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Books

In this June 30, 2011 file photo, editor in chief Axel Alonzo poses at Marvel Comics in New York. Marvel Comics and DC Comics are leading a push for diversity in their industry’s mainstream characters. The new black Captain America comic book debuted in November. (AP Photo/Marvel Entertainment, Judith Stephens)

Black Captain America leading comic book diversity

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

For decades, comic books have been in color, but now they truly reflect all the hues of American society. The new Captain America is black. A Superman who is suspiciously similar to President Obama recently headlined a comic book. Thor is a woman, Spider-Man is part-Puerto Rican and Ms. Marvel is Muslim. Mainstream comic book superheroes – America’s modern mythology …

‘Killer Heels’ looks at the history of high heels

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Shakespeare mentions high heels in Hamlet, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised them and fashion designers from Dior to Manolo Blahnik have bewitched women and men with their versions. Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe is a luxurious, fun and sexy look at the history of high heels, and it manages to be eye candy and thought-provoking, too. It’s on …

The Mindful Reader: A sensible approach to mental strength

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My son saw my review copy of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin and said it’s all over social media, even though it’s not officially out until Jan. 1. Which is fitting, because the book grew out of a blog post that went viral. By the time she was …

‘Superstorm’ crafts narrative from Sandy’s wrath

Sunday, November 9, 2014

This year’s hurricane season in the Atlantic was weak with little to worry U.S. coastal residents, but any forecaster will tell you: It only takes one storm to make a bad year. In 2012, that one storm was …

‘Empire of Sin’ lurid, scholarly, thoroughly entertaining

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Given the publication of so many books and articles about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, it’s instructive to remember that many of the city’s much-discussed problems – street violence, institutionalized racism, the push-pull between permissiveness and prohibition – …

Review: ‘The Killer Next Door’ is gripping mystery

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Desperation brings six people to a decaying Victorian apartment house where the tenants’ desolation pales in comparison with one neighbor’s despicable acts. Alex Marwood’s second stand-alone novel delivers a multilayered plot that succeeds as crime fiction, a gothic …

Book collects best of Jazz Age mag Vanity Fair

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Before Buzzfeed, before Spy, before Rolling Stone and the Paris Review, there was Vanity Fair. The smart-set magazine launched a century ago became famous as a sort of barometer of the Jazz Age and for its murderers’ row …

‘Spoiled Brats’ is brilliant, original, hilarious

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Feel the humiliation of the widowed guinea pig, so beaten down he contemplates suicide and questions his Christian faith. See through the eyes of the doting parents, who look past the signs of demonism – the pentagram birthmark …

Top-tier short fiction in Ron Rash collection

Sunday, November 9, 2014

For those unfamiliar with the beautiful and searing short stories of Ron Rash, Something Rich and Strange is a generous, well-timed introduction. Rash’s stories tell in crisp, gripping prose the emotional travails of life on the Appalachian outback …

Mindful Reader: Despairing lives, an epic journey and #YesAllWomen

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Concord native Michael Fournier’s new novel Swing State is set in the fictional mill town of Armbrister, N.H. Swing State is about three tragic characters: Roy Eggleton, an injured Afghanistan War vet with no family and nearly no …

Rare Steinbeck WWII story finally published

Sunday, November 9, 2014

In July 1944, Orson Welles wrapped up one of his wartime radio broadcasts with a brief, emotional reading of one of the country’s favorite authors, John Steinbeck. The piece was titled “With Your Wings,” an inspirational story about …

‘Gray Mountain’ won’t disappoint Grisham fans

Sunday, November 2, 2014

John Grisham has been writing legal thrillers and dramas that resonate with readers for almost 25 years, and his latest continues the theme of ordinary people who work in the law profession experiencing a crisis of conscience. Sometimes …

Brief Chaplin bio captures essence of ‘the Tramp’

Sunday, November 2, 2014

In 1914, Keystone Studios released two short films that gave a world marching to war a reason to laugh. Their titles, Kid Auto Races at Venice and Mabel’s Strange Predicament, are far less memorable than the character they …