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Books

‘Beautiful You’ feels phoned-in

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chuck Palahniuk is something of a devilish demigod in gross-out social satire. Over the years, his signature attention to minutiae and his generous hand with carnal humor in books such as Fight Club and Choke have broadened his fan base to include geeks and bros alike. One might call him the king of red Solo cup literati. In Beautiful You, Palahniuk­ turns his gimlet eye to the subject of female pleasure and the ways in which it can be manipulated to affect society and boost the bottom line. At the center of the novel is Penny Harrigan, a 20-something Queens-dwelling Nebraska transplant and law-office drone. …

Review: Richard Ford brings back Frank Bascombe

Sunday, November 16, 2014

When the final novel in the Frank Bascombe trilogy was published in 2007, its author made it plain that a fourth book about the introspective sportswriter-turned-real estate broker wasn’t even a remote possibility. But now, seven years later in Let Me Be Frank With You, Richard Ford has resurrected his anti-hero in a …

Healing words in ‘Small Victories’

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fans of author Anne Lamott know reading her work is like finding a favorite sweater from the depths of the closet on the first crisp fall day: warm, comforting, familiar and easy. Her new book, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace, is a collection of beautifully written essays, filled with nuggets of …

Bob Hope’s lasting legacy of more than laughs

Sunday, November 16, 2014

While today he may be thought of with misgivings, if at all, Bob Hope reigned for much of the last century as America’s wisecracking avatar of comedy. By the time he died in 2003 at age 100, Hope …

Hockney biographer publishes second, final volume

Sunday, November 16, 2014

More than halfway through the second volume of his vivid, intimate biography of British artist David Hockney, Christopher Simon Sykes describes the moment in the 1980s when Hockney discovers the creative possibilities of the photocopy machine. A natural …

George W. Bush launches book about his father

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Former president George W. Bush formally launched his personal biography of his father at a joint appearance with George H.W. Bush on Tuesday at the father’s Texas A&M university presidential library. 41: A Portrait of My Father offers a glimpse of the 90-year-old Bush’s life through the eyes …

Stephen King’s newest book is released

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Stephen King’s latest novel is out. Revival was released Tuesday. His six-city book tour was to kick off in New York City, then go to Washington, D.C.; Kansas City, Mo.; Wichita, Kan.; and Austin, Texas, before wrapping up …

‘Superstorm’ crafts narrative from Sandy’s wrath

Sunday, November 9, 2014

This year’s hurricane season in the Atlantic was weak with little to worry U.S. coastal residents, but any forecaster will tell you: It only takes one storm to make a bad year. In 2012, that one storm was …

‘Empire of Sin’ lurid, scholarly, thoroughly entertaining

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Given the publication of so many books and articles about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, it’s instructive to remember that many of the city’s much-discussed problems – street violence, institutionalized racism, the push-pull between permissiveness and prohibition – …

Review: ‘The Killer Next Door’ is gripping mystery

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Desperation brings six people to a decaying Victorian apartment house where the tenants’ desolation pales in comparison with one neighbor’s despicable acts. Alex Marwood’s second stand-alone novel delivers a multilayered plot that succeeds as crime fiction, a gothic …

Book collects best of Jazz Age mag Vanity Fair

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Before Buzzfeed, before Spy, before Rolling Stone and the Paris Review, there was Vanity Fair. The smart-set magazine launched a century ago became famous as a sort of barometer of the Jazz Age and for its murderers’ row …

‘Spoiled Brats’ is brilliant, original, hilarious

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Feel the humiliation of the widowed guinea pig, so beaten down he contemplates suicide and questions his Christian faith. See through the eyes of the doting parents, who look past the signs of demonism – the pentagram birthmark …

Top-tier short fiction in Ron Rash collection

Sunday, November 9, 2014

For those unfamiliar with the beautiful and searing short stories of Ron Rash, Something Rich and Strange is a generous, well-timed introduction. Rash’s stories tell in crisp, gripping prose the emotional travails of life on the Appalachian outback …