We Come In Peace: Benevolent Aliens

vulcan-hand

While aliens have often been a good excuse for books and movies in which to blow stuff up, occasionally they are actually friendly and trying to look out for us. The results are often amusing. These are three books about extraterrestrials and the hilarity that ensues with first contact. Ralph loves Andy Warhol and American pop culture. […]

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Autumn in New York: 3 Recent Stories of the Gilded Age

Coney Island

It's time to celebrate Autumn, and what better way to do it than with books about New York? Of course, with so many books about that place, one has to winnow it down somehow. I've decided to highlight some new titles about Old New York in the Gilded Age. Graham Moore has written a legal thriller, The […]

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Who Was Mata Hari?

Mata Hari

With the recent publication of Mata Hari's Last Dance, Michelle Moran expertly paints fiction between what we know for sure about the famed dancer, courtesan, and terribly inept spy. Born Margaretha Zelle in Holland, Mata Hari chose her stage name upon coming to Paris after a miserable youth. Teaming up with the ambitious lawyer/agent Edouard Clunet, she […]

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Tough Broads 3: Broads In Space

Peggy Whitson

Are you a fan of captains Kathryn Janeway and Susan Ivanova? Think Rey may be the best new character in a galaxy far, far away? Then there are books to keep you occupied between installments. These are the newest in the tradition of female derring-do among the stars. K.B. Wagers' Behind the Throne stars Hail Bristol, heir […]

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Another Opening, Another Show…

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Shakespeare-in-the-park season is almost over, and the regular theater season is about to pick back up again. Here are a few books to keep you occupied, whether you're waiting for that callback or for the curtain to rise. While one might enjoy Song of Spider-Man (read my blog about it here) for its train-wreck hilarity, it's nice to […]

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…So Close to the United States

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While Pancho Villa lamented Mexico's proximity to the United States in relation to its distance from the Almighty, those of us in El Norte can rejoice as we have these books, full of suspense and local color, to take us there vicariously. Lili Wright's Dancing With the Tiger could have been a huge mess. There are lots […]

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Neo-Southern Gothic

Peacock

While the term "Southern Gothic" may bring to mind Carson McCullers and Flannery O'Connor, there are writers working now that are of close if not equal quality. What is Southern Gothic? Along with occurring south of the Mason-Dixon Line, it often concerns misfits, creepy situations, and sinister events caused by poverty, violence, or faults in the characters' […]

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The How and the Why: Stanley Fish

Stanley Fish

I like to think of myself as a rather well-read person, but I had not heard of Stanley Fish until I picked up his latest book. Turns out, he's a bit of a polymath and Dean Emeritus at the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UIC, among other posts. While Fish writes a great deal about English literature and […]

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Murder Among the Ruins: Ancient Roman Mysteries

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For fans of historical novels, the ancient Romans are an entertaining bunch. If you like mysteries as well, there are definitely authors who cater to you. Below are three series that take place in the Eternal Empire. All are richly detailed and have a touch of humor to go with the whodunit. The Flavia Albia series by […]

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Noir in Space

Moon 1

Science fiction is a big genre, with room for just about everyone. Today, I'd like to focus on modern noir set in orbit, whether around Earth or someplace else. The title of Anthony O'Neill's The Dark Side refers to Earth's moon, where lies the territory of Purgatory and its capital, Sin. Damien Justus is the new police sergeant there, […]

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