Variety
December 26, 2020

Reviews: 'The Twelve Dates of Christmas,' by Jenny Bayliss

The Twelve Dates of ChristmasBy Jenny Bayliss. (G.P. Putnam, 368 pages, $16.)Here it is, almost New Year's Eve, and nobody has ever been happier to…
Variety
December 24, 2020
"Shadowplay," by Joseph O'Connor ORG XMIT: MIN2009101321494161

Audiobooks: The best audiobooks of the year

"Deacon King Kong," by James McBride. (Penguin Audio, unabridged, 14 hours.)"Sportcoat" is a 71-year-old deacon who lives in a Brooklyn housing project in 1969. His…
Variety
December 24, 2020
Garrison Keillor in the 1970s.

Review: 'That Time of Year: A Minnesota Life,' by Garrison Keillor

NONFICTION: In his memoir, Garrison Keillor waxes nostalgic for heroes of the past but saves his vitriol for his former employer.
Variety
December 24, 2020
Roland Merullo photo by Amanda S. Merullo

Review: 'From These Broken Streets,' by Roland Merullo

FICTION: A terrific novel about the Neapolitan revolt against the Germans during World War II.
Variety
December 24, 2020
Kasey Thornton

Review: 'Lord the One You Love Is Sick,' by Kasey Thornton

FICTION: Through eight linked stories, Kasey Thornton examines small-town mores.
Variety
December 24, 2020
Michelle Gallen photo by Declan Gallen

Review: 'Big Girl, Small Town,' by Michelle Gallen

FICTION: Michelle Gallen's debut novel is both funny and sad as our heroine tries to make sense of a confusing world.
Variety
December 24, 2020
Catherine Hernandez photograph by Marko Kovacevic

Review: 'Crosshairs,' by Catherine Hernandez

FICTION: In this dystopian novel, white people enslave those who are marginalized.
Variety
December 24, 2020

Quarantine Read: Readers recommend 'The Talented Mr. Varg'

"The Talented Mr. Varg," by Alexander McCall SmithThe latest novel from prolific author Alexander McCall Smith ("The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency" series and many…
Books
December 22, 2020

New York Times bestsellers

FICTION1. Ready Player Two, by Ernest Cline. (Ballantine) In a sequel to "Ready Player One," Wade Watts discovers a technological advancement and goes on a…
Variety
December 21, 2020
Dr. Carissa Wyant & Cloe¨; Victory; Minneapolis Photo by Scott Streble

Mpls. photographer offered free porch portraits to connect isolated neighbors

The photographer's pandemic project is now collected in a self-published book.
December 21, 2020
Tasha Nins was photographed outside her home in St. Paul, Minn.

Twin Cities librarians fielding more questions about race, social justice in year of George Floyd

Tasha Nins, a children's librarian with Ramsey County Library, said more parents are asking for books on race and social justice.
Variety
December 21, 2020

Review: 'Why Fish Don't Exist,' by Lulu Miller and 'Before the Coffee Gets Cold,' by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Why Fish Don't ExistBy Lulu Miller. (Simon & Schuster, 240 pages, $26.)National Public Radio contributor Lulu Miller charts her rebound from a breakup in a…
Variety
December 18, 2020
T. Marie Bertineau photo by Natalie Carolyn Photography

Review: 'The Mason House,' by T. Marie Bertineau

NONFICTION: Heritage and sense of place are the touchstones for a Michigan Ojibwe family.
Variety
December 18, 2020
Books and chocolate, a fine Icelandic Christmas tradition.

Bookmark: Books and chocolates for a long winter's night

For the past four or five years, my Facebook and Twitter feeds have been bombarded each winter with links to heartwarming articles about Jólabókaflód, the…
Variety
December 18, 2020
Alex Ross photo by Josh Goldstine

Review: 'Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music,' by Alex Ross

NONFICTION: Alex Ross' sweeping study of Richard Wagner's cultural influence is an intellectual triumph.
Variety
December 18, 2020
Karen Powell

Review: 'The River Within,' by Karen Powell

FICTION: A beautiful debut novel about a mysterious drowning in a Yorkshire village.
Variety
December 18, 2020
Kenya Hunt

Review: 'Girl, Gurl, Grrrl' by Kenya Hunt

NONFICTION: Essays by Black women explore issues of hair, identity and raising Black children.
Variety
December 18, 2020
Ben Wilson

Review: 'Metropolis,' by Ben Wilson

NONFICTION: "Metropolis" is an ambitious attempt to document the history of the world's cities.
Variety
December 18, 2020

Quarantine Read: 'The Time of Our Singing,' by Richard Powers

Two of my heroes are getting me through this pandemic — Dr. Fauci and Richard Powers. Following the doctor's orders to shelter in place, I…
Variety
December 17, 2020

Reviews: Mysteries from Brian Freeman, Ian K. Smith and Ruth Ware

Funeral for a FriendBy Brian Freeman. (Blackstone, 336 pages, $27.99.)Duluth detective Jonathan Stride's latest investigation is "seriously messed up." Stride's a suspect in an investigation…