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Latest Articles


Victorian jewel

A fictional setting that never fades
What price beauty? That's the question lovely Grace Hammer has to answer as her world begins to fall apart.
By CLEA SIMON  |  September 09, 2009


Interview: Joseph Finder

True fiction
"Since 9/11, thousands of CIA employees have quit to go private. Basically, these guys are private spies."
By CLEA SIMON  |  August 18, 2009


Trail of tunes

Music al fresco at summer fests
The best summer music festivals take something from the season: the smell of the surf, the sight of the mountains, fireworks, lawn seating — or, at least, fried dough.
By CLEA SIMON  |  June 09, 2009



April Smith's mystery/thrillers delve in darkness
Ana Grey is the fearless heroine of April Smith's dark and thoughtful thriller series. But reading these fast-paced books shows the question to be more complicated. Ana Grey is, after all, not only a brave FBI agent, but also the cowering daughter of a racist bully.
By CLEA SIMON  |  June 09, 2009


River song

A lyrical turn in the South
Tim Gautreaux writes of a South that never changes. Dense, humid, with a fecundity that is more than a match for any human development, his South is largely a no man's land where the trees close off the sky, their roots rise "from the soppy mud like stalagmites," and the calm is broken only by the "stout windings of water moccasins."
By CLEA SIMON  |  May 13, 2009


Ready to roll

How to give your bike a proper spring cleaning
Whether you've been slogging through the streets on two wheels all winter, or are only now retrieving your bicycle, dusty and cobwebbed, from the basement, the extra light, the warm air, and the promise of snow-free roads are calling.
By CLEA SIMON  |  May 06, 2009


Bytes of knowledge

Getting the most from an online education
Once upon a time, we thought it was novel to be able to buy books in our bathrobes.
By CLEA SIMON  |  April 29, 2009


Bloody good

Gore, pop, and dogs take the page
It's the ultimate high-concept book idea. A Mad-Libs smash-up of social satire and "ultraviolent zombie mayhem," designed from the title inward.
By CLEA SIMON  |  April 22, 2009


Botswana beauty

HBO does Alexander McCall Smith proud
As any fan of traditional mysteries knows, a good detective must pay attention to details. And Precious Ramotswe, the founder of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, finds that truer than most.
By CLEA SIMON  |  March 16, 2009


Interview: Christopher Monks

Ever feel you should earn points for remembering to get up in the morning?
By CLEA SIMON  |  January 15, 2009


Big dig

Unsworth and oil in Mesopotamia
Unsworth and oil in Mesopotamia
By CLEA SIMON  |  January 06, 2009


Rare treats

There are foodie consumers and there are foodie creators, but they all appreciate something unusual
They've dined you, they've wined you with meals both wonderful and offal.
By CLEA SIMON  |  December 08, 2008


Interview: Jill Lepore and Jane Kamensky

Two historians pen a bodice ripper
Long-time friends Jill Lepore and Jane Kamensky didn't set out to write Blindspot, a novel complete with murder, scandal, slave stealing, and some very hot sex.
By CLEA SIMON  |  December 02, 2008


Technically improved

Ski and snowboard gear refined, not redefined
Snow sports shred the space-time continuum this winter, with new styles that push technological boundaries for form and function.
By CLEA SIMON  |  November 18, 2008


Interview: John Hodgman

One man's operating system
Long before John Hodgman became universally recognized as the systems-challenged PC in Apple’s ads, he was writing fake trivia for such publications as McSweeney’s and the New York Times Magazine.  
By CLEA SIMON  |  November 21, 2008


Murder, she wrote

Interview: Tana French's deep crime novels
"It’s always more fun to write people who are really messed up or really vicious."
By CLEA SIMON  |  August 05, 2008


Spy games

Alan Furst’s “Night Soldiers” novels
The gray afternoon, the loveless assignation, the endless bureaucracy.
By CLEA SIMON  |  June 10, 2008


Flying high

Interview: Jonathan Miles’s airport novel
There’s nothing new about the complaint as literature, says author Jonathan Miles.
By CLEA SIMON  |  June 02, 2008


Shaping the Crescent

The making of New Orleans
Even before Katrina wreaked its havoc on New Orleans, a popular T-shirt proclaimed the city “Third World and Proud of It,” and numerous more-literary types have long referred to it as the “northernmost Caribbean city.”
By CLEA SIMON  |  December 22, 2008


General Tso’s way

The path of a Chinese foodie
Behind every dish lies a story, and behind a cuisine, well, there may be a book.
By CLEA SIMON  |  March 12, 2008
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