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Books

“Me and Dog” author Gene Weingarten, left, with his son Daniel in 2010, says his kids grew up “knowing, understanding we didn’t have a religion.” Today, his daughter calls herself “agnostic” and Daniel, now 30, says he’s a mix of “Native American spirituality, gnosticism and Eastern philosophies.” Illustrates BOOKS-GOD (category e), by Michelle Boorstein © 2014, The Washington Post. Moved Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. (MUST CREDIT: Washington Post photo by Michael S. Williamson)

Children’s Book Examines Atheism

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Washington — Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten is known for exploring morality in both somber and extremely silly ways, including an in-depth article on parents who mistakenly leave their children to die in hot cars and an essay that asks, among other things, whether it’s possible to steal a fart. His new book lays out different questions, and …

Humor in Pain, Pain in Humor: Author James McBride Finds the Funny in Slavery, Poverty, Abuse

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Good Lord Bird, James McBride’s 2013 novel about a young boy in abolitionist John Brown’s ragtag army, is probably the funniest book about slavery you will ever read. His 1996 memoir, The Color of Water, about his mother’s difficult life — mistreated by her harsh father, impoverished after her husband died — …

Warhol Bodyguard Sued Over ‘Liz’

Saturday, October 25, 2014

New York — Andy Warhol’s foundation sued the iconic pop artist’s former bodyguard, accusing him of stealing Liz, a 1964 painting of actress Elizabeth Taylor, and hiding it for more than 30 years. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, established by the artist’s will to hold his works, alleged in a civil complaint that former bodyguard Agusto Bugarin is a “patient …

On Poetry: Children, Schools, Football and What We Value

Friday, October 24, 2014

This fall, our news, and not merely in the sports outlets, was filled with Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice’s brutal assault on his wife in an Atlantic City elevator. Rice was at first slapped on the wrist by league commissioner Roger Goodell: a two-day suspension. Goodell increased …

‘Book of Life’ Finds the Whimsy in Death

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Animation fans may face a tough choice at the multiplex this weekend. On some screens, you’ll find the whimsical, old-school animation of the stop-action feature The Boxtrolls. Set in a subterranean world, that movie tells the story of …

How an Affair Poisoned Politics

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Like many aspirants to the presidency, former Sen. Gary Hart saw himself in epic terms — as a “transformational figure” in American politics, Matt Bai reports in his book recounting the collapse of Hart’s 1988 bid for the …

The Finest Children’s Book About Politics

Saturday, October 11, 2014

At a time when so much media is just a search and click away, movies, music and books that have not made the transition to digital can feel infuriatingly elusive — especially if they are hard to track …

A Story of Might and Right

Saturday, October 11, 2014

I n 1997, Jean Merrill, author of the classic children’s book The Pushcart War , which told the fictional tale of a battle between New York City street vendors and big trucks, received a letter from Ela Bhatt, …

Novelist Bids a Cherished Character Farewell

Friday, October 10, 2014

On a warm fall morning three weeks into the new academic year at Dartmouth, veteran creative-writing professor Ernest Hebert searches the bookshelves of his office at Sanborn Hall for a copy of his first novel. There: About collarbone-high …

New ‘Star Wars’ History Includes Fans, Franchise, Future

Sunday, October 5, 2014

How Star Wars Conquered The Universe by Chris Taylor is an immensely readable look at the worldwide impact of the Star Wars saga over the decades. He calls it “a biography of Star Wars.” The book covers more …

Bill Cosby: Master of the Riff

Sunday, October 5, 2014

You could make a case that Bill Cosby is America’s most popular jazzman. For most of his life, Cosby has been riffing, improvising, playing off audiences and other performers, all the while making it sound like he knew where he was going all along. When he hit the …

Amtrak Announces First Writers in Residence

Friday, October 3, 2014

In the 1930s, hobos illicitly rode the rails; nowadays, authors are being invited onto trains thanks to Twitter and a new writers residency program launched by Amtrak. On Sept. 24, Amtrak announced the first class of resident writers, 24 authors who will ride its long-distance routes over the …

Laugh After Death: California Mortician Shares Funny Funeral Industry Stories in New Book

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Signal Hill, Calif. — When it comes to death, mortician Ken McKenzie says people are far too serious. After creating a “Men of Mortuaries” calendar featuring buff, shirtless morticians wielding shovels in 2007 and releasing Mortuary Confidential in 2010, the California mortuary owner has a new book out. …