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Books

Deb Baker, columnist

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 and stories. Lander writes, “It was not until I was a young woman that I began to listen more closely. . . … 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 in past books, so Brooks takes a different route this time in The High Druid’s … 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 with the goal of devastating the United States. The ambitious plan has every chance of … 0

‘Hollow Girl’ fitting conclusion to Prager series

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The ninth installment in Reed Farrel Coleman’s series featuring Moe Prager, an ex-cop turned private detective, finds the protagonist wracked with guilt over the death of his girlfriend, Pam. Moe says guilt is a permanent infection: “The thing … 0

Finally, a nuanced portrait of Bertolt Brecht’s life

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Twenty years ago, John Fuegi created an uproar with the scathing Brecht & Co., which asserted with formidable documentation that one of the 20th century’s most revered playwrights was at best only the co-creator of such famous works … 0

Book review: Duncan Hines was a real guy, and kind of a jerk

Sunday, May 18, 2014

‘Mention the name ‘Duncan Hines’ to Americans under fifty-five today and the image their minds will undoubtedly conjure is a cake mix package,” writes Louis Hatchett in the introduction to Duncan Hines: How a Traveling Salesman Became the … 0

Book’s main character is the ‘Worst. Person. Ever.’

Sunday, May 18, 2014

‘I’m actually not a bad chap,” insists Raymond Gunt. But he’s wrong. A freelance photographer several months behind on his rent, Ray is the “worst person ever” at the black heart of Coupland’s 14th and most scabrously hilarious … 0

At Frost Farm, poetry series presents masters of language

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Robert Frost would be proud. Although the iconic poet lived and wrote in Derry more than 100 years ago, poetry is still being created at his farm, now a state historic site and the home of the Hyla … 0

The Mindful Reader: ‘Bittersweet Manor’ a family saga with no easy solution

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Part-time New Hampshire resident Tory McCagg’s debut novel Bittersweet Manor tells the stories of three generations through a conversation between two women. Matriarch Gussie Michaels has removed her “beeper bracelet” and left assisted living on a chilly April … 0

John Quincy Adams fairly dealt with at last

Sunday, May 11, 2014

History, no less than life, is unfair. It does not favor the loyal, the persistent or the morally upright, preferring instead the bold, the obsessed, the scoundrel and the hero. Perhaps above all, it favors those complex men … 0

‘The Last Pirate’ a poignant tale of drug smuggling

Sunday, May 11, 2014

‘The Last Pirate is a meticulously researched history of America’s rocky relationship with marijuana, largely populated by a lackadaisically skilled crew of smugglers, distributors and dealers who imported carefully packed Colombian pot into the United States during the … 0

On My Nightstand: ‘Water for Elephants’ tender and cruel

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is an eminently readable novel – it captured my attention on the very first page, and I found it hard to put down. We meet the main character, Jacob Jankowski, as a … 0

The art, and empathy, of author Leslie Jamison

Sunday, May 4, 2014

For Leslie Jamison, the written word is a safe and risky place. “So much of writing that has felt alive and electric is because I grant myself permission to write about what’s obsessing me,” the author of the … 0