(Sarah L. Voisin / The Washington Post)

Recent Reviews

Best romance novels for March

Three heroic heroines in works by Tessa Bailey, Elle Kennedy and Julie Ann Long

‘The Sympathizer’: A cerebral thriller about Vietnam and its aftermath

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel is a desperate expat story that confronts the existential dilemmas of our age.

Best children’s books for April: Poetry edition

“Enormous Smallness,” “The Death of a Hat” and “Audacity.”

How Yahoo News ruins journalism

Chris Lehmann, former managing editor of Yahoo News’s news blog, reports on what he saw at the devolution.

Marilynne Robinson confident about a fourth Gilead novel

‘People should be prepared to say quartet instead of trilogy.’

Rumsfeld, Rice and Gonzales make cameos in a dark, comedic novel

Mark Doten’s “The Infernal” looks at Sept. 11’s aftermath through a cracked mirror.

A modern retelling of “Emma,” by Alexander McCall Smith

The author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series brings Austen’s heroine to the 21st century.

Don’t suffer in silence one more night

Ryan Chapman’s “Conversation Sparks” offers 350 random bits of trivia to break the awkwardness

The dead are more dangerous than the living in the thriller ‘Crazy Love You’

In Lisa Unger’s new psychological suspense tale, a successful writer is haunted by his past.

Tomas Tranströmer, Swedish poet and Nobel laureate, dies at 83

Mr. Tranströmer was known in his country and beyond as a master of metaphor.

The pope who is unsettling the church in order to set it aright

Garry Wills takes the measure of Pope Francis and his impact on the evolution of the church.

Recalling bravery — and ugliness — at an integrated 1960s high school

Jim Auchmutey recounts the friendship a white student had with blacks and the abuse he got for it.

Good luck trying — but defying inevitable death, so far, is impossible

Bill Gifford explores the many ways people seek to stave off the aging process and live forever.

The shady origins of North Korea’s dynasty of Kim tyrants

Blaine Harden charts the course of fantasies that created the despotic state of North Korea.

Are humans now in control of the forces of evolution?

Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans propose that Homo sapiens are in charge of evolution on our planet.

Romance by the letter

In ‘Mr. and Mrs. Disraeli,’ Daisy Hay uses the letters of the prime minister and his wife to portray a marriage.

Jonathan Waldman’s ‘Rust’ shows the substance’s corrosive power

Everything from your muffler to the Trans-Alaska pipeline are at risk, according to this engaging history

On a Memphis street, a microcosm of American culture

Preston Lauterbach’s ‘Beale Street Dynasty’ chronicles a thoroughfare that was a cauldron for sex and song.

Who really needs another literary journal?

The editors of the Offing make a rousing case for their new journal’s necessity.

The off-kilter universe of novelist Peter De Vries, back in print

“The Tunnel of Love” and “Reuben, Reuben” — two comic novels, nearly forgotten, that shouldn’t be.

Paper, books and the art of collecting

Dissecting “White Magic,” by Lothar Müller and “Portraits and Reviews” by G. Thomas Tanselle.

How to give your memoir real bite

In the new issue of the American Scholar, Christian Wiman and Emily Fox Gordon offer antidotes to the predictable, narcissistic memoir.

T.C. Boyle’s new novel takes us to America’s far-right edge

“The Harder They Come” explores violence, heroism and anti-government sentiments.

The best science-fiction and fantasy books for March

Carola Dibbell’s “The Only Ones,” Ian Tregillis’s “The Mechanical” and Francesca Haig’s “The Fire Sermon.”

Four gimmick-free memoirs

Life stories by Sasha Martin, Abigail Thomas, Sofka Zinovieff and George Hodgman.

Who you’ll see at the National Book Festival

Tom Brokaw, Jane Smiley, Marilynne Robinson and E.O. Wilson are among the 100 authors signed up for the literary extravaganza this fall.

Book World: ‘Frog’ by Mo Yan

The winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature has written a thoughtful novel about China’s one-child policy.

Ellen Conford, children’s writer, dies at 73

Mrs. Conford’s more than 40 books included the “Jenny Archer” and “Annabel the Actress” series.

How Smith Henderson’s debut novel actually changed his life

Henderson is also working on a TV adaptation of “Fourth of July Creek“

James Patterson increases grant to school libraries to $1.5 million

The demand for grant money has been so strong that he’s adding $250,000 to the program he announced two weeks ago.

The thriller ‘The Bullet’ stars a Georgetown professor with a secret

The unlikely heroine of Mary Louise Kelly’s novel is sucked into an unsolved double homicide

A death in the family

In “Unforgettable,” Scott Simon tells the story of his mother’s vivacious life and her final days.

The moral and physical destruction wrought by drone warfare

Andrew Cockburn and Gregoire Chamayou outline how killing by robots feeds extremist groups.

Clash between free speech and privacy in the digital world

Neil Richards assesses our modern dilemma about privacy through the lens of Louis Brandeis.

Beware not an all-powerful Big Brother but many Little Brothers

Two books describe how hard it is to protect our privacy and safety in a world ruled by modern technology.

You can run from Big Data, but can you hide?

In “Data-ism” Steve Lohr gives his take on how Big Data will shape our future.

The blur between acting, fakery

Authors delve into the mind of the master of suspense and the deceptive nature of performing.

‘The Contemporaries,’ by Roger White

Ever gone into a modern art gallery and wondered, “What’s going on here?” This slim volume offers help.

On the peculiar terror and comedy of amputated hands

Why are so many hands missing across history -- and literature?

Lives intertwine in Charles Baxter’s ‘There’s Something I Want You to Do’

Like the best ensemble film, characters drift from story to story in a collection by a master of the craft.

Washington Post Bestsellers March 29, 2015

The books Washington has been reading.

Ron Charles

Ron Charles

‘The Sympathizer’: A cerebral thriller about Vietnam and its aftermath

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel is a desperate expat story that confronts the existential dilemmas of our age.

The Style Blog

Ron Charles

How Yahoo News ruins journalism

Chris Lehmann, former managing editor of Yahoo News’s news blog, reports on what he saw at the devolution.

The Style Blog

Ron Charles

Marilynne Robinson confident about a fourth Gilead novel

‘People should be prepared to say quartet instead of trilogy.’

Michael Dirda

Michael Dirda

Paper, books and the art of collecting

Dissecting “White Magic,” by Lothar Müller and “Portraits and Reviews” by G. Thomas Tanselle.

Michael Dirda

Michael Dirda

A new biography of the most famous American of his time: Mark Twain

Roy Morris Jr.’s ‘American Vandal’ focuses on the years the Huck Finn author spent abroad.

Michael Dirda

Michael Dirda

How Asian art came to America: ‘The China Collectors’

Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac’s new book tracks a centuries’ old treasure hunt.

Book Party

Carlos Lozada

Shame was brutal for Monica Lewinsky. But it can also be a force for good.

Three new books explore the history, consequences and possibilities of shaming.

Book Party

Carlos Lozada

Would you tweet your mother’s death?

In his memoir, NPR’s Scott Simon explains why he shared his mother’s final moments on social media.

Book Party

Carlos Lozada

Jeb Bush’s emotional reaction when he thought Reagan hadn’t picked his father for veep

Barbara Bush’s memoir recounts an emotional scene at the 1980 GOP convention

Literary Calendar

Going Out Guide: Upcoming events

Going Out Guide: Upcoming events

Get the latest on readings, signings and author appearances in the D.C. area.