Book Review

Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

Colm Tóibín is the author of seven novels, including The Master, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Brooklyn, winner of the Costa Book Award; and two story collections. Twice shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, Tóibín lives in Dublin and New York.

Tóibín’s latest novel, Nora Webster, displays a singular vision into the interior lives of ordinary people. Like other Tóibín novels, this one is set in a small Irish town in the middle of the 20th century, a time and place he is intimately familiar with from his own childhood.

Azar Nafisi, author of The Republic of the Imagination: America in Three Books, thinks that, "America has a crisis of vision."

Bill Roorbach's new novel is shortlisted for the inaugural Kirkus award for fiction. KMUW book reviewer Sarah Bagby tells us why she thinks this book is his best yet.

Being Mortal is about the struggle to cope with the constraints of our biology.” This is Atul Gawande’s observation in his important new book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. He is the author of three previous books, including The Checklist Manifesto, in which he boldly calls for a surgical checklist to be performed before any surgery, anywhere. This may seem like common sense, but there was no such practice in place.

Internal Medicine by Terrence Holt is a compilation of nine stories that loosely reflect Holt’s experience as an internal medicine resident. Each story is a compositely drawn case, just as Holt’s protagonist, “Harper,” is an amalgamation of his fellow residents. Holt remolds the medical cases, he says, “according to the logic not of journalism but of parable, seeking to capture the essence of something too complex to be understood any other way.”

Helen Thorpe profiles three women who joined the Indiana National Guard before 9/11 in her compelling new book, Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War.

The Leary family—Eileen, a nurse; her professor husband, Ed; and their ordinary son, Connell—are like most families. Their upward trajectory in economic status results in a move to the New York City suburbs from their working class Brooklyn. Things continue pretty much as expected until the arrival of a debilitating illness: Ed develops early onset Alzheimer’s disease, which they face with perseverance and dignity.

www.history.navy.mil / Google Images / Creative Commons

Hampton Sides is an editor-at-large for Outside Magazine and a master of narrative non-fiction. His latest book, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, combines just the right amount of adventure, meticulous research and remarkable characters with lofty dreams.

In her novel The Land of Love and Drowning, Tiphanie Yanique takes us to the Virgin Islands in the early 1900s, as rule is transferred from Denmark to the United States.

Two sisters, Eona and Annette, and a brother they don’t know they have, all possess a particular beauty and sensuality. Orphaned after a shipwreck and stripped of their social status, the siblings traverse the next 60 years on the beloved island that is bound by the sea that killed their father.

Yanique, a native of St. Thomas, creates a multifaceted world you won’t soon forget.

A good novelist weaves a gripping story out of small details, big emotions and just the right words to transport us into the mind of and emotional terrain of his or her characters. Good writing draws me into tragedy before I know it, and two new releases did just that.

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