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Books

This book cover image released by Gotham shows "The Crossword Century: 100 Years of Witty Wordplay, Ingenious Puzzles, and Linguistic Mischief," by Alan Connor. (AP Photo/Gotham)

Author’s ode to crosswords is right on the mark with ‘Crossword Century’

Sunday, August 31, 2014

If you love solving crosswords, you know how it feels to be in the fraternity. There’s the rush of matching wits with a mysterious puzzle-maker, the thrill of nailing an elusive answer and the satisfaction of filling in the final square. There’s a charm in playing the game, a charm that can be hard to describe. But Alan Connor, a British quizmaster who writes a column on crosswords for the Guardian newspaper, is more than up to the challenge. Connor is the author of The Crossword Century: 100 Years of Witty Wordplay, Ingenious Puzzles, and Linguistic Mischief. The book details the history and evolution of … 0

‘Harold and Jack’ a persuasive account of world leaders’ accidental friendship

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Christopher Sandford begins this account of the relationship between British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and American President John F. Kennedy with a meeting between the two in southern England. It occurred in June 1963, at which point Kennedy had been in office for 29 months and had weathered severe tests around the world, … 0

‘Field Guide’ highlights D.C.’s beauty

Sunday, August 31, 2014

There are major cities around the world where humans seem to have excluded nature by extruding concrete. Washington isn’t one of them. With its low skyline, two languid rivers and a stream named Rock Creek that could keep a Romantic poet inspired for years, the District is a city that embraces the natural … 0

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

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