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Figuring

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A Baker's Dozen Recommended Mysteries

…y the most influential mystery story of all time. The key challenge is not figuring out who did it, but understanding his motive. Appreciating the why of Cain’s behavior can keep us out of a lot of trouble. Isaac Asimov, The Robots of Dawn The third and best of his Lije Baley mysteries, set in Earth’s future, with mankind under threat. Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye Not everyone agrees that this is Chandler’s best, but he was never grittier, a…

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Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross

…of the brutal murder of his wife. Still, these men are in the business of figuring things out, even as Pepin’s role in Alice’s death grows ever more confounding when they link him to a highly unusual hit man called Mobius. Like the Escher drawings that inspire the computer games David designs for a living, these complex, interlocking dramas are structurally and emotionally intense, subtle, and intriguing; they brilliantly explore the warring impu…

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A Sneak Peek at Madhur Jaffrey's New Cookbook

…e else and we still don’t have a Trader Joes in Denver. I didn’t feel like figuring out how to get the skin off an almond (I’m sure it involves boiling water and burnt fingers . . . ) so I needed to pick another meaty but not too highly flavored nut and the raw macadamia seemed like the obvious choice. I doubled the recipe in the book because 5 1/2 oz of these delicious nuts isn’t enough for 2 of my friends let alone 6-8! Here’s the doubled recipe…

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The History of History by Ida Hattemer-Higgins

…do you tell people looking for a quick recap? I’ve always have a hard time figuring out what to tell people when they ask about The History of History on airplanes and at parties. When I was searching for an agent, I didn’t know how to present it, and I fell on my face a few times. Nowadays I’d like to call it an expressionist saga. Reality is physically distorted, but the arc of the plot is structured to be suspenseful, dramatic, and taut. It tel…

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Swim Back to Me by Ann Packer

…re vibrant than any he’s known, and he has the opportunity and the task of figuring out if he wants to give it a try. In “Her Firstborn,” the impending birth of a baby unfolds against the aftermath of another child’s death. Loss is obviously a big theme for me, and in these stories my characters deal both with loss of the actual—divorce, the deaths of loved ones—and also loss of their dreams, by which I mean the stories they’ve told themselves abo…

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The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

…a trained chef; I’ve never been to cooking school. I’ve never even waited tables but that’s probably for the best because I’m a huge klutz and I bet diners don’t like that. It may not make for an exciting tell-all one day, but I just really like to cook and I’ve learned through trial and error, figuring out what I like and what was a total waste of my time. That said, I think I got my good attitude about cooking from my mom; my mother didn’t start…

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Q&A: Cristina Henríquez on The Book of Unknown Americans

…narrators, but I was a little bit structured and rigid about it when I was figuring it all out. I only wanted one narrator from each of the families, which is why Celia, for example, who’s Mayor’s mother, gets left out. Maribel gets left out because I just didn’t feel like she had the ability to tell her own story quite yet—although there’s a feeling by the end of the book that she’ll go on and is able to do that. She’s the central person to every…

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Novel Beginnings: A Conversation with the Author and the Editor of The Empire of the Senses

…retending to study in the library when Geza is there and sneaking glances, figuring out how to be in love for the first time. It’s always true that, in the midst of historical ugliness and crisis, life goes on, and her character lives and grows and changes through this period in both very ordinary and extraordinary ways. This is true of all of the characters, but she was “my” character in this book! (Note: This interview was originally published i…

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Media Center: ‘Dog Gone’ by Pauls Toutonghi

Media Center: ‘Dog Gone’ by Pauls Toutonghi

…shall is in college when he adopts Gonker, a golden retriever. Marshall is figuring out what he wants in life, has a troubled romantic interest, and is struggling with parental pressure to sort it all out. Gonker offers unconditional acceptance and is a lifeline for Marshall. When Gonker contracts Addison’s disease, which requires vital monthly medication, his prognosis looks good until he vanishes during a hike with Marshall along the Appalachian…

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Jane Mendelsohn on Writing and Current Events: An Exclusive Q&A

Jane Mendelsohn on Writing and Current Events: An Exclusive Q&A

…r at Harvard. My collaborators are fantastic and it’s been exciting to think about a whole new form of storytelling. I’m writing the book of the show and the lyrics. I started out writing poetry and because songs are essentially poems; it’s been a return, in a way, to a place where I began. I enjoy figuring out the logic and argument and architecture of each song, the voice of the character who’s singing it, what it needs to say within the story….

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