‘Little Mercies’: Readers will likely grant author mercy over missteps

New York Times best-selling author and Dubuque native Heather Gudenkauf is back with a new novel that’s a perfect read for a summer afternoon.

“Little Mercies” takes place in Cedar City, Iowa, and follows the lives of ve [...]

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‘Inside Man’: A suspenseful read worthy of a good beach

During a recent trip to Fort Lauderdale, I decided to read a thriller with a southern Florida flavor. Jeff Abbott’s “Inside Man” (Grand Central Publishing, 389 pages, $26) is the fourth novel featuring ex-CIA man Sam Capra (an [...]

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Berg weaves a tapestry of literature

While it certainly seems to be the right fit for novelist Elizabeth Berg, she’s not afraid to admit that writing is a lonely profession.

But Berg won’t be lonely Friday when she visits Cedar Rapids where she’ll be speak [...]

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‘My Family and Other Hazards’: Charming memoir details life on, off golf course

Writers are always told to “write what you know,” but let’s face it: some writers have more material than others. Thankfully, non-fiction writer and Decorah native June Melby has plenty, as evidenced by her charming — a [...]

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‘The Fever’: Author captures teenagers thinking, behavior

“The Fever” is loosely based on a real-life situation when 18 teenage girls at one New York high school suffered from tics and tremors.

Megan Abbott took that story and made it into a novel that will make all parents of teena [...]

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‘Worst. Person. Ever.’: Not Coupland’s best book ever

I read Douglas Coupland’s 1991 novel “Generation X” while I was in college. An X-er myself, I loved the book, and I remember thinking that Coupland had captured an essential ... something ... about my generation. Each of his n [...]

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‘The Weight of Blood’: Laura Mchugh’s debut novel striking

“The Weight of Blood” by debut author Laura McHugh begins the way all good crime novels should: with a body.

When the dismembered body of Cherie, a troubled teen, is discovered stuffed in a tree, residents of the small town of [...]

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Grand Central: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion

Last year Grand Central Station turned 100 years old. This drew a renewed interest in its history and the millions of stories of people who had passed through its doors. A group of best-selling authors decided to create their own stories set at G [...]

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‘The Beautiful American’: Readers will want to devour, savor novel

I love historical fiction, but fiction that is based on the lives of real people makes it even more fascinating.

I had never heard of Lee Miller before Jeanne Mackin’s “The Beautiful American” but found myself on Googl [...]

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l What: Brian Bruns will sign “Rumble Yell”

l When: 10 a.m. to noon July 19

l Where: Barnes & Noble, 333 Collins Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids

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‘Bark’ Short story collection centers on illness

In her new short story collection, Lorrie Moore introduces us to an assortment of characters struggling with mental illness or deterioration. In “Bark” (Knopf, 192 pages, $24.95), we meet families, friends and lovers who find themsel [...]

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‘Andrew’s Brain’: Author uses novel to offer criticism

E.L. Doctorow has a surprise hidden in the twisty folds of “Andrew’s Brain” (Random House, 200 pages, $26).

The deeply respected author, whose large body of work includes the classic novel “Ragtime,” offer [...]

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‘Cure for the Common Breakup’: Breakup book about getting over it, not getting even

In “Cure for the Common Breakup,” you won’t be short on laughter, romance or drama. All these make it the perfect book for you to tuck into your pool or beach bag this summer.

Summer Benson has the perfect life as a fli [...]

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Rumble Yell: RAGBRAI narrative not quite naked enough

“Rumble Yell” begins with the story of author and Cedar Rapids native Brian Bruns’ RAGBRAI training regimen in Las Vegas, where this novice rider learns a series of valuable — and hilarious — lessons, such as not [...]

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“Dissident Gardens”: Lethem’s latest recommended without dissent

Jonathan Lethem’s latest novel, “Dissident Gardens” (Vintage Contemporaries, 366 pages, $15.95), is exceptional.

The book, which is newly out in paperback, features interconnected sections, each of which highlights an i [...]

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