Des Moines Public Library

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A thriller with heart: Hannah Tinti’s ‘The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley’

A few months ago, I found myself in the bar of a fancy Washington restaurant arguing with one of Ireland’s greatest novelists about the importance of plot. The writer — winner of a long shelf of international prizes — was of the strong opinion that plot is wildly overrated, far less significant …

Literature

‘Kindred’ Artist John Jennings Talks About Adapting Octavia Butler in Comic Form

Thirty-eight years after it was first published in 1979, Octavia Butler’s <i>Kindred</i> remains one of the most uncategorizable, and uncompromising, …

Science Fiction

The Best Mysteries & Thrillers of March

There are some heavy hitters in our Best Mysteries & Thrillers of March. Here are some of the top books:<p><b>Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles -</b> For those …

“A Crash Course for the Ravers”: Bowie Studies Comes of Age

NO SOONER HAD David Bowie been laid to rest — dressed in an Apollo-era spacesuit, sealed in a transparent casket, and enshrined on a catafalque in …

David Bowie

John Freeman Gill on His New York Novel, “The Gargoyle Hunters”

<i>FIRST NOVELS ARE A BREED APART — apart from other novels, apart from autobiographies (with which, nevertheless, they remain almost automatically</i> …

Literature

This brilliant memoir will challenge what you think you know about loss and pregnancy

For most of her life, Ariel Levy's disregard for rules and expectations has mostly paid off. As a child, she preferred adventurous make-believe to …

Liberal POV

Legendary Poet Derek Walcott Has Died

According to local newspaper the <i>St. Lucia Star</i>, Nobel Prize-winning poet and playwright Derek Walcott died this morning at the age of 87.<p>Born in St. …

Poetry

Celebrating History's Bad-Ass Women: PW Talks with Greer Macallister

Greer Macallister talks to PW about her historical novel, 'Girl in Disguise,' loosely based on the life of the mysterious and elusive Kate Warne, the …

Literature

Your Most Successful Book Club Picks

"I found it to be very morally challenging because it gets you rooting for questionable relationships and irregular protagonists. It's a great book …

Amazon's Best Books of March: Today's Releases

Our Featured Debut this month is Daniel Magariel’s <i>One of the Boys</i>, a novel about a recently divorced father who moves with his two sons to a cramped …

Jojo Moyes to write new Louisa Clark book

Louisa Clark fans, rejoice! Author and journalist Jojo Moyes will be continuing the <i>Me Before You</i> character’s story in a new book, it was announced Thursday.<p>The new novel will follow Lou, who is departing to New York, as she must choose between her old life and the new one awaiting her. It is the …

Movies

Interview with Lisa See

There were three of them who were all married to the same man, one right after the other. The first one was 16 years old, and she would write her …

Your paper brain and your Kindle brain aren't the same thing

Would you like paper or plasma? That's the question book lovers face now that e-reading has gone mainstream. And, as it turns out, our brains process digital reading very differently.<p>Manoush Zomorodi, managing editor and host of WNYC's New Tech City, recalls a conversation with the Washington …

'The Great Shame of Our Profession'

Illustration by Pierre Fortin for The Chronicle Review<p><i>A talk the author gave in Iowa City in October on winning the Truman Capote Award for his book,</i> …

As Amazon Moves In, A Local Bookseller Hopes To Thrive With A Personal Touch

When Amazon comes to town to sell books from a bricks-and-mortar store of its own, what happens to a neighborhood bookstore nearby?<p>On Tuesday, the online retailer opened a 5,800-square-foot store in Dedham, Mass. — the company's first bookstore on the East Coast. The suburban Boston store joins …

Amazon

5 Reasons We Can’t Wait to Read Alec Baldwin’s Memoir Nevertheless

Eventually, everyone famous writes a memoir, in part because famous people do tend to lead interesting lives, and in part because publishers know …

Alec Baldwin

'On Tyranny' Explores New Threats Facing American Political System

NPR's Robert Siegel talks with historian Timothy Snyder about his new book, <i>On Tyranny</i>, which explores the new threats faced by our political order and how we can look back to the 20th century for lessons on how to overcome them.<p>Transcript<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:<p>Timothy Snyder has written some …

Democracy

Who needs a Nobel Prize? Who is Elena Ferrante? And other literary news in 2016.

<b>Jan. 4</b> Copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio from 1623 begin touring all 50 states to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.<p><b>Jan. 11</b> Matt de la Peña, author of “Last Stop on Market Street,” becomes the first Hispanic writer to receive the Newbery Medal.<p><b>Jan. 17</b> Scholastic Publishing …

Authors

Meredith Duran - Interview

A member of Parliament, Crispin Burke, takes a strange path to love in our Romance Top Pick for March, the captivating and clever Regency love story <b>A</b> …

Literature

6 fascinating facts about the North Pond Hermit - Blog Post

Recent Blog Posts<p>Our top pick in nonfiction this month is Michael Finkel's The Stranger in the Woods, an intriguing account...<p>10 women to watch in …

Literature

Best Books 2016 - Washington Post

Fiction<p>Commonwealth<p>By Ann Patchett<p>An illicit kiss at a christening wrecks two marriages in Los Angeles but blends the six children from different families. As we follow them over the next half century, their stories come into focus the way our own family legends cohere — from scraps of information …

Literature

'A Piece of the World' looks deep within the story of an iconic painting

Christina Baker Kline, an artist herself, draws on the real history behind Andrew Wyeth's famed painting 'Christina's World' to conjure up her own …

Painting

Could the West have been friends with Russia after the Cold War?

<b>Con Coughlin reviews Who Lost Russia? How the World Entered a New Cold War by Peter Conradi</b><p>When Chairman Mao defeated the nationalists and founded the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Western policymakers agonised over “Who Lost China”. In the 21st century, with concerns mounting that President …

Russia

Irvine Welsh: why Anthony Burgess's savagely brilliant A Clockwork Orange is a modern masterpiece

Anthony Burgess was born 100 years ago today. In this tribute from 2014, Trainspotting author <i>Irvine Welsh</i> explains why Burgess's A Clockwork Orange is a classic<p>Few writers, whatever the claims made for them by literary critics, ever manage to spawn big cultural moments. One who genuinely did so was …

Literature

Neil Gaiman on Will Eisner: 'He thought comics were an artform – he was right'

In the week of what would have been the comics pioneer’s 100th birthday, the creator of The Sandman pays tribute to an inspirational storyteller and friend<p>It isn’t yet easy or comfortable for me to write about Will Eisner. He was too important, and writing this reminds me how much I miss my friend …

Neil Gaiman

In Praise of Bossy Big Sisters

Like many young girls, I fell in love with the <i>Little House</i> series when I was about seven years old. What followed was two or three years of …

Children's Books

The Indelible Nature of Language: An Interview with Adelia Saunders

Our bodies tell many stories. The movements we make, the colors of our skin, the genders we project—our bodies say often what our lips do not. In her …

Book Review: A fresh translation unearths a troubled master’s take on mortality and jealousy

The 19th century French writer Guy De Maupassant was one of the masters of the golden age of the short story, but he also wrote half a dozen novels, the most famous of which is probably <i>Bel</i> <i>Ami</i>, about a man who heartlessly manipulates his way to the top of Parisian society. <i>Like Death</i>, newly …

Literature

Books to Read While You’re Waiting for Twin Peaks’ Return

The long dreamed-of return of <i>Twin Peaks</i> is happening, and we haven’t stopped eating celebratory pie and coffee since David Lynch gave word. While we …

Twin Peaks

Lincoln in the Bardo Author George Saunders on the Book, the Man, and a Writer’s Evolution

George Saunders is both a blackly hilarious satirist and our most compassionate writer, who takes as his subject the striving of ordinary (and …

Mind