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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 …

‘The Fixer’ is another worthwhile novel from Joseph Finder

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Joseph Finder takes a familiar story and gives it a unique spin in his latest page-turner, The Fixer. Finder crafts tales that force his characters to step outside their comfort zone and confront their fears if they are …

Musical duo will have new biography in 2018

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A biography of Rodgers and Hammerstein, written with the cooperation of the late Broadway team’s publishing arm, will be come out in 2018. Henry Holt and Company announced Monday that Todd S. Purdum’s book, Rogers and Hammerstein, also …

Bush biography forgets nothing

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Some Washington memoirs come out too soon. Written when the relevant administrations are still in office and before the authors, fresh from their awkward farewell gatherings, have fully processed the events they’re describing, these books are great for …

HOPE: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Many middle-class parents today look back on our free-range childhoods with amazement. Did our moms really kick us out the door, telling us to be home only for dinner or when it got dark? Did we really ride …

New anthology reveals Arnold’s creative process

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Chances are, you’re more familiar with Eve Arnold’s photographs than you are with the photographer herself, who died at the age of 99 in 2012. Arnold’s images, published in an array of legendary periodicals including Life and London’s …

Single Handed: Surviving the unimaginable

Saturday, July 18, 2015

After surviving the Holocaust and a year in a notorious Nazi concentration camp, Tibor Rubin fought as a U.S. Army infantryman in Korea, displaying the kind of raw courage associated with Hollywood war movies and going on to …

Armada: Aliens are invading

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Ernest Cline’s follow-up to Ready Player One, Armada, proves he has the ability to blend popular culture with exciting stories that appeal to everyone, especially readers who grew up in the 1980s. Zack is a high school senior, …

Kumin’s memoir and life are remembered at release event

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Maxine Kumin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet laureate, is well remembered by her friends, colleagues and neighbors in Warner. The opportunity to remember her continues a little more than a year after her death with the release of her …

After months of anticipation, new Harper Lee novel released

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Shortly after sunrise Tuesday, the doors opened at the Old Courthouse Museum in Monroeville, Ala., and a bell tolled. In the hometown and residence of Harper Lee, it was time to start a marathon and occasionally painful reading …

Ray Duckler: Does Harper Lee’s sequel kill a man’s image?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Sarah May Schultz swiped her thumb along the smart phone screen, moving deeper into the newspaper article about Harper Lee’s new book. It didn’t take long to notice sadness in her blue eyes, wide and hopeful just moments …