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Helen Taylor Davidson and her husband Richard Davidson at their home in Palinfield, N.H., on April 7, 2014. They  worked together on deciphering her great-grandmother's diary.
Valley News - Jennifer Hauck

Imagining Adeline: Family Diary Inspires Plainfield Woman’s Novel

Friday, April 11, 2014

In 2009, Helen Taylor Davidson of Plainfield sat down with the diary of her great-grandmother Adeline Elizabeth Hoe with the intent of transcribing it. That would have been ambitious enough, but she went a step further. She dove into the deep end of imagination and wrote a novel that begins where her great-grandmother’s diary leaves off. Both the novel and …

An Atheist Grapples With a Mystical Encounter

Friday, April 11, 2014

Barbara Ehrenreich never meant to write a memoir. “It seems very self-involved,” she says by phone from her home in Arlington, Va. “I have anxiety about it.” That anxiety is heightened at the moment because her new book, Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth About Everything (Twelve, $26), is as personal a piece of writing as she has …

Matthiessen: Best Fiction ‘Will Always Matter’

Friday, April 11, 2014

Peter Matthiessen, who died Saturday at age 86 of complications from leukemia, was complex, even contradictory, in the most compelling sense. Born into privilege, he attended Hotchkiss boarding school and Yale and founded the Paris Review in 1953 with George Plimpton and Harold L. Humes. Yet he later became a Zen monk and in his own fashion was something of an ascetic. He …

Veterans Will Revisit War, Through Homer’s Classic ‘Iliad’

Friday, March 14, 2014

It’s likely that nothing really new has been written about the nature of war since Homer composed the epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey more than 2,000 years ago. There have been hundreds, perhaps thousands, of wars since, from Caesar’s wars of conquest to the U.S.’s most …

At 66, Dave Barry Remains Befuddled

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Still a funny, that Dave Barry. A phone conversation with him is like sitting in the audience in a comedy club. In Florida. Because while Barry may have mined the weirdness of the Sunshine State for his syndicated Miami Herald column and some of his 30-odd books, he …

Writer Joe McGinniss Always Went Where the Story Led Him

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Joe McGinniss, who died Monday of complications from prostate cancer at age 71, liked to break the rules. His best known book, 1983’s Fatal Vision, provoked a controversy over the author’s methods; it was McGinniss to whom Janet …

Keith Richards Working on a Kids’ Book

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Los Angeles Times “Keith Richards” and “children’s book” may sound like the starting point for a Saturday Night Live sketch, but in fact the Rolling Stones songwriter and guitarist, who delivered a bestselling memoir in 2011 with Life, is now set to write a children’s book slated to …

Book on Cornish Con Man Details Deception

Sunday, March 9, 2014

“Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows what he does is morally indefensible,” wrote Janet Malcolm in her 1990 tract, The Journalist and the Murderer. “He is a kind of confidence man, preying on people’s vanity, …

Poverty Among the Richness

Friday, February 28, 2014

My wife and I own a cabin in Maine. I bought it for $500 some 40 years back, because its neighborhood is spectacular. The place sits, however, in the poorest county in the northeastern U.S. Since the economic meltdown of six years past, that poverty shows more plainly …

‘Sixth Extinction’ Is a Must-Read

Friday, February 28, 2014

“The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert; Henry Holt (319 pages, $28) Elizabeth Kolbert’s revelatory new book, The Sixth Extinction, about the rapid and radical changes man is wreaking on the Earth, is one of those …

Alarm Raised About Man’s Impact

Friday, February 28, 2014

Seattle — Elizabeth Kolbert started her journalism career as a stringer for The New York Times and worked in the trenches there as a political reporter, but once she took a job at The New Yorker and made …

A Sampling of Regional Books: Home, Heart, Race and More

Friday, February 28, 2014

For such small states, New Hampshire and Vermont have an outsized population of writers and artists, with a prodigious output. Some of that may be due to New England’s literary heritage, or the number of fine colleges and universities or, perhaps, the long winters and relative isolation. …

Why the Staple Singers Matter

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The 1970s are often thought of as a time when big, utopian dreams were scrapped for cramped, personal hopes. That zeitgeist known as the Sixties — all those fraught, sometimes fatal struggles for sociopolitical freedom and, too, for …