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‘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 to be a literary high school. Robert Hellenga’s immensely satisfying seventh novel, The Confessions of Frances Godwin, is, by contrast, an adult book – and by “adult,” I don’t mean tediously pornographic. As in Hellenga’s earlier novels (The Sixteen Pleasures, Philosophy Made Simple, Snakewoman of Little Egypt), the main characters are academics past middle age with a lifetime of experience, accomplishments and regrets. Frances Godwin is a … 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, Polonius tells his daughter, “You speak like a green girl, unsifted in such perilous circumstance.” … 0

‘Blue Mind’ a study of emotional, psychological, physical connections

Sunday, August 17, 2014

As I look up from the pages of this book, there’s nothing between me and the horizon but water. The only sounds are the hypnotic hiss of stones as they are dragged back by waves and the occasional call of a gull. Fresh air gusts over the water’s surface, picking up notes of … 0

Burke fashions epic story in ‘Wayfaring Stranger’

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Author James Lee Burke is a descendant of tough Texas lawmen. In fact, his maternal great-grandfather once tangled with some of the West’s most notorious gunslingers. Although Burke is most famous for hard-boiled crime novels featuring Louisiana lawman … 0

‘Hounded’ is new legal thriller by David Rosenfelt

Sunday, July 27, 2014

David Rosenfelt deftly works in wry humor, a love of dogs and New Jersey gangsters in Hounded, his highly entertaining 12th legal thriller featuring attorney Andy Carpenter. Andy, who lives comfortably but not outlandishly on an inheritance, likes … 0

A wave of pressure

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sometimes debates come up that clarify the values and conflicts of our society. They needn’t involve the grand questions of the day – which most often are endlessly partisan and complex – but they nonetheless can offer unmistakable … 0

A zombie book where your brain feels a little nibbled on

Sunday, July 20, 2014

“The Girl With All the Gifts,” by M.R. Carey. Orbit. Most zombie stories follow the same formula: Brawny dudes use guns and makeshift weapons to protect nerds, women and children from the ravenous dead and from other survivors. Yawn. M.R. Carey’s The Girl With All the Gifts is … 0

‘Dark Aemilia’ a treat for Shakespeare lovers

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sally O’Reilly’s wildly romantic novel Dark Aemilia is a pleasure for anyone who enjoys well-crafted historical fiction and a special treat for Shakespeare lovers. Drawing on the biography of a real-life woman proposed by some scholars as the … 0

‘The Mockingbird Next Door’ a world caught just in time

Sunday, July 20, 2014

There are many reasons to be grateful for The Mockingbird Next Door, Marja Mills’s wonderful memoir of Harper Lee and her sister, and being enticed to reread To Kill a Mockingbird is just one of them. Improbable as … 0

Author of ‘Unruly Places’ reminds us we can still be explorers

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Now that we all carry around constantly updating, infinitely detailed maps on our cell phones, the world should feel small and brightly lit, right? Not so, says Alastair Bonnett, a “psychogeographer” at Newcastle University, which is somewhere off … 0

Three tales of women’s struggles and secrets

Sunday, July 20, 2014

In three new summer novels by best-selling authors, women handle struggles and secrets in different ways. Shea Rigsby doesn’t just love football, she lives football. Specifically, Walker University football. In Emily Giffin’s The One and Only (Ballantine, $28), Shea recites obscure stats and cheers for the Texas team … 0

Archie Comics namesake to be shot saving gay friend

Monday, July 14, 2014

Archie Andrews will die taking a bullet for his gay best friend. The famous freckle-faced comic book icon is meeting his demise in tomorrow’s installment of Life with Archie, when he intervenes in an assassination attempt on Kevin … 1

Mindful Reader: Gilmanton, noir and ‘Perfectly Miserable’

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Jessica Lander, author of Driving Backwards, was eight when her family bought a “two-century old house” on Stage Road in Gilmanton, a place to spend their summers. Their neighbors, David and Lizzie Bickford, kept them well-supplied with pies … 0