Starred Review

Madonna in a Fur Coat

by Sabahattin Ali, trans. by Maureen Freely, Alexander Dawe

Sabahattin Ali's heartbreaking novel Madonna in a Fur Coat spins a beguiling love story. Between the first and second world wars, Raif, a young Turkish translator, travels to Berlin for work. There he falls in love with Maria Puder, a cabaret performer and art model depicted as Madonna in a city-famous painting. The two begin a tumultuous but genuine relationship that's interrupted when Raif is called back to Turkey.

The story is at first narrated by Raif's nameless clerk, then in the translator's own voice

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Spring Garden

by Tomoka Shibasaki, trans. by Polly Barton

Spring Garden by Tomoka Shibasaki looks at loneliness and loss with uncommon detail and understated force. Taro, a passive, divorced man who lives in a Tokyo apartment building slated to be torn down, becomes acquainted with Nishi, a young woman in the same building who is fascinated by a house in their neighborhood. This sky-blue house, larger than most and with a private garden, has been documented in an obscure book of photography titled Spring Garden. The ethereal photos of the house and its former celebrity

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Top Elf

by Caleb Zane Huett

Ollie Gnome, an 11-year-old elf, loves Christmas more than anything in the world. In Santa's Workshop, near his North Pole home, he studies "mapomatics, toyology, list-erature and Santa Studies," and he creates new toys in the Games & Puzzles (G&P) department. His best friend, Celia Pixie, is a genius inventor at G&P. Every July 2, all the elves gather for Santa's traditional kick-off speech. But this year, Santa has a shocking surprise: Mr. and Mrs. Claus have decided that there will be a competition

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Shelf Discovery

Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas

by Pamela Ehrenberg, illus. by Anjan Sarkar

Pamela Ehrenberg blends religion and culture to create a toothsome treat about how one diverse family celebrates Hanukkah with southern Indian food.

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Pegasus Books: Ravenspur: Rise of the Tudors by Conn Iggulden

Media Heat

Thursday, December 14, 2017

KCRW's Bookworm: excerpts from past interviews with the late William H. Gass, author of The Tunnel (Dalkey Archive Press, $16.95, 9781564782137).

CBS This Morning: Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams (Scribner, $27, 9781501144318).

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Fresh Air: Esther Perel, author of The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity (Harper, $26.99, 9780062322586).

Daily Show: Satya Nadella, co-author of Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone (HarperBusiness, $29.99, 9780062652508).

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: Tom Hanks, author of Uncommon Type: Some Stories (Knopf, $26.95, 9781101946152).

Also on the Late Show: Katy Tur, author of Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History (Dey Street, $26.99, 9780062684929).

Monday, December 11, 2017

Daily Show: Pete Souza, author of Obama: An Intimate Portrait (Little, Brown, $50, 9780316512589).

Thursday, December 7, 2017

KCRW's Bookworm: Charmaine Craig, author of Miss Burma (Grove Press, $26, 9780802126450).

Daily Show: Tiffany Haddish, author of The Last Black Unicorn (Gallery, $26, 9781501181825).

The Opposition with Jordan Klepper: Scott Kelly, author of Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery (Knopf, $29.95, 9781524731595).

Late Show with Stephen Colbert: John Hodgman, author of Vacationland: True Stories from Painful Beaches (Viking, $25, 9780735224803).
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