Purity by Jonathan Franzen |LJ Review

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Franzen, Jonathan. Purity. Farrar. Sept. 2015. ISBN 9780374239213. $28.00; ebk. ISBN 9780374710743. F Does anyone have truly pure intentions, or are most people motivated by their own needs and desires? This is one of the questions posed by Franzen (The Corrections, Freedom) in his provocative new novel, a book rich with characters searching for roots […]

Early Warning by Jane Smiley | LJ Review

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Smiley, Jane. Early Warning. (Last Hundred Years Trilogy, Bk. 2). 15 CDs. 18:12 hrs. Books on Tape. Knopf. 2015. ISBN 9781101889077. $50. digital download. F Convening in 1953 for father and grandfather Walter’s funeral, the Iowa Langdon family notes another recent passing—Joseph Stalin. The Cold War escalates; weapons and the fortunes of Walter’s descendants (mostly) […]

Benincasa, Boyd, Higgins, Holleman, & Double Murakami | Fiction Reviews, August 2015


Boyd is simply stunning; another exceptional summertime read from Higgins; an unparalleled opportunity to experience Murakami’s progression from start to phenom; a great YA crossover for older teens from Benincasa

First Novelists Bivald, Hallberg, Holleman, McCrea, Watkins, & others | Debut Fiction, August 2015


Baker gets his spellbinding debut off to a rousing start, Bivald reminds us why we’re book lovers, Hallberg expertly handles multiple shifts in perspective, ­McCrea is a new author to follow, Watkins offers a wholly distinct work

Fiction from Beattie, Cameron, Connolly, de Bernières, Grafton, Kennedy, Reichs, and Debuts | Xpress Reviews


A wry collection from Beattie, a funny and bittersweet debut, Cameron’s latest canine-themed novel, an existential debut, a fresh take from Grafton, a rich debut, a joy for Dr. Who fans, suspense from Reichs, a rockin’ debut

Military Technothrillers: These 11 Titles Show the Genre Is Alive and Well


This summer’s abundant crop of debut novels and series titles draws on new threats to America’s interests, including the rise of religious extremism.

Mystery and More: Kate Morton’s Carefully Structured The Lake House Has Broad Appeal


History, mystery, a split yet deftly interlocking time frame, the complexities of family, the sweep of England’s grand country homes—of course it’s a Kate Morton novel.

Why Alice Still Matters: Celebrating 150 Years of Wonderland with Gregory Maguire


It’s been 150 years since readers first fell down the rabbit hole with the heroine of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland , and no one’s been the same since.

McLain’s Circling the Sun Soars | RA Crossroads


Welcome to RA Crossroads, where books, movies, music, and other media converge, and whole-collection readers’ advisory (RA) service goes where it may. In this column, Beryl Markham leads me down a winding path.

New Mysteries Starring Familiar Faces | Wyatt’s World


Late July and early August see a return of characters many readers know well—as recurring sleuths in crime novels reappear to take on new cases.