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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

An unlikely odyssey and an even more uncommon bond between soldier and translator

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It was off the beaten path that retired U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Michael Moffett first heard about Fahim Fazli. Moffett, a lifelong New Hampshire resident, was in Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand Province in 2010 on assignment as a field … 0

‘Locust’ a dark and fantastical tale

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The stories we tell to explain autism go back centuries. The Celts believed fairies stole healthy babies and replaced them with elfin spirits. Bruno Bettelheim insisted the problem was cold, witchy mothers. Later, pediatricians and needles would be … 0

‘Lies’ a study of WWI virtues

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Unlike the books in Jacqueline Winspear’s popular Maisie Dobbs series, The Care and Management of Lies is not a mystery – although its scenes of World War I trench warfare certainly leave a reader in suspense. As much … 0

‘Book of Life’ crowded, complicated

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Time-tripping witch and scholar Diana Bishop returns in The Book of Life, the final installment of Deborah Harkness’s best-selling “All Souls” trilogy. When last encountered in Shadow of Night, Diana and her husband, aristo vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, … 0

American Life in Poetry: Punching holes in the sky

Sunday, August 3, 2014

At one point in Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun, a story set on a far-future Earth lapsed into a Dark Age, the narrator glimpses a “warrior of a dead world” in an enigmatic picture hanging in … 0

Michaelangelo bio odd but not bad

Sunday, August 3, 2014

In this enjoyable but curious biography, art historian Miles J. Unger presents the High Renaissance master Michelangelo Buonarroti through six of his major works: the Pieta, David, two segments of the Sistine Chapel frescos (the Creation of Adam … 0

‘The Beans of Egypt, Maine’ a spectacular, quirky read

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Carolyn Chute’s blockbuster novel The Beans of Egypt, Maine was a New York Times best-seller and Book-of-the-Month Club selection. It is about the impoverished townspeople of fictitious Egypt, Maine, told with total honesty and brutal detail. The author … 0

‘Dry Bones’ a disturbing debut for Bouman

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tom Bouman is a serious writer – literate, understated, elegant – and Dry Bones in the Valley is an exciting and disturbing debut. His detective, Henry Farrell, comes alive in a way that pulls us into his story from our first glimpse of him barefoot on his porch … 0

Dystopian ‘California’ amusing, if not convincing

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The environment is a disaster. Government has failed. Food is scarce. Untreatable viruses run rampant. Humans have lost the ability to reproduce. Welcome to the robust genre of post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction, otherwise known as “something really bad happened … 1

Another author boosted by ‘Colbert Bump’

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The “Colbert Bump” is becoming contagious. Edan Lepucki, whose novel California became a best-seller thanks to a plug from Stephen Colbert, has in turn helped another book catch on. During an interview on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report … 0