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Books

Getting retribution over childhood bullies

Sunday, March 29, 2015

What becomes of bullies when they grow up? Do they evolve into decent, kind human beings, or does their capacity for malice grow along with their bodies? Allen Kurzweil explores this issue – and much more – in Whipping Boy, a compulsive account of his search for the childhood tormentor who made his life miserable during the year he spent at an English-style boarding school in Switzerland while his widowed mother “was test-driving her third husband.” “There has never been anything neutral about my Switzerland,” Kurzweil writes in this odyssey of retribution and release. As a child, he had happy associations with the alpine country, …

Big data

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Even if we aren’t certain what to make of big data, we all know that it’s, well, big. The phrase is suddenly everywhere, tripping off the tongue in domains from marketing to management to medicine. Newly massive and complex data sets, along with advanced methods of probing them, it is said, are remaking …

Heartrending and warm

Sunday, March 29, 2015

When Scott Simon began tweeting pain, love and conversation from his mother’s deathbed in an intensive-care unit in July 2013, he turned personal grief into collective emotion. Sharing painful moments and insights – “I just realized: she once had to let me go into the big wide world. Now I have to let …

Misfits weave through others’ lives

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Assemble a group of wildly different characters – young and old, rich and poor, black and white, gay and straight. Throw them together – on an L.A. highway (Crash), in a steamy Southern city (Nashville), or in Times …

Long lost film illuminates 1938 Poland

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In the spring of 2009, Glenn Kurtz uncovered a roll of 71-year-old film in his parents’ Florida basement. Deteriorated and shrunken with age, the film was just months away from being completely unwatchable. Instead, it became a rare …

Author defies categorization

Sunday, March 22, 2015

There are authors who write in tidy, classifiable, immediately recognizable genres – Jane Austen, Alexandre Dumas, William Faulkner, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, to name a few – and then there are those who adamantly do not. These others can …

A haunting tale

Sunday, March 22, 2015

M.J. Rose writes compelling tales with a gothic flair, and her latest novel, The Witch of Painted Sorrows, is her most heartfelt yet. Paris in 1894 is a vastly different society than what is experienced in today’s modern …

Explore Ian Fleming’s Jamaican retreat

Sunday, March 22, 2015

James Bond is a British icon, but the fictional spy hero really was born in Jamaica, just as the Caribbean island gained its independence from the waning British empire. The relationship between Bond’s author, Ian Fleming, and the …

‘Sapiens’: a struggle of morality versus existance

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Yuval Noah Harari is an emerging rock-star lecturer operating at the nexus of history and science. In a recent talk at Google on “Silicon Prophets,” he stunned the audience by convincing them that the most interesting place in …

Art heist history detailed in ‘Master Thieves’

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Twenty-five years ago this week, as Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day revelries eased into the wee hours of March 18, 1990, two men impersonating police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and made off with 13 works of …

Literary Hub wants to save literary culture

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Listening to Morgan Entrekin is a shot of adrenaline for anybody concerned about literary culture. “Independent publishing is the healthiest I’ve ever seen it,” said the president and publisher of Grove Atlantic, who recently passed 60 like a marathoner in the third mile. Far from planning his retirement, …

Just what is the truth?

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lisa Gardner delivers another gut-wrenching emotional thriller with her latest psychological tale, Crash & Burn. Nicky Frank survives a horrendous car crash in the early morning hours, and she crawls up a hillside to flag down anyone for …

Dark satire ‘Welcome to Braggsville’ targets race and gender

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The basic story line of T. Geronimo Johnson’s novel Welcome to Braggsville is straightforward and intriguing. Take four young, liberal-minded students at the University of California at Berkeley. Then send them on a class project that includes a …