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Books

‘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

Terry Brooks delivers in latest fantasy tale

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Terry Brooks is a grandmaster of the fantasy genre, and his latest will both captivate and surprise readers. Epic fantasy usually details world building with a large cast of characters. The land of Shannara has been detailed extensively … 0

Review: ‘Act of War’ is heart-pounding thriller

Saturday, July 12, 2014

In Brad Thor’s latest thriller, Act of War, Scot Harvath finds his hands full when a snag-and-grab operation for a terrorist unveils surprising information. It involves a top-secret operation by a few key individuals in the Chinese government … 0

A troubled teen in flight from a nuclear meltdown

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Wiser than the adults around her yet convinced she’s a hopeless loser, Emily Shepard is a literary descendant of Holden Caulfield. Like J.D. Salinger’s famous teenage misfit, Emily relates her harrowing story of escape and survival from within … 0

Modern Russian fable superbly drawn

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Twin brothers Yarik and Dima were virtual lookalikes as boys growing up in rural Russia. Their joys and dreams entwined. Often when one spoke, the other would finish his sentence. Their innocent world of fantasy and mirrored lives … 0

Can living like a star produce a happy ending?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Author and celebrity-watcher Rachel Bertsche spent nearly a year emulating the lifestyles of several famous female stars, seeking contentment, productivity and better arms. Her new book, Jennifer, Gwyneth & Me: The Pursuit of Happiness, One Celebrity at a … 0

Review: New Neil Armstrong book glides, not soars

Saturday, July 12, 2014

This is not a definitive biography of the man who first walked on the moon. It’s not even authorized by his family, whatever that means. But it certainly should be. There’s not a negative word about America’s space … 0

In ‘The Inevitable City’, Tulane president offers account of rebuilding New Orleans

Sunday, July 6, 2014

There’s a lot of sensible stuff in this account of post-Katrina New Orleans by the outgoing president of its most prominent educational institution, Tulane University, but there’s a lot of soapy stuff, too. In The Inevitable City, Scott … 0

Meg Gardiner’s latest thriller, ‘Phantom Instinct,’ is her best yet

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Meg Gardiner’s latest thriller, Phantom Instinct, begins with a shootout at the club where Harper Flynn works. Harper’s boyfriend is killed, a police officer is severely wounded, the bar burns to the ground and leaves no evidence of … 0

‘Supreme City’: How New York rose to the top

Sunday, July 6, 2014

E.B. White, the affectionate chronicler of Manhattan life, believed that New York comprised three cities: one of people born there and a second of the commuter. “Third,” he added, “there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in … 0

‘Flying Shoes’ based on unsolved killing of author’s brother

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Lisa Howorth has taken the adage “write what you know” and turned it on its head. In this case, she’s written what she may never know for sure: the solution to her brother’s slaying. When Howorth was a teenager in 1966, her 9-year-old stepbrother was molested and killed … 0