Rain
34°
Rain
Hi 37° | Lo 32°

Books

The men who ‘may be everything’

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Thomas Jefferson’s description of the presidency as a “splendid misery” is often quoted. Less remembered is his comment on the vice presidency, an office he considered “honorable and easy.” Few readers of syndicated columnist Jules Witcover’s compendium of short portraits of the nation’s vice presidents will agree. In The American Vice Presidency: From Irrelevance to Power, Witcover maintains that for much of American history, the vice presidency “had little significance or utility in governing the nation’s affairs” – a reality that was all too apparent to the men who occupied the office until relatively late in the 20th century. Close to presidential power but denied …

‘World of PostSecret’ a vivid mosaic of life

Sunday, December 21, 2014

People literally have shared a ton of secrets with Frank Warren. Ten years ago, the Germantown, Md., resident launched a “community art project” with the goal of collecting 365 postcards bearing anonymous senders’ artfully depicted secrets. He got a bunch and started sharing them on a blog, PostSecret.com. A phenomenon was born: Warren …

‘I Must Say’ Martin Short’s endearing memoir

Sunday, December 21, 2014

One of Martin Short’s great on-screen moments arrives in John Landis’s 1986 comedy, ¡Three Amigos! in which he played a silent-film star alongside Steve Martin and Chevy Chase. Early in the movie, an unwitting village sends the trio a telegram begging to be rescued from an “infamous” outlaw known as El Guapo. “What …

‘Midnight in Siberia’ looks at Russia today

Sunday, December 7, 2014

As the West nervously watches a newly aggressive Russia, many commentators are trying to figure out what Vladimir Putin is thinking. But Midnight in Siberia reminds us of another important question: What are the Russian people thinking? David …

Ayn Rand novel ‘Ideal’ to be published in July

Sunday, December 7, 2014

An Ayn Rand novel written, temporarily shelved and later published as a play is finally being released in its original form. The New American Library, an imprint of Penguin Random House, announced Thursday that Rand’s Ideal would be …

A little humor in ‘Severed’

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Somewhat inexplicably, Frances Larson fails, in what must otherwise be the definitive book about decapitation, to mention or quote the most famous passage about that gruesome business. It comes, of course, from one of the greatest novels in …

De Niro: a look at the life from afar

Sunday, December 7, 2014

With a marked ability to become whatever character he’s playing, Robert De Niro presents any biographer with a vexing question: Who, exactly, is he? In this well-researched biography, Shawn Levy attempts to answer this question, but just as …

‘The Lodger’ an introduction to the modernist movement

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Louisa Treger’s earnest, carefully researched first novel spotlights a neglected pioneer of 20th-century literature: Dorothy Richardson, who published one of the earliest examples of stream-of-consciousness fiction, Pointed Roofs, in 1915. Fellow modernist Virginia Woolf praised her for inventing …

Cosby biographer says he was wrong to exclude rape allegations from book

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Mark Whitaker, the former journalist and author whose sweeping, recently published biography of Bill Cosby, Cosby: His Life and Times, which drew good reviews, has issued something of a mea culpa. His crime? Not bothering to discuss the many allegations of drugging and sexual assault women levied against …

‘The Sense of Style’ could do much good

Sunday, November 30, 2014

It is said that you should never ask a linguist for advice on grammar because the answer will always start with, “Well, it depends,” and everything after that will leave you more confused than before. But we need …

Think you know what a catfish is? ‘In Real Life’ explores social media term

Sunday, November 30, 2014

If you think a catfish is a river-dwelling bottom-feeder that has felinelike whiskers, chances are you’re not very active on social media. Which also means that you’ve probably never heard of either Nev Schulman, who’s credited with turning …

‘Our Secret Life in the Movies’ a memento mori

Sunday, November 30, 2014

This beautiful, devastating little book is quite unlike anything else I’ve ever encountered, and if you grew up in a small town in the 1980s feeling even remotely marginal, it’s specifically engineered to break your heart. Our Secret …

‘Burning Room’ the stirrings of a trend?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Harry Bosch has trouble holding on to partners. Throughout his long career at the Los Angeles Police Department, Detective Bosch has lost a couple of partners in the line of duty; others have turned out to be crooked …