News about Books and Literature, including commentary and archival articles published…

From Shooting Stars to tales from the riverbank: Bob Mortimer

From Shooting Stars to tales from the riverbank: Bob Mortimer was one half of a wildly successful comedy double act – until a heart scare saw him form a joyously gentle new TV friendship As a child in Middlesbrough, comic Bob Mortimer was cripplingly shy and lonely He’d trained as a solicitor when a pal invited him to see Vic […]

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‘Fuzz,’ by Mary Roach: An Excerpt

When you purchase an independently reviewed book through our site, we earn an affiliate commission. 1Maul CopsCrime Scene Forensics When the Killer Isn’t Human For most of the past century, your odds of being killed by a cougar were about the same as your odds of being killed by a filing cabinet. Snowplows kill twice as many Canadians as grizzly […]

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After 22 Years, Gayl Jones Returns

When you purchase an independently reviewed book through our site, we earn an affiliate commission. By Robert Jones Jr. PALMARESBy Gayl Jones Surrounding Gayl Jones is an aura of violet light. The poet Sonia Sanchez once called Toni Morrison — who discovered Jones’s talent and became her editor in the 1970s — “a blessed one.” Half a century later, “Palmares,” […]

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When Sadness Is Transformative and Grief Gets Complicated

By John Williams At the start of “Savage Tongues,” Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi’s third novel, the Iranian American narrator, Arezu, is arriving in Marbella, Spain. It’s her first time back in 20 years, since she was 17 and met Omar, her stepmother’s nephew, who was then 40. He would become “my lover, my torturer, my confidant and enemy,” she […]

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Liane Moriarty’s New Novel Is a Family Saga and a Mystery

By Ivy Pochoda APPLES NEVER FALLBy Liane Moriarty I couldn’t quite square the title of Liane Moriarty’s new novel, “Apples Never Fall,” with the family story it unfurls. When we meet the Delaneys — petite, spunky Joy and her hulking bear of a husband, Stan, both former Australian tennis stars — they’ve logged nearly 50 years of a passionate yet […]

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Four New Poetry Books Mine Their Authors’ Pasts for Music and Meaning

By Stephanie Burt CATCALLINGBy Lee SohoTranslated by Soje 103 pp. Open Letter. Paper, $14.95. Painful and charming, raw and sometimes purposefully childish, Soho’s poems track the Korean poet’s alter ego, Kyungjin, and her sometimes affectionate, sometimes bloody relations with her birth family. “I wore baby clothes and a bridal veil,” she imagines: “Little sister and I were stuck on top […]

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12 New Books We Recommend This Week

War and its aftermath figure prominently in our recommended titles this week, from Andrew Bacevich’s critique of American foreign policy (“After the Apocalypse”) to two books about the 20-year fight in Afghanistan (Carter Malkasian’s “The American War in Afghanistan” and Craig Whitlock’s “The Afghanistan Papers”) to Robert S. Levine’s study of Andrew Johnson’s role in the immediate wake of the […]

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What Has One Eye and 1,200 Heads? An Old English Riddle, That’s What!

By Adrienne Raphel There’s a certain state of mind I call crossword brain: It’s both intuitive and counterintuitive, knowing when to turn away from the seemingly obvious solution, but also knowing when to trust your instincts and go with the answer that feels good. Crossword brain requires you to bend and sometimes entirely break the way you think you should […]

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What Did Best-Selling Illustrators Doodle While Daydreaming in School?

By Elisabeth Egan O.G. INFLUENCERS We all know how illustrations from iconic picture books can imprint themselves on our imaginations with the indelibility of an important memory. Close your eyes and you might be able to see a gaggle of girls in yellow coats swarming Miss Clavel in Ludwig Bemelmans’s “Madeline,” or amphibious buddies lounging on a log on the […]

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