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Books

Fire Shut Up in My Bones

Blow speaks on the complexity of the black male experience in ‘Fire Shut Up in My Bones’

Sunday, September 28, 2014

New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow’s new memoir, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, was released Tuesday. So far, headlines about the book have focused almost entirely on one thing: Blow’s grappling with his attraction to other men. The author says that’s fair and that the attention to the issue is understandable. The story is about much more than just his sexuality, though. It poetically chronicles the writer’s life, taking readers on a journey from a painful childhood in a Louisiana town to a role as one of America’s most respected journalists, in a coming-of-age story with universal lessons. The Root spoke to Blow … 0

Easy Rawlins eyes Hearst-like case

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Walter Mosley evokes the curious turns of the Patty Hearst kidnapping saga and the fractured culture of that era in Rose Gold, his latest Easy Rawlins crime thriller. Rawlins, a black private investigator based in Los Angeles, follows leads from poor, simmering L.A. streets to secluded beachside mansions and laid-back hippie encampments. His … 0

Brilliant new biography of Tennessee Williams

Sunday, September 28, 2014

When The Glass Menagerie opened on Broadway in March 1945, the actress cast as Southern matriarch Amanda Wingfield got so drunk before the show that a bucket was placed in the wings so she could throw up between scenes. Seated six rows from the stage was the 34-year-old playwright, Tennessee Williams, who was … 0

‘The Bees’ a parable about consequences of hive mentality

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Bees – which is to say, the fear of them – dominated many summers of my childhood. Especially when walking (inevitably barefoot) through a particular Eastern Shore clover patch, I could focus on little else than trying to … 0

An unlikely odyssey and an even more uncommon bond between soldier and translator

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It was off the beaten path that retired U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Michael Moffett first heard about Fahim Fazli. Moffett, a lifelong New Hampshire resident, was in Afghanistan’s volatile Helmand Province in 2010 on assignment as a field … 0

‘Locust’ a dark and fantastical tale

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The stories we tell to explain autism go back centuries. The Celts believed fairies stole healthy babies and replaced them with elfin spirits. Bruno Bettelheim insisted the problem was cold, witchy mothers. Later, pediatricians and needles would be … 0

‘Lies’ a study of WWI virtues

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Unlike the books in Jacqueline Winspear’s popular Maisie Dobbs series, The Care and Management of Lies is not a mystery – although its scenes of World War I trench warfare certainly leave a reader in suspense. As much … 0

‘Book of Life’ crowded, complicated

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Time-tripping witch and scholar Diana Bishop returns in The Book of Life, the final installment of Deborah Harkness’s best-selling “All Souls” trilogy. When last encountered in Shadow of Night, Diana and her husband, aristo vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, … 0

American Life in Poetry: Punching holes in the sky

Sunday, August 3, 2014

At one point in Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun, a story set on a far-future Earth lapsed into a Dark Age, the narrator glimpses a “warrior of a dead world” in an enigmatic picture hanging in … 0

Michaelangelo bio odd but not bad

Sunday, August 3, 2014

In this enjoyable but curious biography, art historian Miles J. Unger presents the High Renaissance master Michelangelo Buonarroti through six of his major works: the Pieta, David, two segments of the Sistine Chapel frescos (the Creation of Adam … 0

‘The Beans of Egypt, Maine’ a spectacular, quirky read

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Carolyn Chute’s blockbuster novel The Beans of Egypt, Maine was a New York Times best-seller and Book-of-the-Month Club selection. It is about the impoverished townspeople of fictitious Egypt, Maine, told with total honesty and brutal detail. The author … 0

‘Dry Bones’ a disturbing debut for Bouman

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tom Bouman is a serious writer – literate, understated, elegant – and Dry Bones in the Valley is an exciting and disturbing debut. His detective, Henry Farrell, comes alive in a way that pulls us into his story from our first glimpse of him barefoot on his porch … 0

Dystopian ‘California’ amusing, if not convincing

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The environment is a disaster. Government has failed. Food is scarce. Untreatable viruses run rampant. Humans have lost the ability to reproduce. Welcome to the robust genre of post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction, otherwise known as “something really bad happened … 1