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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Red or Blue Reading?

With the Republican National Convention in full swing and the Democratic Convention set to begin next week, Amazon has put together an Election Heat Map 2012 based on sales of “red” or “blue” books on its site in the last 30 days. It also sorts the top 100 political books into “red” and “blue” categories.  Here are a few samples from the Amazon list:

The Amateur by Edward Klein (red)

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander (blue)

Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich (blue)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Queens of the Crime Novel

The Huffington Post recently compiled a list of the greatest female authors of crime fiction ("Thirteen Female Mystery Writers," Aug. 16, 2102).  The four classic “Queens of Crime” are included: Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh and Margery Allingham, but more contemporary writers appear, as well.  Here are a few from the list and samples of their best work:

Patricia Cornwall,  Postmortem

Laurie R. King, The Language of Bees

Val McDermid, The Wire in the Blood

Ruth Rendell,  A Sight for Sore Eyes

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Julia’s Centennial

Definitely a late-bloomer, Julia Child was 49 when she co-authored Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The rest is history.  Tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of the eccentric but delightful chef. Writing in Shelf Awareness, blogger Kathleen Girard shares some great reading by and about the culinary expert who introduced European panache to the dull American palate of the 1950s, 60s and beyond. Here are a few of her recommendations:

Backstage with Julia by Nancy Verde Barr

My Life in France by Julia Child

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Literary Thrillers

For those of you who aren’t fans of genre fiction, Flavorwire has a solution (" Eleven Thrilling Books for People Who Don't Read Thrillers," July 27, 2012) .  “While the ‘t’ word might throw off some high-minded snobs (admittedly, us),” the editors write, “there’s absolutely nothing wrong in delighting in a great book that is, well, thrilling.”  Here’s a sampling from their list of recent page turners with style:

Broken Harbor by Tana French

What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Syndrome E by Franck Thilliez

The Lola Quartet by Emily St. John Mandel

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Maeve Binchy’s Legacy

Maeve Binchy “was so full of life, so funny, so interested in people, so good and so kind to all of us writers who came after her,” wrote Irish author Marian Keyes on, a website for Irish women ("Irish Female Authors Pay Tribute to Maeve Binchy," July 31, 2012). Michael D. Higgins, president of  Ireland, also cited Binchy, who died on Monday, as “a source of encouragement and practical assistance to many young writers throughout her career.” While many are familiar with Binchy’s novels, such as Circle of Friends or Tara Road, you may wish to sample the work of other Irish women writers she inspired.

Rosie Dunne by Cecilia Ahern

Someone Like You by Cathy Kelly

The Charming Man by Marian Keyes

Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deidre Madden

Francesca’s Party by Patricia Scanlan