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Authors’ Lives Fodder for Rom-Coms

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A film company is hoping to turn the life of author Jane Austen into a romantic comedy. They couldn’t have picked a worse subject. Austen is a classic novelist, one whose books Emma, Sense and Sensibility and the beloved Pride and Prejudice have themselves been turned into delightful romantic comedies on screen. Austen’s formula — a witty tale of a young woman drawn into a romance that is thwarted or …

‘Purity’ Isn’t Franzen’s Best

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Jonathan Franzen’s career offers a cautionary narrative — for us as much as him. As far back as 1996, with Perchance to Dream, his long essay published in Harper’s on the state of contemporary fiction, he has filled the role of both avatar and scapegoat, an ambitious writer who can’t (or won’t) steer …

Felicia Day Loves the Internet, Despite Trolls

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Felicia Day is well aware that not everyone knows who she is. Those are the people who aren’t immersed in the gaming culture, who haven’t spent wide swaths of their lives playing World of Warcraft, or watching her Web series about it, called “The Guild.” They’ve never seen her in Joss Whedon’s Buffy …

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 …

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. …

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 …

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 …