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Getting retribution over childhood bullies

Sunday, March 29, 2015

What becomes of bullies when they grow up? Do they evolve into decent, kind human beings, or does their capacity for malice grow along with their bodies? Allen Kurzweil explores this issue – and much more – in Whipping Boy, a compulsive account of his search for the childhood tormentor who made his life miserable during the year he spent at an English-style boarding school in Switzerland while his widowed mother “was test-driving her third husband.” “There has never been anything neutral about my Switzerland,” Kurzweil writes in this odyssey of retribution and release. As a child, he had happy associations with the alpine country, …

Big data

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Even if we aren’t certain what to make of big data, we all know that it’s, well, big. The phrase is suddenly everywhere, tripping off the tongue in domains from marketing to management to medicine. Newly massive and complex data sets, along with advanced methods of probing them, it is said, are remaking …

Heartrending and warm

Sunday, March 29, 2015

When Scott Simon began tweeting pain, love and conversation from his mother’s deathbed in an intensive-care unit in July 2013, he turned personal grief into collective emotion. Sharing painful moments and insights – “I just realized: she once had to let me go into the big wide world. Now I have to let …

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. …

Kim Gordon is more than just a ‘Girl in a Band’

Saturday, February 28, 2015

As the front woman for influential indie band Sonic Youth for three decades, Kim Gordon had a ringside seat as experimental music left the grimy clubs of New York and went mainstream with the help of MTV and …

Toni Morrison and Rita Dove to attend National Book Critics Circle Awards

Saturday, February 28, 2015

This month’s National Book Critics Circle Awards ceremony will offer a rare chance to see some of the country’s most celebrated authors. Nobel laureate Toni Morrison has confirmed that she will attend the March 12 ceremony to receive this year’s Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. The NBCC announced …

Lippman deals with parenthood in ‘Hush Hush’

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Laura Lippman’s novels about Baltimore private investigator Tess Monaghan have never followed the predictable mode. Instead, the series about this sometimes cranky, perceptive young woman has afforded Lippman a way of looking at what motivates people and how …

On My Nightstand: ‘The Disappearance’ is a wild thriller

Saturday, February 28, 2015

In The Disappearance by J.F. Freedman, a teenager named Emma Lancaster has been abducted from a slumber party she was having with two of her girlfriends. One of the young girls briefly awakes and describes a blanket-wrapped Emma in someone’s arms. There is no struggle and the kidnapaper’s …

Concord native writes dystopian novel

Friday, February 27, 2015

It’s a classic tale: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl can’t be together because their love is forbidden by a government that has betrothed them to other people and will banish them …

New book tells story of Revolutionary War hero John Stark

Thursday, February 26, 2015

His words grace New Hampshire’s license plates – “Live Free or Die” – yet most people outside New England would be hard-pressed to identify Gen. John Stark, despite his heroics in two 18th century wars, including key roles …