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"Trolley-New Orleans" is a 1955 image by photographer Robert Frank. (Courtesy National Gallery of Art)

National Gallery’s Show of Photobooks Follows in Footsteps of Robert Frank

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Washington — From the earliest days of photography, images were collected in albums, the way a botanist might save pressed flowers. All that changed in 1959 with the publication of Robert Frank’s photobook The Americans. With this collection of stark yet idiosyncratic images, photography was no longer just an objective representation of our world but an artist’s experience of it. …

Didion Bio Offers Little Beyond Her Own Writing

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion by Tracy Daugherty; St. Martin’s Press (752 pages; $35) Someday someone will write a biography worthy of Joan Didion, an author known for her razor-sharp insights and crystalline style. This is not that book. Tracy Daugherty’s The Last Love Song fails to tell Didion’s …

A Look Inside Hemingway’s Cuban Estate

Sunday, August 23, 2015

When he was not writing letters or working on the books that earned him the Nobel Prize, Ernest Hemingway wrote notes, in pencil, on his walls and in the margins of many of the 8,000 books in his library. At his estate near Havana, Finca Vigia, known as Museo Hemingway since 1962, Hemingway …

There’s Time Left For More Reading During The Summer

Thursday, August 13, 2015

In the better-late-than-never category we turn to summer reading. Yes, it’s still summer, it’s still warm, and there’s still time to bring a book to a beach, lake, campsite, state park or town green. It’s true that the summer seems to have raced by, and that Labor Day …

Ghostwriter Hilary Liftin Brings Hollywood Perspective to Her First Novel

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hilary Liftin knows what it’s like to be a star — well, kind of. The publishing industry veteran has been writing about celebrities for years as a ghostwriter for A-listers such as Tori Spelling, Mackenzie Phillips and Miley Cyrus. Liftin, who studied English at Yale University, spent 10 …

‘The Fellowship’ Details the Literary Lives of the Inklings

Thursday, August 13, 2015

There’s a kind of fan who will see a book title that includes the words Tolkien, Lewis and Inklings and hunger for every last detail. If you are that kind of fan, this may be your kind of …

Jennine Capó Crucet Talks About Miami, Writing Elsewhere

Thursday, August 13, 2015

You may be tempted to assume that Lizet, the college student at the heart of Jennine Capó Crucet’s new novel, is a thinly disguised version of Crucet. After all, there are similarities: They’re the same age. They’re both …

A Quiet Mastery

Friday, July 31, 2015

They are all still happily picking, after all these years. Picking, snacking, and kuplunking their way up the rocky, spruce-dotted slopes of Blueberry Hill. Little Sal looks much the same as she did in 1948, appealingly androgynous, both …

Jimmy Carter Holds Ideals Close at 90

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Jimmy Carter let me down. Not with his book A Full Life: Reflections at 90 — a warm and detailed memoir of his youth followed by a clear-eyed assessment of the issues he tackled as president and afterward …

Scout’s Adult Conscience

Saturday, July 18, 2015

When I was 12, in the 1970s, I went on a trip to Alabama, my first trip to the Deep South. The occasion was a visit to a well-to-do family, connected distantly through marriage, that had made their …

‘Watchman’ Reads Like A First Draft

Friday, July 17, 2015

Go Set a Watchman: A Novel by Harper Lee; Harper (278 pages, $27.99) It would be a mistake to read Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman as a sequel to her 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird. Yes, it takes place a generation after the earlier book, …

Lee’s ‘Watchman’ Hits Shelves

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman goes on sale this week — you may have heard — but the puzzle around the publication of the book isn’t clearing up anytime soon. The shocking revelation in the book is …

Book: Nixon Still Harms U.S.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The conventional wisdom among Nixon apologists is that the Watergate scandal has been overblown, that the crimes were those that had been committed by other presidents, too, and that Richard Nixon was a great man who did great …