Reviews

‘Landline’ calls on time travel for fun plot

Writers have pondered the possibility of time travel — its benefits and possible repercussions — for years. In Omaha-based author Rainbow Rowell’s new book, “Landline,” she takes the argument in a new direction: [...]

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“While the Gods were Sleeping”: Fascinating, frustrating memoir

Elizabeth Enslin begins her memoir “While the Gods were Sleeping” with the story of her son’s birth in a small village in Nepal in 1987. After a long labor that wasn’t progressing, she takes off through the rural roads [...]

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‘Some Luck’: Readers of Smiley’s new book are the lucky ones

The title of Jane Smiley’s new novel doesn’t go far enough to describe the reader’s experience. Reading “Some Luck” (Knopf, 395 pages $26.95) is akin to hitting it big in a literary lottery. This first entry in a [...]

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Ellroy an impressive engineer in “Perfidia”

When we think of epic novels, we tend to think of Tolstoy or Marquez: sweeping, multigenerational works with hefty character lists and complex plots. We tend not to think of crime novels. At least, not yet.

James Ellroy is looking to change [...]

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‘Bumperhead’: Author masters novel about growing up

In his last graphic novel, “Marble Season,” artist and author Gilbert Hernandez explored the childhood of one imaginative boy growing up in 1960s California.

Using an episodic narrative style and stunning, spare drawings, Hern [...]

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“Downfall”: Whodunnit creates likable character

When Pen Wilkinson, an attorney and paraplegic, learns that someone is attempting to make her the scapegoat in a scandal that threatens the company she works for, she decides to fight back. “Downfall” (Conquill Press, 347 pages, $15) [...]

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‘One Kick’: Iowa City Name reads from thriller Monday

Chelsea Cain’s latest thriller, “One Kick” (Simon & Schuster, 309 pages, $25.99), is the first book in a new series featuring Kick Lannigan, a young woman who suffered the horror of abduction and child pornography. Ten years a [...]

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‘The Secret Place’: Deep dive into drama detracts from story

Fans of acclaimed mystery writer Tana French can be a bit, well, fanatical about her work. I should know. I’m one of them.

And while her latest novel, “The Secret Place,” delivers on a number of French’s trademar [...]

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‘Dear Boy’: Weber’s memoir doesn’t let readers in enough

In a 2009 interview with The Paris Review, acclaimed poet and memoir writer Mary Karr explained that the biggest problem with memoirs today is “they’re not reflective enough. They lack self-awareness. I always tell my students that i [...]

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‘I Am China’: Book translates power of a voice

At first glance, Xiaolu Guo’s new novel, “I Am China” (out last Tuesday), seems like a quiet book. British translator Iona Kirkpatrick is handed a stack of correspondence between two Chinese lovers and is given little context [...]

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‘Lock In’: Sci-fi novel transports to new world

“Lock In” (Tor, 336 pages, $24.99) features an eager rookie FBI agent tackling his first case with his hard-bitten, world-weary partner. It’s a fairly standard setup, but in John Scalzi’s new novel, the rookie is not wh [...]

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‘Feast for Thieves’: Non-fiction author excels at fiction writing

Marcus Brotherton is known as a best-selling author for his books based on real people, including those who fought during World War II.

Staying in the time period of the 1940s and with his main character a war veteran, Brotherton eases his [...]

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‘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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