Book Reviews

Aiming for the top of the food chain

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The issue of labeling for genetically engineered foods gained fresh momentum last week, when Sen. Barbara Boxer announced she’d be pushing for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require this consumer notification on a national level.Read more »

Trash Lit.: Endless summer reading edition

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So much summer trash lit. So little of note.

I've been reading as fast as I can, catching up on all of the beach books I can find, looking for the Great Work of Summer, 2012. I still haven't found it. There's plenty worth reading, some decent drivel and distractions. But overall, I can’t say anything had my head spinning.

So here’s the first installment of my rundown, the good, the fair and the total waste cases.Read more »

Trash Lit: The Expats (almost) lives up to the hype

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There's an awful lot of hype around this first novel by Chris Pavone. John Grisham compares it to the early works of Ken Follett, Frederick Forsyth, and Robert Ludlum. The folks at Crown publishing think this is going to be the Next Big Thing in the thriller world. And since I'm such a huge fan of overhyped authors, I decided I'd pour a nice glass of Buffalo Trace and read the first 20 pages.Read more »

Trash Lit: The commies of Agent 6

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Agent 6

By Tom Rob Smith

Grand Central Publishing, 467 pages, $25.99

I get it: Life in the Soviet Union under Stalin and Krushchev was pretty bad. Food was sometimes scarce, spies were everywhere, people got locked up in jail for disloyalty to the State ... I know all that. I read The Gulag Archipelago when I was in High School. It made me more wary of powerful governments than it did of Communism, but whatever -- I'll stipulate that the Soviet Union of that era was not exactly the great workers paradise it was supposed to be. (We had a few problems with repression here at home, too.)

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Trash Lit: Too much love for Stephanie Plum

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Janet Evanovich was a moderately successful writer of romance novels before she became the funniest thriller writer in the world, and I figured at some point that side of her would come out. It’s taken 17 books before the glorious madness that is the life of Stephanie Plum would start to take a turn toward the mundane normality of New Jersey polyamory, but that’s where the series is these days. Read more »