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Books

This book cover image released by Minotaur shows "City of Ghosts," by Kelli Stanley. (AP Photo/Minotaur)

Miranda Corbie confronts her own ‘City of Ghosts’

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A love of San Francisco – its flaws, strengths and eccentricities – permeates Kelli Stanley’s intriguing novels about private detective Miranda Corbie. Stanley’s novels capture San Francisco – and the United States – in the years just before World War II. War has been on Miranda’s mind since she was a nurse in the Spanish Civil War. In City of Ghosts, set during 1940, Miranda cautiously watches what’s happening in London, especially when it appears that her long-lost mother may be living in England. The private detective has little hope that she could bring her mother back to the United States until James MacLeod, an … 0

‘Politics is a Joke!’ highlights importance of late-night TV for candidates

Sunday, September 14, 2014

In September 2008, as the economy was imploding, John McCain suspended his campaign for the presidency and canceled a guest spot on David Letterman’s late-night TV show. “I’m more than a little disappointed by this behavior,” fumed the comedian, who liked to warn politicians – only half-jokingly – that “the road to the … 1

On My Nightstand: ‘Pliney Fiske’

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pliney Fiske, a young Concord man, stayed home to care for his ailing father, the local druggist. But now that the Civil War is over, those returning soldiers resent his nonparticipation and nickname him “Mama Fiske,” insinuating he is a mama’s boy. He serves his country instead by verifying that men applying for … 1

The haunting of failures past

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Make no mistake. Empire of Mud, J.D. Dickey’s history of early Washington, is a bracing and graceful read, but upon finishing its calamity-laden pages, you may conclude that a lot of people had a lot of years to … 0

Mindful Reader: ‘Getting Schooled’ a behind-the-scenes look at teaching and administration

Sunday, September 14, 2014

‘ N ortheast Kingdom ” author Garret Keizer writes about his return, after 14 years, to teaching high school English in a small town in Vermont in Getting Schooled: the Reeducation of an American Teacher. Part memoir, part … 0

‘1954’: A glimpse of baseball’s dramatic changes

Sunday, September 14, 2014

As the pennant races head into the fall stretch, it’s worth remembering that 60 years ago the sport of baseball was changed permanently as African-American players began to establish their presence in the major leagues and would transform … 0

A thriller writer’s challenge: Make U.S. policy in Africa into a page-turner

Sunday, September 7, 2014

As he began writing his third book on U.S.-Africa policy and development, Todd Moss, a former State Department official, realized something. It would be boring. Just another text for the shelves of foreign-policy wonks, PhDs and think tank … 0

‘On the Run’ highlights the American culture of incarceration

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The dramatic rise of incarceration rates among African-Americans since the 1970s has become more visible in mainstream culture partly because of television shows such as the widely popular HBO series The Wire, which ran from 2002 to 2008, the current Netflix series Orange Is the New Black and … 0

‘The Shadow Hero’ exceptionally well-spun

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Before you crack the spine on this beautiful new book that helps unmask arguably the world’s first Asian American superhero, let’s reveal the true heroes in this thrilling literary escapade: Able to leap the building blocks of narrative in a single bound volume, our real adventurer is Gene … 0

Minecraft now a publishing sensation

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Like millions of parents, Aaron Sacharow welcomes those moments when his son – 7-year-old Tyler – takes a break from video games and picks up a book instead. He will even settle for the book being a guide … 0

Author’s ode to crosswords is right on the mark with ‘Crossword Century’

Sunday, August 31, 2014

If you love solving crosswords, you know how it feels to be in the fraternity. There’s the rush of matching wits with a mysterious puzzle-maker, the thrill of nailing an elusive answer and the satisfaction of filling in … 0

‘Harold and Jack’ a persuasive account of world leaders’ accidental friendship

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Christopher Sandford begins this account of the relationship between British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and American President John F. Kennedy with a meeting between the two in southern England. It occurred in June 1963, at which point Kennedy … 0

‘Field Guide’ highlights D.C.’s beauty

Sunday, August 31, 2014

There are major cities around the world where humans seem to have excluded nature by extruding concrete. Washington isn’t one of them. With its low skyline, two languid rivers and a stream named Rock Creek that could keep … 0