‘Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening’: A Must-Read Memoir

On the surface, Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening: How I Learned the Unexpected Joy of a Green Thumb and an Open Heart by Carol Wall, is a gentle memoir about a friendship between a white woman in Roanoke, Virginia and her gardener from Kenya. But that description fails to capture the book’s depth, its sometimes-raw emotions, nor its many surprising twists. At the book’s beginning, the author Carol Wall is 52. Married to her high school sweetheart, she is the mother of three, …

Love the TV series “House of Cards”? You’ll adore the novel

  Starting on Valentine’s Day, Netflix airs its second season of House of Cards. Which means a lot of folks will be snuggling up with Kevin Spacey as a ruthless Congressman named Francis Underhill. Spacey isn’t playing the first political villain named Francis, however. Instead he’s playing the American incarnation of a character who first appeared 25 years ago in an English novel. This week, Sourcebooks is re-releasing House of Cards as an e-book. (The print edition arrives March 11.) …

The “Tiger Mom” Roars Back with Another Provocative Read

In 2011, Yale Law School professor Amy Chua ignited a firestorm with Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Excerpted in The Wall Street Journal, it described how Chua demanded that her two daughters get straight As in school (they did-then later got into Harvard and Yale). In her new The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, Chua and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld, also a Yale Law School professor, describe the …