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Books

Fire Shut Up in My Bones

Blow speaks on the complexity of the black male experience in ‘Fire Shut Up in My Bones’

Sunday, September 28, 2014

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow’s new memoir, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, was released Tuesday. So far, headlines about the book have focused almost entirely on one thing: Blow’s grappling with his attraction to other men. The author says that’s fair and that the attention to the issue is understandable. The story is about much more than just his sexuality, though. It poetically chronicles the writer’s life, taking readers on a journey from a painful childhood in a Louisiana town to a role as one of America’s most respected journalists, in a coming-of-age story with universal lessons. The Root spoke to Blow … 0

Easy Rawlins eyes Hearst-like case

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Walter Mosley evokes the curious turns of the Patty Hearst kidnapping saga and the fractured culture of that era in Rose Gold, his latest Easy Rawlins crime thriller. Rawlins, a black private investigator based in Los Angeles, follows leads from poor, simmering L.A. streets to secluded beachside mansions and laid-back hippie encampments. His … 0

Brilliant new biography of Tennessee Williams

Sunday, September 28, 2014

When The Glass Menagerie opened on Broadway in March 1945, the actress cast as Southern matriarch Amanda Wingfield got so drunk before the show that a bucket was placed in the wings so she could throw up between scenes. Seated six rows from the stage was the 34-year-old playwright, Tennessee Williams, who was … 0

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

‘The Shadow Hero’ exceptionally well-spun

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Before you crack the spine on this beautiful new book that helps unmask arguably the world’s first Asian American superhero, let’s reveal the true heroes in this thrilling literary escapade: Able to leap the building blocks of narrative in a single bound volume, our real adventurer is Gene … 0

Minecraft now a publishing sensation

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Like millions of parents, Aaron Sacharow welcomes those moments when his son – 7-year-old Tyler – takes a break from video games and picks up a book instead. He will even settle for the book being a guide … 0

Author’s ode to crosswords is right on the mark with ‘Crossword Century’

Sunday, August 31, 2014

If you love solving crosswords, you know how it feels to be in the fraternity. There’s the rush of matching wits with a mysterious puzzle-maker, the thrill of nailing an elusive answer and the satisfaction of filling in … 0

‘Harold and Jack’ a persuasive account of world leaders’ accidental friendship

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Christopher Sandford begins this account of the relationship between British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and American President John F. Kennedy with a meeting between the two in southern England. It occurred in June 1963, at which point Kennedy … 0