‘The Last Ocean’ Considers Dementia in All Its Uncertainty

The first, startling epigraph in Nicci Gerrard’s new book, “The Last Ocean,” comes from Emily Dickinson: “Abyss has no Biographer.” Gerrard sets out to tell the story of dementia, a disease that can appear to consume those it afflicts. After her father, John, died in 2014, the author — who writes best-selling thrillers with her husband under the name Nicci […]

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As Cricket World Cup fever starts, be entertained by this book

Almost as much fun as bowling a maiden over! As Cricket World Cup fever grips the nation, even those who don’t know their fine leg from their googly will be entertained by this sparkling compendium Marcus Berkmann’s new book is ‘Aladdin’s cave of trivia and Test match reports’ Berkmann is also well-known for pub quizzes he sets around North London pubs […]

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A Unique and Affecting Memoir Combines Grief and Mushrooms

Toward the end of Long Litt Woon’s unusual memoir, “The Way Through the Woods,” an old friend of the author chastises her for skipping his wedding to go to a mushroom fair. Although she was one of the fair’s organizers, Long recognizes that her excuse was flimsy and slightly weird. “It had slowly dawned on me,” she writes, “that I […]

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A Lifetime at a Church, Filled With Faith and Drama

THE DEARLY BELOVEDBy Cara Wall American literature, like American history, is crowded with ministers and priests, pastors and prophets. These fictional characters of the cloth are as varied as their living counterparts. Some are pious, like Herman Melville’s Father Mapple or Marilynne Robinson’s John Ames; others are crazed, like Flannery O’Connor’s Hazel Motes, or hypocritical, like Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Arthur Dimmesdale, […]

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No Rest for This Teenage Mercy Killer

If a first impression is a lasting impression, then the brutal opening line of Margaret Owen’s THE MERCIFUL CROW (Holt, 374 pp., $18.99; ages 14 and up) is one you won’t likely forget: “Pa was taking too long to cut the boys’ throats.” So begins the grim and exciting tale of a usurped prince, a deadly plague and magic harnessed […]

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Remembering Raymond Chandler and Defending Ruth Rendell

Crime Writers To the Editor: Stephen King has long been a literary hero of mine. I appreciate his prolific book reviewing too, and in his glowing review of Laura Lippman’s “Lady in the Lake” (July 28), he is surely right to note that recently published novel’s resonance with the movie “Sunset Boulevard.” However, King fails to mention a more important […]

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Téa Obreht Follows Up an Acclaimed Debut With a Visit to the Old West

The most expressive part of a camel, it’s been suggested, is its back end. In his memoir “Joseph Anton” — a vastly better book than it’s been given credit for — Salman Rushdie observed that when a camel is upset, its feces change from “dry innocuous pellets to a liquid spray that blasts out a considerable distance behind the aggrieved […]

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What Were People Reading in the Summer of ’69?

It’s the height of the beach-reading season — usually a time when there are new titles scrapping for the No. 1 slots each week — but this summer, things have been, well, not quite as lively. Delia Owens’s “Where the Crawdads Sing” is once again the top-selling novel, as it has been for most of the year, and Tara Westover’s […]

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