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Books

President George H.W. Bush casts into the surf at the mouth of the Mousam River in Kennebunk, Maine on Sunday, Sept. 25, 1989    T he President spent the weekend at his home on the Maine coast and came empty handed during his fishing outing. (AP Photo/Doug Mills)

‘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 with a book of his own intended to give voice to his modest father’s life and legacy. At the outset of 41, …

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 other side of the Earth, but in Mac Barnett’s matter-of-fact anthem to the youthful urge …

‘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 is that Leonardo da Vinci’s model was Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo, wife of a Florentine …

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Shreve spins a beautiful romance From the illustrated cover showing a rosy-cheeked, wistful young girl to the eminently satisfying ending, Fortune’s Rocks by Anita Shreve (1999) is one of the most extraordinarily beautiful romance novels I have ever read. The main character, Olympia Biddeford, lives with her parents …

‘Smoke’ will keep you laughing through the despair

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Facing your own mortality can be a terrifying task, and Caitlin Doughty’s memoir aims to make us do just that. When she was 23 years old, Doughty took a job at Westwind Cremation & Burial, a family-owned mortuary …

Moore spills decades-old beans in ‘One Lucky Bastard’

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Roger Moore’s screen superpower has always been his ability to project the seemingly opposing qualities of geniality and entitlement at the same time. He was already a 45-year-old star of British television when he was propelled to global …

Review: ‘The Lost Key’ is compelling thriller

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A sub that disappeared near the end of World War I plays a key role in a modern-day murder in Catherine Coulter and J.T. Ellison’s The Lost Key. Nicholas Drummond has left his job with British intelligence and …

w: The sources of our political distempers

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Why have millions of Americans turned their backs on civic affairs, trashed elected officials and come to distrust the federal government? What are the sources of our political distempers? Such questions occupy the center of Jonathan Darman’s Landslide: …

‘Build a Girl’ a tale of survival

Sunday, October 19, 2014

In the author’s note to her rambunctious novel How to Build a Girl, Caitlin Moran insists that her teenage protagonist, Johanna Morrigan, is not herself, and that her story is fiction. But the plot mirrors Moran’s own unlikely …

Critic and museum director on encounters with art

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stendhal wrote about feeling faint in the presence of great art. Goethe said that merely knowing that a sculpture he admired could be created made him “twice the person” he was. Proust, in an episode of In Search …

‘Seven Killings’ a social portrait worthy of Diego Rivera

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Exploding with violence and seething with arousal, the third novel by Marlon James cuts a swath across recent Jamaican history. It leaves its Kingston ghettos strewn with victims, a few of them lovers, all of them spattered with …

After ‘Retronaut’ you’ll never look at the Capitol Dome the same way again

Sunday, October 19, 2014

True or false? The U.S. Capitol was once red. True – at least some of it was, during 1959-1960 – when, as part of a restoration project, anti-corrosive paint coated the portion of the building below the dome. …

Review: Book looks at costs of pork production

Sunday, October 19, 2014

When the recession took hold six years ago and consumers stopped eating high on the hog, the giant meatpacker Hormel Foods began ratcheting up production to meet a surge in demand for Spam, its low-cost processed pork product …