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Minor Figures Tend to Play Outsize Roles

Friday, October 9, 2015

An opera house would seem to be the very last place an aspiring young writer should frequent for inspiration. Opera has always gone to fiction for ideas, seldom the other way around. And yet when I was younger, living in New York, I went every chance I got, finding in the full-throated passion, the no-holds-barred melodrama, a welcome catharsis from the tighter, leaner emotions I was spending my mornings trying …

Henning Mankell L eaves an Enduring Legacy With Wallander

Friday, October 9, 2015

It’s not easy for an author to catch on across borders, but Swedish crime novelist Henning Mankell did it, all on the strength of a single character. Although Mankell wrote novels and plays about many things, he was best known for his beloved, difficult detective Kurt Wallander. His 10 Wallander books were adapted …

How to Give Your Bookshelf Style

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bookshelves are one of the most underutilized pieces of furniture in a home. Stuffed with scattered books, papers and DVDs, they can be a complete eyesore. But styled in a chic way with just the right number of accessories, they can make a big statement. When it came to decorating the living room in my 1930s-era Tudor house, the bookshelves were the last …

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 …

‘Watchman’ Reads Like A First Draft

Friday, July 17, 2015

Go Set a Watchman: A Novel by Harper Lee; Harper (278 pages, $27.99) It would be a mistake to read Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman as a sequel to her 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning To Kill a Mockingbird. Yes, it takes place a generation after the earlier book, …

Lee’s ‘Watchman’ Hits Shelves

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman goes on sale this week — you may have heard — but the puzzle around the publication of the book isn’t clearing up anytime soon. The shocking revelation in the book is …

Book: Nixon Still Harms U.S.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The conventional wisdom among Nixon apologists is that the Watergate scandal has been overblown, that the crimes were those that had been committed by other presidents, too, and that Richard Nixon was a great man who did great …

Summer Readings Make Noise After the Fourth’s Fireworks

Friday, July 3, 2015

For bibliophiles who enjoy hearing authors and poets recite from their work in person instead of on tape (OK, iPod or CD), the options for summer reading series hereabouts come tantalizingly close to The Promised Land. How close? …

Karolina Waclawiak Writes Novels From the Outside

Friday, July 3, 2015

Karolina Waclawiak wants to talk about class. We’re sitting at Stark Bar on the campus of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It’s the end of the workday, and office workers and museum-goers alike are letting themselves …

The Woman Who Brought Yoga to the West

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Millions of Americans practice yoga as a workout, a spiritual exercise or a combination of the two. Those who wonder if their pigeon pose or sun salute carry centuries of Hindu tradition from India to their sleek modern …

Judd Apatow Digs Into His Past for Stories About a Funny Life

Friday, June 19, 2015

New York — The comedy education of Judd Apatow began with unusual access to great comic minds, which he pried for straightforward instruction: How do you tell a joke? Growing up on Long Island as a comedy nerd …

Little Known Tales of Bold Women

Sunday, June 14, 2015

In my fantasy version of summer, I am sitting on a beach, no schedule or deadlines, a pile of books at my side. There are lovely people for company, a pack of sandwiches and cold lemonade, and there is reading and swimming and more reading. Late in the …

A Comic’s Children’s Book

Sunday, June 14, 2015

New York — Jimmy Fallon spends his evenings as host of NBC’s The Tonight Show, having fits of laughter with Bradley Cooper, pretending to be a teenage girl whose favorite word is “Ew!” and coming up with hashtags, …