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Articles by Steve Donoghue

Book Review: Dogs of War

April 25th, 2017
dogs of war

Killer robot dogs playing fetch with weapons of mass destruction! Killer ‘smart’ machines the size of a grain of sand! And every last little thing weaponized! It’s the latest Joe Ledger novel.

Book Review: Hamlet Globe to Globe

April 21st, 2017
NINTCHDBPICT000222606849

A terrific new book tells the story of what happens when a hardy company takes the world’s most famous play to every country on Earth.

Book Review: What Algorithms Want

April 20th, 2017
what algorithms want

A cogent, sobering new book looks at the computer conversations that increasingly shape every aspect of our lives.

Book Review: The Malmedy Massacre

April 19th, 2017
malmedy

One of the most shocking incidents of the Battle of the Bulge was the slaughter of a group of US prisoners by the SS at Malmedy. A gripping new book tells the story of the massacre and its tangled aftermath

Book Review: Humanism and the Latin Classics

April 13th, 2017
aldine-press-printers-mark

The latest addition to the I Tatti Renaissance Library gives readers the letters and prefaces of one of the greatest publishers of his day – Aldus Manutius.

Book Review: Birds of Prey

April 13th, 2017
birds of prey

The savage, beautiful carnivore-birds who fly and hunt by day are the subject of an enthusiastic new book

Book Review: The Quarry Fox

April 12th, 2017
coyotes-howling-1

A charming new book takes readers into the fascinating world of Catskills “critters,” trees, trails, and even rocks.

Book Review: The Complete Old English Poems

April 12th, 2017
Book Review: The Complete Old English Poems

A hefty new volume brings together all the poetry of the Old English world, wrought into modern verse.

Book Review: Becoming Leonardo

April 10th, 2017
becoming leonardo

An unconventional and compulsively readable new biography tries to get at the heart of the quintessential Renaissance Man.

The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington, D.C.!

April 4th, 2017
The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington, D.C.!

Our book today is The Outdoor Sculpture of Washington, D. C., a tall, jam-packed 1974 compendium, a “comprehensive historical guide” to all the public works of sculpture on display in the nation’s capital, by James Goode, who was at the time the curator of the Smithsonian Institute’s famous “Castle.” Every time I take the book […]

Book Review: Protestants

April 4th, 2017
protestants

A invigorating new history looks at the tumultuous 500-year history of Protestantism

Romance Roundup: A Trio of April-Blizzard Regencies!

April 3rd, 2017
Romance Roundup: A Trio of April-Blizzard Regencies!

  Our books today form just the kind of sprightly, colorful, optimistic trio of reading experiences you very much want when your April commences with a blinding blizzard of sodden slop and howling winds: we have three new Regency romances of exactly the type to put a smile on my face regardless of what the […]

Book Review: The Imagineers of War

April 3rd, 2017
Book Review: The Imagineers of War

Famed in pop culture, the unconventional geniuses of DARPA were tasked with developing the technology of the future, today. A big new book delves into the history of the Pentagon’s think-tank.

Life on Mars!

April 1st, 2017
Life on Mars!

Our book today is the latest whimsical masterpiece from the great childrens book writer and illustrator Jon Agee: Life on Mars. The story begins with an intrepid young space explorer arriving on the planet Mars. He leaves his spaceship on a very definite mission, and it’s not just to find life on Mars. It’s also […]

Lèse-Majesté

April 1st, 2017
Lèse-Majesté

“A Year with the Tudors II” continues with a comprehensive new biography of King Henry VIII’s fifth wife, the flighty teenager Catherine Howard.

From the Archives: Entitled to Extravagance

April 1st, 2017
From the Archives: Entitled to Extravagance

Some of Anthony Burgess’ most accomplished inventions roam into the past, to Shakespeare and Marlowe’s England and Jesus’ Judea. How well has his historical fiction stood up across the years?

Book Review: Martin Luther, Renegade and Prophet

March 30th, 2017
Book Review: Martin Luther, Renegade and Prophet

A smart and rewarding new biography seeks to portray the very human man underneath the multilayered legend of Martin Luther.

Book Review: The Imagineers of War

March 29th, 2017
imagineers of war

For decades, the weirdos and shaggy-haired mad-genius inventors of DARPA have toiled in well-funded obscurity; a new book uses recently-declassified material to tell their story.

Book Review: Fallen Glory

March 29th, 2017
fallenglory

A lavishly-produced new book details humanity’s long love-hate relationship with some of its most famous and iconic buildings.

A Bittersweet New Era in the Penny Press!

March 27th, 2017
A Bittersweet New Era in the Penny Press!

The latest issue of The New York Review of Books arrived on my doorstep last week, and it quickly became the saddest issue of the NYRB I’ve ever read – because this was the first issue I read after the death of the journal’s legendary editor, Bob Silvers. He’d been there from the beginning, and […]

Book Review: A History of Ancient Egypt from the Great Pyramid to the Fall of the Middle Kingdom

March 27th, 2017
pharaohmfa

The author’s multi-volume history of Ancient Egypt now reaches the high points of that culture’s power and refinement.

Book Review: Carnivore Minds

March 24th, 2017
carnivore minds

Sharks, bears, rattlesnakes … these and other infamous apex carnivores long considered mindless killing machines are given a fresh and nuanced re-examination in G. A. Bradshaw’s new book.

Book Review: The New Neotropical Companion

March 22nd, 2017
white-nosed coati

A classic nature guide gets an elaborate, beautiful update.

Comics! Big Red Guys in Capes!

March 22nd, 2017
Comics! Big Red Guys in Capes!

Both DC and Marvel Comics have always had their flagship Big Guy in a Red Cape – with DC it’s of course been Superman, the strongest and most powerful of all the DC superheroes, and with Marvel it’s been the thunder god Thor, the Asgardian warrior-god sojourning on Earth and adventuring with Earth’s superheroes. And […]

Penguins on Parade: The Book of Magic

March 20th, 2017
Penguins on Parade: The Book of Magic

Some Penguin Classics have to walk a very fine line in order to exist at all. Not all of them manage it, of course: there’s been no Penguin Classic of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, nor will there ever be, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a Penguin Classic reprint of My Life and Loves, or a nice […]

Book Review: Swimmer Among the Stars

March 16th, 2017
kanisktharoor

Islands of bright, fable-spinning whimsy dot the debut collection of Kanishk Tharoor

Book Review: The Weight of This World

March 15th, 2017
david joy

The sudden death of their drug dealer sends two backwoods friends into a spiral of greed and violence in the new novel from David Joy.

Book Review: Spaceman of Bohemia

March 14th, 2017
jaroslave kalfar

A lone Czech astronaut on a deep-space mission confronts his past and his fears in this taut, memorable debut novel

Book Review: In This Grave Hour

March 13th, 2017
in this grave

Even the declaration of war with Germany doesn’t stop mysteries from arriving at the doorstep of the indefatigable Maisie Dobbs.

A Trio of Springlike Romances!

March 13th, 2017
A Trio of Springlike Romances!

Our books today are a trio of delights from the good folks at Avon Books, and they come at just the right moment: despite the calendar showing a mid-March date, and despite Springlike temperatures only a few days ago, a monstrous blizzard is grinding its way toward Boston at this moment, threatening to bury budding […]

Book Review: Sex and the Constitution

March 9th, 2017
sex and the consitution

A richly rewarding new book narrates the long and complicated history of the American quest for – and fight against – life, liberty, and the pursuit of sex.

Book Review: A Rabble of Dead Money

March 7th, 2017
rabble of dead money

Long before the Great Recession shook the modern world to its financial foundations, there was the Great Depression, the subject of a gripping new history.

The Everglades: River of Grass!

March 7th, 2017
The Everglades: River of Grass!

Our book today is a towering classic of ecological literature: The Everglades: River of Grass by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the book she wrote in 1947 in protest to a whole slate of proposed (and encroaching) drainage and construction projects designed to “improve” the vast waterlands of the Everglades. Douglas was a pint-sized force of nature, […]

Book Review: Cnut the Great

March 6th, 2017
Book Review: Cnut the Great

A taut, gripping new biography presents the life of the great warlord-monarch King Cnut

Book Review: Clement Attlee

March 3rd, 2017
citizen clem

A boisterous new biography re-examines the life and legacy of the enigmatic British Prime Minister and Labor leader Clement Attlee

Bedtime for Yeti!

March 2nd, 2017
Bedtime for Yeti!

Our book today is Brazilian illustrator Vin Vogel’s follow-up to his 2015 classic The Thing About Yetis – joyful news to those of us who loved that book and its roly-poly head-tufted version of the famed Himalayan snow-man. The new book from Penguin’s Dial Books imprint is called BedTime for Yeti, and it opens by […]

Book Review: The Gulf

March 2nd, 2017
the gulf

The whole sweep of the Gulf of Mexico’s nature and history is the subject of a fascinating and passionate new book.

A Spiffy Anniversary in the Penny Press!

March 1st, 2017
A Spiffy Anniversary in the Penny Press!

A ten-year anniversary is a milestone for any kind of monthly publication. The meshing of personalities, the jostling of priorities, and the unpredictable vagaries of the work-flow might be expected to hang together for a little while, a year maybe, and it might be hoped they could work for a little longer than that, perhaps […]

Book Review: Gunmetal Gray

March 1st, 2017
gunmetalgray

In the latest “Gray Man” novel, Mark Greaney’s tough-as-nails title character is on the hunt in Southeast Asia for a vanished Chinese super-hacker.

A Year with the Tudors II: A Flash, a Thud, a Crimson Deluge

March 1st, 2017
A Year with the Tudors II: A Flash, a Thud, a Crimson Deluge

Poor innocent Lady Jane Grey has been an ostentatious martyr to the Protestant cause for centuries; a new book tells her brief but familiar life story as continues.

From the Archives: Beyond the Pillars of Hercules

March 1st, 2017
800px-Feuerbach_symposium

In addition to their gods and goddesses, the ancient Greeks worshiped youth and athletic prowess, and their foremost bard was Pindar.

Book Review: Stalin and the Scientists

February 27th, 2017
staline and

The Soviet Union billed itself as a scientific utopia, and yet, as a tremendously readable new history illustrates, the awkward of marriage of state and science gave rise to a parade of absurdities.

Prague Fatale!

February 27th, 2017
Prague Fatale!

Our book today is a gutsy historical thriller from 2011 called Prague Fatale by Philip Kerr, the eighth novel featuring his scuffed and downtrodden detective – and reluctant SS member – Bernie Gunther, solving crimes and trying to keep his morals clean in WWII-era Germany. In this particular installment, he’s been summoned to Prague by […]

Book Review: The Inkblots

February 23rd, 2017
the inkblots

You’ve all seen the famous Rorschach inkblots; a fantastic new book tells the story not only of the inkblots but also of the odd, fascinating man behind them.

Now in Paperback: Neither Snow Nor Rain!

February 21st, 2017
Now in Paperback: Neither Snow Nor Rain!

Our book today is the paperback release of a history that’s near and dear to my daily routine: Devin Leonard’s utterly delightful Neither Snow Nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service, brought out Grove Press last year to nerdishly enthusiastic reviews (including one from USA Today that included the simple, true line, […]

Book Review: Homo Deus

February 20th, 2017
homo deus

The author of the popular-science hit Sapiens returns with a book that looks not to humanity’s distant past but rather to its immediate future.

Book Review: The President Will See You Now

February 15th, 2017
the president will see you now

A warm, engaging memoir takes readers inside the post-presidency years of Ronald Reagan

Penguins on Parade: Treatise on Toleration!

February 15th, 2017
Penguins on Parade: Treatise on Toleration!

Some Penguin Classics breathe with the towering wisdom of the world’s great literary figures. And then there’s Voltaire. The voluminous writings of Francois-Marie Arouet have been a mother-quarry of pseudo-profundity for over two centuries, of course, so in that respect this slim new volume from Penguin – a new translation by Desmond Clarke of the […]

Book Review: Presidents’ Secrets

February 14th, 2017
presidents secrets cover

A concise, hard-hitting new book outlines the long history of secrecy at the heart of US government

Book Review: Plotting to Kill the President

February 13th, 2017
plotting to kill the president

A new history by the author of Hunting the President uncovers the long history of US presidential assassination attempts

Now in Paperback: Not All Bastards Are From Vienna!

February 13th, 2017
Now in Paperback: Not All Bastards Are From Vienna!

Our book today is the English-language translation of Andrea Molesini’s utterly remarkable debut novel Not All Bastards Are From Vienna. The book originally appeared in 2010 and is here translated from the Italian by Antony Shugaar and Patrick Creagh, and although I chuckled about it when the Englished version appeared last year (how could I […]

The Duke!

February 13th, 2017
The Duke!

Our book today is a delectable trifle, the perfect thing to brighten up a day-long snowstorm: The Duke, the first of author Kerrigan Byrne’s romance novels to break the lock-step of glottal fricatives that characterized The Highwayman, The Hunter, and The Highlander and strike out into new consonantal territory (will it be followed by The […]

Book Review: Powers of Darkness

February 9th, 2017
powers of darkness

As a revelatory new version shows, the original Icelandic translation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula took more than a few liberties with the text …

Book Review: The House of Truth

February 6th, 2017
the house of truth

A wide-ranging and deeply-researched new book chronicles the history of an influential Washington political salon

Keeping a Sharp Lookout!

February 3rd, 2017
Keeping a Sharp Lookout!

Our book today is a bright little thing of wonder housed, this time around, in a brittle package: it’s a selection of the writings of John Burroughs called The Birds of John Burroughs: Keeping a Sharp Lookout, a volume published in 1976 by Hawthorn Books, edited by Jack Kligerman with nice stately black-and-white illustrations by […]

Comics Yesterday – Some Winning Moments!

February 2nd, 2017
Comics Yesterday – Some Winning Moments!

Yet another terrific week for DC Comics … which still feels distinctly odd to say. For the last five years or so, while DC’s lineup of iconic superheroes was in the throes of the company’s “New 52” continuity remake, I mostly dreaded seeing the titles on offer every week at Boston’s one-and-only Comicopia. From the […]

Book Review: Hardwick Hall

February 2nd, 2017
hhall stairs

The great old fortress of good taste, Hardwick Hall, is the focus of a beautiful new anthology of essays on the place’s storied art and architecture

Book Review: William the Conqueror

February 1st, 2017
william the conqueror

The latest volume in the Yale English Monarchs series is a hefty new biography of the man who started the whole series in the first place: William the Conqueror

The February 2017 issue of Open Letters!

February 1st, 2017
The February 2017 issue of Open Letters!

The first day of February dawns crisp and bright and cold here in Boston, with new-fallen snow still white and undefiled on the ground and lining every tree-branch. It’s the very picture of a new, clean page – what better setting for a new issue of my beloved Open Letters Monthly? We have a lovely […]

A Year with the Tudors II: Have You Heard It?

February 1st, 2017
A Year with the Tudors II: Have You Heard It?

A new book on the famous Tudor dynasty promises that most alluring of all perspectives on royalty: the back-stage details. But can it succeed? A Year with the Tudors continues.

Book Review: Montaigne

January 30th, 2017
k10834

An English-language translation of a monumental biography of the founder of modern essay form urges readers to remember the man, not the legend.

Book Review: Secrets of Churchill’s War Rooms

January 25th, 2017
war room

Down below the sidewalks of London, a warren of secret rooms housed the war effort while bombs were falling on the city; a lavish new book tours the war rooms.

Book Review: Three Days in January

January 19th, 2017
three days in january

As a new book about Eisenhower and Kennedy makes clear, transitions of presidential power, especially between rival parties, have always been testy.

Book Review: The House of the Dead

January 18th, 2017
the house of the dead

Long before the Soviet gulag, Russian dissidents, criminals, and political exiles were sent to the vast frozen wasteland of Siberia. A grim new book tells their stories.

Book Review: The Egyptians

January 16th, 2017
Book Review: The Egyptians

The Egyptian Revolution and its cataclysmic aftermath forms the subject of a riveting new book by a journalist and keen-eyed witness.

The Travels of Mark Twain!

January 16th, 2017
The Travels of Mark Twain!

Our book today at first almost seems like a blasphemy: it’s The Travels of Mark Twain from 1961, and its seeming blasphemy comes from the fact that Charles Neider is its editor rather than its author. Rather than a work of history and analysis about Mark Twain’s extensive travels, as its title might indicate, it’s […]

Book Review: Falling Ill

January 13th, 2017
williams

From the late and much-honored poet CK Williams, one final work

Artful Dodgers and Fartful Codgers in the Penny Press!

January 12th, 2017
Artful Dodgers and Fartful Codgers in the Penny Press!

I couldn’t help but be charmed by the long essay by Joseph Epstein in last week’s Weekly Standard, despite its barrage of annoying ticks and quirks. The piece is called “Hitting Eighty,” and it’s the latest (and – sad thought – the last?) in what turns out to be a little series of pieces Epstein […]

Book Review: Making Faces

January 12th, 2017
making faces

The quintessential human feature – the large, expressive face – gets a thorough and fascinating scientific examination.

Comics: The Lure of the Artwork!

January 11th, 2017
Comics: The Lure of the Artwork!

The week’s comics reflected a very, very old pattern of mine: buying for artists rather than writers. It would be wrong to say that for most of my comics-buying life I cared much more about a title’s artwork than about its writing; far closer to the truth to say I didn’t care about the writing […]

Book Review: The Lost Journalism of Ring Lardner

January 10th, 2017
ring

The famed writer of “You Know Me Al” was also a life-long prolific deadline writer. An invaluable new book collects the journalism of Ring Lardner.

Book Review: John Singer Sargent – Figures and Landscapes

January 9th, 2017
mckellar

The magnificent catalogue from Yale University Press of the paintings and drawing of John Singer Sargent comes to its conclusion with volume IX

The Inevitable Guest!

January 9th, 2017
The Inevitable Guest!

Our book today is The Inevitable Guest: A Survival Guide to Being Company & Having Company on Cape Cod, a spirited but ultimately hopeless 2000 book by Marcia Monbleau, writing from the hallowed precincts of Harwich Port. I took it down from its shelf in a perversely contrarian moment, since the book is about the […]

Penguins on Parade: Percy Bysshe Shelley!

January 5th, 2017
Penguins on Parade: Percy Bysshe Shelley!

Some Penguin Classics almost play tricks on your memory, you’re so certain you’ve seen them before in earlier editions. Surely, for instance, any sizable US Penguin Classics library going back a few decades will already have a big fat volume of Percy Bysshe Shelley? And yet no! When I first clapped eyes on the big, […]

Graphic Novel Review: Son of Superman

January 4th, 2017
supermanmoon

In the first story-arc in the newest era of the ultimate comic-book hero, a deadly enemy threatens the young son of Superman

Comics This Week: Three DC Classics!

January 4th, 2017
Comics This Week: Three DC Classics!

A crackerjack week at the comics shop here in Boston, and while I was reading and really enjoying the three new issues I bought at the Android’s Dungeon, I couldn’t help but notice that these are characters I’ve been reading about for a long, long time! I got the latest issues of three iconic superheroes, […]

A Year with the Tudors II: “You Are My Grace”

January 1st, 2017
A Year with the Tudors II: “You Are My Grace”

Jane Seymour is in many ways the most elusive of all the wives of King Henry VIII, dying just weeks after giving the king his longed-for male heir. A new novel delves into the human connection between Henry and his third wife.

From the Archives: The Fixer

January 1st, 2017
wolfhall

Hilary Mantel’s Tudor novel Wolf Hall recently won the Man-Booker Prize. Each part of that sentence was guaranteed to attract Steve Donoghue’s attention.

Book Review: True Faith and Allegiance

December 29th, 2016
mark greaney

A Canadian businessman is more than he seems in the latest big addition to the Tom Clancy fictional universe

The Best Books of 2016 – Nonfiction!

December 27th, 2016
The Best Books of 2016 – Nonfiction!

Best Books of 2016 – Nonfiction! We come to the end of our bookish 2016 chimes-ringing with the admittedly vague category of general nonfiction, which can extend to all kinds of reportage and memoir and often, I’ve found, connotes a particular kind of narrative fire, a particular urgency. These works tend to be telling new […]

The Worst Books of 2016 – Nonfiction!

December 26th, 2016
The Worst Books of 2016 – Nonfiction!

Worst Books of 2016 – Nonfiction! There was a very annoying strain of worried hand-wringing running through a great deal of the year’s general nonfiction, with a great many authors who ought to know better (and a number who do and were only lying for a paycheck) mounting their platforms to call X, Y, or […]

The Best Books of 2016 – Fiction!

December 25th, 2016
The Best Books of 2016 – Fiction!

Best Books of 2016 – Fiction! The very factors that are usually the banes of my existence as a reader of fiction – stylistic eccentricities and rhetorical showing off – turn up quite often on this particular list actually helping the books featuring them, which just underscores the ideological fluidity of fiction that I, like […]

The Worst Books of 2016 – Fiction!

December 24th, 2016
The Worst Books of 2016 – Fiction!

Worst Books of 2016 – Fiction! When surveying the damages in summing up fiction in 2016, the old saying “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” comes to mind, a saying tartly corrected by Wilson Follett in his epically mandarin book Modern American Usage, since as he points out, nothing could be easier […]

Best Books of 2016 – Biography!

December 23rd, 2016
Best Books of 2016 – Biography!

Best Books of 2016 – Biography! Much to my delight, 2016 was another furiously busy year for biographies – and mostly a very good one, with strong entries appearing several times in every month. Biography is my own favorite type of book to read, and there were some months when I read so many good […]

Book Review: If Our Bodies Could Talk

December 22nd, 2016
if our bodies could talk

A handy new books ranges over the whole breadth of human aches and pains and losses and gains – and provides the science behind it all.

Best Books of 2016 – History!

December 22nd, 2016
Best Books of 2016 – History!

Best Books of 2016 – History! The field of history-writing displayed its usual dazzling variety in 2016, with commercial titles ranging from 120-page large-type bestsellers containing not one single actual fact to 120-page monographs containing not one readable sentence – and the whole spectrum in between. But as great as that variety was, there were […]

Book Review: Tracking Gobi Grizzlies

December 21st, 2016
tracking gobi grizzlies

The world’s most endangered population of grizzly bears is the subject of a powerful, haunting new book

Best Books of 2016 – Guilty Pleasures!

December 21st, 2016
Best Books of 2016 – Guilty Pleasures!

Best Books of 2016 – Guilty Pleasures! The “pleasures” part of Guilty Pleasures is self-evidently easy to define, but the “guilty” part is much trickier, since books find so many different ways to be worthwhile. Even so, there are some reading experiences that are clearly more self-indulgent than others, some books that are more likely […]

Best Books of 2016 – Nature!

December 20th, 2016
Best Books of 2016 – Nature!

Best Books of 2016 – Nature! Nature made headlines in 2016 for predictably awful reasons. A gorilla was shot dead because careless human parents let their child wander into his jail cell; the year was once again the hottest on record; an American political administration came to power openly intent on raping the planet; even […]

The Best Books of 2016 – Historical Fiction!

December 19th, 2016
The Best Books of 2016 – Historical Fiction!

Best Books of 2016 – Historical Fiction! The sub-genre of historical fiction was jumpingly energetic in 2016, full of authors taking chances with standard narrative frameworks and voices, profitably complicating standard reader sympathies, and importing varying doses of fantasy to blur and quicken the factual underpinnings (this was the year that saw, for instance, the […]

Best Books of 2016 – SFF!

December 18th, 2016
Best Books of 2016 – SFF!

Best Books of 2016 – SFF! It’s depressing but true: 2016 had something of a phoned-in feel when it came to genre fiction – enough to make a die-hard genre reader to look wistfully at some earlier years. With SFF – the combined genre guaranteed to cheese off purists of either sci-fi or fantasy (but […]

Best Books of 2016 – Mysteries!

December 17th, 2016
Best Books of 2016 – Mysteries!

Best Books of 2016 – Mysteries! Despite their separate category here in the Stevereads year-end roundup, murder mysteries are always guilty pleasures at heart. After all, YOU aren’t the one getting murdered, nor are you (except for a few particularly unlucky souls, one imagines) the one tasked with solving a murder; as an old friend […]

Best Books of 2016 – Romance!

December 16th, 2016
Best Books of 2016 – Romance!

Best Books of 2016 – Romance! Even in the darkest of times — and, although the fact may not be immediately apparent, 2016 was the darkest year in United States history – the Romance genre can be relied upon to divert, to catch me up in all its fictional squabbles with their ironclad-foretold outcomes, to […]

The Best Books of 2016 – Debuts!

December 15th, 2016
The Best Books of 2016 – Debuts!

Best Book of 2016 – Debuts! As usual, the survey of a year’s fiction debuts is nerve-wracking. Here are the luckiest of the lucky, the few out of the hopeful many who dreamed of achieving the damn-near impossible and getting their debut fiction through the gauntlet of agents, editors, publishers, and bookstore buyers and into […]

Book Review: The Pursuit of Power

December 14th, 2016
the pursuit of power

A master historian analyzes the tumultuous century that gave rise to the modern era

Best Books of 2016 – YA!

December 14th, 2016
Best Books of 2016 – YA!

The Best Books of 2016 – YA! 2016 was a watershed year for me when it comes to Young Adult fiction. Prior to this year, I’d thought of the YA genre as a sludgy cesspool of second-rate prose, a place where talentless authors pander to the insecurities, inexperience, and near-cosmic megalomania of the average teenager […]

Best Books of 2016: Translations!

December 13th, 2016
Best Books of 2016: Translations!

Best Books of 2016: Translations! An old literary crony of mine recently got back in touch in order to complain about book reviewers who make evaluative comments about the quality of translations that are made from languages they don’t know (your average book-critic being resolutely monoglot). I’d often made the same complaint: there I’d be, […]

Book Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

December 12th, 2016
Book Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Poor Simon Lewis has been a human, and he’s been a vampire – and now he’s a student at the forbidding Shadowhunter Academy, in the latest chapter of Cassandra Clare’s ongoing YA fantasy series

The Best Books of 2016: Reprints!

December 12th, 2016
The Best Books of 2016: Reprints!

Best Books of 2016 – Reprints! Once again we kick off the high opera that is the Stevereads Best – and Worst – Books of the Year by checking the state of the book-world’s memory, looking at the strength and variety of its reprints. And as in most recent years, 2016 shows some remarkably healthy […]

Approaching Hoofbeats!

December 11th, 2016
Approaching Hoofbeats!

It’s that time of year again here at Stevereads! It’s time for my annual year-end round-up of the Year’s Best – and Worst – Books, and I have a wider field to cover in 2016 than I’ve had in any previous year: I’ve already read more books in 2016 than in any previous year of […]

Penguins on Parade: The Dance of Death!

December 9th, 2016
Penguins on Parade: The Dance of Death!

Some Penguin Classics, especially in the last few years, are guaranteed to surprise even the most veteran Penguin- watcher. Sometimes this can be disappointingly puzzling – Wellington’s battlefield dispatches, anyone? – and at other times this broad-minded new sense of inclusiveness can be utterly delightful. An amazing example of this latter instance is a new […]

Book Review: The Good Occupation

December 8th, 2016
good-occupation

For the thousands of US and Allied troops who were ordered to remain behind and help rebuilt countries the Allies had just defeated, their war was extended and altered. A new book dissects the on-the-ground realities attending the aftermath of conquest.

Comics! Nightwing Returns to Blüdhaven!

December 7th, 2016
Comics! Nightwing Returns to Blüdhaven!

A standout for DC Comics this week, part of the company’s ongoing “Rebirth” line of titles slightly revamping the continuity that was itself revamped six years ago in the company’s “New 52” revamp, is issue #10 of Nightwing, in which the fan-favorite character moves to the seedy city of Blüdhaven with which he was so […]

A Winter-Time Regency Trio!

December 6th, 2016
A Winter-Time Regency Trio!

Our books today are three quick bursts of color and gaiety to brighten up a December day as winter, delayed and tentative, at last begins to close its grip on the city of Boston. Temperatures in the 20s (F) are in the immediate forecast for the first time in ten months, the other morning featured […]

The Literary Life … and the Hell with It!

December 5th, 2016
The Literary Life … and the Hell with It!

Our book today is a garrulous little delight from 1939, The Literary Life and the Hell with It, by Whit Burnett, the founder (along with his wonderful wife Martha Foley, the brains of the outfit) and long-time editor of Story magazine. Martha Foley had a fantastic ear for prose in English and a nearly-infallible instinct […]

Book Review: The Man with the Poison Gun

December 5th, 2016
the-man-with-the-poison-gun

The gripping true story of celebrated KGB assassin – and defector.

Comics: “Power and Glory” in the JLA!

December 2nd, 2016
Comics: “Power and Glory” in the JLA!

Back in 1989, inexplicably popular comic book artist Bryan Hitch was given control of DC Comics bestselling iconic “New 52” series Justice League of America and began a multi-part storyline called “Power and Glory,” in which Rao, the god of Superman’s lost homeworld Krypton, turns up alive and well on Earth one day and starts […]

Advice to a Young Reviewer!

December 1st, 2016
Advice to a Young Reviewer!

Our book today is a slim little thing from 1927: Advice to a Young Reviewer, a quick mini-pamphlet dashed off at white heat by Edward Copleston, who was born in Devon in 1776, attended Oxford, and became Bishop of Llandaff and Dean of St. Paul’s in 1828. Copleston was apparently a feisty old codger of […]

Book Review: Rasputin

December 1st, 2016
rasputin-cover

The mesmerizing lunatic who grafted himself onto the Romanov dynasty in its final decades gets a highly detailed new biography.

Keeping Up with the Windsors: Family Drama

December 1st, 2016
Keeping Up with the Windsors: Family Drama

A lavish new production dramatizes the tensions between royalty and personhood in the House of Windsor. Steve Donoghue reviews The Crown.

From the Archives: Chairman of the Board

December 1st, 2016
bpimlottthequeen

Lodestar or mirror? Passé or ne plus ultra? Elizabeth II has presided with consistency over an inconsistent age. And what have we learned of her?

Book Review: Brothers at Arms

November 29th, 2016
brothers-at-arms-cover

An invigorating new history looks at the American Revolution from a wide-angle international view

Wilt-tripping in the Penny Press!

November 29th, 2016
Wilt-tripping in the Penny Press!

Self-preservation these days requires not only skipping wholesale the front sections of all the political magazines to which I subscribe but also physically tearing them off their staples and discarding them, so that not even a stray glance falls on their appalling content. I’ve been doing this for a couple of weeks now and face […]

Book Review: Crane Pond

November 25th, 2016
crane-pond

A smart and gripping new novel brings the Salem Witch mania to life.

Book Review: The First Victory

November 24th, 2016
the-first-victory

The tough and bitter East Africa campaign of 1941 receives a comprehensive new history.

Penguins on Parade: 120 Days of Sodom!

November 23rd, 2016
Penguins on Parade: 120 Days of Sodom!

Some Penguin Classics just never feel quite legitimate, no matter how hard they try, no matter how fervent their supporters are over the decades or centuries. This is how it will feel twenty years from now, when Kurt Vonnegut’s flyblown oeuvre is inducted into the line, and this is how it will feel thirty years […]

Two Books of Travel!

November 21st, 2016
Two Books of Travel!

Our books today – one old favorite and one I believe a new mention here at Stevereads – provide a warm-reminder reading experience that only gets warmer as the weather turns colder and the years go by: they’re both anthologies of travel-writing. The first, A Taste for Travel, was edited by John Julius Norwich in […]

Book Review: The Vanquished

November 21st, 2016
vanquished

A thought-provoking new history shines a spotlight on the long and brutal aftermath of the First World War

A Pearl of Earls!

November 16th, 2016
A Pearl of Earls!

Our books today are posies picked from the local Barnes & Noble, a colorful trio of Regency novels all occupying roughly the middle orbit in the solar system of the British peerage: all books about earls, that strangely accessible rank of nobility considerably above a viscount and just a bit below a marquess. Any time […]

Book Review: Fifty English Steeples

November 15th, 2016
steep

That familiar glory of medieval English architecture -the church spire – is the subject of a stunning new book.

Book Review: Egyptomania

November 14th, 2016
egyptomania-cover

A new book chronicles the world’s enduring fascination with Ancient Egypt

The Lottery – The Graphic Novel!

November 7th, 2016
The Lottery – The Graphic Novel!

Our book today is a “graphic adaptation,” what once would have been known as an “illustrated classic,” of Shirley Jackson’s best-known little piece of work, “The Lottery.” It’s Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery: A Graphic Adaptation, done with marvelous restrained mastery by Miles Hyman, Shirley Jackson’s grandson, who opens the production with a few remarks about […]

Book Review: Scarlet Experiment

November 7th, 2016
bird-glass-feature

Can birds – any species of bird, anywhere in the United States – survive their contact with humanity? A new book looks at the science and the sobering numbers.

Book Review: Herbert Hoover

November 4th, 2016
herbert-hoover

Depression-era US President Herbert Hoover has always been easy to malign – a new biography argues that he’s just as easy to underestimate

His Majesty, the Not Excessively Cowardly

November 1st, 2016
His Majesty, the Not Excessively Cowardly

He’s forever linked in history with his punning nickname, but a new biography shows there was more to Æthelred than being “Unready”

Table Manners!

October 31st, 2016
Table Manners!

Our book today is a slim little garlic tart: Table Manners: How to Behave in the Modern World and Why Bother, a 130-page guide to proper behavior written by Jeremiah Tower, whose author-note refers to him, non-ironically and without so much as a glance in the direction of the Maidu or Mojave, as “the forefather […]

Book Review: Charlemagne

October 31st, 2016
charlemagne

The larger-than-life medieval Frankish king Charlemagne is the subject of a definitive single-volume biography now translated into English

Unconditional!

October 28th, 2016
Unconditional!

Our book today is Unconditional: Older Dogs, Deeper Love, a glorious result of photographer Jane Sobel Klonsky’s journeys around the United States, talking to people about their old dogs. This is a book that will bring a painful smile to the face of any dog owner, because its subject is the contradiction at the heart […]

Book Review: Turner

October 24th, 2016
trunercover

A sumptuous new biography of the man behind the Turner legend

Dude-Bro Reading in the Penny Press!

October 19th, 2016
Dude-Bro Reading in the Penny Press!

As I’ve readily admitted in the past, the lad-mags for which I have something of a pronounced sweet-tooth aren’t really the places you go if you’re looking for literary coverage. It’s true that some of them pay their freelancers well, so in the rear pages of many an issue, you can often find writing that […]

Book Review: Black Elk

October 19th, 2016
9780374253301

The Sioux medicine man and centerpiece of “Black Elk Speaks” is the subject of a comprehensive new biography

Through a Naturalist’s Eyes!

October 18th, 2016
Through a Naturalist’s Eyes!

Our book today is a kind of thing I’ve praised here at Stevereads many times in the past: regional natural history, in this case a pretty new volume from University Press of New England called Through a Naturalist’s Eyes: Exploring the Nature of New England, written by Michael Caduto and illustrated throughout by Adelaide Murphy […]

Book Review: Karl Marx: Greatness and Illusion

October 18th, 2016
51jyrr90-gl-_sx327_bo1204203200_

A big new biography attempts to get at the flesh-and-blood man behind the problematic theory of Marxism

Book Review: Something in the Blood

October 12th, 2016
something

A big, generous new biography of the man who created Dracula

Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores!

October 12th, 2016
Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores!

Our book today is a lovely squat little thing from Clarkson Potter publishers: Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores, subtitled “True Tales and Lost Moments from Book Buyers, Booksellers, and Book Lovers.” In it, writer and illustrator Bob Eckstein visits dozens of bookshops around the world – and hears about a few that no longer […]

Book Review: Britain’s War, 1937-1941: Into Battle

October 7th, 2016
britains-war

A lively new history of the years England fought alone against the might of Nazi Germany

Book Review: Vanity Fair’s Writers on Writers

October 4th, 2016
vf-wrtiers

The editors of Vanity Fair magazine delve into their century of writing to serve up dozens of their best writers writing about other writers.

Book Review: Northmen

October 3rd, 2016
norhtmen

A gripping new history tells the broader story of the Viking Era

Book Review: Eyes on the Street

October 1st, 2016
vital-little-plans

A lively new biography tells the story of iconic urban visionary and outspoken cultural critic Jane Jacobs.

Sorry, Lady – This Beach is Private!

October 1st, 2016
Sorry, Lady – This Beach is Private!

Our book today is Sorry, Lady – This Beach is Private!, a 1963 collection of the cartoons and illustrations of James Stevenson, he of New Yorker fame. This volume collects dozens of Stevenson’s now-iconic little gems from his long heyday with the magazine throughout the 1950s and ’60s. They’re every bit as much of a […]

No Further Arrests Have Been Made

October 1st, 2016
No Further Arrests Have Been Made

The serial killer who stalked the streets of London in 1888 and became immortal under the name Jack the Ripper is the subject of a sumptuous new collection of fact and fiction.

Book Review: Tamil

September 27th, 2016
tamilcover

A dense yet lyrical new book tells the long, intricate life story of the Tamil language and Tamil literature

Hypocritical Blather in the Penny Press!

September 23rd, 2016
Hypocritical Blather in the Penny Press!

Like plenty of other people (perhaps particularly other beagle-fanciers), I loved Andrew Sullivan’s blog The Dish in most of its various incarnations over the years, and I read it eagerly even when, as was very often the case, I disagreed with the author. I was disappointed when he rather ostentatiously announced his retirement from blogging […]

Book Review: The Playful Little Dog

September 22nd, 2016
the-playful-little-dog

Penguin Random House continues its re-issue series of classic little children’s books.

Book Review: Lusitania – The Cultural History of a Catastrophe

September 22nd, 2016
lusitania-cover

Just over a century ago, the luxury liner Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat with great loss of life, a disaster that, as a new book explains, re-shaped the world.

Book Review: Looking For Betty MacDonald

September 19th, 2016
looking-for-b-macdonald

The beloved author of “The Egg and I” receives her first full-length biography

Wagging Tails!

September 17th, 2016
Wagging Tails!

Our book today is a little treasure from deep, deep in the shadowy recesses of my personal library: a much-loved 1955 volume called Wagging Tails: An Album of Dogs, written by Marguerite Henry and drawn by Wesley Dennis. It’s an exuberantly friendly, colorful book full of friendly dogs, a book put out by Rand McNally […]

Book Review: Cocteau – A Life

September 15th, 2016
cocteau-cover

The multi-faceted artist and director Jean Cocteau is the subject of a mammoth biography, newly translated into English

Book Review: Selling Hitler

September 15th, 2016
selling-hitler

A brilliant new study anatomizes the mechanisms of Nazi propaganda

Book Review: Deepwater Horizon

September 13th, 2016
deepwater-horizon

The explosion, fire, sinking, and oil spill of the Deepwater Horizon back in 2010 gets a definitive scholarly analysis.

Book Review: If Venice Dies

September 12th, 2016
if-venice-dies

The tourist magnet of Venice faces an uncertain future on many fronts – but Salvatore Settis has many possible solutions in mind …

Dürer’s Record of Journeys to Venice and the Low Countries!

September 11th, 2016
Dürer’s Record of Journeys to Venice and the Low Countries!

Our book today is a little-known absolute gem that owes what very limited popular readership it’s ever had in America in the last eighty years to the stalwart old Dover reprint line as it once was – not its reprints of canonical classics, which have always been and continue to be glaringly ugly and editorially […]

Book Review: Where Song Began

September 8th, 2016
where-song-began

The overflowing diversity of Australian bird life is the subject of Tim Low’s captivating new book

Book Review: Why Birds Matter

September 8th, 2016
why-birds-matter

Who can measure the worth of a nightingale’s song? Why scientists can, you silly thing!

Comrade Loves of the Samurai!

September 8th, 2016
Comrade Loves of the Samurai!

Our book today is Comrade Loves of the Samurai, a pokey little translation by E. Powys Mathers from way back in 1928, when it appeared in a privately-published set of high-class smut called Eastern Love. The set featured two books: selections from the Nanshoku Okagami of the great 17th century Japanese author Saikaku Ihara, here […]

Book Review: Red Right Hand

September 5th, 2016
red right hand

A young woman’s life is turned upside-down when she encounters a strange man with a molten red hand.

Book Review: Red Right Hand

September 5th, 2016
nexus strikes

The hitman who kills hitmen is contracted by a semi-rogue FBI agent to take on a particularly delicate – and dangerous – side-mission

The Cape at Summer’s End: Cape Cod Yesterdays!

September 2nd, 2016
The Cape at Summer’s End: Cape Cod Yesterdays!

Our book today is Cape Cod Yesterdays, which bestselling novelist Joseph C. Lincoln dashed off in 1935 and which went through his customary flurry of reprints, since the man was a storyteller with a golden touch, an immensely popular bestselling author of a century ago who built a large chunk of his career on his […]

Single Occupancy, Lots of Sunlight, Water Included

September 1st, 2016
Single Occupancy, Lots of Sunlight, Water Included

For a century, humans have been searching for any sign of extraterrestrial life, intelligent or otherwise. A new book tells the story of that quest – and keeps its geeky hope alive.

Book Review: ADHD Nation

August 31st, 2016
adhd nation

A hard-hitting new book exposes the widespread misdiagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

The Penguin Book of English Verse!

August 29th, 2016
The Penguin Book of English Verse!

Our book today is that saddest of all kinds of books, the superseded classic. In this case, we’re talking about The Penguin Book of English Verse – not the massive 2004 version edited in all its splendor by Paul Keegan but rather the 1956 version edited by John Hayward, who had the old-fashioned chutzpah to […]

Book Review: August 1914

August 29th, 2016
august 1914

Before the famous epic battles of the First World War, there were lesser-known but equally ferocious clashes that are often lost in the larger narrative. A short, powerful book seeks to redress that imbalance.

Book Review: The World of Poldark

August 25th, 2016
Book Review: The World of Poldark

The companion book to the 2015 production of “Poldark” turns out to be more than just a pretty face

Book Review: Angelinetum and Other Poems

August 24th, 2016
marrasio

Doctor and poet Giovanni Marrasio’s verses receive an expert new edition from the Harvard’s I Tatti Library series

Birds Worth Knowing!

August 20th, 2016
Birds Worth Knowing!

Our book today is a pretty little gem unearthed from the bargain carts of my beloved Brattle Bookshop: the 1917 classic Birds Worth Knowing by the American author who wrote under the pen name Neltje Blanchan. This particular edition was issued in 1923 as part of the Little Nature Library put out by Doubleday, and […]

Book Review: America’s Snake

August 19th, 2016
cuddly

Snake expert Ted Levin argues in his captivating new book that the American rattlesnake is as misunderstood as it is miraculous.

Ink Chorus: Bestseller!

August 18th, 2016
Ink Chorus: Bestseller!

Our book today is surely one of the all-time classics of the Ink Chorus: Claud Cockburn’s 1972, er, bestseller Bestseller, in which our author subjects a dozen bygone bestselling novels to a forensic examination that’s both erudite and often hilarious, biting but also oddly sympathetic. He takes a tour through some of the bestselling novels […]

Book Review: The Accidental Life

August 15th, 2016
accidental life

Veteran editor Terry McDonell writes a ribald memoir that’s half storytelling and half tips of the trade

Book Review: The Fifty-Year Mission

August 11th, 2016
star trek lives

On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, Star Trek gets a definitive oral history.

Genteel Bloodletting in the Penny Press!

August 10th, 2016
Genteel Bloodletting in the Penny Press!

I clearly wasn’t the only reader of the mighty TLS who was disappointed by Julian Baggini’s cover article about the ethics of eating animals! I went into the piece with high hopes, which in retrospect I see now was a bit foolish, and Ingrid Newkirk of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals felt the […]

Book Review: Marked for Death

August 10th, 2016
marked for death

A gritty and gripping new history tells the story of the dawn of aerial warfare.

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko

August 9th, 2016
vasily stepanov

A crippled young man in a forgotten hospital has armored himself against the rotten hand he’s drawn in life – until he falls in love with a new patient.

The Life of the Robin!

August 6th, 2016
The Life of the Robin!

Our book today is a wonderful little classic of popular natural history: David Lack’s The Life of the Robin from 1943, in which Lack takes everything known about robins from literature, poetry, and science and pulls it all together to craft a portrait-in-the-round of one of England’s most common birds. “Into the world of the […]

Book Review: Ghost Talkers

August 4th, 2016
ghosttalkers

The heroine of Mary Robinette Kowal’s enchanting new novel is doing her part for the WWI war effort – by debriefing the spirits of soldiers killed on the battlefield

Book Review: The Nix

August 4th, 2016
the nix

The life of the main character in Nathan Hill’s stunning debut novel is turned upside-down when the madwoman on the nightly news turns out to be his mother.

Book Review: Dawn of the Dog

August 4th, 2016
dawn of the dog

A new book takes a revisionist look at the evolutionary history of the dog.

Book Review: The Story of Egypt

August 3rd, 2016
Book Review: The Story of Egypt

A new book tells the history of ancient Egypt, from the mists of pre-history to the familiar tale of Cleopatra

Book Review: The Year’s Best Science Fiction

August 1st, 2016
year’s best sf 16

The latest entry in the epic “Year’s Best Science Fiction” series by editor Gardner Dozois features everything from Venusian monsters to telepathic food – with stops along the way for planetary warfare, quantum piracy, and the end of the world as we know it.

Ink Chorus: Homage to Daniel Shays!

August 1st, 2016
Ink Chorus: Homage to Daniel Shays!

Our book today is a clear, clean classic showing hardly any sign of floorboard decay, a good example of stages in a literary hack’s via dolorosa from griping underdog to griping Grand Dame: it’s Homage to Daniel Shays, Gore Vidal’s smashingly good 1972 volume collecting essays and book reviews from a neat 20-year span, from […]

Suffer the Little Children

August 1st, 2016
Suffer the Little Children

According to a new book, not only did God design life, but deep down inside, we all know it. Steve Donoghue remains unconverted.

Book Review: The Castle of Kings

July 28th, 2016
the castle of kings

A strong-willed young woman and a visionary young man navigate a 16th-century Germany in chaos in order to find their destiny

Book Review: Pound for Pound

July 27th, 2016
sticker

An emotionally and physically damaged young woman finds healing by helping some of the most unlucky dogs on Earth in Shannon Kopp’s touching new book

Ink Chorus: A Writer’s Notebook!

July 21st, 2016
Ink Chorus: A Writer’s Notebook!

Our book today is a stiff-legged, sniffy, fascinating little thing, From a Writer’s Notebook, a quasi-commonplace book brought out by Van Wyck Brooks in 1958. You can feel the prickliness of the endeavor even from the title, can’t you? “From a Writer’s Notebook,” so carefully distinguishing the author from his proletariat readers – the writer’s […]

Book Review: Frederick Barbarossa

July 20th, 2016
frederick barbarossa

The legendary life of the great Frederick Barbarossa is grounded in facts and records in a deeply impressive new biography

Book Review: Franz Liszt

July 18th, 2016
l

A new single-volume biography captures the oversized life of legendary composer and pianist Franz Liszt

The Urban Whale!

July 16th, 2016
The Urban Whale!

Our book today lands squarely in the category I’ve come to call “Near Misses”: it’s The Urban Whale: North Atlantic Right Whales at the Crossroads, edited by Scott Kraus and Rosalind Rolland, and it’s a “Near Miss” because it was brought out by Harvard University Press in February of 2007 – mere weeks before my […]

Book Review: Legible Religion

July 16th, 2016
l religion

How do you manage to have religion without scripture? As a fascinating new book demonstrates, inn this as in so many other seemingly impossible paradoxes, the ancient Romans found a way.

The “New” Boston Public Library!

July 14th, 2016
The “New” Boston Public Library!

An old friend and I made plans to meet outside the Boston Public Library this morning on Boylston Street. It was steaming hot and humid, but we both wanted to experience the library for the first time together. Not the first time visiting the Johnson Building, of course. I’d been going there since the place […]

Book Review: Hitler’s Compromises

July 11th, 2016
hitler’s compromises

A brilliant new book explores the alternatives to brute force the Nazi regime often employed to get its way

Notes for a Star Trek Bibliography: Captain to Captain!

July 11th, 2016
Notes for a Star Trek Bibliography: Captain to Captain!

Our book today is the latest Star Trek novel, Greg Cox’s Star Trek Legacies: Captain to Captain, the first volume in a new trilogy from Pocket Books commemorating 2016’s 50th anniversary of the original appearance of the “classic” version of the show. The idea is clearly to celebrate the show’s rich history; the plot Cox […]

Ink Chorus: But Do Blondes Prefer Gentlemen?

July 9th, 2016
Ink Chorus: But Do Blondes Prefer Gentlemen?

Our book today is that horrendously-titled 1986 masterpiece But Do Blondes Prefer Gentlemen? – alternately known as Homage to QWERT YUIOP and Other Writings, a total loss either way and a prime example of why authors should never be allowed to pick the title of their books – especially authors as freakishly widely-read and as […]

Book Review: Hitler’s Soldiers

July 6th, 2016
hitler’s soldiers

A big new history of the German Army during World War II takes a complex and multifaceted look at the men who fought for the Reich

Book Review: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

July 5th, 2016
perry1

A new dual biography of poet and translator accompanies a new illustrated edition of the famous Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

Penguins on Parade: The Federalist Papers!

July 4th, 2016
Penguins on Parade: The Federalist Papers!

Some Penguin Classics, as we’ve seen, are classics in their own editions in addition to their reprinted contents. Whether it’s the Tain or Magna Carta or the Shahnameh, these monumental volumes feel like much more than simply the purveying of accessible translations – they’re self-contained seminars in their own right. The happy phenomenon applies equally […]

The Story of Nell Gwyn!

July 2nd, 2016
The Story of Nell Gwyn!

Our book today is not exactly the Final Word: it’s The Story of Nell Gwyn (and the Sayings of Charles the Second), as “related and collected” by the now-forgotten Victorian editor and biographer Peter Cunningham in 1883. It’s a slightly oversized gold-gilded production of recounted Restoration trifles, just the kind of things for which Cunningham […]

Ink Chorus: Terrorists & Novelists!

July 1st, 2016
Ink Chorus: Terrorists & Novelists!

Our book today is Terrorists & Novelists, a 1982 collection of great New York Review of Books pieces, New Statesman pieces, and New York Times Book Review pieces by the novelist and essayist Diane Johnson, who’d go on to score very nice sales with her 2000 novel Le Mariage and its 2003 follow-up L’Affaire. Re-reading […]

Book Review: Russia’s Path Toward Enlightenment

July 1st, 2016
russia’s path

Long before Peter the Great and Catherine the Great, Russian thinkers and writers were haltingly, passionately fashioning their own peculiar brand of Enlightment

At Play with Clay

July 1st, 2016
At Play with Clay

Ever since Mary Shelley wrote her weird masterpiece two centuries ago, it’s been impossible to keep a good monster down. In the Shadow of Frankenstein gives readers two dozen pastiches that keep the Creature alive.

Book Review: Melville in Love

June 27th, 2016
melville in love

Did an unconventional Berkshires beauty provide the inspiration for Herman Melville to write his great masterpiece? A new book thinks it would be lovely to think so.

The American Poets Longfellow!

June 23rd, 2016
The American Poets Longfellow!

Our book today is a lovely old slip-cased thing from 1945: the volume of Louis Untermeyer’s “American Poets” series dedicated to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. This series was done up very prettily: solid binding, high-quality paper, and original artwork for each volume – in this case, wood engravings by Boyd Hanna that are as wonderful on […]

Book Review: Louis XVI

June 23rd, 2016
louisxvi

The glittering Bourbon king who lost his head to the Revolution gets a sumptuous newly-expanded biography

Book Review: Toward Democracy

June 22nd, 2016
toward dem

The long and constantly-unfinished process of democracy is given a sprawling examination in James Kloppenberg’s new book.

Book Review: The Cavendon Luck

June 19th, 2016
thecavendon luck

The Second World War closes in on the two families bravely struggling to keep Cavendon Hall alive.

Book Review: Commander in Chief

June 18th, 2016
commander in chief

In 1943, American President Franklin Roosevelt faced the strong-willed rivalry of his own nominal ally, Winston Churchill

Penguins on Parade: Sketches from a Hunter’s Album!

June 17th, 2016
Penguins on Parade: Sketches from a Hunter’s Album!

Some Penguin Classics, as we’ve seen in the past here at Stevereads, are just clear-cut improvements over earlier versions. One obvious example comes from 1990, the Richard Freeborn updated edition of Sketches from a Hunter’s Album, the book that first made the literary reputation of Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev, whose first collection of these little sketches […]

Penguins on Parade: The Praetorians!

June 14th, 2016
Penguins on Parade: The Praetorians!

Some Penguin Classics serve as reminders of the perils of sequels. In fact, since the very first Penguin Classic, and also the first Penguin Classic best-seller, was E. V. Rieu’s translation of Homer’s Odyssey, it would be fair to say the Penguin Classics line was founded on a sequel – with all the pros and […]

Penguins on Parade: Storm of Steel

June 13th, 2016
Penguins on Parade: Storm of Steel

Some Penguin Classics never quite stop being controversial, and that’s certainly the case with Ernst Junger’s bestselling First World War memoir In Stahlgewittern, which was first privately printed in 1920 when its author in his twenties, fresh from his experiences during the war. He’d compulsively recorded those experiences in a collection of wartime diaries, and […]

Book Review: The Bitter Taste of Victory

June 10th, 2016
the bitter taste of victory

Lara Feigel’s new book delves into the landscape of the apocalypse: Germany in the immediate wake of Allied victory.

Book Review: In Gratitude

June 7th, 2016
in gratitude

Novelist and essayist Jenny Diski faithfully chronicled her own dying from cancer. A new book collects her last and greatest literary work.

From My Library Walls!

June 7th, 2016
From My Library Walls!

Our book today is a courtly thing from 1945: William Dana Orcutt’s memoir From My Library Walls. The book is subtitled “A Kaleidoscope of Memories,” which might make it sound deadly dull and ponderous, but this particular author couldn’t write a ponderous book to say his life. He delighted readers with a dozen or so […]

Romance Roundup: Lords & Ladies in Love!

June 5th, 2016
Romance Roundup: Lords & Ladies in Love!

Our books today comprise a quick and torrid little tour through Burke’s Peerage, highlighting – as if it needed highlighting – that the 21st century Regency Romance is every bit as obsessed with rank and privilege as the Regency era itself was. In ascending order of oomph, those ranks are: the barons, the viscounts, the […]

Book Review: Anatomy of Malice

June 5th, 2016
anatomy of malice

A gripping new book looks at a quartet of the worst Nazi war criminals to stand trial.

Book Review: The Gene

June 3rd, 2016
the gene

A generous new book describes the history – and the momentous potential – of genetic research

Penguins on Parade: Tales from the Decameron!

June 1st, 2016
Penguins on Parade: Tales from the Decameron!

Some Penguin Classics hew close to an academic model and try in their good conscience to be gateways to richer wonders. Once such gateway that’s always been attractive to teachers is an abridgement of Giovanni Boccaccio’s gigantic masterpiece, The Decameron. In its unedited form, the book is a cinder block in size, one hundred stories […]

Book Review: The Summer Dragon

June 1st, 2016
the summer dragon

In fantasy illustrator Todd Lockwood’s debut novel, a young woman from a family of dragon-breeders faces an ancient evil

Let’s All Meet at the Mahalalel Mall

June 1st, 2016
Let’s All Meet at the Mahalalel Mall

A thorough and even-handed new book gives readers a tour of the “Creation Museum” in Kentucky – and warns not to dismiss its dangers too readily.

Notes for a Star Trek Bibliography: The Original Episodes!

May 30th, 2016
Notes for a Star Trek Bibliography: The Original Episodes!

Our book today is a doozy, a true and unexpected delight: Barnes & Noble’s latest addition to their sterling, mouth-watering series of leatherbound classics is a Star Trek volume! Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the original TV show’s appearance (an anniversary Paramount Pictures has decided to honor by, astonishingly, shamefully, mostly ignoring […]

Comics! DC’s Rebirth!

May 27th, 2016
Comics! DC’s Rebirth!

Comics this week contained several bombshells and big events, but the one that drew my attention the most was the first issue of DC Comics’ new “Rebirth” summer event series, and it drew my attention not just because of the fan reactions popping up all over the nerdy end of the blogosphere but also because […]

Book Review: Bach’s Major Vocal Works

May 27th, 2016
bach’s major vocal works

Some of Johann Sebastian Bach’s most glorious music is also some of the most intimidating to modern audiences; a new book introduces readers to the masses and oratorios of the master.

Book Review: The Risen

May 26th, 2016
the risen

The familiar story of the Spartacus rebellion gets a lavish new telling

Book Review: The Next Pandemic

May 25th, 2016
the next pandemic

A lively account of life on the front lines in the fight against the world’s worst diseases.

In Paperback: Manhattan Night

May 24th, 2016
manhattan nocturne

A terrific ten-year-old noir novel is given a new paperback edition on the occasion of its translation to the Hollywood screen.

Book Review: Otto Binder

May 23rd, 2016
otto binder

He helped to create some of the staple characters of the comic book world, and yet he’s unknown outside the industry. A spirited biography tells the story of Otto Binder.

Book Review: The Loney

May 22nd, 2016
loney

A violent, desolate stretch of the English coastline forms the setting for Andrew Michael Hurley’s much-heralded debut novel

Gimme That Old Time Religion in the Penny Press!

May 20th, 2016
Gimme That Old Time Religion in the Penny Press!

I’ve come to expect jaw-dropping moments in paleo-conservative magazines like The Weekly Standard, magazines that mistake blind cultural atavism for actual conservatism and end up actively praising a wide array of things any 1960 conservative would have considered appalling. But every so often, I stumble across a true whopper neatly folded into something as seemingly […]

Comics! Civil War II!

May 19th, 2016
Comics! Civil War II!

It would surely have dumbfounded the Steve from 10 years ago, but nevertheless: I’ve largely succeeded in weening myself from buying weekly comics. It’s not quite the impressive act of will that it might sound, mainly because my two age-old superhero comic book companies, Marvel and DC, have done their part recently by putting out […]

Book Review: The Summer Guest

May 18th, 2016
the summer guest

A young woman’s diary of her friendship with Anton Chekhov raises the tantalizing possibility of a long-lost work by the master.

Jungle Days!

May 17th, 2016
Jungle Days!

Our book today is from an old friend of ours here at Stevereads, the great, garrulous naturalist William Beebe, the friendly world wanderer and author of, among many other books, Galapagos: World’s End. This book is a wonderful thing from 1925 called Jungle Days, a breezy, episodic account of various journeys the author took in […]

Book Review: Ice Station Nautilus

May 17th, 2016
ice station nautilus

Rick Campbell’s new novel features a fight to the death deep under the Arctic ice

Book Review: The Fireman

May 15th, 2016
the fireman

In Joe Hill’s new novel, a plague of spontaneous combustion is sweeping the world …

Ink Chorus: Nothing If Not Critical!

May 14th, 2016
Ink Chorus: Nothing If Not Critical!

Our book today is a pure beauty of critical prose: Nothing If Not Critical by the late, great Robert Hughes, which I recently found at the Brattle Bookshop in a 1990 UK trade paperback and burrowed into before I’d even made it all the way back home. The book reprints critical essays and reviews Hughes […]

Book Review: Saladin

May 13th, 2016
saladin

A lean and fast-paced new biography tells the story of the legendary sultan who took Jerusalem from the Crusaders

Book Review: The Genius of Birds

May 12th, 2016
the genius of birds

A stirring, eloquent new book makes a wide-ranging case for the brainpower of birds

Book Review: The Faith of Christopher Hitchens

May 11th, 2016
RNS-HITCHENS-QANDA a

A provocative new book sets out to study the faith of one of the country’s most famous atheists

One Wild Bird at a Time!

May 9th, 2016
One Wild Bird at a Time!

Our book today is the latest from a long-time favorite here on Stevereads: it’s One Wild Bird at a Time by the great bird specialist and nature-writer Bernd Heinrich, a slim volume (filled, as always, with the author’s own illustrations) in which he meditates on one kind of bird per chapter in a warm and […]

Book Review: The End of Karma

May 8th, 2016
the end of karma

A clear-eyed look at the disaffected youth of India

The Father!

May 7th, 2016
The Father!

Our book today is what the good folks over at BookTube refer to as a “chunker”: it’s a 600-page brick of a thing called The Father, by the team of Anders Roslund and Stefan Thunberg writing under the name Anton Svensson. This is an English-language translation by Elizabeth Clark Wessel (it’s an eye-catching hardcover from […]

Book Review: Karl Doenitz and the Last Days of the Third Reich

May 6th, 2016
karl d

A new book looks at the little-known figure of Hitler’s chosen successor

Penguins on Parade: The Shahnameh!

May 4th, 2016
Penguins on Parade: The Shahnameh!

Some Penguin Classics, as I’ve noted before here at Stevereads, feel like they’re a long time in the making, and the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi more than most and in two different ways. Not only has this sprawling tenth century Persian epic waited a long time for an attractive, affordable paperback edition in English, but this […]

Book Review: Prisoners of Hope

May 4th, 2016
prisoners of hope

A generation ago, President Johnson enacted a stunning array of social legislation, the full audacity of which has often been overshadowed by the other aspects of LBJ’s presidency. A new book shines a light on the Great Society.

The House on Ipswich Marsh!

May 3rd, 2016
The House on Ipswich Marsh!

Our book today is The House on Ipswich Marsh, a lovely 2005 meditation by William Sargent on the “Pink House” at Ipswich on Boston’s North Shore (the title an obvious nod to Wyman Richardson’s great 1947 book The House on Nauset Marsh). Sargent received a grant to study ground-nesting birds that lived near the house, […]

Book Review: The First Nazi

May 3rd, 2016
first nazi cover

How much of the evil of Adolf Hitler can be traced to an infamous general of the First World War?

Inside Benchley!

May 2nd, 2016
Inside Benchley!

Our book today is Inside Benchley, a 1921 anthology of Robert Benchley’s humorous essays illustrated by the great Gluyas Williams. I recently found a paperback copy of the book at the Brattle, brought it back to Hyde Cottage, opened it in order to revisit Benchley’s essays (something I hadn’t done in decades), and reeled back […]

Comics! An Epic Run!

May 1st, 2016
Comics! An Epic Run!

Last week, in addition to being pleasantly surprised by the “Last Days of Superman” storyline unfolding in the DC’s various Superman comics, I was equally pleased – though not surprised – by issue #51 of Batman, a story titled “Gotham Is,” written by Scott Snyder and drawn by Greg Capullo. The reason I wasn’t surprised […]

Book Review: Valiant Ambition

May 1st, 2016
valiant ambition

The infamous treachery of Benedict Arnold gets a vigorous and richly detailed new retelling by the bestselling author of In the Heart of the Sea.

‘Yes, Yes, Yes!’

May 1st, 2016
‘Yes, Yes, Yes!’

To be immortalized by Shakespeare is often also to be caricatured by him; a sumptuous new biography of King Henry IV admirably brings its royal subject out of the Bard’s shadow.

From the Archives: Lizard on a Rock

May 1st, 2016
From the Archives: Lizard on a Rock

He survived years of dangerous exile, won his crown on the battlefield, and founded one of the most famous dynasties in human history – and yet we still haven’t embraced Henry VII. A spirited biography seeks to change that.

Bro-Reading in the Penny Press!

April 28th, 2016
Bro-Reading in the Penny Press!

As I’ve noted in the past here at Stevereads, I take a peculiar interest in the slight but often fascinating book-coverage you can find in the “lad mags” like Esquire or Men’s Journal or GQ. It’s always strange to me, the efforts the editors of these magazines (arrogant SOBs almost to a man) to find […]

Book Review: Running with Rhinos

April 28th, 2016
running with rhinos

The heroic efforts to save the lives of the black rhinos of Zimbabwe are at the heart of a thrilling new book

Comics! The Final Days of Superman!

April 27th, 2016
Comics! The Final Days of Superman!

I ventured into the comics shop recently, which is something I don’t do all that often anymore, for two main reasons: first, as I’ve lamented several times here at Stevereads, the bloom of most comics went off the rose for me a few years ago when DC Comics – the mainstay of my comics world […]

The DC Comics 75th Anniversary Poster Book!

April 25th, 2016
The DC Comics 75th Anniversary Poster Book!

Our book today is a doozy from 2010: it’s the 75th Anniversary Poster Book of DC Comics, a lavishly oversized thing put out by the good folks at Quirk Books in honor, as its title hints, of the 75th anniversary of DC Comics and its venerable roster of comic book characters (the three most recognizably […]

Book Review: The Habsburg Empire: A New History

April 25th, 2016
the habsburg empire

A new history takes a thought-provokingly centralist look at the oft-chronicled Habsburg Empire

Cape Coddities!

April 24th, 2016
Cape Coddities!

Our book today is a little treasure from 1920, Cape Coddities by Dennis and Marion Chatham, dotted all throughout with charming little spot illustrations by Harold Cue. I’ve been pulling this little volume down off the shelf every year when Spring first begins to unfold in Boston; the song-birds come back to the lawns and […]

Book Review: Dear Princess Grace, Dear Betty

April 24th, 2016
dear princess grace

A noted feminist social critic looks back on her long friendship with the great Betty Friedan.

Penguins on Parade: The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse!

April 21st, 2016
Penguins on Parade: The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse!

Some Penguin Classics, as we’ve noted before here at Stevereads, are genuinely impressive works of scholarship in their own right, and I recently came across one of those during a foray at the Brattle Bookshop: The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse, edited by David Norbook – in this case, the 2005 update to the 1992 […]

Book Review: The President’s Book of Secrets

April 21st, 2016
president’s book of secrets

A fascinating new book presents readers with a bounty of stories surrounding the daily intelligence-services briefing given to US Presidents

Book Review: History and Presence

April 20th, 2016
history and presence

An invigorating new study of the real presence of the divine in the mundane workings of organized religion

Book Review: Waiting for the Past

April 19th, 2016
waiting for the past

The latest volume from deceptively erudite Australian poet Les Murray

Book Review: Selected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay

April 17th, 2016
selected millay

America’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Edna St. Vincent Millay gets an elegant new Selected Poems volume

The Lady with the Borzoi!

April 17th, 2016
The Lady with the Borzoi!

Our book today is The Lady with the Borzoi, a biographical tribute to Blanche Knopf that somehow feels both surprising and long overdue. The book, written with grace and a cheery volubility by Laura Claridge, is the story of Blanche Knopf, the so-called “soul” of the publishing house she created a century ago with her […]

Book Review: The Empire That Would Not Die

April 15th, 2016
empire that woudln’t die

Abandoned by the West and battered by the Islamic caliphate, the eastern Roman Empire shrank and withdrew but did not fall – a new history asks why

Classical Literature!

April 15th, 2016
Classical Literature!

Our book today is Classical Literature: An Epic Journey from Homer to Virgil and Beyond by emeritus Oxford don Richard Jenkyns. The book is an alarmingly thin perambulation through the whole of the classics from the Homeric era through the Augustan Age and a little bit beyond, a hurried tour that’s saved from being a […]

Book Review: The Fever of 1721

April 13th, 2016
the fever

When smallpox struck the city of Boston in 1721, battle lines were drawn over how to deal with it – and strange alliances formed

The Medici!

April 11th, 2016
The Medici!

Our book today is the latest from the prolific Paul Strathern: The Medici, subtitled somewhat predictably “Power, Money, and Ambition in the Italian Renaissance.” And the subtitle is hardly the only thing in the book that’s predictable; after all, G. F. Young did this kind of tour d’horizon over a century ago, laying out the […]

Book Review: Tales from the Long Twelfth Century

April 11th, 2016
tales from the long 12th

At the center of a lively, personality-driven new book about the twelfth century is the contentious family of King Henry II

The Edge of Empire!

April 9th, 2016
The Edge of Empire!

Our book today is The Edge of Empire: A Journey to Britannia: From the Heart of Rome to Hadrian’s Wall, an utterly winning and somewhat old-fashioned work by Bronwen Riley in which she imagines a sprawling travel itinerary of Antonine Rome through a narrative device that was once familiar in popular histories of ancient Rome, […]

Book Review: Thoreau’s Wildflowers

April 8th, 2016
moser2

A lovely new volume offers a selection of Henry David Thoreau’s heartfelt writings about flowers

Jesus Before the Gospels!

April 8th, 2016
Jesus Before the Gospels!

Our book today is the latest from Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman, bestselling author of such books as Misquoting Jesus and How Jesus Became God. His new book is called Jesus Before the Gospels and has the opus-length subtitle, How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior. As the book’s title […]

Book Review: The Whole Harmonium

April 6th, 2016
Book Review: The Whole Harmonium

A sympathetic new biography of the poet Wallace Stevens

On Being Human!

April 6th, 2016
On Being Human!

Our book today is the new one from Jerome Kagan, the emeritus professor of psychology at Harvard University. The book is On Being Human: Why Mind Matters (a pleasingly sturdy hardcover from Yale University Press), consisting of a series of connected meditations on topics ranging from the power of societal norms to the suggestive effects […]

Book Review: Dante – The Story of His Life

April 3rd, 2016
dante

A thorough new biography explores the life of the great Florentine poet in detail

Between a Rock and Bleeding Mouth-Cancer in the Penny Press!

April 3rd, 2016
Between a Rock and Bleeding Mouth-Cancer in the Penny Press!

As I’ve mentioned before here at Stevereads, it’s always a pleasure for me to see a glossy square-bound lad-mag divert from quick-ab workouts and $35,000 wristwatches to talk about some of the less venal elements of what goes into making a well-rounded person. The most vulnerable of those elements is of course the gentle art […]

The Mark of the Horse Lord!

April 1st, 2016
The Mark of the Horse Lord!

Our book today is a rattling good yarn from an author we’ve met before here at Stevereads: Rosemary Sutcliff, this time her 1965 novel The Mark of the Horse Lord, which follows the hard life and harrowing adventures of young Phaedrus, a slave in northern Britain in the first century who’s a gladiator when the […]

Man’s Pest Friend

April 1st, 2016
Man’s Pest Friend

Only one dog out of every five on Earth is somebody’s pet; the rest are roamers in streets and city dumps. A fascinating new book looks at the lives of the canine majority.

Dancing Fish and Amonites!

March 30th, 2016
Dancing Fish and Amonites!

Our book today is one of my many re-reads: Penelope Lively’s 2013 memoir Dancing Fish and Amonites, her elegant and intelligent meditation – partly about her life and upbringing but mainly about the story of her life as she observes it in her own memories: “The memory that we live with – the form of […]

Book Review: Eruption

March 30th, 2016
eruption

Nearly 40 years ago, Washington State’s Mount St. Helens volcano erupted, killing 57 people and spewing hundreds of tons of molten ash into the atmosphere. A gripping new book tells the story.

Book Review: Pollination Power

March 27th, 2016
pollination power

Birds, bees, mice, bats – a wide array of animals are crucial to the pollination of the plants of the world. A stunning new book shows us their world.

The Books of Venice! Inside Venice!

March 27th, 2016
The Books of Venice! Inside Venice!

Our book today is a genuine stunner: Inside Venice by Toto Bergamo Rossi, with gorgeous photographs by Jean-Francois Jaussaud. The book is subtitled A Private View of the City’s Most Beautiful Interiors, and the folks at Rizzoli have pulled out all the stops in making it the Venice-themed coffee table book of the year. It’s […]

The Books of Venice! Inside Venice!

March 27th, 2016
The Books of Venice! Inside Venice!

Our book today is a genuine stunner: Inside Venice by Toto Bergamo Rossi, with gorgeous photographs by Jean-Francois Jaussaud. The book is subtitled A Private View of the City’s Most Beautiful Interiors, and the folks at Rizzoli have pulled out all the stops in making it the Venice-themed coffee table book of the year. It’s […]

Book Review: Baby Birds

March 25th, 2016
Book Review: Baby Birds

An enterprising bird-artist takes readers inside the nests of a dozen species

Greece and Rome: Builders of Our World!

March 23rd, 2016
Greece and Rome: Builders of Our World!

Our book today is one I’ve mentioned briefly before: The National Geographic Society’s Greece and Rome: Builders of Our World from 1968, one of the series of great volumes they put out forty years ago and that are now staples of flea markets and yard sales all over the United States. At one time or […]

Book Review: Louisa

March 22nd, 2016
louisa

A smart and lively new biography of the wife of President John Quincy Adams

Book Review: John Quincy Adams – Militant Spirit

March 20th, 2016
jqa militant spirit

A smart and appealingly complex new biography of America’s contentious sixth president

Galapagos: World’s End!

March 20th, 2016
Galapagos: World’s End!

Our book today is a genuine corker: Galapagos: World’s End by William Beebe, his 1924 account of the trip he took in 1923 with the Harrison Williams Galapagos Expedition to travel in the footsteps of of Charles Darwin’s expedition there with the Beagle in 1835. Beebe was already a prominent scientist and natural history expert […]

A Fair Wind for Troy!

March 19th, 2016
A Fair Wind for Troy!

Our book today is one we’ve mentioned before here at Stevereads: A Fair Wind for Troy, a 1976 YA novel about the lead-up to the Trojan War, one that centers, as classically-minded readers might be able to tell from the title, on the bloodthirsty House of Atreus and the willingness of its head, Agamemnon, to […]

Falling Slowly

March 18th, 2016
Falling Slowly

Our book today is Falling Slowly, a 1998 novel by the late Anita Brookner. Her death caught me by surprise, and a dispirited search of my shelves turned up only this one book, which I took down and duly re-read. It’s the story of Miriam and Beatrice Sharpe, a pair of middle-aged sisters in London […]

Book Review: The Civil Wars of Julia Ward Howe

March 18th, 2016
jwh

A new biography of Julia Ward Howe shows how much more there was to her story than the writing of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”

Book Review: Everyday Renaissances

March 15th, 2016
everyday renaissances

An eye-opening new history sheds light on the book-lovers and book-collectors of Renaissance Venice

stevereads 2016-03-15 13:51:04

March 15th, 2016
stevereads 2016-03-15 13:51:04

Our book today is an energetically delightful translated work put out by the good folks at Europa Editions: Bound in Venice: The Serene Republic and the Dawn of the Book by Alessandro Marzo Magno. The book was originally published in Italy (as L’alba dei libri. Quando Venezia ha fatto leggere il mondo) in 2013 and […]

stevereads 2016-03-15 13:51:04

March 15th, 2016
stevereads 2016-03-15 13:51:04

Our book today is an energetically delightful translated work put out by the good folks at Europa Editions: Bound in Venice: The Serene Republic and the Dawn of the Book by Alessandro Marzo Magno. The book was originally published in Italy (as L’alba dei libri. Quando Venezia ha fatto leggere il mondo) in 2013 and […]

Six for Dr. Franklin!

March 14th, 2016
Six for Dr. Franklin!

Our books today all star that most inimitable of American Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin! During one of my bookshelf-reorganizations back in 2015, I had one of those awkward realizations so common to book-people: I noticed for the first time that I had something like seven different biographies of Franklin. This was embarrassing, of course (there’s […]

Book Review: Benjamin Franklin in London

March 14th, 2016
benfranklininlondon

A gripping new book chronicles the years and years iconic Founding Father Ben Franklin spent in the heart of the British Empire

Book Review: The Brazen Age

March 13th, 2016
the brazen age

A boisterous new history of New York City and America in the wake of the Second World War

Notes for a Star Trek Bibliography: The Latter Fire!

March 13th, 2016
Notes for a Star Trek Bibliography: The Latter Fire!

Our book today is a new Star Trek novel set in the world of the Original Series, The Latter Fire by James Swallow, a sci-fi genre-novel hack of the first water, with a wide shelf of Star Trek, Warhammer, Doctor Who, and Stargate books to his credit. I made the mistake of reading his Author’s […]

Notes for a Star Trek Bibliography: The Latter Fire!

March 13th, 2016
Notes for a Star Trek Bibliography: The Latter Fire!

Our book today is a new Star Trek novel set in the world of the Original Series, The Latter Fire by James Swallow, a sci-fi genre-novel hack of the first water, with a wide shelf of Star Trek, Warhammer, Doctor Who, and Stargate books to his credit. I made the mistake of reading his Author’s […]

Our Hearts Were Young and Gay!

March 12th, 2016
Our Hearts Were Young and Gay!

Our book today is an essential classic: Our Hearts Were Young and Gay by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough (we’ve met Emily before here at Stevereads), their 1942 bestseller about the madcap European tour they took as fresh-faced Bryn Mawr graduates back in the comparatively innocent days of the 1920s. They strike a mischievously […]

Book Review: High Dive

March 9th, 2016
high dive

A 1984 assassination attempt on Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher forms the unlikely backdrop for Jonathan Lee’s US debut novel

The Great House of Birds!

March 8th, 2016
The Great House of Birds!

Our book today is a slim, intensely satisfying anthology assemble by legendary Cape Cod nature writer John Hay in 1996 called The Great House of Birds, drawing together some of the author’s favorite writings about birds. They were a lifelong source of fascination for Hay (“birds fly away from us,” he writes, “with an unspoken […]

Book Review: The Swimmer

March 8th, 2016
.

A preoccupation with endings characterizes the tenth collection from poet John Koethe

Book Review: The Rise of a Prairie Statesman

March 7th, 2016
rise of a prairie statesman

The first of a projected two-volume biography of Senator and Democratic Party standard-bearer George McGovern