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Has America Killed Off Satire and Turned Into a Spoof of Itself?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Did postmodernism kill literary satire? I’ve been wondering about this in the wake of the terror attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, known for its caricatures of the prophet Muhammad; one appears on the cover of the first issue after the attack, brandishing a placard that declares “Je suis Charlie” while shedding a tear. There’s something direct and provocative in such an image, which is, of course, what …

Book Notes: New Works by Local Authors and Readings Scheduled, Including Bookstock 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Best-selling author John Vaillant will be talking about his new novel, The Jaguar’s Children, on Saturday afternoon at Woodstock’s Norman Williams Public Library. Vaillant, who lives in Vancouver, B.C., is the son of Woodstock resident Nan Bourne. He will be speaking on the library’s mezzanine from 2 to 4. The Jaguar’s Children, which …

Colleen McCullough, Author of ‘The Thorn Birds,’ Dies at 77

Friday, January 30, 2015

Colleen McCullough, the Australian author of the best-selling novel The Thorn Birds, an epic story of illicit love in the outback that became one of the most successful television miniseries ever, died Thursday at a hospital on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific. She was 77. The cause was renal failure, said her agent, Michael Carlisle. Published by Harper and Row in 1977, …

Danish ‘Cartoon Crisis’ Editor Reflects in Book

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Amid the murder threats and security alerts and thrown axes, Flemming Rose is not, he says, confrontational by nature. Rose is best known as the Danish newspaper editor who — in reaction to what he saw as increasing self-censorship by visual and verbal artists — nearly a decade …

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 …

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 …

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. …

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 …