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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 …

How a rebellious frat boy became Dr. Seuss

Saturday, August 1, 2015

For all the stories Dr. Seuss has told you, have you ever heard his own? How a boy from Springfield, Mass., become the man whose work is the gold standard of children’s literature? It started with alcohol. In …

California girl and her Mexican cousin search for common ground in ‘Dancing Home’

Saturday, August 1, 2015

How would you like your cousin to move in with you? Every person is bound to have a different reaction. Born in Texas and living with her parents in Northern California, Margie (short for Margarita) is not thrilled when her Mexican cousin, whom she hasn’t met, comes to …

Memoir by mother of Columbine shooter coming in February

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A memoir by the mother of Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold is scheduled for 2016, and will be launched with a prime-time interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer. Crown Publishers told the Associated Press on July 23 that Sue Klebold’s …

‘Watchman’ sales exceed 1.1 million copies in first week

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sales of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman have sold more than 1.1 million copies since the book went on sale in the U.S. and Canada on July 14, HarperCollins Publishers said. The company, part of News Corp., …

Temperance Brennan returns in ‘Speaking in Bones’

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A hallmark of Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan novels is how she incorporates a solid knowledge of forensics in a way that a novice can understand the intricacies, yet still appeal to an expert in the field. In Speaking …

Anderson suggests policy shifts that young people ‘like’

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The only thing less original than the selfie as a form of expression is the selfie as shorthand for a generation. So I was inclined to distrust The Selfie Vote, Republican pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson’s look at how …

Diary allows access to ‘Saint Mazie’s’ past

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mazie Phillips-Gordon, the so-called Queen of the Bowery, was a cartoonishly large real-life heroine that no fiction writer would dare make up. A busty bottle-blonde with a green celluloid eyeshade and a booming voice, Mazie occupied the ticket …

150 years of Wonderland history

Saturday, July 25, 2015

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, probably the most beloved children’s book in English, as well as the most parodied, quoted and analyzed. Its 1871 sequel, Through the Looking-Glass, and What …

Coach’s misdeeds protected by town

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Rape, an ugly reality once mostly whispered about, is now everywhere in the news: rapes by college boys and star athletes, in fraternity houses, prisons and the military – even rape used as an instrument of war. Allison …

DuBois thriller brings a gunfight to the beach

Thursday, July 23, 2015

When most people think of Hampton Beach and New Hampshire, they don’t tend to think about car chases, missing persons, gun fights, mobs or nuclear meltdowns. But in Brendan DuBois’s Lewis Cole series, that is just what readers …