Behind the Last Minute Climate Deal in Copenhagen

TIME's Bryan Walsh reports from Copenhagen, where President Obama brokered a deal with four other countries in the final hours of the UN Climate Change Conference

d vs. Goliath, adventure epic, literary song of the South — into his stuffed turducken of a plot. Too many characters speechify like they're auditioning for a community-theater mash-up of Sling Blade and To Kill a Mockingbird, and a narrative shift that comes in halfway through overstays its welcome. A present-day coda adds paragraphs but few epiphanies.

Still, it's not hard to see why the book has earned early praise and an impressive first-run print order of 100,000 copies. Secret has lovely sensory moments, and it strives to tell the type of story that many contemporary novelists find too old-fashioned, or too sincere: one about family and community, good guys and bad guys, love and loss and spiritual redemption. Like Medgar, it's flawed and sprawling and a little bit unmoored, but its aim is true. B

]]> THE SECRET WISDOM OF THE EARTH Christopher Scotton]]> EW.com-20883941 <![CDATA[Something Rich and Strange]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:00:00 EST There's something in the specificity of Rash's writing, the way he can pinpoint time (from the Civil War through modern times) and place (mainly his beloved Appalachia) and drag them improbably into the universal. He isn't as well-known as he should be — although his 2008 novel, Serena, has recently been turned into a film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. This anthology of Rash's earthy, often eerie short stories is like a forest you can get lost in for hours, small but affecting tales of poverty, addiction, pride, love, and despair threaded with life-altering acts of violence and a firm sense of humanity. The title is from one of the stories, but there's no better description for what's inside. A-

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There's something in the specificity of Rash's writing, the way he can pinpoint time (from the Civil War through modern times) and place (mainly his beloved Appalachia) and drag them improbably into the universal. He isn't as well-known as he should be — although his 2008 novel, Serena, has recently been turned into a film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. This anthology of Rash's earthy, often eerie short stories is like a forest you can get lost in for hours, small but affecting tales of poverty, addiction, pride, love, and despair threaded with life-altering acts of violence and a firm sense of humanity. The title is from one of the stories, but there's no better description for what's inside. A-

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SOMETHING RICH AND STRANGE Ron Rash]]>
EW.com-20883935 <![CDATA[When Books Went to War]]> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 15:00:00 EST Did you know that during WWII, the U.S. War Department and most major New York publishers banded together to create a line of wallet-size paperbacks that could fit in a soldier's breast or pants pocket? The initiative, which started out small, eventually grew to 120 million copies of some 1,200 titles — novels, science books, humor collections, histories, biographies, and more. It was a huge hit with the troops, for whom books were often the only source of entertainment. One soldier told A.J. Liebling, then the war correspondent for The New Yorker, ''These little books are a great thing. They take you away.'' The GIs, sailors, and airmen scrapped over the most popular titles when shipments arrived at the PX. They could not get enough of the potboiler Forever Amber, likely because of the sex scenes; Rosemary Taylor's Chicken Every Sunday, which made them nostalgic for their mothers' home cooking; and Katherine Anne Porter's haunting short stories, with their stark renderings of love and loss. The men peppered Betty Smith, the author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, with some 1,500 letters a year (she answered almost all of them). And they loved The Great Gatsby so much that critics, who had more or less ignored the novel since its 1925 publication, took another look.

When Books Went to War may be a slim read, but it packs a wallop. Whether or not you're a book lover, you'll be moved by the impeccably researched tale. Manning not only illuminates a dusty slice of WWII history that most of us know nothing about but also reminds us, in the digital era of movies and TV, just how powerfully literature once figured in people's lives. A

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Did you know that during WWII, the U.S. War Department and most major New York publishers banded together to create a line of wallet-size paperbacks that could fit in a soldier's breast or pants pocket? The initiative, which started out small, eventually grew to 120 million copies of some 1,200 titles — novels, science books, humor collections, histories, biographies, and more. It was a huge hit with the troops, for whom books were often the only source of entertainment. One soldier told A.J. Liebling, then the war correspondent for The New Yorker, ''These little books are a great thing. They take you away.'' The GIs, sailors, and airmen scrapped over the most popular titles when shipments arrived at the PX. They could not get enough of the potboiler Forever Amber, likely because of the sex scenes; Rosemary Taylor's Chicken Every Sunday, which made them nostalgic for their mothers' home cooking; and Katherine Anne Porter's haunting short stories, with their stark renderings of love and loss. The men peppered Betty Smith, the author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, with some 1,500 letters a year (she answered almost all of them). And they loved The Great Gatsby so much that critics, who had more or less ignored the novel since its 1925 publication, took another look.

When Books Went to War may be a slim read, but it packs a wallop. Whether or not you're a book lover, you'll be moved by the impeccably researched tale. Manning not only illuminates a dusty slice of WWII history that most of us know nothing about but also reminds us, in the digital era of movies and TV, just how powerfully literature once figured in people's lives. A

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WHEN BOOKS WENT TO WAR Molly Guptill Manning]]>