A slice-of-life novel both meaningless and profound

As a freshman, Nina has a crush on her English teacher.  That’s how “The Most Precious Substance on Earth” begins. Author Shashi Bhat wastes

‘The Lies I Tell’ is a hard to put down thriller

Clear your schedule to read “The Lies I Tell” because this book is nearly impossible to put down from the first page. It begins from

Birdsong offers three powerful portraits of womanhood

Destiny O. Birdsong’s “Nobody’s Magic” tells three separate stories, each centering on a Black albino woman living in Shreveport, Louisiana.  First, we meet 20-year-old Suzette,

Book It | Allende’s ‘Violeta,’ an epic South American tale

Chilean writer Isabel Allende’s latest novel is “Violeta,” an epic tale that transports readers across a century of South American history, through economic collapse, dictatorship and

Book It Memoir: Leaving the Children of God ‘sex cult’ and her Macau childhood

Faith Jones’ vivid memoir “Sex Cult Nun” chronicles her 23 years in the infamous Children of God cult and her slow journey to leave. Born into the

Book It | In memoir, it’s good to be comedy king Mel Brooks

Besides an uncanny memory for food, Mel Brooks has the skill of an alchemist turning the base metal of others’ ideas into comedy treasure. But the lead comes before the

Book It | ‘Baby Girl’ about Aaliyah is a singer’s tragic tale

R&B singer Aaliyah is best known for two events that bookended her career: becoming involved with infamous singer R. Kelly as a teen, and the tragic plane crash that ended

Book It | For such a small place, Iceland has a big influence

How has small Iceland been able to play such a big role in the world? The confluence of geology, fish and rugged explorers seems to have infused Icelanders with their

Book It | Jhumpa Lahiri’s new novel is very novel

Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri is back with what is sure to be one of the more unique “novels” of the year. Readers can debate in book clubs whether it’s a

Book It | New collection of columns by the late Jenny Diski

A lot of criticism doesn’t age well because it’s tied to ephemeral moments in our cultural life. Jenny Diski’s is likely to stand the test of time because it offers

Book It | An insider’s look behind the ‘60 Minutes’ stopwatch

Long-time multi-award-winning producer Ira Rosen has written a sometimes sad, often funny, always revealing portrait of American television’s most famous and successful news show, “60 Minutes.” Rosen certainly had reporting time

Book It | Priyanka Chopra Jonas reveals private life details

Priyanka Chopra Jonas’s memoir, “Unfinished,” is a moving story of her rise to fame — and of her life before anybody knew her name. Chopra Jonas never intended to become the

Book It | Journalist’s first collection of fiction excels

A Chinese tech company recently made headlines for its use of “smart” cushions in office chairs to monitor its employees’ workplace performance. It’s the kind of creepy surveillance you’d expect

Book It | Lisa Gardner marks a sharply-written return

Frankie Elkin is a nomad. Owning only what she can carry, she wanders from town to town hunting for missing people whom the police have been unable to find. She is

Book It | Peter Frampton looks back in a gentle memoir

When Peter Frampton was a child, he busted his father on Christmas morning giving him an acoustic guitar dressed as Santa. “And from 3:30 in the morning on Christmas when

Book It | ‘A Song for the Dark Times’ contains two mysteries

Ian Rankin’s best-known character, John Rebus, typically resides in the dark world of the human soul and things are no different in “A Song for the Dark Times,” Rankin’s newest

Book It | Cuomo book on NY pandemic outbreak short on state missteps

Gov. Andrew Cuomo condemned the federal government’s coronavirus response and lauded his own leadership efforts in a new book released yesterday that offers a few new details — but not

Book It | ‘Rules for Being a Girl’ leaves readers wanting more

In “Rules for Being a Girl,” by bestselling authors Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno, high school student Marin Lospato becomes the victim of a teacher’s sexual advances — one who

Book It | A fiddle in a chaotic world

Simon the Fiddler is the origin story of Simon Boudlin, a traveling musician who appears in Paulette Jiles’ 2016 novel, the National Book Award finalist “News of the World.” When we

Love and fear drive migrants in ‘American Dirt’

In her beautiful, suspenseful and timely new novel “American Dirt,’’ Jeanine Cummins succeeds in taking migration — one of the central issues of our time — and

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