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Books

Jeff Drifmeyer, of Williamsburg, Va., has published novels such as "Civil War Comes Home" as Jake McKenzie.  (Judith Lowery/Newport News Daily Press/MCT)

Going It Alone: Authors Discuss Their Decision to Abandon Traditional Publishing

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Newport News, Va. — “I should write a book.” We’ve all heard that statement before from friends or family or co-workers. We might even have said it ourselves. We all have stories to tell, whether real or fictional. In the past, those who wrote a book faced a limited number of options: They shopped their manuscripts around to agents and editors at publishers, a process that could take years, if ever. Alternatively, they could contract with a vanity press for production that could cost them thousands of dollars. They would have their book in print, but without the backing of publishing experts. With the introduction …

Five-Colleges Book Sale Sets Attendance Mark

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Lebanon — About halfway through Day One of the annual Five-Colleges Book Sale Saturday, book dealers Frank and Sue O’Brien were whittling through large stacks of books that they had plucked from tables around Lebanon High School, choosing which ones to buy and then sell through their online business. The couple, who had …

Garcia Marquez Was More Than Magical Realism

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a charmer. The great Colombian novelist, who died Thursday, called Mexico City home for much of his life, and it was there that I met him, at a chi-chi Mexican restaurant where he agreed to a sitdown with a half-dozen Los Angeles Times foreign correspondents and editors in 2004. …

Different, Difficult, Darker: ‘Bark,’ Lorrie Moore’s Latest Collection, Shows She Has Evolved Since ‘Birds of America’

Monday, March 17, 2014

Once upon a time, my friend Emily, who is from Iowa, met a woman at a party in New York. The woman asked her where she was from, and she said, “Iowa.” “Where?” the woman asked. “Iowa,” Emily …

Who Is Well-Read Anymore? The Canon and the Internet Age

Friday, March 14, 2014

In the interest of self-improvement, it’s time to pose a question that isn’t exactly burning a hole in the nation’s conscience: What does it mean, in the Internet age, to be well-read? I ask because it’s a question …

Memories Of Vermont, And a Famed Fiddler

Friday, March 14, 2014

(The Man from Vermont. Adam R. Boyce. The History Press. 158 pp.) Not often does an author produce a biography of a person whose life contains elements quite similar to the writer’s own, but such is the case …

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 …