Books

Kirk Douglas Publishes Poetry Book

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Kirk Douglas may be one of the biggest actors of his era, with starring roles in 1960’s Spartacus, 1949’s Champion and 1951’s Ace in the Hole. But on a recent crisp morning, he was having a grand time simply reciting his poetry by heart for an audience of one. With a twinkle of his blue eyes, he proclaimed: Romance begins at 80 And I ought to know. I live with …

A Legacy In Letters and on the Land

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It’s Nov. 21, 2014, about 10 a.m., and I’m heading up the Bill Hill trail in Thetford Center. The morning has been cold and squally, and right now fat snowflakes ride ripples of the shifting wind, settling onto ice that covers this opening bit of trail. I’m here to honor Noel (Ned) Perrin, …

On Prose: For a Writer, What Isn’t in a Name?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Editor’s Note: This is the first “On Prose” column from Lyme novelist, essayist and story writer W.D. Wetherell. Intended as a companion to Sydney Lea’s “On Poetry” columns, “On Prose” will appear semi-regularly on the Valley News Books page.  Let’s start things off with a surprise quiz. What do the following all share in common? Tommy Traddles. Hannibal Chollop. Sissy Jupe. Peepy …

Big Success for Author of ‘Wild’

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The big checks started coming in about nine months after Wild hit bookshelves and started its climb to the top of The New York Times best-seller’s list. To Oprah’s Book Club. And, as of this coming week, to …

Books to Buy for Fans of Felines

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Los Angeles — The felines are fighting back — on the bookshelf. Cats outnumber dogs in the U.S., but in bookstores, dog titles reign, the American Pet Products Association says. Fans insist felines are getting more popular as they ride the coattails of Internet sensations like Grumpy Cat, …

‘War’ Details Rising Military-Internet Link

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A thought commonly attributed to George Orwell holds that good people can sleep at night only because rough men are awake and ready to protect them. But in the modern world, two other groups are also vital to a sound sleep: software engineers and computer geeks. That’s the …

Writing Suffers When Language Turns Away From Physical Life

Friday, December 5, 2014

The French poet Stephane Mallarmé once opined (T.S. Eliot would echo him in his magisterial Four Quartets) that poetry’s object was to “purify the language of the tribe.” I’ve been thinking about that lately — less, though, in response to any poetic text than to a wonderful prose …

Authors Reflect On the Weight Of Books Given As Gifts

Friday, December 5, 2014

Once again, we asked authors to write about books they’ve given or received as gifts. I love this question because it isn’t really about recommendations — although it may inspire some. Our favorite gifts bind us to the …

Pulitzer-Winning Editor Describes Descent Into Poverty

Friday, December 5, 2014

“The rich,” writes William McPherson at the opening of his essay Falling, posted at the Hedgehog Review, “are all alike, to revise Tolstoy’s famous words, but the poor are poor in their own particular ways.” McPherson is writing from experience; a novelist and former editor of the Washington …

In ‘Prune,’ a Chef Speaks to Her Cooks

Saturday, November 29, 2014

New York — At 10:15 on a miserably rainy morning, a crowd huddled under the pink awning outside Prune. The restaurant, in the East Village, had been open for only 15 minutes, and already every one of its …

Gift Conundrum: What to Get for Someone Who Streams Everything?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

New York — Buying presents is hard. A good gift must be personal, but not too personal; affordable, but not cheap; useful, but not utilitarian. Ideally, it’s a physical object large enough to be worth wrapping, but not so large that you can’t carry it home. This confounding …

Bob Hope’s Legacy More Than Laughs

Sunday, November 23, 2014

New York — While today he may be thought of with misgivings, if at all, Bob Hope reigned for much of the last century as America’s wisecracking avatar of comedy. By the time he died in 2003 at …

Story Brings Apocalypse to Upper Valley

Friday, November 21, 2014

When I was in high school, one of my English teachers had us read William Faulkner’s Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Delivered in December 1950, it remains the most soaring statement about the power of literature, and a sharp …