Books

Kirk Douglas Publishes Poetry Book

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Kirk Douglas may be one of the biggest actors of his era, with starring roles in 1960’s Spartacus, 1949’s Champion and 1951’s Ace in the Hole. But on a recent crisp morning, he was having a grand time simply reciting his poetry by heart for an audience of one. With a twinkle of his blue eyes, he proclaimed: Romance begins at 80 And I ought to know. I live with …

A Legacy In Letters and on the Land

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It’s Nov. 21, 2014, about 10 a.m., and I’m heading up the Bill Hill trail in Thetford Center. The morning has been cold and squally, and right now fat snowflakes ride ripples of the shifting wind, settling onto ice that covers this opening bit of trail. I’m here to honor Noel (Ned) Perrin, …

On Prose: For a Writer, What Isn’t in a Name?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Editor’s Note: This is the first “On Prose” column from Lyme novelist, essayist and story writer W.D. Wetherell. Intended as a companion to Sydney Lea’s “On Poetry” columns, “On Prose” will appear semi-regularly on the Valley News Books page.  Let’s start things off with a surprise quiz. What do the following all share in common? Tommy Traddles. Hannibal Chollop. Sissy Jupe. Peepy …

Norman Lear Doesn’t ‘Stifle’ in New Book

Sunday, November 2, 2014

New York — From the moment Norman Lear began writing his memoir, he knew what the first line would be: “When I was a boy I thought that if I could turn a screw in my father’s head …

Children’s Book Examines Atheism

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Washington — Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten is known for exploring morality in both somber and extremely silly ways, including an in-depth article on parents who mistakenly leave their children to die in hot cars and …

Humor in Pain, Pain in Humor: Author James McBride Finds the Funny in Slavery, Poverty, Abuse

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Good Lord Bird, James McBride’s 2013 novel about a young boy in abolitionist John Brown’s ragtag army, is probably the funniest book about slavery you will ever read. His 1996 memoir, The Color of Water, about his …

Warhol Bodyguard Sued Over ‘Liz’

Saturday, October 25, 2014

New York — Andy Warhol’s foundation sued the iconic pop artist’s former bodyguard, accusing him of stealing Liz, a 1964 painting of actress Elizabeth Taylor, and hiding it for more than 30 years. The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, established by the artist’s will to hold …

On Poetry: Children, Schools, Football and What We Value

Friday, October 24, 2014

This fall, our news, and not merely in the sports outlets, was filled with Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice’s brutal assault on his wife in an Atlantic City elevator. Rice was at first slapped on the wrist by league commissioner Roger Goodell: a two-day suspension. Goodell increased …

‘Book of Life’ Finds the Whimsy in Death

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Animation fans may face a tough choice at the multiplex this weekend. On some screens, you’ll find the whimsical, old-school animation of the stop-action feature The Boxtrolls. Set in a subterranean world, that movie tells the story of …

How an Affair Poisoned Politics

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Like many aspirants to the presidency, former Sen. Gary Hart saw himself in epic terms — as a “transformational figure” in American politics, Matt Bai reports in his book recounting the collapse of Hart’s 1988 bid for the …

The Finest Children’s Book About Politics

Saturday, October 11, 2014

At a time when so much media is just a search and click away, movies, music and books that have not made the transition to digital can feel infuriatingly elusive — especially if they are hard to track …

A Story of Might and Right

Saturday, October 11, 2014

I n 1997, Jean Merrill, author of the classic children’s book The Pushcart War , which told the fictional tale of a battle between New York City street vendors and big trucks, received a letter from Ela Bhatt, …

Novelist Bids a Cherished Character Farewell

Friday, October 10, 2014

On a warm fall morning three weeks into the new academic year at Dartmouth, veteran creative-writing professor Ernest Hebert searches the bookshelves of his office at Sanborn Hall for a copy of his first novel. There: About collarbone-high …