Vegas Seven

Book Jacket

  • Book Jacket

    In Bark, Lorrie Moore Offers Humor and Hope Amid Loss

    By M. Scott Krause

    I fell in love with Lorrie Moore back in 1985, with the publication of Self Help, her first collection of short stories. Incredibly witty, full of astute observations, and loaded with insight and simple truths, Moore quickly established herself as an immense talent.

  • Book Jacket

    Lisa Unger’s ‘In the Blood’ Doesn’t Live up to Expectations

    By M. Scott Krause

    If you’ve ever waited 35 minutes for pizza delivery only to find most of the cheese and toppings stuck to the cardboard box, you know exactly how I felt while reading Lisa Unger’s In the Blood.

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    Reno Native Tackles Many Kinds of Borders in Darkly Funny First Novel

    By M. Scott Krause

    FinalI’m a bit of a cad when it comes to books, every bit the “read ‘em and forget ‘em” type. When you work in a bookstore, it’s a challenge to stay current. Books are typically devoured months in advance, and sometimes it’s a struggle to remember what you liked about a book by the time it hits bookshelves.

  • Book Jacket

    Emmy-Nominated ‘The Wire’ Writer Offers a Smart, Compelling Mystery

    By M. Scott Krause

    George Pelecanos is a talented, versatile writer with 19 novels crowding the mystery shelves of most bookstores. When he’s not devoting his time to gritty, Washington, D.C.-based noir, Pelecanos turns his attention to the small screen.

  • Book Jacket

    Aimee Bender’s ‘The Color Master’ Offers Darkly Magical Stories

    By M. Scott Krause

    Aimee Bender knows a thing or two about enchantment. Bender, who counts the work of Hans Christian Andersen and The Brothers Grimm among her influences, writes short stories and novels that frequently read like modern fairy tales.

  • Book Jacket

    In the thrilling Bob Lee Swagger series, The Third Bullet’s the charm

    By M. Scott Krause

    Remember what I said last time about making an effort to read more serious fiction in 2013? I’ve already broken that resolution with one of my guilty pleasures. For the last few nights, I’ve curled up with Stephen Hunter’s The Third Bullet (Simon & Schuster, $27), the latest installment in Hunter’s “Bob Lee Swagger” saga that began with Hunter’s excellent Point of Impact (1993).

  • Book Jacket

    MacArthur Fellow’s short-story collection is funny, sad and … genius

    By M. Scott Krause

    If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to read higher quality fiction, consider curling up with Tenth of December (Random House, $26), the new short-story collection from George Saunders. If you don’t know Saunders’ previous work, shame on you. Scores of fine writers publish thoughtful, well-crafted short stories but Saunders sits mostly alone at the top of the heap. It’s not just that Saunders is bright—the MacArthur Foundation awarded him a “Genius Grant” in 2006—it’s that Saunders is doing more than just entertaining.

  • Book Jacket

    In Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth, the byline is better than the book

    By M. Scott Krause

    What happens when an accomplished, award-winning author writes a mediocre novel? That’s the conundrum at the center of Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth (Nan A. Talese, $27). On the surface, it’s a novel about espionage, storytelling, and affaires de coeur set in England during the early 1970s, featuring an attractive spy named Serena Frome. In the opening sentence, McEwan tells readers that “Frome” rhymes with “plum” and adds that Sweet Tooth is told from a distance of nearly 40 years.

  • Book Jacket

    A Working Theory of Love shows innate and wholly human intelligence

    By M. Scott Krause

    Scott Hutchins’ A Working Theory of Love is all about artificial intelligence, but virtually everything in this novel rings true. The characters are rich and fully drawn, the premise feels timely and plausible, and the plot is layered and emotionally satisfying. This first novel (Penguin Press, $26) manages to be smart and funny while asking serious questions—“What does it mean to be human?” and “What does it take to maintain a loving relationship?”—and challenging readers to consider the emotional weight of words and the repercussions of silence.

  • Book Jacket

    Look back to the future with classic sci-fi

    By M. Scott Krause

    Is it possible that one of my favorite books of 2012 is actually a two-volume anthology of classic science fiction novels from the 1950s, compiled by sci-fi scholar Gary K. Wolfe? In the case of American Science Fiction: Four Classic Novels 1953–1956 (Library of America, $35) and American Science Fiction: Five Classic Novels 1956–1958 (Library of America, $35), the answer is yes. Both books are available separately, or in a handsome slipcase for $70.

  • Book Jacket

    An exploration of Parenting Dazzles

    By M. Scott Krause

    There’s an interesting backstory to Michael Chabon’s new book, Telegraph Avenue (Harper, $28). Chabon conceived the story as a television series, an hourlong dramedy about two connected families set against the social and cultural history of politically charged Berkeley and Oakland, Calif., the birthplace of the Black Panthers. TNT passed on the pilot, but Chabon—one of our most consistently brilliant contemporary writers—reworked the material into one of this year’s most entertaining and satisfying novels.

  • Book Jacket

    Short stories rise above Jewish stereotypes in new Englander collection

    By M. Scott Krause

    Reading Nathan Englander reminds me of those ’60s-era ads for Levy’s rye bread: you know, the ones with all kinds of smiling ethnic types enjoying a bite of Levy’s and the tagline, “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s real Jewish Rye.” Englander is—first and foremost—a gifted short story writer, and while his stories are uniquely Jewish in nature, their appeal is universal. You don’t have to be Jewish to love Nathan Englander.

  • Book Jacket

    Just like jet lag, it takes time to acclimatize to this travelogue

    By M. Scott Krause

    I’ve spent the better part of the past two weeks mostly avoiding Pam Houston’s new novel, Contents May Have Shifted. I’d open it up, read 10 pages, start drifting and immediately look for something else to occupy my time. I dismissed it as too girly, too disjointed, too hippie-dippy, too damn flighty. Fifty pages in, I told several friends the book was boring. “Well written, but about as appealing as a Lifetime Movie of the Week.” Definitely not for me.

  • Book Jacket

    This physician’s sequel isn’t such a ‘wild thing’ after all

    By M. Scott Krause

    I'm not crazy about Josh Bazell's Wild Thing, but that has nothing to do with the fact that Bazell has a bachelor's degree in writing from Brown University and a medical degree from Columbia University and I can't stand show-offs. (Honestly, is there anything more annoying than a physician who writes best-selling novels in his spare time?) In truth, my dislike of Wild Thing (Reagan Arthur Books, $26) has everything to do with how much I genuinely liked Bazell's first book, Beat the Reaper (2009).

  • Book Jacket

    Lethem’s book doesn’t induce ‘ecstasy,’ but it comes close

    By M. Scott Krause

    At what point did I fall out of love with Jonathan Lethem’s writing? I was an early, enthusiastic supporter of his debut novel, Gun, With Occasional Music (1994) and his follow-up, Amnesia Moon (1995). By the time Motherless Brooklyn (1999) appeared, to great acclaim, I couldn’t have been happier. Here was a former bookseller who’d made good, a writer who’d outgrown his science-fiction roots and matured into a serious novelist. Bully for Lethem.

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