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"State of Terror" by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny; Simon & Schuster/St. Martin’s Press (494 pages, $30) ——— When politicians write novels, I usually try to avoid reviewing them. With a handful of exceptions, my critical response to such books has been: “Don’t quit your day job.” "State of Terror" is a big, turbocharged, breathtaking exception: It’s one of the best political thrillers ...

FICTION: In this dark but witty satire, Percival Everett explores racism, vengeance and the horrors of lynching. "The Trees" by Percival Everett; Graywolf Press (308 pages, $16) ——— Trees, when left unmolested, typically enjoy a long life span. Imagine if trees in the United States, particularly in the South, could speak. Many might tell us of something sinister they got roped into — literally ...

NONFICTION: Three union workers whose factory closes illustrate the challenges for America's blue-collar workforce. "American Made" by Farah Stockman; Random House (418 pages, $28) ——— In 1997, when the Red River Valley overflowed its banks and flooded most of Grand Forks, North Dakota, I watched then-President Bill Clinton give an empathetic speech to flood victims at an Air Force base ...

FICTION: A wealthy playboy is found murdered during a writers festival, and the line of suspects is long. "A Line to Kill" by Anthony Horowitz; Harper (375 pages, $27.99) ——— Like any good mystery, Anthony Horowitz's "A Line to Kill" has a gripping story, quirky characters who might be devious or might be innocent, a twisty plot, an enigmatic detective and a memorable setting. But it also has ...

At age 38, with a toddler son and a thickening waistline, Katherine May makes the decision to hike the 630-mile South West Coast Path in England, a rugged trail that "clings as close to this island's crinkled edge as possible; so close, in fact, that chunks of it regularly fall into the sea." She will hike in stages, she decides, sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend. She will finish before ...

A well-designed family room can truly be the heart of the household. But too often the family room ends up feeling like either a formal parlor — stiff and uninviting — or a free-for-all kids’ playroom. Strike a balance by picking up some of these ideas for attractive, functional family rooms that look good and work hard for the families who live there.

"Europe is Opening." So proclaim postings from travel mavens and destination advocates, and it probably is accurate. But "opening" is kind of a loose concept — and, in the case of European travel — a moving target. Chances are that many of you may want to visit Europe over the holidays, and probably even more are thinking about visiting in spring or summer of 2022. Right now, that looks feasible, but COVID-19 can still stage its own reopening, so caution remains the watchword. Although requirements will probably change, current rules are still reasonably strict.

“Being a part of a Disney blockbuster wasn’t anything I thought I could ever dream of,” said “Jungle Cruise” actor Philipp Maximilian. “Jean-Vincent Puzos built the most incredible sets for us, so filming this movie was like being a kid in a candy store for a Disneyland nerd like me. Jesse Plemons (Prince Joachim) and I had so much fun playing around with my character, Axel, and coming up with a lot of silly stuff.” Raised in Germany, the actor resides in Los Angeles. He stays in touch with fans on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/philippmax/).

Stretched over two chairs atop the skinny passenger deck of a 10-car ferry as it shuttles across Lago di Como, I look south into the haze of Italy. I’m savoring the best of my favorite country with none of the chaos and intensity that are generally part of the Italian experience. Looking north, into a crisp alpine breeze, I see snowcapped Alps.

The Department of Energy tells us warm air leaking into your home during the summer and out of your home in the winter can waste a substantial portion of your energy dollars. You can save at least 10% on your energy bill by reducing those air leaks at the doors to your house, and it’s one of the easiest and least expensive projects you can do.

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