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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, 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 …

Ted Kooser’ ‘Splitting an Order’ all his own

Sunday, November 30, 2014

With the possible exception of Billy Collins, Ted Kooser must be the most accessible and enjoyable major poet in America. His lines are so clear and simple that, in comparison, even Robert Frost sounds like Stephane Mallarme. The …

‘41’: George W.’s ‘love story’

Sunday, November 23, 2014

George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, is the only commander in chief in modern times who has declined to write a memoir. Now George W. Bush, the 43rd president, strides into the void …

Three treasure-houses for young readers

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Here are three books young readers – from wannabe explorers to budding logophiles – will enjoy: Keep digging Is any childhood truly complete without at least one shovel-wielding foray into shoulder-deep dirt? Typically, the preferred destination is the …

‘Mona Lisa: A Life Discovered’ reveals the woman behind the smile

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile has captivated audiences for centuries, inspiring songs, poetry and film. But little is known about the woman behind what may be the world’s most famous painting. The consensus among art researchers and historians …

‘Falling From Horses’ lacks tension

Sunday, November 23, 2014

“No animals were harmed in the making of this film.” If you see that disclaimer at the end of a movie, you know it was made after 1980. That’s when the Screen Actors Guild finally negotiated a contract …

Calling all N.H. children: Time to vote for your favorite picture book

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The elections aren’t over yet. Now it’s time for New Hampshire’s youngest residents to weigh in – on their favorite picture books. A committee of children’s librarians from across the state have narrowed the choices for the 2014 Ladybug Picture Book Award to 10 titles. The award aims …

Brooke Shields writes of life with her mother

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Brooke Shields, the iconic model-actress-Princeton grad, entered the literary scene in 2005 with her memoir about postpartum depression. This time, she sheds light on the relationship she shared with her mother, and it’s a well-crafted and insightful read …

Tomie dePaola visits Gibson’s Bookstore for discussion, book signing

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Listeners young and old filled chairs, sat on the floor and peered around bookshelves at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord yesterday morning to hear from local author and illustrator Tomie dePaola. “I love my home, I work at home. …

‘Beautiful You’ feels phoned-in

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chuck Palahniuk is something of a devilish demigod in gross-out social satire. Over the years, his signature attention to minutiae and his generous hand with carnal humor in books such as Fight Club and Choke have broadened his …

Review: Richard Ford brings back Frank Bascombe

Sunday, November 16, 2014

When the final novel in the Frank Bascombe trilogy was published in 2007, its author made it plain that a fourth book about the introspective sportswriter-turned-real estate broker wasn’t even a remote possibility. But now, seven years later …