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Helen Taylor Davidson and her husband Richard Davidson at their home in Palinfield, N.H., on April 7, 2014. They  worked together on deciphering her great-grandmother's diary.
Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

Imagining Adeline: Family Diary Inspires Plainfield Woman’s Novel

Friday, April 11, 2014

In 2009, Helen Taylor Davidson of Plainfield sat down with the diary of her great-grandmother Adeline Elizabeth Hoe with the intent of transcribing it. That would have been ambitious enough, but she went a step further. She dove into the deep end of imagination and wrote a novel that begins where her great-grandmother’s diary leaves off. Both the novel and …

An Atheist Grapples With a Mystical Encounter

Friday, April 11, 2014

Barbara Ehrenreich never meant to write a memoir. “It seems very self-involved,” she says by phone from her home in Arlington, Va. “I have anxiety about it.” That anxiety is heightened at the moment because her new book, Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth About Everything (Twelve, $26), is as personal a piece of writing as she has …

Matthiessen: Best Fiction ‘Will Always Matter’

Friday, April 11, 2014

Peter Matthiessen, who died Saturday at age 86 of complications from leukemia, was complex, even contradictory, in the most compelling sense. Born into privilege, he attended Hotchkiss boarding school and Yale and founded the Paris Review in 1953 with George Plimpton and Harold L. Humes. Yet he later became a Zen monk and in his own fashion was something of an ascetic. He …

Author Peter Matthiessen Dies at 86

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Associated Press Peter Matthiessen, a rich man’s son who spurned a life of leisure and embarked on extraordinary physical and spiritual quests while producing such acclaimed books as The Snow Leopard and At Play in the Fields of …

A ‘Night’ From Another Time

Sunday, March 30, 2014

New York — Before his mother became the model for Blanche DuBois of A Streetcar Named Desire and his sister the inspiration for Laura Wingfield of The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams drew upon a college girlfriend — if …

Belated Tribute To a Fine Poet

Friday, March 28, 2014

Somewhat belatedly, I want to add my voice to the rightful chorus of tribute to poet Maxine Kumin, who died Feb. 6 at 89. She lived in New Hampshire, about an hour and a half to my southeast, and I had known, admired and greatly liked this marvelous …

If You Think Someone Is Watching You... You Might Be Right

Friday, March 28, 2014

W hen James Madison drafted the Bill of Rights in 1789, which included the Fourth Amendment’s stipulation of “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” …

Have Poetry, Will Travel: National Poetry Month Readings

Friday, March 28, 2014

National Poetry Month is right around the corner, and never mind what T.S. Eliot said (“April is the cruellest month,” right?), local arts and literary organizations have some interesting plans. PoemTown Randolph, a celebration of poetry modeled on …

Writers Use Dogs as Characters in Fiction

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A lovely older dog lounges on the cover of The Book of Why, although this novel is not a dog story, per se. It’s a story about love and loss and grief and sorrow, about one man’s struggle to move on in a life that seems to lack …

‘American Vampire’ Comic Series Makes Return

Sunday, March 23, 2014

If the yearlong wait for the return of the Eisner Award-winning American Vampire series has been difficult for its fans, imagine being Scott Snyder. As the co-creator of American Vampire — one of Vertigo Comics’ current crown jewels — he wasn’t prepared for just how bad he’d want …

Different, Difficult, Darker: ‘Bark,’ Lorrie Moore’s Latest Collection, Shows She Has Evolved Since ‘Birds of America’

Monday, March 17, 2014

Once upon a time, my friend Emily, who is from Iowa, met a woman at a party in New York. The woman asked her where she was from, and she said, “Iowa.” “Where?” the woman asked. “Iowa,” Emily …

Who Is Well-Read Anymore? The Canon and the Internet Age

Friday, March 14, 2014

In the interest of self-improvement, it’s time to pose a question that isn’t exactly burning a hole in the nation’s conscience: What does it mean, in the Internet age, to be well-read? I ask because it’s a question …

Memories Of Vermont, And a Famed Fiddler

Friday, March 14, 2014

(The Man from Vermont. Adam R. Boyce. The History Press. 158 pp.) Not often does an author produce a biography of a person whose life contains elements quite similar to the writer’s own, but such is the case …