Books

The masterstroke of Robert McCloskey's "Blueberries for Sal" is the sound he devised for the berries dropping into the pail.

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 in name and in appearance, dressed in overalls the straps of which keep sliding off her shoulders, her haircut the homemade kind …

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 — but with his response to the question “Does the arc of history bend toward …

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 fortune in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in timber and the railroads. Two …

Film Pioneers Describe Early Days in ‘My First Time in Hollywood’

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Everyone’s first time was different. Screenwriter Ben Hecht said his first day in Hollywood in 1926 was “like a year in Siberia.” Screenwriter Frances Marion arrived in 1912 and was shocked when she tried to find an apartment. …

On Prose: A Writer’s True Art — Rewriting

Friday, June 5, 2015

An empty blue-book for a student writing an essay in an important exam. A blank white computer page for someone composing a cover letter for a job they desperately need. A soft linen sheet of stationery awaiting just the right words to console a friend who’s suffered a …

Book Notes: Hanover Resident’s New Poems Address Loss and Life Changes

Friday, June 5, 2015

Hanover poet Carol Westberg’s new collection of poems, Terra Infirma (David Roth Books, $18) is a reflection on a time in life when fragile health, tragedy and sadness occupy too much space and haunt too many dreams. These delicately crafted and tender poems, which deal with Westberg’s loss …

Book Review: Hartland Author’s New Young Adult Stories Revolve Around an Obscene Gesture

Friday, June 5, 2015

Jo Knowles, the writer of young adult novels who lives in Hartland, has a keen, instinctive empathy for adolescents. She’s able to get under their skin, take their temperature moment to moment and record the rapid shifts in their moods, from acute self-loathing and microscopic introspection to defiant …

Author Tackles Feminism in the Middle East

Sunday, May 31, 2015

In parts of the Middle East, some women are groped as a matter of course. There are men who feel free to run their hands over women, like they’re buying produce, or a cow. Mona Eltahawy has endured that and much worse, as a young woman and as …

The Legend of ‘Fight Club’ Lives On

Sunday, May 31, 2015

If you’re Chuck Palahniuk, the first rule of Fight Club is that you never escape Fight Club. And maybe, almost 20 years later, you don’t want to. “It’s the thing you dream of, being co-opted by the culture,” says the Portland, Ore., novelist, who’s famous for raucous, wildly …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Book Notes: Valley Native Wesley McNair Wins Award for New Book

Friday, May 8, 2015

After years of boiling down memories of his Upper Valley childhood hardships into poetry, Wesley McNair this spring harvested acclaim for exploring through verse what his mother endured growing up in the depths of the Great Depression. In …