Home » Entries posted by Miriam Laufer
1. The Best of All Possible Worlds
by Karen Lord, February 12, 2013 (See review)
2. The Painted Girls
by Cathy Marie Buchanan, 2013
Three sisters in Belle Époque Paris struggle to survive in the treacherous worlds of ballet and theatre. Middle sister Marie becomes the model for Edgar Degas’ well-known sculpture Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen. But the gritty environment in which they live will haunt that legacy.
3. Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker
by Jennifer Chiaverini, 2013
Long before Tracy Reese or Oscar de la Renta, former [...]
February 1, 2013
What if a highly cerebral alien race had their planet destroyed in a crazed act of vengeance?
Any science fiction fan cracking open Karen Lord’s The Best of All Possible Worlds would be justified in asking, “Where have I seen this before?” Yet, despite the similarity of the opening conceit to J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” movie, the novel owes a clearer debt to the uninhibited idealism of the original series.
Rather than revenge, the bereaved Sadiri people [...]
1. The Particle at the End of the Universe
by Sean Carroll, 2012 (See review)
2. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie
by Ayana Mathis, 2012
Oprah’s latest book club pick follows the lives of Hattie Shepherd and her descendants. Hattie comes north during the Great Migration of African-Americans in the early twentieth century. With greater opportunities, her progeny include a musician, a soldier, a housewife, and a preacher. But none of them can escape their mother’s disappointment, acutely rendered in Mathis’ soft prose.
3. A [...]
January 1, 2013
The world celebrated the discovery of the Higgs boson on July 4, 2012, but many of the general public still have uncertainties about what the Higgs boson is, what it means, and why we should care about it. Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, is here to answer those questions. He illustrates the concepts clearly, especially for those with “absolute zero” physics knowledge, in The Particle at the End of [...]
1. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
by Deb Perelman, 2012 (See Review)
2. The Book of Jonas
by Stephen Dau, 2012
Debut novelist Stephen Dau writes a haunting exploration of the relationship between perpetrators and victims of war that suggests no one is merely one or the other. Jonas, a fifteen-year-old boy from an unnamed Muslim country, comes to live with a foster family in Pittsburgh. As a therapist helps him dig into his emotional trauma, his story links with that of an American soldier, Christopher [...]
1. Reading Lolita in Tehran
by Azar Nafisi, 2003 (See review)
2. Woes of the True Policeman
by Roberto Bolaño, Nov 13, 2012
Allegedly the last novel from posthumous author Roberto Bolaño, the English translation of Woes of the True Policeman will be released on November 13. Óscar Amalfitano is an exiled Chilean professor who moves to Mexico and encounters a characteristic slew of murders and corruption. The novel, although unfinished, builds on themes, characters, and places from Bolaño’s previous work.
3. The Round House
November 1, 2012
Reading seems like an ideal pastime for a city where free access to knowledge and culture is cherished, not to mention where so many have long commutes on public transportation. During the storm that hit the area this week, books looked a lot more attractive as their electronic counterparts failed in nearly 400,000 area outages as of Monday night. In an informal survey of 22 DC metro area residents, however, only three had heard of [...]
October 1, 2012
What is a forgery? Where does the fault line between artwork and forgery lie? This is what Claire Roth, the protagonist of B.A. Shapiro’s elegantly layered new novel, The Art Forger, refers to as the craquelure.
Now that Whitey Bulger has been brought to justice, Shapiro, novelist and professor at Northeastern University, turns our attention to Boston’s other great modern mystery—the 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. At this time, there has been [...]
1. The Art Forger
by B.A. Shapiro, October 23 2012 (See book review)
2. The Casual Vacancy
by J.K. Rowling, 2012
The long-awaited new novel from the bestselling author of the Harry Potter series was released on September 27. J.K. Rowling retains her fondness for odd names with a new ensemble cast set in the English town of Pagford. When Barry Fairbrother is murdered, the town unravels over the fate of his vacant seat on the parish council. It remains to be seen whether [...]
1. Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood
by Barbara Demick (See book review)
2. The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau
by Michelle Markel, 2012
Children’s author Michelle Markel and illustrator Amanda Hall produce an informative, exciting look into the life of a painter driven by his imagination and passion for art. The level of writing is understandable to a five-year-old, but has greater nuances for an adult. Everyone will be able to appreciate the message that what other people think [...]
September 1, 2012
Before Barbara Demick wrote Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, the National Book Award finalist that had readers clutching their children in fear, she was the author of Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood.
Logavina Street, originally published in 1996, was re-issued in 2012 with a new preface, final chapter, and epilogue from the author. Based on Demick’s work as a journalist covering the Bosnian War for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the [...]