Nell Zink’s ‘Avalon’ Fails to Give Life to Its Narrator

Nell Zink’s ‘Avalon’ Fails to Give Life to Its Narrator

We encounter Bran, the narrator of Nell Zink’s new novel, avalon, just as she leaves a party where something pivotal and distressing has happened to her. We know that it is pivotal because we immediately cut back in time to Bran’s childhood, and much of the novel becomes an inexorable march toward that fateful night. … Read more

Book review of O Say Can You Hear: A Cultural Biography of The Star Spangled Banner by Mark Clague

Book review of O Say Can You Hear: A Cultural Biography of The Star Spangled Banner by Mark Clague

Placeholder while article actions load It’s no surprise in this era of US historical reckoning that our national anthem has come under scrutiny. Its author was an enslaver, a founder of an organization that sought to send emancipated African Americans to Africa, and friend, ally, and brother-in-law to Roger Taney, the Supreme Court justice who … Read more

New Novels That Weave Past and Present

New Novels That Weave Past and Present

Initially, Abbigail Nguyen Rosewood’s CONSTELLATIONS OF EVE (Texas Tech University, 211 pp., $29.95) looks as if it’s going to be a straightforward chronicle of the bad decisions of beautiful people — a romance whose initial meet-cute contains the seeds of its ultimate failure, a female friendship whose intense closeness is linked to its acute toxicity. … Read more

Review: ‘These Impossible Things’ by Salma El-Wardany

Review: ‘These Impossible Things’ by Salma El-Wardany

In June, the #ReadWithMC community dove deep into Salma El-Wardany’s These Impossible Things, an unputdownable novel about three friends navigating love, family, and faith. One reader (@alanna_dreamingwithopeneyes) described El-Wardany’s debut—which was also named June’s Read With Jenna book club pick—as “not straight female lit, not romance, but rather a novel that bobs and weaves into … Read more

10 gardening and plant care books these experts recommend

10 gardening and plant care books these experts recommend

Longtime gardener, tomato expert and author Craig LeHoullier said he still sometimes gets nervous reading reviews of his book, “Epic Tomatoes.” Despite his worry, he typically ends up pleased that the book has gotten great reviews and helped people. “What I wanted my book to do is really feature those things that I particularly gained … Read more

New Book Chronicles Urban Design Pioneer William Whyte ’39

New Book Chronicles Urban Design Pioneer William Whyte ’39

Author William H. “Holly” Whyte ’39 posed amid passersby on Fifth Avenue in 1989. Bill Foley/Getty Images Journalist Richard Rein ’69’s book chronicles Whyte’s impact William H. “Holly” Whyte ’39 — journalist, author, urban anthropologist, and champion of pedestrian-friendly nooks in big cities — began his books with unadorned, declarative sentences. His 1956 bestseller, The … Read more

The Books Briefing: Margaret Atwood, Louise Erdrich

The Books Briefing: Margaret Atwood, Louise Erdrich

Dystopian novels, even when their plots seem fantastical, simulate a deeply human experience: the feeling of being at the mercy of your circumstances, your personal control slipping away. When the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. wade on Friday, I itched to dive into some speculative fiction, to find my grief and anger reflected in … Read more

Book review of “In the Houses of Their Dead: The Lincolns, the Booths, and the Spirits,” by Terry Alford

Book review of “In the Houses of Their Dead: The Lincolns, the Booths, and the Spirits,” by Terry Alford

Placeholder while article actions load If, as Wallace Stegner declared, national parks are America’s best idea, spiritualism is probably our strangest. The spiritualist movement — that hash of table-rapping, seances, ectoplasm-sightings and purported messages from the dear departed — originated one night in 1848 when Maggie and Kate Fox, two bored sisters in Upstate New … Read more

Mel Reid Designs Pride Yardage Books | LPGA

Mel Reid Designs Pride Yardage Books |  LPGA

From a distance, it looks like any old yardage book – white leather with black text embossed on the cover. But take a closer look and you’ll realize it has a much deeper meaning. There are decorative lines in the colors of the Progress Pride Flag on the front, representing all members of the LGBTQ+ … Read more