Starred Review

Walking the Nile

by Levison Wood

Trekking more than 4,000 miles entirely on foot through six African countries for a period of nine months might sound like some kind of personal hell for most people, but for Levison Wood, walking the length of the Nile was a lifelong dream and epic adventure. Spurred by tales of Victorian adventurers, Wood's Walking the Nile blends personal reflections of his day-to-day existence out on the trail with historical, political and cultural details of the regions he hiked.

Starting at a tiny spring in Rwanda, the

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The Loss of All Lost Things

by Amina Gautier

Amina Gautier (At-Risk) is the consummate short story writer. While not expressly a collection of "linked" stories, The Loss of All Lost Things collects pieces that focus on characters whose lives have been upended in some way by loss. They lose their spouses and children, their confidence, their dreams, their careers. In the title story, a couple's oldest son has been abducted and his mother sits alone in his bedroom where "she is free to count her [life's] losses.... Each loss is a reprimand, a

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Forsaken

by Ross Howell Jr.

In 1912, a young black housemaid named Virginia Christian was arrested, accused of the brutal murder of her white employer. Ida Belote's body was found in the back corner of her home, beaten and in a pool of blood, a rag forced down her throat, presumably to muffle screams. Narrator Charlie Mears, a young reporter for the Hampton Times-Herald, is the only one who seems interested in the girl's side of the story. He visits her in jail, examines the crime scene and speaks with eyewitnesses as they wait for the

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Shelf Discovery

The Vegetarian

by Han Kang, trans. by Deborah Smith

A South Korean woman's decision to become a vegetarian has surprising and memorable consequences.

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Lost Words

by Nicola Gardini, trans. by Michael F. Moore

With literature and language, a new resident opens up the world to a boy in a dreary, constrained Italian apartment complex.

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My Dog's a Chicken

by Susan McElroy Montanari, illus. by Anne Wilsdorf

A lively tale about a girl who wants a puppy so badly that she pretends one of the family chickens is a dog.

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The Big Rewind

by Libby Cudmore

As if Raymond Chandler wandered into Empire Records, Libby Cudmore's first novel is a hipster mashup of detective noir and rock history.

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When Spring Comes

by Kevin Henkes, illus. by Laura Dronzek

Newbery Honor author Kevin Henkes and illustrator Laura Dronzek team up in this lush picture book that celebrates the vibrant glory of spring, "if you wait."

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Baker's Magic

by Diane Zahler

When a kindly baker takes in the orphaned Bee, he discovers she has a strange magic: her emotions are passed on to those who eat her delicious confections.

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Be Frank with Me

by Julia Claiborne Johnson

Filled with old movie lore and a cast of eccentrics, Johnson's first novel is a funny, sensitive story of the vicissitudes of raising a quirky genius son.

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Media Heat

Thursday, February 11, 2016

KCRW's Bookworm: Ryan Gattis, author of All Involved: A Novel (Ecco, $15.99, 9780062378804).

Diane Rehm: Helen Fisher, author of Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray (Norton, $26.95, 9780393285222).

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Diane Rehm: Erika Christakis, author of The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups (Viking, $28, 9780525429074).

CNBC's Squawk Box: Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid #10: Old School (Abrams, $13.95, 9781419717017).

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Diane Rehm: Dr. Saul J. Weiner, co-author of Listening for What Matters: Avoiding Contextual Errors in Health Care (Oxford University Press, $39.95, 9780190228996).

Fresh Air: Joel Grey, author of Master of Ceremonies: A Memoir (Flatiron Books, $27.99, 9781250057235).

Monday, February 8, 2016

Diane Rehm: Yann Martel, author of The High Mountains of Portugal: A Novel (Spiegel & Grau, $27, 9780812997170).

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Fresh Air: Bee Wilson, author of First Bite: How We Learn to Eat (Basic Books, $27.99, 9780465064984).

KCRW's Bookworm: Larissa MacFarquhar, author of Strangers Drowning: Grappling with Impossible Idealism, Drastic Choices, and the Overpowering Urge to Help (Penguin Press, $27.95, 9781594204333).
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