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Books

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 window onto the lost world of a mostly Jewish town in Eastern Europe on the eve of the Holocaust and the impetus for Kurtz’s book Three Minutes in Poland. Once restored by researchers at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., the film showed footage from Kurtz’s grandparents’ 1938 European vacation, including three minutes in the Polish town of Nasielsk, where Kurtz’s grandfather David was born. …

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 surprise us with storylines and settings that are guises to be worn and shucked after …

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 world. Sandrine Salome flees from New York City to Paris to escape an abusive and …

Beneath the face of beauty

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The premise of Amanda Filipacchi’s appealingly odd fourth novel is unveiled a few pages in, when an overweight, unattractive woman sits down in a therapist’s office. After some prodding that’s aimed at uncovering emotional pain (low self-esteem, difficult …

Filling in the Doctor Dread reggae story

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It might be said that Doctor Dread drank the Kool-Aid – except that the Washington, D.C. native’s transformation into an honorary Jamaican had nothing to do with a beverage. As Dread writes in this memoir, his conversion involved …

Examining the beastly nature of people

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mark Kurlansky’s newest book, City Beasts, is a work of fiction. If you don’t realize this at first, you’ll be forgiven. While the title rings with whimsy, his prose – detailed but not improbably over-the-top – lifts the …

A perpetual prince

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Had Prince Charles’ household ignored Catherine Mayer’s biography, the headlines generated by the book’s serialization – thanks to its suggestions that the prince intends to be an “activist” king and that even the queen worries about how he …

New but timeworn faces

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Kevin Gillooly, the 14-year-old narrator of Christopher Scotton’s debut novel, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, falls into the timeworn tradition of orphans, latchkey kids and boy adventurers who by circumstance or necessity are left to their own …

‘Dead Wake’ author, historian will present book at Concord High

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Historian Erik Larson will discuss his latest book, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, at Concord High School on Friday at 7 p.m. Dead Wake is the story of the British oceanliner the Lusitania, which was …

Sex, drugs and mystification

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Stevie Nicks wrote the only No. 1 Billboard hit Fleetwood Mac ever had (“Dreams”), but Zoe Howe’s fawning new biography, Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams and Rumours, offers ample evidence that talent and stage charisma aren’t the only reasons …

A straight-forward look at the war in Afghanistan

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Post-9/11 CIA memoirs keep coming with a frequency that must elevate the blood pressure of those Langley traditionalists who believe that the agency’s past should be forever entombed. Former CIA directors, division chiefs, station chiefs, lawyers, case officers …

Monopoly inventor isn’t who you think

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Nations, politicians, athletes, icons – they all need their foundation myths. But George Washington did not chop down the cherry tree. Michael Jordan was not cut from his high school basketball team. And Charles Darrow did not invent …

Nick Hornby’s ‘Funny Girl’ takes readers to 1960s London

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The author of High Fidelity has a new novel out, and it’s a sweet sojourn to 1960s London, where a cast of writers and actors embark on a groundbreaking television show that changes the course of their lives. …