Books

Right-wing politicians got the new legislative year off to an impressive start with several new bills across the country directly targeting books, reading, and intellectual freedom. Of course, we know that these bills aren’t about the books at all, but instead are another avenue to chip away at the rights of marginalized populations: people of
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After writing two witty novels about gay life in Washington, D.C., Louis Bayard hit on a winning formula with his 2003 novel, Mr. Timothy, which starred Dickens’ Tiny Tim and gave the character a complexity that was sorely lacking in the original. He followed that up with The Pale Blue Eye, a story of Edgar Allen
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Tabletop Roll-Playing Games (TTRPGs) like Dungeons and Dragons have traditionally been played in-person, and rolling the infamous dice is part of what’s made the game famous. I’ve even written about giving handmade dice as gifts this year. However, thanks to the internet, you can play with anyone from around the world using many different RPG
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This week sees the release of Trouble, the third book in the Hella Mauzer series by Katja Ivar. Set in 1950s Finland, during the Cold War, the books tell the story of a young police woman and budding detective who cuts against the grain when it comes to how things were done in the police
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Sixty-seven years after the savage murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi, his cousin still seeks some kind of justice. Haunted by the 1955 hate crime that ignited the civil rights movement, Reverend Wheeler Parker Jr. brings everything and everyone back to life in A Few Days Full of Trouble: Revelations on the Journey to Justice
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During small talk not long after meeting someone new, inevitably the question “So what do you do?” comes up. When I tell them I’m a librarian, more questions follow. Usually the same ones over and over, such as, “Do people still use libraries?” or “Aren’t you worried about becoming irrelevant?” or “Are you worried about
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Fans of Canadian crime fiction author Louise Penny are already familiar with Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec. Now viewers can catch up with him and his team in an eight-episode series on Amazon Prime. [embedded content] Gamache has been described as the French Canadian Poirot, but he is a much more rounded
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Louise Joyner left home as soon as she could, fleeing the humidity of Charleston, South Carolina, for a career in industrial design in Silicon Valley. Her brother, Mark, stayed put, his meandering and dysfunctional lifestyle patronized to his face and savaged in his absence by his family, as is so often the case with mildly
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With a background of writing for film and television, James Buckler is bringing his scene-setting skills and cinematic eye to the crime fiction genre. In 2017, his debut Last Stop Tokyo featured a Brit fleeing problems at home only to find new ones in Japan. Five years on, Buckler’s second novel is here, and it
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Maggie Molinaro survived a hardscrabble childhood in the downtrodden streets of Manhattan to become a successful businesswoman. After a decade of sacrifice, she now owns a celebrated ice cream company. But when she offends a corrupt banker, she unwittingly sets off a series of calamities that threaten to destroy her life’s work. Liam Blackstone is
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by Jesse Q Sutanto Vera Wong Zhuzhu, age sixty, is a pig, but she really should have been born a rooster. We are, of course, referring to Chinese horoscopes. Vera Wong is a human woman, thank you very much, but roosters have nothing on her. Every morning, at exactly four thirty, Vera’s eyelids snap open like
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Stephen Ellcock has made a name for himself as a digital curator, or “image alchemist.” He ventures deep into visual art archives and surfaces with paintings, drawings, photographs and other images that inspire and intrigue. His fourth book, The Cosmic Dance, is “but a tiny sample of the fruits of ceaseless foraging,” and like his
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★ A Love by Design Elizabeth Everett’s praiseworthy Secret Scientists of London series returns with the third installment, A Love by Design. Engineer Margaret Gault has recently returned to London from Paris and is intent on opening her own firm, despite all the struggles that await a businesswoman in Victorian England. Maggie quickly finds a
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If there’s a loose theme tying the five releases we document this week, then perhaps it’s a sense of otherness. It’s a feeling that certainly comes through in latest novels by those American greats Dean Koontz and Bret Easton Ellis, while debutante Charlotte Vassell writes about how the other half live (and die), somewhat detached
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Australia has perhaps the most unusual (and dangerous) wildlife of any continent, a product of its unique status as a vast island that broke off from other landmasses millions of years ago. Due to this isolation, plants and animals specifically adapted to its climate, independent of what was evolving in the rest of the world.
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If December released a rash of Christmas-related novels into the crime fiction universe, it appears that January brings the snow. New Year’s Day is still a recent memory, but already in 2023 we’ve reviewed Cold People by Tom Rob Smith, set in the Antarctic, and CJ Tudor’s The Drift. Now the temperature is about to
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Throughout our lives, we encounter fraught decisions around love and money: whether to take a better job across the country when our partner wants to stay put; when and whether to marry, buy a house, have a child; if we should work full time with children in the picture. Money and love “are profoundly intertwined,
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CJ Tudor’s debut novel The Chalk Man was a bestseller and, occupying a crime fiction and horror crossover niche, she has been likened to Stephen King. We could all be hearing more about Tudor soon – incredibly, her first four novels are all in development for TV and her fifth, The Drift, has also been
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Accepting dares is a way of life for Theo Wright. His close-knit friendships with Jay and Darren revolve around tasking one another with all manner of physical challenges and public humiliations. When Jay dares Theo to ask his crush to prom, Theo knows that his only chance to do so will be at the biggest
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When Henrietta Weldon’s parents decide that she should switch from private to public school for seventh grade, Henri is excited—and determined to hide her nerves. Between her messy bedroom and her struggles with math, Henri’s family of competitive overachievers treat her like “a problem to be solved.” Her older sister, Kat, refuses to answer Henri’s
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Self-help has been a booming genre for adults for decades, with books available that can teach us everything from how to boost our self-esteem, overcome addiction, and deal with mental illness to how to actualise our wildest dreams. Adults often buy self-help when we reach a turning point in our lives, or find ourselves in
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Jay A Gertzman, author of Beyond Twisted Sorrow: The Promise of Country Noir, explores some of the archetypes in literature that have helped shape the growing rural noir subgenre… If you care for Westerns, you have read about Shane, the lone rider whose gun frees a homesteading community from a cattle baron, and then rides
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A line from Jessica Johns’ haunting, atmospheric and beautiful debut novel, Bad Cree, has been tumbling around in my head since I set the book down. “That’s the thing about the [prairie]. . . . It’ll tell you exactly what it’s doing and when, you just have to listen.” Johns’ protagonist, a young Cree woman
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Every author dreams of that blockbuster hit novel – a prize winner, lauded by readers and critics alike. In 2008, Tom Rob Smith achieved it with Child 44. It was even made into a major movie starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and Gary Oldman, and main character Lev Demidov appeared in two more bestsellers. Smith
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Jami Attenberg (All This Could Be Yours) looks back on her years as a roaming artist in I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home. Attenberg has lived an uncompromising life as a writer, and she muses about her choices in this forthright memoir. Frequently crossing the country to promote her books,
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