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A poem by Charles Simic: The Secret

Sunday, October 4, 2015

On Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Concord City Auditorium, Charles Simic will receive the 2015 Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon Award in American Poetry and give a reading of his poems. Tickets are $10 ($5 for students) and are available at Gibson’s Bookstore, the Concord Monitor front desk and To prepare for the event, the Monitor is running a series of three Sunday poems by Simic with commentary …

A reflection on race in America

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Susan Sontag once observed, “Great writers are either husbands or lovers. Some writers supply the solid virtues of a husband [while others have] gifts of a lover, gifts of temperament rather than of moral goodness.” She was writing about Albert Camus, “the ideal husband,” but she also mentions in passing George Orwell and …

A look back to when Detroit’s promise seemed boundless

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The city that remains synonymous with America’s auto industry has a newer identity as an emblem of urban decay. Its decline is all the more tragic when one looks in the rearview mirror to see how Detroit seemed to be firing on all cylinders a half-century ago. Detroit native David Maraniss recalls that …

Bartending author surprised book recalled due to sexual drink names

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Massachusetts author of a bartending manual was “extremely surprised” to learn his books had been recalled from New Hampshire state liquor stores over concerns that some drink names were too sexually explicit.  “We’ve worked with states, big …

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 …

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 …

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 …

An early attempt to bring the West to Japan

Saturday, August 29, 2015

As most of us can attest, being a teenager is hard enough. Now imagine being a Japanese teenager in America – in the 1870s. If your imagination needs a little help, look no further than Janice P. Nimura’s …

‘Circling the Sun’ doesn’t offer a truer sense of Markham

Saturday, August 29, 2015

As a young person, I searched for books about Africa. Black African writers were in short supply back then, but Rudyard Kip­ling, Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway and Joseph Conrad were readily available. They delivered a world of danger, …

‘Safari’ memoir from founder of Abercrombie & Kent

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Geoffrey Kent, founder of the Abercrombie & Kent luxury tour company, grew up in colonial Africa and hunted an elephant at age 15 in 1957. After killing “the most beauteous and magnificent beast” he’d ever seen, he vows, …

UNH professor Charles Simic wins Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize for poetry

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Poet and University of New Hampshire professor Charles Simic was recently selected as the sixth winner of the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. Simic, 77, is a writer who has published many books of poetry and …

A delicious book on the changes of food

Saturday, August 22, 2015

What’s cooking? This was not a terribly difficult question for our grandparents or great-grandparents to answer. Yet somewhere along the way in the great prosperity that came over most of North America in the post-World War II era, …

New book urges parents to let kids fail

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A new book written by a schoolteacher has a simple yet compelling message for parents: Back off. In The Gift of Failure, author Jessica Lahey pushes back against helicopter parenting, which she acknowledges having fallen victim to when …