In “The Dead Wander in the Desert,” we see the final, painful days of the Soviet Union, juxtaposed with the final, painful days of the Aral Sea, as a once-bountiful land dries up and turns to a poisonous, salt-filled desert. The characters in the book fight to preserve the sea, but in vain: the central […]
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The Ghosts of Galway Ken Bruen “A failed suicide is a sad, sad *****” So begins “The Ghosts of Galway,” dropping the reader right into the action, as Jack Taylor, former Garda member and failed suicide, ends up, not kinder or wiser, but as a security guard, which he calls “Suicide by boredom.” Only things […]
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Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstance Ruth Emmie Lang Oh goodness! you say. How could a book about a boy raised by wolves be anything other than cheesy? I mean, after “The Jungle Book” and “Julie of the Wolves,” it’s all kind of downhill, isn’t it? Well, I am pleased to say that “Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances” […]
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All Soldiers Run Away Andy Owen My review of “All Soldiers Run Away,” which was released today, is below. You can read my very interesting interview with Andy Owen about writing the book and about war, literature, and PTSD here and my review of his novel “East of Coker” here. Some soldiers are heroic. But […]
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The Shattered Lens Jonathan Alpeyrie Jonathan Alpeyrie wanted to get that one great shot. Instead what he got was captivity. “The Shattered Lens” is the account of Alpeyrie’s capture by Syrian rebels and his almost three-month stint as their hostage. This is followed by his description of what his family went through trying to free […]
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I Married a Soldier Brenda Hale and Rachel Farmer It’s what every military spouse fears: silence when there should have been emails, followed by uniformed strangers at the door. In “I Married a Soldier,” Brenda Hale chronicles her happy marriage to career military man Mark Hale, and its heartbreaking end when he was killed in […]
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In “City Folk and Country Folk,” not-particularly-rich minor gentry Erast Sergeyevich Ovcharov has returned to his home village to take a rest cure and drink whey. His own estate is not inhabitable, so he ends up renting a bathhouse from his neighbor, Nastasya Ivanovna Chulkova. This draws the both of them into a summer of […]
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Higher education has been in a parlous state for some time now, and the higher you go up the food chain, degree-wise, the more parlous it is. Although Loren Mayshark’s experience is unusually bad, it is symptomatic of the kinds of problems that grad students can expect to face, and is a cautionary tale for […]
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I’ve been a fan of Graham Norton as a television personality ever since I first saw his delightfully frenetic performances on “Father Ted” back in the ’90s, so naturally I had to read this book when I found out about it. “Holding” is equally as delightful as Norton’s tv appearances, but different. Instead of urbanity, […]
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How does an illegitimate Venetian girl become the wife of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire? What was her life like? What kind of power does she wield, and how? “The Mapmaker’s Daughter,” a fictionalized memoir of Cecilia/Nurbanu, the real-life Venetian captive who became wife and then mother to Sultans, seeks to answer those questions. […]
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