Piecing together a story

CEDAR RAPIDS — Sandra Dallas is not a quilt novelist.

“That’s a very specific genre,” she explains.

“I’m just a novelist that happens to like quilts.”

Dallas, a New York Times be [...]

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‘A Quilt Club For Christmas’: ‘Pickle Club’ prequel worth the wait for Dallas fans

It’s been 20 years since author Sandra Dallas wrote The Persian Pickle Club, and fans have been hoping for a sequel ever since. Dallas has done one better with her latest book, A Quilt for Christmas (St. Martin’s Press, $17.99), a Ci [...]

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‘The Last Breath’: Betrayal, importance of forgiveness integral to debut novel

Kimberly Belle packs a punch with the gripping prologue of “The Last Breath.” And this debut novelist keeps readers turning the pages, assessing your beliefs and leaving you holding your breath all the way to the end.

The book [...]

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Local Best Sellers


1. “The Blood of Olympus” Riordan

2. “Gone Girl” Flynn

3. “Killing Patton” O’Reilly

4. “A Quilt for Christmas” Dallas

5. “If I [...]

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‘Proclivity’: Midwest author sets up series but doesn’t instill need to read more

A good portion of Kris Kaiser’s self-published debut thriller, “Proclivity,” takes place in Iowa, including key scenes in Swisher and Cedar Rapids. Kaiser explained why in a note he included in the review copy: “I wante [...]

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‘Now we will be happy’: Standalone stories are strongest together

One of the characters in Amina Gautier’s remarkable new collection of short stories, “Now We Will Be Happy” (University of Nebraska Press, $16.95), found herself a victim of teasing when she was 10 years old. “I had a b [...]

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‘The Witch and the Other Tales Re-told’: Thompson didn’t rebuilt, didn’t just retell classic tales

Imagine Hansel and Gretel not as lost children in the woods but as city kids in a terrible foster home. That sort of reimagining fuels Jean Thompson’s “The Witch and Other Tales Re-told” (Blue Rider Press, 256 pages, $25.95), [...]

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Local Best Sellers


1. “Lila” Robinson

2. “Some Luck” Smiley

3. “Not that Kind of Girl” Dunham

4. “Hags” Zhang

5. “A Brief History of Seven Killingsȁ [...]

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‘Riders on the Storm’: Gorman’s coming-of-age series comes to a close

Cedar Rapids author Ed Gorman’s successfully-drawn literary picture of Sam McCain’s coming of age comes to a close in the satisfying “Riders on the Storm” (Pegasus, 208 pages, $25.95).

Gorman introduced McCain in [...]

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‘Turn me loose’ poet excels in moving readers on age-old topic

Poet Frank X Walker calls forth the spirit of a civil rights martyr in his new collection, “Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers.”

This powerful collection of poems, which revisits the assassination of Evers in Missis [...]

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‘Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932’ Novel contains many voices, each adding complexity

Francine Prose’s new novel, “Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932,” is a story deeply invested in the nature of truth, the underpinnings of evil, and the power of love to undo or ennoble us.

Prose, a former faculty [...]

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‘Not That Kind of Girl’: Lena Dunham’s memoir packed with witty anecdotes, honesty

I came to Lena Dunham, appropriately enough, at my therapist’s office. I was paging through the Aug. 13, 2012, issue of the New Yorker, waiting to begin my weekly session of labored oversharing, when I stumbled upon “First Love, [...]

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‘Girls’ coming to Iowa City

IOWA CITY — Lena Dunham will be in Iowa City on Tuesday for a sold-out event at 7 p.m. at the Englert, 221 E. Washington St., Iowa City. The event, presented by Prairie Lights Books, celebrates the release of Dunham’s new memoir, &#x [...]

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‘Your Life Isn’t For You’: Blog post turns into book meant to inspire kindness

You might be one of the 30 million people who read Smith’s blog post titled, “Your Marriage isn’t for You” or one of the millions that saw him and his wife talk about that post on “The Today Show,” “ [...]

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Local Best Sellers

1. “Killing Patton” O’Reilly

2. “The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion” Flagg

3. “Edge of Eternity” Follett

4. “A Halloween Scare in Iowa” James

5. [...]

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