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"Beautiful Eyes: A Father Transformed" (Norton)

Raising a Down Syndrome Daughter

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Raleigh, n.c. — Paul Austin’s daughter, Sarah, is thoughtful and helpful, though she goes about it her own way. He recalled an awful day, years ago, when he went for an angry walk after getting in a fight with his brother over the phone. Paul had a broken arm, his wife, Sally, was out of town, and there were people working on the house. “I walked up and down the block about five or six times, and when I came up to the porch, Sarah was on that swing,” the Durham, N.C., author and ER doctor recalled with a smile. “And she goes, ‘No problems …

Army Colonel Did It Her Way

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Chicago — “Comedian” and “Colonel” aren’t typically words one would use in the same sentence. But when it comes to describing Jill Morgenthaler, no other two will do. “I always wear lipstick, because I look like a boy otherwise,” said Morgenthaler, 60, whose short red hair is almost as bright as her very …

Vampire Lestat Lives Again

Sunday, November 9, 2014

When Anne Rice published Interview With the Vampire in 1976, she didn’t just launch her own vampire series — her sexy tragic vampire antiheroes launched an entirely new genre. The phrase paranormal romance “didn’t exist when I wrote the vampire novels in the beginning,” Rice said. But the genre, she adds, “is here …

How an Affair Poisoned Politics

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Like many aspirants to the presidency, former Sen. Gary Hart saw himself in epic terms — as a “transformational figure” in American politics, Matt Bai reports in his book recounting the collapse of Hart’s 1988 bid for the …

The Finest Children’s Book About Politics

Saturday, October 11, 2014

At a time when so much media is just a search and click away, movies, music and books that have not made the transition to digital can feel infuriatingly elusive — especially if they are hard to track …

A Story of Might and Right

Saturday, October 11, 2014

I n 1997, Jean Merrill, author of the classic children’s book The Pushcart War , which told the fictional tale of a battle between New York City street vendors and big trucks, received a letter from Ela Bhatt, …

Novelist Bids a Cherished Character Farewell

Friday, October 10, 2014

On a warm fall morning three weeks into the new academic year at Dartmouth, veteran creative-writing professor Ernest Hebert searches the bookshelves of his office at Sanborn Hall for a copy of his first novel. There: About collarbone-high …

New ‘Star Wars’ History Includes Fans, Franchise, Future

Sunday, October 5, 2014

How Star Wars Conquered The Universe by Chris Taylor is an immensely readable look at the worldwide impact of the Star Wars saga over the decades. He calls it “a biography of Star Wars.” The book covers more …

Bill Cosby: Master of the Riff

Sunday, October 5, 2014

You could make a case that Bill Cosby is America’s most popular jazzman. For most of his life, Cosby has been riffing, improvising, playing off audiences and other performers, all the while making it sound like he knew where he was going all along. When he hit the …

Amtrak Announces First Writers in Residence

Friday, October 3, 2014

In the 1930s, hobos illicitly rode the rails; nowadays, authors are being invited onto trains thanks to Twitter and a new writers residency program launched by Amtrak. On Sept. 24, Amtrak announced the first class of resident writers, 24 authors who will ride its long-distance routes over the …

Laugh After Death: California Mortician Shares Funny Funeral Industry Stories in New Book

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Signal Hill, Calif. — When it comes to death, mortician Ken McKenzie says people are far too serious. After creating a “Men of Mortuaries” calendar featuring buff, shirtless morticians wielding shovels in 2007 and releasing Mortuary Confidential in 2010, the California mortuary owner has a new book out. …

Ex-Rep. Frank Takes on Harvard

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cambridge, Mass. — After retiring from Congress at the end of 2012, Barney Frank sat down to write a political memoir. As one of the first openly gay members of Congress, and a lifelong fighter for LGBT rights, …

Academic v. High Court: Making a Case

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Erwin Chemerinsky has made an exemplary career out of teaching, writing and lecturing about the U.S. Supreme Court. And though he has strongly liberal views, he is widely admired for his ability to explain the work of the court in a way that is thoughtful, clear and fair. …