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Books

Stevie Nick's record "Belladonna" at Pitchfork Records.

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 the 66-year-old rocker has for so long overshadowed her bandmates: Nicks has rarely stopped supplying salacious material to writers more interested in …

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 and analysts have all offered their takes on recent history. The work, collectively, tends toward …

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 “Monopoly.” Yet for decades Parker Brothers peddled the story: how Darrow, an out-of-work salesman, was …

Review: Sports guy Greenberg hits home run with latest novel

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mike Greenberg knows sports. And talking about them. One-half of the long-running and ever-popular Mike & Mike national sports radio show, Greenberg (alongside co-host and former NFL player Mike Golic) spends the morning drive-time period touching on all …

Looking for a new winter hobby? Learning to knit can be easy

Sunday, January 25, 2015

When you’re stuck inside during a long, cold winter, working on a knitting project can be fun and rewarding. And although sweaters and lacy shawls can seem daunting, knitting is a fairly easy hobby to get started on. …

Sport’s connective power at heart of novel

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Given how central sports has become, culturally and economically, to Western society, I’m surprised that more science-fiction and fantasy writers don’t examine the games we play. When they do, we get the enormous pleasure of Quidditch in the …

An unusual new take on a classic

Sunday, January 18, 2015

History repeats itself. There’s nothing new under the sun. Some things never change. None of that sounds like a promising premise for a groundbreaking book, but those ideas are essential to Andrew Levy’s Huck Finn’s America, an unusual …

‘Unquiet Dead’ an outstanding debut by Khan

Sunday, January 18, 2015

War atrocities reverberate for generations, affecting those who fought on the battlefield and the civilian victims who were collateral damage. Ausma Zehanat Khan’s gripping first novel tackles questions of identity, culture, revenge and war horrors in a strong …

Patton Oswalt has a thing for the movies

Sunday, January 18, 2015

‘I started comedy when the boom was ending, in ’88; I started writing books when print began to die,” says actor, comedian and author Patton Oswalt. “I’m drawn to dying realms, man.” Oswalt is sitting in a Mid-City …

The influence of cotton on history

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Global history is very much the fashion in leading university history departments today. Some of them seek to replace courses in Western civilization with classes in global history – but usually such courses have to be team-taught by …

Self-help guru Tony Robbins wants to make you rich

Sunday, January 18, 2015

As one of the world’s most celebrated life coaches, Tony Robbins is best known for helping millions of people improve the quality of their lives in many personal and meaningful ways from losing weight and improving their relationships …

Miranda July’s first novel takes quirky to new level

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The highly peculiar Cheryl Glickman narrates The First Bad Man, a darkly comic, frustrating and uneven first novel by Miranda July, who’s also a filmmaker and performance artist. Cheryl is a misfit, a socially inept, well-meaning, often inappropriate …

Review: Book balances funny, fragile times of Bob Hope

Sunday, January 11, 2015

At one time, Bob Hope was the hottest thing in comedy, a fresh face with a fresh delivery. Really. He was cutting edge in the 1930s, practically inventing the monologue as a delivery system for jokes. Hope went …