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Andrea Hoag

Books, Love & Italy

Lawrence, Kansas

Andrea Hoag

I'm a writer, book critic and social media strategist based in Lawrence, Kansas.

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Serious fun

Sharp wit and a master’s grasp of the storytelling art helped propel Antonya Nelson to literary stardom. The title of Antonya Nelson’s latest collection of short stories may be Funny Once, but the prodigious fiction writer’s entire career could be summed up as funny always. The characters stomping through Nelson’s stories are a devilishly fun bunch, despite their all-too-human predicaments.
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Summer books: Written by women, meant for all

"The Love of My Youth," by Mary Gordon (Pantheon, $25.95) The mistress of subtlety, Mary Gordon, returns with an eccentric novel framed around the city walks of 60-something former lovers who meet again in Rome. The novel is set in the eternal city, where little ever changes, between two characters who are thoroughly changed by their 40 years apart.
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Rise and fall of an American marriage

Even the most committed Ernest Hemingway fan must concede that the author couldn't have been an easy husband. Between late-night carousing, a dogged writing schedule, the flirtations and full-on affairs, Hemingway would have driven the most patient woman to fits. It is high time someone told the story of Hadley Hemingway, first spouse of the legendary author, and Paula McLain's novel, "The Paris Wife," does so.
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Review: Fear not, Rice still has her bite

Has Anne Rice gone soft? Perhaps that would explain her new obsession with angels and all things holy. No matter. Her writing still contains enough tension to keep readers guessing in her latest Songs of the Seraphim book, “Of Love and Evil” — in fact, the author’s insistence on choosing the exalted over the evil is actually a breath of fresh air.
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ELLE's Lettres: December

Gildiner's memoir is a refreshingly honest, touching, and witty account of Gildiner's high school and college years during the turbulent '60s, when America was in major transition politically, socially, culturally, and economically. It calls to mind the awkwardness of adolescence, the embarrassing and sometimes painful experiences that still make us cringe upon recollection, the realizations and acceptances that are all part of "growing up"—we've all struggled with the same things.
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Book review: Queen’s bed-hopping a great summer read

British author Alison Weir has built a literary empire speculating about the sexier side of life for kings and queens from centuries past. In “Captive Queen,” the author titillates readers with a stunning portrayal of 12th century virago Eleanor of Aquitaine as a lusty temptress, all too happy to abandon her doddering husband, France’s King Louis VII, for up-and-comer Henry of Anjou, more than a decade her junior.
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Book review: Sloane Crosley shares a “Number” of great insights

What if Sloane Crosley has blown through all of her best material? Any author whose debut was such a stunning success — and we’re talking best-seller status for the essays in “I Was Told There’d Be Cake” and an HBO series in the works — surely feels a bit of pressure to deliver in her sophomore effort, “How Did You Get This Number.”.
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Novel about the unpleasant rich lacks key ingredient: fun

Jonathan Dee wants you to know that vast wealth turns people into jerks. If you're thinking all of this sounds distressingly similar to a "Gossip Girl" novel, you'd be right. Except that "Gossip Girl" author Cecily Von Ziegasar has a stunning talent for snappy dialogue, glitzy scenes and, one last thing: fun.
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Renaissance provides novel with hot heroines

Salman Rushdie at a recent reading from his new novel, “The Enchantress of Florence.”. Is Salman Rushdie the last of the great international literary playboys? Followers of gossip pages will answer yes, but for a truly steamy love story, readers should instead turn to the lively author’s latest novel.
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Salman Rushdie turns up the heat with a steamy 16th-century love story

Is Salman Rushdie the last of the great international literary playboys? Followers of gossip pages will answer yes, but for a truly steamy love story, readers should instead turn to the lively author's latest novel. Dante had his unattainable Beatrice and Petrarch his elusive Laura, but in "The Enchantress of Florence" (Random House, 368 pages, $26) Rushdie proves that an earthy author demands a hot-blooded heroine audacious enough to rival even history's greatest seductresses.
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“Italian Lover” a happy reunion

I’ve been waiting a long time for “The Italian Lover,” and, believe me, it’s about time Robert Hellenga got around to writing it. It has been 12 years since the novel “The Sixteen Pleasures” kept me up on a two-day reading binge as I obsessed over the story of American abroad Margot Harrington and the centuries-old book of erotic drawings she uncovered in a convent.
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Art of the personal essay

How can you not love Adam Gopnik? Many readers first got to know the witty, warm-hearted New Yorker magazine writer as he chronicled his family’s humorous five-year adventure in the City of Lights in the best-selling, “Paris to the Moon.”. Gopnik’s children, Luke and Olivia, emerge as the most lovable “characters” in his latest book, “Through the Children’s Gate,” but when reached recently by telephone, the amiable author was quick to insist that “all kids are charming and imaginative if you give them a chance and you listen to them.”.
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About

Andrea Hoag

I'm a writer and book critic based in Lawrence, Kansas.

After more than a decade writing book reviews and author features full-time, I took a brief hiatus to complete a book-length collection of travel essays.

In addition, I own a full-service public relations firm focusing on social media strategies for authors, small businesses and non-profit organizations.

My reviews, travel writing and author interviews have appeared in dozens of newspapers and magazines nationwide.

The only thing I'm more interested in than books? My children's activities--choir, orchestra & basketball.

Please "like" my author page on Facebook for publication news & events.