Browse archive by date:
  • Galley Talk: So Damn Lucky by Deborah Coonts

    Deborah Coonts’s Lucky O’Toole is a quick-witted, hardworking gal in a Vegas club with a knack for finding dead bodies. In her third caper, So Damn Lucky (Forge, Feb.), the first chapter ends with a magician dying as he attempts an old Harry Houdini trick.

  • Galley Talk: Heft by Liz Moore

    The last line of Liz Moore’s novel is still rounding through my head weeks after I finished it, and I think it will be for a long time. Heft (Norton, Jan.) is a gorgeous book that will completely break your heart and then stitch it back together.

  • Galley Talk: The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow

    Jeffrey Zaslow has a remarkable ability to select a familiar topic—female friendship, for example, as in The Girls from Ames—and pursue that topic until he mines the diamonds, the stories, hidden beneath the surface.

  • Galley Talk: From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant

    From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant (Viking, Jan.) is a bold novel—bold in its style, its thesis, and its story. While Alex Gilvarry’s narrative and characters are big and playful, the underlying premises are deadly serious.

  • Galley Talk: Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron

    Jean Patrick Nkuba, a young Rwandan 800-meter phenom, trains for the Olympics under the watch of his Hutu coach as Hutu-Tutsi violence escalates, in Running the Rift (Algonquin, Jan.).

  • Galley Talk: The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes

    I’ve liked Charles Mann’s earlier books as well as The River of Doubt, Turn Right at Machu Picchu, and Lost City of Z, and we do a good job hand-selling all of them. But none have had the impact of Scott Wallace’s The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon’s Last Uncontacted Tribes (Crown, Oct.).

  • Galley Talk: Holy Ghost Girl

    In Holy Ghost Girl (Gotham, Oct.), Donna Johnson’s unapologetic treatment of her childhood immersed in the Pentecostal tent-meeting movement is flawless. She is honest in her retelling of events, yet her tone is even and sympathetic.

  • Galley Talk: Hillary Jordan's When She Woke

    Hillary Jordan’s When She Woke (Algonquin, Oct.) is not only one of the best books of the year, but it’s everything the dystopian genre was made for—a politically relevant gauntlet of human misery caused by the terrible norms of state and culture.

  • Galley Talk: Sebastian Barry’s On Canaan’s Side

    Picking up Sebastian Barry’s On Canaan’s Side (Viking, Sept.) my breathing immediately slowed as I immersed myself in his glorious, musical way of arranging words and sentences then paragraphs and chapters.

  • Galley Talk: 'Emory's Gift'

    When a boy crosses paths with a grizzly bear in Emory's Gift (Forge, Aug.), the result is a parable for our time. W. Bruce Cameron, author of A Dog's Purpose, returns with a poignant new take on the human-animal connection.

  • Galley Talk: Ready Player One

    Looking for someone to be the hero of my summer, I found him in Wade Watts, the protagonist of Ernest Cline's Ready Player One (Crown, Aug.)—the Odysseus of '80s pop culture and my new everyman.

  • Galley Talk: Week of 7/25/11

    In The Family Fang (Ecco, Aug.), Kevin Wilson presents a slyly hilarious novel that's part social satire, part detective story, and part just plain good storytelling. Wilson's debut novels tells of two performance artists, Caleb and Camille Fang, who marry, have kids, and involve their children in their boundary-pushing art.

  • Galley Talk: Week of 7/11/2011

    For readers languishing after finishing Stieg Larsson's trilogy, Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen may prove to be the antidote. In The Keeper of Lost Causes (Dutton, Aug.), Carl Morck was wounded in a shootout that killed one of his partners and left the other paralyzed.

  • Galley Talk: Week of 6/27/11

    I was immediately caught up in Vanessa Diffenbaugh's The Language of Flowers (Ballantine, Aug.), the story of a troubled girl who uses the Victorian language of flowers to relate to the world around her.

  • Galley Talk: Week of 6/13/2011: Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

    Ben Loory's debut collection, Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day (Penguin, July), is a rich gathering: nightmares, dreams, and those things you see from the corner of your eye all populate this book.

  • Galley Talk: Week of 6/6/11

    In 22 years of bookselling, I find that readers remain endlessly fascinated with an insider look at the book business—precisely what Vincent McCaffrey offers in A Slepyng Hound to Wake (Small Beer Press, July), the sequel to his splendid 2009 yarn, Hound. (The title is a quote from Chaucer.) I'd call them "biblio-noirs" rather than biblio-mysteries: the deeds are dark even though bookhound Henry Sullivan becomes involved in what first seem academic rather than criminal matters. How likely is it that the possible ripping-off (okay, plagiarism) of a bestselling author could lead to murder?

  • Galley Talk: Week of 5/23/11

    With Rules of Civility (Viking, July), Amor Towles follows two young women making their way in 1938 New York City. A chance meeting with an enigmatic young businessman launches the pair into areas of society heretofore closed, where they encounter characters both charming and repellent. With echoes of Fitzgerald, Towles's debut evokes the era of prewar Manhattan, from the workplace politics of a law office to the alcohol-fueled lawn party of the Long Island gin-and-horses set.

  • Galley Talk: Week 0f 5/16/11

    When confronted with the raw numbers of dead, the volume of destruction, the disruption to ordinary life, there is no doubt that war is a brutal, destructive, and dehumanizing process. But it is in particular stories that we see the true cost of each life lost and the ripples extending outward from that loss.

  • Galley Talk: Week of 5/2/11

    I positively loved Silver Sparrow (Algonquin Books, May), in which Tayari Jones has crafted a compelling novel of two girls living parallel lives.

  • GalleyTalk: Week of 4/25/11

    You may think you know vampires, and you may think you know Cleopatra, but in Maria Headley's inventive and sweeping historical fantasy, Queen of Kings (Dutton, May), the rulers of ancient Egypt and Rome grapple with bloodlust, magic, and betrayal in ways you'd never expect.

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