Holly Smith


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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An Interview with David O. Stewart

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

Book Review

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An Interview with Michael Landweber

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

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An Interview with Art Taylor

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

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An Interview with Sen. Sherrod Brown

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

Book Review

The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

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

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Don’t Handle with Care

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

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An Interview with Camille A. Collins

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

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An Interview with Eugene L. Meyer

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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An Interview with Kim Adrian

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

Compartment No. 6

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

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An Interview with James Hankins

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

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An Interview with Erin Duffy

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

Book Review

Ararat

By Christopher Golden

Ararat

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

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An Interview with John R. Wennersten

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

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An Interview with Sarah Creech

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

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An Interview with Anton Piatigorsky

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

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An Interview with Kurt Newman

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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An Interview with Paulette Jiles

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

Book Review

Ararat: A Novel

By Christopher Golden

Ararat: A Novel

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

Compartment No. 6: A Novel

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

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An Interview with John Prados

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

We’re All Damaged: A Novel

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

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An Interview with Monica Hesse

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

Book Review

Thomas Murphy: A Novel

By Roger Rosenblatt

Thomas Murphy: A Novel

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

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An Interview with Deborah Eisenberg

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

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An Interview with Christopher Moore

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

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An Interview with Erika Swyler

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

Louisa Meets Bear

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

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An Interview with Erika Johansen

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

Book Review

Coyote

By Colin Winnette

Coyote

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

Book Review

The Forgers: A Novel

By Bradford Morrow

The Forgers: A Novel

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

Book Review

Twilight of the Eastern Gods

By Ismail Kadare (translated by David Bellos)

Twilight of the Eastern Gods

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

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In Defense of Scary Stories

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

Book Review

Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

A popular skeptic puts a secular spin on the mystical.

Book Review

The Serpent of Venice

By Christopher Moore

The Serpent of Venice

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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5 Emergency Discussion Questions

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

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Your Club in Lights: The DC Ladies Book Club

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

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4 Ways to Revive a Dying Book Club

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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Rejected Titles, Feb. 2014

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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Livin’ La VIDA Equal

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

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Books Alive! Presents: David Maraniss

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

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Books Alive! Presents: Laura Lippman

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

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The Death of Quality Book Reviews? Hardly!

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

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Bedtime Stories Dec. 2013

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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The 5 Best Books Ever

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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Bedtime Stories

Who's reading what before lights-out?

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Rejected Titles

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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Overdue Books

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