Books

"While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man's Descent into Madness," by Eli Sanders. (Photo courtesy Amazon/TNS)

Reporter’s Book Details Seattle Murder Case

Sunday, February 7, 2016

We sat in the sun to talk, which made us both happy, since so much of what brought Eli Sanders and me to this meeting was steeped in darkness: The sweltering July night in 2009 when Jennifer Hopper and Teresa Butz were repeatedly raped, tortured and knifed in their South Park neighborhood home by an intruder who had appeared in their bedroom at 3 a.m., naked and holding a large blade. The death of Butz, who was stabbed in the heart and died in the street after throwing a nightstand through the bedroom window and scrambling out. The mind of Isaiah Kalebu, the man convicted …

America’s Secret Life

Friday, January 29, 2016

The writer Thomas Powers has spent the past 40 years thinking about the American intelligence community, beginning with articles he wrote for Rolling Stone on the CIA and its director Richard Helms, who served as director from 1966 to 1973, which led to his book The Man Who Kept the Secrets , published …

Book Review: Bill Bryson Takes a Turn for the Worse

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson; Doubleday (380 pages, $28.95) The world is always in decline if you want it to be. In the 1880s, the English experienced an intense collective wistfulness for the period before 1850, which was the year that railroads had finally …

Science and History of Standing in Line

Sunday, November 15, 2015

New York — To queue or not to queue? And why is the queue you’re not standing in always the best? David Andrews went in search of answers and unearthed a world of science, history and cultural norms …

How American Comedy Got to Where It Is

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Here is the history of American funny that we didn’t know we needed, but did. In The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy, his highly readable overview of the comedy business and its colorful …

Nice Work If You Can Get It: Book Looks at ‘Cats on the Job’

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Los Angeles — Dogs work. Cats sleep, purr and preen. At least that is what dog people would have you believe. Author Lisa Rogak set out to discover what cats really spend their time doing. The result is …

How Shonda Rhimes Broke Out of Her Shell and Said ‘Yes’

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

New York — Shonda Rhimes, who owns ABC’s Thursday night (with hit dramas Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder ), had found comfort and refuge in ShondaLand, the dream factory she rules as a …

John Irving Wrestles With Memory in Latest

Sunday, November 8, 2015

John Irving has used the wrestler’s tool kit to become among the very best known novelists in America. His latest effort, Avenue of Mysteries, is a book about the strength of memory, the mystery of faith, the weariness …

New Book, in a Hurry

Friday, November 6, 2015

Over more than a quarter of a century of writing and illustrating his How Things Work series of books, David Macaulay grew used to spending at least a year or two at a time on a project, the …

Rock Star’s Memoir Is a Mash Note to Her Bandmates

Friday, November 6, 2015

There’s a cliched arc to rock memoirs: the ambitious young man (almost always a man), the climb up the charts, the blinding success, the sex and drugs, then the crash and burn. Thankfully, that’s absent from the new …

‘Slade House’ Is a Spooky but Cerebral Thriller

Friday, November 6, 2015

Slade House: A Novel by David Mitchell; Random House (256 pages, $26) With Slade House, the latest thrill ride from the astounding David Mitchell, you really can judge the book by its cover. True: At first glance, that cover presents as your standard clothbound board, colored in nondescript …

Zadie Smith on Family, Love, Life

Sunday, November 1, 2015

There’s something about interviewing the author Zadie Smith that brings to mind Little Red Riding Hood’s reaction when she finds the wolf in bed dressed as her grandmother. You know the line — “What big eyes you have!” And you know the wolf’s response: “All the better to …

Literary Inventors: Retired Dartmouth Professor Spengemann Studied Creators of American Language

Friday, October 23, 2015

William Spengemann, professor emeritus of English at Dartmouth College, and a scholar of the writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, two writers as associated with New England as it is possible to be, is a California boy. …