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FILE - In this July 14, 1943 file photo, Maj. Gen. James Doolittle, (third from left, front row) who led the air raid on Japan, April 18, 1942, and some of the men who flew with him drink a champagne toast from coffee cups during a reunion in North Africa on the first anniversary of the flight.  Flyers are left to right front row: Maj. William Bower, Ravenna, OH; Maj. Travis Hoover, Arlington, Calif.; Maj. Gen. Doolittle Lt. Col. Harvey Hinman, San Francisco, (not one of raiders); Capt. Neston C. Daniel, Plaquemine, LA., Back row left to right: Capt. Howard A. Sessler of Arlington, Mass., who brought the picture to this country; Capt. William R. Pound, Jr., Kent Homes VA.; Maj. Rodney R. Wilder, Taylor, Tex.; Capt. James M. Arker, Livingston, Tex., Maj. Charles R. Greening, Tacoma, Wash., Maj. Joseph Klein, Paradise, Tex.; Capt. Griffith P. William, San. Diego, Calif., and Capt. Thomas C. Griffin, Chicago, Ill. (AP Photo)

Book Details Heroic WWII Doolittle Raid

Sunday, May 24, 2015

After Pearl Harbor and before D-Day and the Bomb, there was the Doolittle raid on Tokyo. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, hoping to rally the American public for what he knew would be a long war, had ordered a swift retaliation for the attack of Dec. 7, 1941. And so, on April 18, 1942, 16 B-25s launched from the carrier Hornet …

On Poetry: Former Dartmouth Professor Was a Man of Orthodox Faith, but Unorthodox Humility and Insight

Friday, May 22, 2015

This column is distinctly different from any of its predecessors. In it, I will try to sell you on a book called The Grace of Incorruption, written by a great man and a great friend who died in 2010. When I tell you that the book’s subtitle is The Selected Essays of Donald …

Book Review: Vivian Gornick and the Ghosts of New York

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Odd Woman and the City: A Memoir by Vivian Gornick; Farrar, Straus and Giroux (176 pages, $22) Vivian Gornick’s The Odd Woman and the City is a book of ghosts. Ghosts of the past; ghosts of New York, which is for her both home and character; ghosts of a lifetime of reading, intentional and covert. These ghosts emerge when Gornick least expects …

Clean Reader App Fails, Dirty Literature Prevails

Sunday, April 12, 2015

I was almost sorry to see the developers of the Clean Reader app — which would have allowed squeamish or morally didactic readers to remove profanity from books — take “immediate action to remove all books from our catalogue” in March, in response to authors outraged about their …

Book Notes: Alice Fogel Wins Award for Poems Inspired by Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’

Friday, April 10, 2015

Like Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous G oldberg Variations, New Hampshire Poet Laureate Alice B. Fogel’s new collection of poems, Interval, begins and ends with the same verses, titled Aria , and tucks 30 variations in between. Fogel has …

How the Bombs Reached Boston

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy by Masha Gessen; Riverhead (272 pages, $27.95) Masha Gessen does something unexpected with The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy. In a book about Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and …

A Writer’s Choice of Residence Can Influence the Written Work

Friday, April 10, 2015

One of the reasons people daydream about becoming a writer is the possibility of plying your craft anywhere you want. A beach shack in the Bahamas. A coffee bar in San Francisco. A garret in Montparnasse. All you need is a place to set down your laptop, or, …

On Poetry: For this Poet, Words Provide the Inspiration

Friday, March 27, 2015

The question I’m most frequently asked as a poet, one I mused on in my December column, is “Why doesn’t that rhyme?” In this column, I’ll look, at least to begin with, at the second most frequently asked: “Where do you get your inspiration?” Well, fact is, I’m …

Faith, Evil and Penance: Jeffrey Lent’s New Novel Revisits Post-Civil War Era

Friday, March 27, 2015

There’s a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons — That oppresses, like the Heft Of Cathedral Tunes — — Emily Dickinson A small religious group started by a charismatic woman is at the heart of Jeffrey Lent’s new …

With ‘Ongoingness,’ Sarah Manguso Reflects on Recording Her Life

Friday, March 27, 2015

Here’s the question at the heart of Sarah Manguso’s Ongoingness: The End of a Diary (Graywolf: 98 pages, $20): How does a writer record his or her experiences and live them at the same time? Sitting in the …

New Afterwords: Self-Indulgence, Now Available in Paperback

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Washington — The words on the book cover are in bold, italics or all-caps, meant to seduce shoppers: With a New Afterword. A New Preface by the Author. With a New Epilogue. Perhaps some people succumb. I didn’t …

Harper Lee’s Agent Dismisses ‘Elder Abuse’ Allegations

Friday, March 13, 2015

New York — Harper Lee’s literary agent says he was “surprised” that his client was believed a victim of elder abuse and asserted “categorically” that she was in “full possession of her mental faculties” and “delighted” about this …

Grieving Writer Keeps Company With a Goshawk

Friday, March 13, 2015

H Is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald; Grove (300 pages, $26 Helen Macdonald’s H Is for Hawk is one of a kind, unless there are other grief memoirs/falconry tales/literary analyses out there. But really, it is one of …