Starred Review

The Mighty Currawongs and Other Stories

by Brian Doyle

The Mighty Currawongs and Other Stories by Brian Doyle (Martin Marten) roams broadly in subject matter, but always offers joyful, whimsical wordplay and an abiding love for life's absurd and profound moments. These short stories--almost all under 10 pages--deal specifically with human experiences and relationships, rather than embracing the wider natural world of Doyle's novels, but the same voice and fanciful tone appear clearly.

A Boston basketball league plays through hilarity and scuffles, and finds a

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Losing Helen

by Carol Becker

Carol Becker, a middle-aged only child, had the talk no one likes to have with her widowed mother, Helen, when Helen was 93 years old. "My mother was already quite old, but she did not seem old to me.... She still looked glamorous.... She walked with pride, wore heels every day, and... had 'all her marbles.' " At that time, Helen expressed that when she died, she wanted to be cremated, her ashes scattered at sea. But five years later, when Helen was in hospice, Carol discovered that Helen's contract with

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The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog

by Adam Gidwitz, illus. by Hatem Aly

Adam Gidwitz (A Tale Dark & Grimm; In a Glass Grimmly; The Grimm Conclusion) hatched the idea for The Inquisitor's Tale when he was living in France with his wife, who is a medieval scholar.

Six years of extensive research and a natural storyteller's gift shine in this spiffily spun novel that begins on a dark night in 1242 when travelers meet at the Holy Cross-Roads Inn ("a day's walk north of Paris"). They exchange stories of three "magical children"--enemies of King Louis IX--whose fates intertwine:

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Shelf Discovery


by Margot Livesey

The marriage of a couple on the cusp of middle age comes undone by a beautiful Thoroughbred horse.

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Rescue Squad No. 9

by Mike Austin

This dynamically illustrated story about a rescue at sea by a diverse team of helicopter and speedboat emergency responders will thrill beginner readers.

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Home at Last

by Vera B. Williams, Chris Raschka

In Chris Raschka and Vera Williams's sweet collaboration, Lester and his adoptive dads are happy together except for one thing: nighttime is lonely.

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Media Heat

Thursday, September 29, 2016

KCRW's Bookworm: Marisa Silver, author of Little Nothing (Blue Rider Press, $27, 9780399167928).

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Diane Rehm: readers review Fates and Furies: A Novel by Lauren Groff (Riverhead, $16, 9781594634482).

Conan: Phoebe Robinson, author of You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain (Plume, $16, 9780143129202).

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Fresh Air: Joshua Partlow, author of A Kingdom of Their Own: The Family Karzai and the Afghan Disaster (Knopf, $30, 9780307962645).

Diane Rehm: Robert Gottlieb, author of Avid Reader: A Life (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $28, 9780374279929).

Daily Show: Sara Goldrick-Rab, author of Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream (University of Chicago Press, $27.50, 9780226404349).

Monday, September 26, 2016

Diane Rehm: Berkeley Breathed, author of The Bill the Cat Story: A Bloom County Epic (Philomel, $18.99, 9780399546624).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

KCRW's Bookworm: Affinity Konar, author of Mischling (Lee Boudreaux, $27, 9780316308106).

Diane Rehm: Candice Millard, author of Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill (Doubleday, $30, 9780385535731).
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