Reviews

‘Inappropriate Behavior’: Farish doesn’t falter in debut collection of short stories

Appropriately enough, Murray Farish’s debut short story collection, “Inappropriate Behavior” (Milkweed Editions, 189 pages, $16), is filled with characters behaving inappropriately.

Some of those characters are historica [...]

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‘Skygods’: Second in ‘Hydraulic’ series meets bar set by first novel

The second book in the Hydraulic series, “Skygods” was released on Aug. 26.

In “Hydraulic Level Five” whitewater rafting terms are used throughout. In Benton County native Sarah Latchaw’s second book, it&# [...]

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Iowa City Library buzzing with books, DVDs about bees

IOWA CITY — “Morning is the best of all times in the garden. The sun is not yet hot. Sweet vapors rise from the earth. Night dew clings to the soil and makes plants glisten. Birds call to one another. Bees are already at work.” [...]

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‘The Family Romanov’: Historical figures developed like characters

It’s been a while since I sat in a world history class — a long while, let’s be honest. But I do remember how difficult it was to relate to events that happened long ago.

Historical figures seemed like wooden caricature [...]

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‘The bone seeker’: Story as inacessible as the island it’s set in

It’s safe to say that few of us will travel to the Arctic Circle in our lifetime.

That being the case, British writer M. J. McGrath’s new mystery novel “The Bone Seeker” should be intriguing from the word go, sin [...]

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‘Borderline’: 1970s noir’s still dark in audiobook telling

Author Lawrence Block recently put out a call to reviewers via social media.

He was looking for folks willing to review the audiobook version “Borderline,” a novel first published under a pseudonym in 1962 and republished earl [...]

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‘One Nation’: Author, neurosurgeon Ben Carson credits reading with success

Renowned pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson grew up in poverty in Detroit and was encouraged by his mother to pursue education.

He went on to become the youngest major division director at Johns Hopkins at the age of 33, and was the firs [...]

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‘Dear Committee Members’: Novel composed of letters a happy surprise

Dear Esteemed Readers:

I write today with the happy task of commending to your attention “Dear Committee Members” (Doubleday, 180 pages, $22.95), the new novel by Julie Schumacher.

In the interest of impressing upon you [...]

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Heartbreaking novel follows fairy tale format

Roxane Gay’s powerful, heartbreaking debut novel, “An Untamed State,” (Grove Press, 368 pages, $16) takes you square by the shoulder from the first sentence and doesn’t let go until the final chapter.

“Once [...]

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First-time author should add more books to list

When I was 39 I created a “bucket list” of 40 items that I wanted to complete by the time I turned 40.

The things I wanted to accomplish at 40 are much different from the things I would have dreamed of accomplishing as a teena [...]

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‘Paperboy’ delivers story of overcoming adversity

I  was drawn to this story because it tells of a young boy and his struggles with stuttering.

Both of our teenage boys stutter. The author himself stuttered as a child and wrote this story from his childhood experiences growing up. < [...]

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‘The Night Searchers’: Author’s latest thriller, isn’t as much

I was a loyal reader of Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone mysteries for a long time. McCone — gutsy, smart, determined — was easily one of my favorite fictional detectives. But as a series progressed, I grew less enamored of her a [...]

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‘Norwegian Folk Tales of Anthon and Gurina Johnson’: New children’s book retells Norwegian tales

Jean Russell Larson grew up hearing wonderful folk tales from her Norwegian grandmother.

Carrying on the tradition, Larson later shared the stories with her eight children. They referred to the stories as “chimney corner tales,” [...]

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‘Inspiration on Demand’: Book full of positive ideas

Sometimes something positive can come out of a negative situation.

Just ask Iowan Joshua Coburn, a former body modification artist turned motivational youth speaker who was struggling with depression and a divorce a few years back. In order [...]

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‘The Word Exchange’: New novel blends suspense, philosophy

In “The Word Exchange” (Doubleday, 370 pages, $26.95), Alena Graedon imagines a near future in which a single company makes a play to control not only content, but meaning itself.

Graedon’s debut novel blends plausible [...]

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