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Books

Novelist imagines the life of Pissarro’s mother

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Midway through Alice Hoffman’s latest novel, the mother of the great impressionist painter Camille Pissarro takes her 2-week-old son into the forest to find a medicine man she hopes can cure him of the malady that has kept him from eating or sleeping since birth. The herbalist, who lives in a shack the budding artist will one day use as a makeshift studio, studies the infant, then renders his diagnosis. There’s nothing the matter with him, he says. “He just has other things on his mind. . . . He sees what you can’t see.” A 2-week-old? Unlikely. But realism is beside the point in …

The fight over proper usage

Saturday, August 29, 2015

How you say something matters as much as what you say. At least that’s the opinion of many grammarians, who have been quibbling about Americans’ use of language for as long as there has been an American language to fight over. Rosemarie Ostler’s Founding Grammars chronicles these word wars in wonderful, wonkish detail. …

Hummingbird rehabber saves numerous birds

Saturday, August 29, 2015

You don’t have to be a bird person in general or a hummingbird person specifically to read Fastest Things on Wings. You don’t need to know anything about birds at all. The very gifted bird whisperer Terry Masear has you covered. She’s one of California’s hardest-working hummingbird rehabilitators. What she knows about these …

Sequel doesn’t live up to hype

Saturday, August 8, 2015

James Abel’s follow-up to the stellar White Plague, the new Protocol Zero, is intriguing, but ultimately doesn’t live up to the premise or anticipation generated by the earlier novel. Marine Joe Rush has dealt with many things that …

Ike Barinholtz book coming in 2017

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Ike Barinholtz is the latest funny person with a book deal. Grand Central Publishing announced Monday that it had acquired a collection of humorous essays by the writer-performer whose credits include The Mindy Project and MADtv. The book, …

Long-lost Fitzgerald story finally published

Saturday, August 8, 2015

A year before F. Scott Fitzgerald died of a heart attack, he completed a short story about a hard-drinking writer diagnosed with cardiac disease. “And as for that current dodge ‘No reference to any living character is intended’ …

Dundas finds something new about Sherlock Holmes

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Is there anything left to say about Sherlock Holmes? The fame of Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic detective has now stretched across three centuries, with no expiration date in sight. Today, some 130 years after the first story was …

Killer caught – after 38 years

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Beatrice Johnson or Swanzey recently published She’s Not Just a Faded Photograph (Clara’s Life) with Dorrance Publishing Co. The book tells the story of abuse, secrecy and murder, and the author’s promise to find justice for her beloved …

‘The Girl With Seven Names’ reveals complexities of freedom

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Escaping North Korea was the easy part. In her memoir, The Girl With Seven Names, Hyeonseo Lee, as she is called today, takes us on her gripping journey from the Ryanggang Province of North Korea where dustless portraits …

‘The Redeemers’ showcases author’s storytelling abilities

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The sense of justice and righteousness that Sheriff Quinn Colson has brought to his tenure in Mississippi’s Tibbehah County is drawing to a close in Ace Atkins’ gripping new novel, The Redeemers. But the fifth installment in this …

Native American boy finds strength, courage in family

Saturday, August 1, 2015

What would it feel like to be an 8-year-old boy suddenly separated from your family? The scariness of the situation is clear and immediate in Chickadee, which is set in 1866 in the territory that is now Minnesota. …

Petri is genuinely weird

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Usually when people tell you they had an awkward adolescence, they’re exaggerating to make themselves relatable. (See: interviews with supermodels.) But Alexandra Petri, a Washington Post columnist, was – and continues to be – supremely, cringingly, legitimately weird. …

Humanity strips all bare

Saturday, August 1, 2015

“The naked and the nude,” Robert Graves observed, “stand as wide apart as love from lies.” That slippery distinction could be the epigraph for Lisa Glatt’s sly new book, The Nakeds. Glatt, a poet whose most recent novel …