Holly Smith


Holly Smith is editor-in-chief of the Independent, as well as a college lecturer and longtime freelance writer. Prior to joining the Independent, she was managing editor of Maryland Life magazine (God rest its soul). Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, CNBC.com, USA Today Travel’s 10Best, More Mirth of a Nation, Salon, Not What I Expected, Washington Flyer, Brain, Child, and many other publications. She's also co-author of the travel guide Seafood Lover's Chesapeake Bay, which is ironic since she doesn’t eat fish.


52 entries by Holly Smith

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The novelist talks trilogies, family history, and the unending allure of the past.

Book Review

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The writer/editor talks sci-fi, audiobooks, and the importance of the human element in every story.

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The writer talks whodunits, genre fiction, and the ups and downs of revisiting past work.

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The Ohio lawmaker discusses some of the greats who once sat where he now sits.

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Though heavy on historical detail, this WWII chronicle is far too light on drama.

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Life’s rough around the edges. Books should be, too.

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The writer/publicist talks punk rock, Southern California, and the joys of having a book-nerd brother.

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The Maryland-based writer talks Harpers Ferry, the African-American men who fought there alongside John Brown, and the enduring weight of the Civil War.

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The writer talks socks, reader takeaways, and the trickiness of crafting a totally honest memoir.

Book Review

Compartment No. 6

By Rosa Liksom; translated by Lola Rogers

A mostly bitter, occasionally sweet ode to the dying Soviet Union.

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The novelist talks family bonds, outlines, and balancing work and kids.

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The novelist talks friendship, beach reads, and her unlikely career on Wall Street.

Book Review

Ararat

By Christopher Golden

An evil of biblical proportions awaits explorers atop Turkey’s highest peak.

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The writer talks climate refugees, the West’s obligations to them, and the benefits of working with a millennial.

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The novelist talks Music City, small-town roots, and her family’s rich storytelling legacy.

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The playwright’s debut novel, Al-Tounsi, explores just how much Supreme Court justices’ personal lives influence their legal rulings.

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Kurt Newman, MD, is president and CEO of Children’s National in Washington, DC. His 30-year career as a pediatric surgeon inspired him to write Healing Children, a memoir-slash-call-to-arms about the importance of kid-centered healthcare and standalone pediatric hospitals.

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The novelist/poet discusses westerns, accolades, and her admiration for world-building narratives.

Book Review

Ararat: A Novel

By Christopher Golden

An evil of biblical proportions awaits explorers atop Turkey’s highest peak.

Book Review

Compartment No. 6: A Novel

By Rosa Liksom; translated by Lola Rogers

A mostly bitter, occasionally sweet ode to the dying Soviet Union.

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The historian discusses Storm over Leyte, the allure of WWII books, and the challenges of deciphering primary sources.

Book Review

We’re All Damaged: A Novel

By Matthew Norman

The funny, engaging story of a hapless thirtysomething struggling as much with his present as his past

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The Washington Post reporter and YA novelist talks about her latest book, the WWII-era Girl in the Blue Coat.

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Thomas Murphy: A Novel

By Roger Rosenblatt

An irresistibly grouchy main character makes this slim, poetic story a winner

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The author will be honored by PEN/Faulkner in Washington, DC, this Friday, Dec. 4th.

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One of the funniest novelists out there talks about his latest, Secondhand Souls.

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The author chats about dark secrets, the seedy brilliance of carnivals, and the fact that everybody knows someone who’s made out on the docks.

Book Review

Louisa Meets Bear

By Lisa Gornick

A memorable cast of characters populates this intelligent, wonderfully drawn collection of related tales.

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The author of The Queen of the Tearling discusses inspiration, favorite writers, and the shortsightedness of the YA label.

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Coyote

By Colin Winnette

This spare, nerve-rattling tale — which has nothing to do with wild dogs — lingers long after it’s put down.

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The Forgers: A Novel

By Bradford Morrow

This whodunit has a clever premise, but that might not be enough.

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Twilight of the Eastern Gods

By Ismail Kadare (translated by David Bellos)

Blending the personal and political, this book reveals one writer’s experiences in a prestigious Soviet Union graduate school.

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Can't monsters, poltergeists, and bloodthirsty clowns be enough?

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A popular skeptic puts a secular spin on the mystical.

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The Serpent of Venice

By Christopher Moore

There’s trouble afoot in 13th-century Italy — and a randy sea monster lurking beneath its waves — in this snort-inducing send-up of Shakespeare.

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No online reading guide for this month's novel? No problem!

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A look at an interesting book club and how they do what they do.

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Like so many other things — investing in a timeshare, having a third child — starting a book club seemed like a good idea at first, but things have taken a turn.

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In honor of the literary game the late Christopher Hitchens used to play with his friend Salman Rushdie, “Titles That Didn’t Quite Make It,” here are some well-known book names that seem, um, less compelling with just one synonym swapped out.

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At the Independent, women's voices are as loud as men's.

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Meet one of the renowned writers participating in the Independent's annual Books Alive! conference.

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Meet one of the renowned writers participating in the Independent's annual Books Alive! conference.

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Despite news to the contrary, sites like this one continue guiding readers toward excellent titles.

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What do literary types have queued up on their nightstands and ready to read before lights-out? We asked a few of them, and here’s what they said.

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You probably have your own ideas about which are the world’s greatest books, but what do you know? Here, in no particular order, are the five best books. Ever.

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Who's reading what before lights-out?

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In honor of the literary game the late Christopher Hitchens used to play with his friend Salman Rushdie, “Titles That Didn’t Quite Make It,” here are some well-known book names that seem, um, less compelling with just one synonym swapped out.

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Five classics I’ve never read, and what I’ve heard they’re about.