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Captain Comics: Is Deadpool a real character?

Books / Comic Books /

A number of co-workers have asked me that question about Deadpool, whose movie, starring Ryan Reynolds, premieres Feb. 12. And yes, he's a real fictional character published by Marvel Comics.

One of the things that sets him apart is that he also knows he's a fictional character.

When he first appeared in a minor X-Men book in 1991, Deadpool ...Read more

GINNY GAIL

Charlie Smith
Harper
ISBN 978-0062250551
451 pages
$26.99

Reviewed by Ron Charles, who is the editor of The Washington Post Book World. You can follow him on Twitter @RonCharles.

Beneath the deadening lack of racial ...Read more

ON MY OWN

Diane Rehm
Knopf
ISBN 978-1101875285
162 pages
$23.95

Reviewed by Reeve Lindbergh, who has written a number of books for children and adults, including "Forward From Here: Leaving Middle Age - and Other Unexpected Adventures." ...Read more

ARCADIA

Iain Pears
Knopf
ISBN 978-1101946824
528 pages
$27.95

Reviewed by Steve Donoghue, who is managing editor of the online magazine Open Letters Monthly.

"Arcadia," the new novel by Iain Pears, was created for an app. "I had ...Read more

THE GOLDEN SON

Shilpi Somaya Gowda
William Morrow
ISBN 978-0062391452
394 pages
$26.99

Reviewed by Michele Langevine Leiby, a freelance writer in Washington, is a former Washington Post/Bloomberg correspondent in Pakistan

In her second ...Read more

BECAUSE GREAT WRITERS DESERVE TO HAVE THE LAST WORD

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Reviewed by Michael Dirda, who reviews each Thursday in The Washington Post Style section and is the author, most recently, of "Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living With Books."

In...Read more

'Coconut Cowboy' a weird, silly ride from Tim Dorsey

Books / Books News /

"Coconut Cowboy" by Tim Dorsey; Morrow (336 pages, $25.99)

It is just possible that despite -- or maybe because of -- buffoonish plots, outlandish characters and slapstick comedy, Tim Dorsey's novels may be masquerading for carefully researched history lessons about Florida.

Make no mistake -- "Coconut Cowboy" is just as weird and funny and ...Read more

'Coloring the Universe' illuminates stunning images of space

Books / Books News /

"Coloring the Universe" by Travis A. Rector, Kimberly Arcand and Megan Watzke; University of Alaska Press, (250 pages, $50)

Few things in life are more vibrant, more beautiful and more majestic than images of space. Thankfully, "Coloring the Universe: An Insider's Look at Making Spectacular Images of Space" by Travis A. Rector, Kimberly Arcand ...Read more

In 'Shylock Is My Name,' Jacobson gives notorious character his say

Books / Books News /

"Shylock Is My Name" by Howard Jacobson; Hogarth Shakespeare (288 pages, $25)

If God hadn't put a halt to the proceedings, would Abraham have actually sacrificed Isaac? If Portia hadn't told Shylock that his pound of flesh couldn't include even one drop of blood, would he have really killed Antonio?

I've never thought to ask those questions. ...Read more

'Behind the Smile': the rise and fall of Carol Moseley Braun

Books / Books News /

"Behind the Smile: A Story of Carol Moseley Braun's Historic Senate Campaign" by Jeannie Morris; Agate Midway (384 pages, $27)

In 1992, the election of four women to the U.S. Senate was historic enough to prompt the slogan, Year of the Woman.

Among that group, one stood out: Carol Moseley Braun, the first African-American woman to serve in the...Read more

Magic vs. science? 'All the Birds in the Sky' says, 'Both, please'

Books / Books News /

"All the Birds in the Sky" by Charlie Jane Anders; Tor Books (320 pages, $25.99)

Charlie Jane Anders' novel "All the Birds in the Sky" is as light and crisp as an apple yet as pleasingly dense as a burrito. It engages with a metaphor at least as old as medieval Sufism while also drawing on the preoccupations of today's hipsters.

To that age-...Read more

NEUROLOGIC: The Brain's Hidden Rationale Behind Our Irrational Behavior

Eliezer J Sternberg
Pantheon
ISBN 978-0307908773
298 pages

Reviewed by Marianne Szegedy-Maszak

Somewhere, Sigmund Freud must be smiling.

Not the misogynist, sex-crazed, dream-interpreting Freud of so many parodies and ...Read more

ROMANCE

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Reviewed by Sarah MacLean

Romance novels are, by definition, about relationships. After all, without two people finding love and happiness, where is the romance? But in the best of the genre, ...Read more

CURE: A Journey Into the Science of Mind Over Body

Jo Marchant
Crown
ISBN 978-0385348157
300 pages
$26

Reviewed by Sally Satel

In "Cure," Jo Marchant, a British biologist turned science writer, sets out to show that states of consciousness such as hope, fear, stress and ...Read more

THE CABARET OF PLANTS: Forty Thousand Years of Plant Life and Human Imagination

Richard Mabey
Norton
ISBN 978-0393239973
374 pages
$29.95

Reviewed by Amy Stewart

Do plants have agendas of their own? Do they act with agency, as animals and humans do, or are they passive bystanders? If our planet is a ...Read more

FOX TOSSING: And Other Forgotten and Dangerous Sports, Pastimes, and Games

Edward Brooke-Hitching
Touchstone
ISBN 978 1501115141
264 pages
$24

Reviewed by James Hill

Centuries from now, archaeologists are likely to uncover video of American professional football circa 2016 and be appalled by the ...Read more

MASTER OF CEREMONIES: A Memoir

Joel Grey
Flatiron
ISBN 978-1250057235
246 pages
$27.99

Reviewed by Louis Bayard

One night, during an early-1950s tour stop in St. Louis, the young Joel Grey went to see a well-known comic. "The hottest thing in town," ...Read more

DEMOCRACY IN BLACK: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul

Eddie S Glaude Jr
Crown
ISBN 978-0804137416
274 pages
$26

Reviewed by Pamela Newkirk

Black America was celebrating Barack Obama's historic 2008 election when the economic recession hit. By 2011 black America had lost 53 ...Read more

DAVID'S SLING: A History of Democracy in Ten Works of Art

Victoria C Gardner Coates
Encounter
ISBN 978-1594037214
310 pages
$27.99

Reviewed by Carlos Lozada

There are two ways to read Victoria C. Gardner Coates' book "David's Sling."

One is as the work of an art historian ...Read more

THE QUEEN OF THE NIGHT

Alexander Chee
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN 978-0618663026
561 pages
$28

Reviewed by Wendy Smith

"The Queen of the Night," Alexander Chee's second novel - after his well-received "Edinburgh" - is an overstuffed picaresque...Read more