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Books

This book cover image released by Putnam shows "The Lost Key," by Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison. (AP Photo/Putnam)

Review: ‘The Lost Key’ is compelling thriller

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A sub that disappeared near the end of World War I plays a key role in a modern-day murder in Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison’s The Lost Key. Nicholas Drummond has left his job with British intelligence and is now an FBI agent. He’s teamed with female agent Mike Caine, and they are summoned to the scene of a murder on Wall Street. The victim is a bookstore owner who specialized in rare books, but as Drummond and Caine dig deeper, they learn he had a secret identity and was known in some circles as The Messenger. They stumble on the perpetrator, and during the …

w: The sources of our political distempers

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why have millions of Americans turned their backs on civic affairs, trashed elected officials and come to distrust the federal government? What are the sources of our political distempers? Such questions occupy the center of Jonathan Darman’s Landslide: LBJ and Ronald Reagan at the Dawn of a New America, and his answers are …

‘Build a Girl’ a tale of survival

Sunday, October 19, 2014

In the author’s note to her rambunctious novel How to Build a Girl, Caitlin Moran insists that her teenage protagonist, Johanna Morrigan, is not herself, and that her story is fiction. But the plot mirrors Moran’s own unlikely leap onto the masthead of a storied music paper by the age of 16, as …

Critic and museum director on encounters with art

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stendhal wrote about feeling faint in the presence of great art. Goethe said that merely knowing that a sculpture he admired could be created made him “twice the person” he was. Proust, in an episode of In Search …

‘Seven Killings’ a social portrait worthy of Diego Rivera

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Exploding with violence and seething with arousal, the third novel by Marlon James cuts a swath across recent Jamaican history. It leaves its Kingston ghettos strewn with victims, a few of them lovers, all of them spattered with …

After ‘Retronaut’ you’ll never look at the Capitol Dome the same way again

Sunday, October 19, 2014

True or false? The U.S. Capitol was once red. True – at least some of it was, during 1959-1960 – when, as part of a restoration project, anti-corrosive paint coated the portion of the building below the dome. …

Review: Book looks at costs of pork production

Sunday, October 19, 2014

When the recession took hold six years ago and consumers stopped eating high on the hog, the giant meatpacker Hormel Foods began ratcheting up production to meet a surge in demand for Spam, its low-cost processed pork product …

Author delivers ‘Star Wars’ tour de force

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Chris Taylor, deputy editor of the social media website Mashable, lets his geekdom shine with How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise. Taylor tries to accomplish several things: He …

‘This Changes Everything’ tackles global warming

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cutting the vast amounts of man-made pollution that feed global warming is an enormous challenge for societies that gobble up coal, oil and gas. But in This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Naomi Klein argues that those …

Review: New feast of stories in Theroux collection

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The title piece of Paul Theroux’s new short story collection, Mr. Bones: Twenty Stories, is a son’s account of the conflicted time in the early 1950s when his father began practicing for the role of a black man …

‘Recognition’ of the problems with memory, homelessness

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A bedraggled figure begging for money at a busy intersection – it’s a familiar sight, and in this case, the intersection happens to be in the Washington, D.C., area. Some panhandlers are patiently silent, some are hostile, but …

The literary ghosts of ‘Neverhome’ haunt its pages

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Ghosts crowd thick in Laird Hunt’s Civil War novel, Neverhome, and they’re not just the shades of dead Blues and Grays. A host of literary allusions haunt this book, from Cold Mountain to The Red Badge of Courage …

The Mindful Reader: ‘Lightkeeper’s Wife’ strays from the ordinary

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Cape Cod author Sarah Anne Johnson’s debut novel The Lightkeeper’s Wife begins as an ordinary work of historical fiction. In 1843, Hannah Snow is the lighthouse keeper’s wife on a treacherous stretch of coast. There’s a wreck one …