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Books

This book cover image released by Gotham shows "The Crossword Century: 100 Years of Witty Wordplay, Ingenious Puzzles, and Linguistic Mischief," by Alan Connor. (AP Photo/Gotham)

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 the final square. There’s a charm in playing the game, a charm that can be hard to describe. But Alan Connor, a British quizmaster who writes a column on crosswords for the Guardian newspaper, is more than up to the challenge. Connor is the author of The Crossword Century: 100 Years of Witty Wordplay, Ingenious Puzzles, and Linguistic Mischief. The book details the history and evolution of … 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 had been in office for 29 months and had weathered severe tests around the world, … 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 a Romantic poet inspired for years, the District is a city that embraces the natural … 0

Shedding light on true naval prowess

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Military action during the American Revolution conjures up images of colonial militia on Lexington Green or British regulars marching to surrender at Yorktown. If the war at sea is mentioned at all, one mostly remembers John Paul Jones’s … 0

An insightful look at digital-age clutter

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I fall asleep to the glow of Netflix and, when I awake, begin the digital litany of my day: the relentless email and news, the Facebook and Twitter feeds, the blogs and mindless videos, and on and on. … 0

On My Nightstand: Make time for Patterson’s romantic novel ‘Sam’s Letters to Jennifer’

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Patterson’s latest is a three-hanky novel James Patterson is one of the world’s greatest writers of thrillers. But did you know he also writes romantic fiction? Sam’s Letters to Jennifer is one of these novels. The main character, … 0

‘The End of Absence’ an insightful look at digital-age clutter

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Quentin Coldwater – a moody, man-child magician – is finally growing up. And just in time to save everything, mostly, that’s ever mattered to him. The Magician’s Land is the final book in the three-book Magicians trilogy, a … 0

‘Back Channel’ re-imagines Cuban Missile Crisis

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Stephen L. Carter, the author of this fictionalized account of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, is both a law professor at Yale and a prolific writer. His nonfiction books offer serious reflections on politics, race, religion and law. … 0

‘Sixteen Handmade Doors’ the story of a house, and more

Sunday, August 24, 2014

It’s a two-bedroom cedar-shingle on the Kennebec River in Maine, a woodsy getaway built by a painstaking do-it-yourselfer in the 1950s. But to the house’s current owner, Petroski, a professor of engineering and history at Duke University, it’s … 0

‘I Am Having So Much Fun Here’ a book for everyone

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Courtney Maum’s first novel, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, is a publicist’s dream. Its snappy title promises ironic humor, and it leaves one wondering if the “I” will end up with the “you.” The … 0

Book series continues ‘Frozen’ adventures

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The adventures of sisters Anna and Elsa of Frozen fame will continue, at least on paper. Random House Children’s Books announced recently that they will launch a new series next year tied to the blockbuster Disney movie. The first two books, Anna & Elsa #1: All Hail the … 0

‘The Confessions of Frances Godwin’ a story of maturity, by maturity

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The worldwide success of the Harry Potter series has led to a great emphasis on young adult crossover novels in contemporary publishing. For years, teen wizards, warriors, werewolves and vampires have dominated publicity and sales in what seems … 0

Despite fumblings, ‘Green Girl’ strives toward optimism

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Long before Lena Dunham and her Girls, writers have wrestled with youth’s peculiar blend of narcissism and self-hatred: the sense that success is just around the corner and that one’s best days are long gone. Early in Hamlet, … 0