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Books

In this recent photo composite image from NASA made over a span of several months and from different angles, the earth can be seen from space, 1007.  Using a collection of satellited-based observations, scientists stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless mosaic of every square mile of the planet.  (AP Photo/NASA)

‘The Human Age’ says there’s hope of saving the world

Sunday, September 21, 2014

In Paris, flowers, butterflies and birds live on the exterior of the Quai Branly Museum, a cultural destination that doubles as a natural ecosystem. A garden stuffed with breathing plants in the thousands, and soon to house frogs and lizards as well, climbs the building and purifies the surrounding air. At Stockholm’s central railway station, 250,000 commuters a day lend their body heat to a 13-story office building nearby. Most are probably unaware that they are part of green architecture rigged up by Swedish engineers: The rail station’s ventilation system grabs the travelers’ natural heat, using it to warm water in underground tanks that is … 0

Women in politics: Gillibrand and Davis release memoirs

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Two prominent women in politics, New Yorker Kirsten Gillibrand, who replaced Hillary Clinton in the U.S. Senate, and Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, who shot to fame in pink sneakers with an abortion-rights filibuster, are out this month with memoirs. Forgetting to Be Afraid chronicles Davis’s hardscrabble journey from teen mom in a … 0

17th-century Amsterdam reimagined

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Jessie Burton’s accomplished first novel, The Miniaturist, is many things – a deftly plotted mystery, a feminist coming-of-age drama and a probing investigation of marriage. Burton evokes the sights, sounds and smells of 17th-century Amsterdam as she brings to life a cast of sensitively rendered characters, each longing to be free. As the … 0

A tale of a dangerous double life

Sunday, September 21, 2014

A gent Storm: My Life Inside al Qaeda and the CIA reads like a screenplay for a James Bond movie written by Joel and Ethan Coen. An unlikely double agent from Denmark infiltrates al-Qaida. His managers, the clandestine … 0

‘Epilogue’ lacks shape, movement, humor, appeal

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Now in his mid-30s, Will Boast has not had an easy life. When he was a boy, his parents uprooted him from his native England and moved to Wisconsin, where his father had found work as a “project … 0

Miranda Corbie confronts her own ‘City of Ghosts’

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A love of San Francisco – its flaws, strengths and eccentricities – permeates Kelli Stanley’s intriguing novels about private detective Miranda Corbie. Stanley’s novels capture San Francisco – and the United States – in the years just before … 0

‘Politics is a Joke!’ highlights importance of late-night TV for candidates

Sunday, September 14, 2014

In September 2008, as the economy was imploding, John McCain suspended his campaign for the presidency and canceled a guest spot on David Letterman’s late-night TV show. “I’m more than a little disappointed by this behavior,” fumed the … 1

On My Nightstand: ‘Pliney Fiske’

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Pliney Fiske, a young Concord man, stayed home to care for his ailing father, the local druggist. But now that the Civil War is over, those returning soldiers resent his nonparticipation and nickname him “Mama Fiske,” insinuating he … 1

The haunting of failures past

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Make no mistake. Empire of Mud, J.D. Dickey’s history of early Washington, is a bracing and graceful read, but upon finishing its calamity-laden pages, you may conclude that a lot of people had a lot of years to … 0

Mindful Reader: ‘Getting Schooled’ a behind-the-scenes look at teaching and administration

Sunday, September 14, 2014

‘ N ortheast Kingdom ” author Garret Keizer writes about his return, after 14 years, to teaching high school English in a small town in Vermont in Getting Schooled: the Reeducation of an American Teacher. Part memoir, part … 0

‘1954’: A glimpse of baseball’s dramatic changes

Sunday, September 14, 2014

As the pennant races head into the fall stretch, it’s worth remembering that 60 years ago the sport of baseball was changed permanently as African-American players began to establish their presence in the major leagues and would transform … 0

A thriller writer’s challenge: Make U.S. policy in Africa into a page-turner

Sunday, September 7, 2014

As he began writing his third book on U.S.-Africa policy and development, Todd Moss, a former State Department official, realized something. It would be boring. Just another text for the shelves of foreign-policy wonks, PhDs and think tank … 0

‘On the Run’ highlights the American culture of incarceration

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The dramatic rise of incarceration rates among African-Americans since the 1970s has become more visible in mainstream culture partly because of television shows such as the widely popular HBO series The Wire, which ran from 2002 to 2008, the current Netflix series Orange Is the New Black and … 0