cholera outbreak in Victorian London-and a brilliant exploration of how Dr. John Snow's solution revolutionized the way we think about disease, cities, science, and the modern world.

Street Art: The Spray Files by Louis Bou
Louis Bou's Street Art begins with an explanation of the difference between street art and graffiti, along with new trends and styles. Each medium is then explored in a different chapter—stickers and posters, stencils, textured surfaces, traffic signs, buildings and furniture. Also included are chapters on street art characters and panoramic murals. Woven throughout are biographies of the artists—all internationally known—and an interview with each one.

Climax is the point of greatest tension in a work of literature and the turning point in the action. In a plot line, the climax occurs after the rising action and before the falling action.

A foil is a character who serves as a contrast to another perhaps more primary character, so as to point out specific traits of the primary character.

Hyperbole is intentional exaggeration used as a figure of speech for comedy or emphasis.

Theme is the dominant idea that a writer is trying to convey to his readers in a work of literature.

Author Bios - Biographies of contemporary authors.
Explore biographies of your favorite authors.

Holiday Gift Books 2008 - Gift Books for Everyone
10 Days of Giftmas: 2008 Holiday Gift Books, ten books published in 2008 to add to your gift-giving list. No book is for everyone, so I've tried to make this list as diverse and gifty as possible.

Top 10 Holiday Gift Books - 2005
2005 has been very generous to book-lovers, and consequently we have a plethora of titles to choose from for our holiday gift-giving. This year avoid the mall, and give them a book from the eclectic selection of the best that emerged from the publishing houses this year.

Top 10 Holiday Gift Books - 2006
2006 has been very generous to book-lovers, and consequently we have a plethora of titles to choose from for our holiday gift-giving. This year avoid the mall, and give them a book from the eclectic selection of the best that emerged from the publishing houses this year.

Books on the Beach - Day 1
Four days at the beach has rendered me unable to stop myself. I've restrained so far, but now I find myself walking right up to strangers to ask what they're reading. The beach is a great place to read, and over the next three days, I'm going to chronicle what these vacationers here at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina are reading.

Books on the Beach - Day 2
The beach is a great place to read, and over the next three days, I'm going to chronicle what these vacationers here at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina are reading. Beach reads are classicly trashy novels, so these are in no way recommendations - just a survey of the first 10 readers and their books over three days.

Books on the Beach - Day 3
The beach is a great place to read, and over the next three days, I'm going to chronicle what these vacationers here at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina are reading. Beach reads are classicly trashy novels, so these are in no way recommendations - just a survey of the first 10 readers and their books over three days.

Top 10 Holiday Gift Books - 2004
The holidays are upon us, and with them the mad dash to outlying malls and plazas in the search for the quaint consummables that will put a smile on our loved ones' faces. NOT THIS YEAR! This year, avoid the mall, the lines, the traffic! This year, take your pick from my list of ten holiday gift books, one or more of which will delight, amaze, and just generally make your family and friends feel warm all under.

Fluke by Christopher Moore
Nathan Quinn's obsession with the meaning of humpback whale song has gotten him into trouble in the past, but never like this. A chance encounter with a whale with disturbingly peculiar markings on its flukes begins a bizarre adventure that can only culminate in a showdown with the origins of life itself.

Fluke by Christopher Moore
Nathan Quinn's obsession with the meaning of humpback whale song has gotten him into trouble in the past, but never like this. A chance encounter with a whale with disturbingly peculiar markings on its flukes begins a bizarre adventure that can only culminate in a showdown with the origins of life itself.

Fluke by Christopher Moore
Nathan Quinn's obsession with the meaning of humpback whale song has gotten him into trouble in the past, but never like this. A chance encounter with a whale with disturbingly peculiar markings on its flukes begins a bizarre adventure that can only culminate in a showdown with the origins of life itself.

Independent Bookstores - Our Favorite Independent Bookstores May Soon Be Yours!
Big or small, bustling with activity or quietly tucked away in some unknown nook of the city, the indie bookstore, with its uniqueness and diversity, is a home away from home for many of us. Here are some of our favorites.

Contemporary Literature - TopPicks
An index of TopPicks for the Contemporary Literature guide site.

Audiobooks - Audiobook Reviews
Reviews of audiobooks or books on tape or cd.

Small Press Publishers
Publishers Weekly estimates that more than 7,000 new publishers form each year. These small presses are motivated by the desire to publish what they see fit, to do their own thing. While by no means a complete list, here are about 40 such small presses for you to discover and explore, all of which are members of The Small Press Center for Independent Publishing.

Writing about Literature - Learn how to write about literature
Whether its a book report for school or a book review for publication, these tips will take you through the process of responding to literature in print.