Books

‘Harry Potter’ Play to Be Published

Friday, February 12, 2016

When die-hard Harry Potter fans first heard that J.K. Rowling was writing a sequel to her beloved seven-part series, they couldn’t wait to get their hands on the book. Then they realized the sequel wasn’t going to be a book at all — it was a play. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is set to debut in London at the Palace Theatre on Harry’s birthday, July 30. But Wednesday, …

An Operatic Novel of a 19th Century Diva

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (561 pages, $28) Alexander Chee’s second novel, The Queen of the Night, has a plot so crammed with wild incident, shattering reversal and explosive emotion, one wonders if the author somehow got his hands on Alexander Dumas’ old munitions dump and emptied it of its contents. In a historical note, Chee says …

Bringing Medieval Works to the Digital World

Friday, February 12, 2016

Bethlehem, Pa. — At Lehigh University, a visitor to the Linderman Library can plunge into the Middle Ages and study a 15th-century text that shows the Earth as the center of the universe. Or touch the pages of an oversize religious songbook, adorned with gold leaf and painted in bright hues on calfskin, …

Ambassador Named for Young People’s Literature

Friday, January 15, 2016

For many years, Gene Luen Yang led something of a double life. By day, he was a mild-mannered teacher, walking the halls of his Bay Area high school as a tall and bespectacled expert in computer science. By …

T he Romance Novel Cover

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ah, the much-maligned romance novel: The pretzel-like plot featuring a lovelorn protagonist falling madly for the hunkiest of hunks until the two eventually foray into a world of soft sensual delights. And did we even mention those covers? …

Litany for the Year’s Turning

Friday, January 1, 2016

A columnist carries around just as many hunches, biases, insights and peeves as the next person, yet gets paid, however modestly, for writing them down. These quick takes on the world tend to accumulate over the months, jotted …

‘Barbarian Days’ Author Seeks ‘Drenching Experience of Beauty’

Saturday, December 26, 2015

William Finnegan didn’t bring a surfboard to the Miami Book Fair despite the proximity and prominence of ocean coastline. But that’s only because the placid waters of South Florida lack the scope and intensity of the furious waves …

Books Always Make Great Gifts, Especially This Time of Year

Saturday, December 19, 2015

You wouldn’t know it by the recent weather — is this northern New England or North Carolina? — but Hanukkah has recently concluded, Christmas is around the corner, Kwanzaa is on its heels and the Feast of the Epiphany after that. This is the time of year when …

At 86, Eric Carle Is Still Turning Out Books for Children

Friday, December 18, 2015

What caterpillar? Eric Carle’s new picture book The Nonsense Show — a fresh and hilarious parade of flying fish, cat-taming mice and circus animals freed from all those silly rules — has gotten starred reviews from Kirkus, Booklist …

Boomers Lead Independent Bookstores

Sunday, December 6, 2015

New York — In 1974, Gayle Shanks was a 23-year-old idealist raised on the activism of the previous decade and eager to make a difference herself. So she opened a bookstore. “Books had changed my life and I …

Maguire Ventures Through Wonderland for His Latest Novel

Friday, December 4, 2015

As recently as the spring of 2012, Gregory Maguire didn’t know that a follow-up novel to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland books was accumulating in what he called the “lint trap” of his literary imagination. Then his mentor …

Diary of Inadequacy

Friday, December 4, 2015

Lambert’s Cove, Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. — His fishing rod lay on the beam above the bookshelf for decades, long after he was gone. In his wake, she filled the room with velvet pillows, crystals, gauzy curtains, orchids. But …

New Book Details Orson Welles’ Rise to Fame

Sunday, November 29, 2015

One of Orson Welles’ more famous fiascos — and there were a few — is titled “It’s All True.” That title can never be applied to Welles himself. You’d be hard-pressed to find a figure in American arts …