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  • Bohjalian’s heroine a troubled teen escaping a nuclear meltdown Jul 11, 2014 5:45 AM
    Wiser than the adults around her yet convinced she’s a hopeless loser, Emily Shepard is a literary descendant of Holden Caulfield. Like J.D. Salinger’s famous teenage misfit, Emily relates her harrowing story of escape and survival from within the confines of a mental institution. But unlike Holden, the resourceful heroine of Chris Bohjalian’s “Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands” is on the run from a full-blown nuclear disaster.

  • Harry Potter is back in new J.K. Rowling story Jul 8, 2014 9:24 AM
    Harry Potter is back — mysterious, married and going gray. J.K. Rowling has given fans a glimpse of the grown-up boy wizard in a new story posted Tuesday on her Pottermore website. It’s the first update since “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” was published in 2007, but Rowling spokesman Mark Hutchinson said there are “no plans” for a new Potter novel. The 1,500-word story describes Harry, about to turn 34, attending the final of the Quidditch World Cup with his family and old friends Ron and Hermione.

  • New Neil Armstrong book glides, not soars Jul 8, 2014 5:30 AM
    There’s not a negative word about America’s space hero in Jay Barbree’s new book, "Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight." Barbree — the NBC News space correspondent who has covered every manned U.S. mission — was friends with Armstrong for decades. The book draws on their conversations as well as hundreds of other interviews and NASA transcripts to recount Armstrong’s entire “life of flight,” from combat missions in North Korea to those historic lunar steps and beyond. So it’s a little disappointing that it’s not more of a page-turner.

  • Actress Jenny Mollen puts it out there in new book Jul 7, 2014 5:45 AM
    Jenny Mollen has no filter. And she’s fine with that. The actress often tweets raunchy commentary about ABC’s “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” with her husband, Jason Biggs. Howard Stern was so impressed he asked them to tweet live when “America’s Got Talent” is on. Now, she’s compiled some of her outrageous life into a book, “I Like You Just the Way I Am: Stories About Me and Some Other People.” Mollen, 35, talks about the book, motherhood and Twitter.

  • ‘Act of War’ is heart-pounding thriller Jul 7, 2014 1:45 PM
    In Brad Thor’s latest thriller, “Act of War,” Scot Harvath finds his hands full when a snag-and-grab operation for a terrorist unveils surprising information. It involves a top-secret operation by a few key individuals in the Chinese government with the goal of devastating the United States. The ambitious plan has every chance of success and would take down the country before a response could be mounted.

  • Jeff Abbott’s ‘Inside Man’ doesn’t disappoint Jul 7, 2014 1:18 PM
    “Inside Man,” the fourth novel by Jeff Abbott to feature bar owner and ex-CIA agent Sam Capra, continues one of the best ongoing series in the thriller genre. Readers will be hooked from the start when a friend of Sam’s — who doesn’t know about his spy past — asks for a favor. Steve occasionally takes security positions, and he hopes Sam will help him protect a young woman by becoming an inside man. Before Sam can learn more, Steve is shot and killed in front of the bar.

  • Book notes: Meet Chris Colfer at local book signings Jul 5, 2014 5:45 AM
    Actor, singer, producer and best-selling author Chris Colfer signs copies of his newest children's book, "The Land of Stories: A Grimm Warning," at 7 p.m. Friday, July 11, at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville and noon Saturday, July 12, at Barnes and Noble in Skokie.

  • Starbucks chair co-writing book on military vets Jul 5, 2014 8:00 AM
    Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz is collaborating on a book about veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism, and Sacrifice” will be released by Alfred A. Knopf on Nov. 4.

  • ‘Sleepwalker’s Guide’ is a beautiful family saga Jul 4, 2014 5:45 AM
    At the start of Mira Jacob’s beautiful debut, “The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing,” Amina Eapen’s mother summons her home to Albuquerque, New Mexico, claiming that her father is acting strangely. When Amina arrives, however, she learns that her father’s condition is more serious than her mother let on, and bears some connection to the feud 20 years earlier with the family back in Salem, India.

  • War hero Zamperini lived ‘unimaginable drama’ Jul 3, 2014 7:11 PM
    Louis Zamperini, an Olympic distance runner and World War II veteran who survived 47 days on a raft in the Pacific after his bomber crashed, then endured two years in Japanese prison camps, has died. He was 97. Zamperini is the subject of Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling book “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” which is being made into a movie directed by Angelina Jolie.

  • John Verdon’s cleverness shines in new thriller Jul 1, 2014 5:45 AM
    John Verdon’s skillful melding of the puzzle mystery with the police procedural and the psychological thriller brings a unique spin to his series about retired NYPD homicide Detective Dave Gurney. “Peter Pan Must Die” again presents Dave with a seemingly insurmountable problem — a murder that, on the surface, was impossible to perform. Verdon expertly takes the novel through a labyrinth of twists that, however outlandish at first, are totally believable.

  • Meg Gardiner’s latest thriller is her best yet Jun 30, 2014 11:30 AM
    Meg Gardiner’s latest thriller, “Phantom Instinct,” begins with a shootout at the club where Harper Flynn works. Harper’s boyfriend is killed, a police officer is severely wounded, the bar burns to the ground and leaves no evidence of how the gunmen entered the highly secure building. The official report claims the two gunmen who attacked the bar were killed in the fire. But both Harper and the injured cop swear there’s a third killer, and they work together to prove his existence. And we’re off!

  • Ex-GalleyCat ed Jason Boog on raising bookworms Jun 29, 2014 6:00 AM
    Jason Boog was immersed in publishing for five years as editor of the MediaBistro blog GalleyCat. When he became a dad, he was curious how best to foster a love of books in his newborn daughter. His solution was writing a book about raising bookworms.

  • ‘Ways of the Dead’ is fast-paced narrative Jun 28, 2014 5:45 AM
    Neely Tucker’s debut novel is an utterly thrilling mystery set in Washington, D.C., in the late 1990s, just before the Internet and the rise of smartphones changed the landscape of print journalism. Sarah Reese, the teenage daughter of a powerful D.C. judge, is murdered, her body discarded in a dumpster behind a corner shop. Three black kids are arrested and the case against them looks promising, but investigative journalist Sully Carter, who has been curating a map of homicides in the area for several years, thinks her death might be connected to a handful of unsolved cases.

  • Karin Slaughter’s ‘Cop Town’ is engrossing Jun 27, 2014 5:45 AM
    Karin Slaughter wraps an intense thriller around a legacy of sexism, race relations and politics in the engrossing “Cop Town.” Slaughter, author of the Will Trent best-sellers, keeps her first stand-alone novel from becoming a history lesson by investing it with a gritty, action-packed plot and strong, believable characters. “Cop Town” opens in 1974, when the appointment of a new public safety commissioner in Atlanta — the first black man to hold such a position — promised that change is coming.

  • Discuss poet Robert Frost at Palatine event Jun 26, 2014 4:26 PM
    The Northwest Cultural Council will host “An Afternoon with Robert Frost” from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 28 at the Palatine Public Library, 700 N. Court St., Palatine. Dick Park and Michael Anderson, founders of the Well Curb Society, will present a 20th anniversary celebration of the society and lead an in-depth discussion of Frost’s poem “The Need of Being Versed in Country Things.”

  • Writer David Levithan on LGBT books for the young Jun 26, 2014 5:30 AM
    Writer David Levithan last year marked the 10th anniversary of his “Boy Meets Boy,” a romantic teen comedy where the homecoming queen was once a guy and the gay-straight alliance was aimed at helping the straight kids learn how to dance. And there was Paul, who meets Noah. Since then, there’s been a burst of books featuring lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning young people.

  • Memorial for famed sci-fi author Frederik Pohl Aug. 2 in Palatine Jun 26, 2014 4:27 PM
    The long life and copious work of science fiction author Frederik Pohl will be honored at a memorial celebration later this summer in Palatine, his hometown of nearly 30 years. Pohl, who died last year at the age of 93, was considered by many to be a member of the golden age of science fiction authors who helped make the genre.

  • Eggers’ ‘Fathers’ an angry take on changing world Jun 25, 2014 5:45 AM
    Dave Eggers is angry. A writer both beloved and criticized for his distinctly sentimental bursts appears to be seething, worried about crumbling institutions, lost privacy, diminished intimacy and humanity in general. At least, that’s the impression left after digesting Eggers’ new, characteristically inventive novel, “Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?” It is a frothing, angry, mournful meditation on what is slipping away as America plows on into the 21st century.

  • Pakistani author’s debut novel captures Karachi Jun 24, 2014 5:30 AM
    The blurb on the back of Saba Imtiaz’s debut novel “Karachi, You’re Killing Me!” compares the book to the single girl’s Bible, “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”I take issue with this.Bridget Jones would never be able to deal with half of the situations that Imtiaz’s heroine, Ayesha, successfully navigates. Ayesha, a journalist in her 20s working in Pakistan’s largest city of Karachi, has a toughness and professionalism that Bridget could never achieve.

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