Books

"Trolley-New Orleans" is a 1955 image by photographer Robert Frank. (Courtesy National Gallery of Art)

National Gallery’s Show of Photobooks Follows in Footsteps of Robert Frank

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Washington — From the earliest days of photography, images were collected in albums, the way a botanist might save pressed flowers. All that changed in 1959 with the publication of Robert Frank’s photobook The Americans. With this collection of stark yet idiosyncratic images, photography was no longer just an objective representation of our world but an artist’s experience of it. …

Didion Bio Offers Little Beyond Her Own Writing

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion by Tracy Daugherty; St. Martin’s Press (752 pages; $35) Someday someone will write a biography worthy of Joan Didion, an author known for her razor-sharp insights and crystalline style. This is not that book. Tracy Daugherty’s The Last Love Song fails to tell Didion’s …

A Look Inside Hemingway’s Cuban Estate

Sunday, August 23, 2015

When he was not writing letters or working on the books that earned him the Nobel Prize, Ernest Hemingway wrote notes, in pencil, on his walls and in the margins of many of the 8,000 books in his library. At his estate near Havana, Finca Vigia, known as Museo Hemingway since 1962, Hemingway …

Russia Removes ‘Maus’ From Stores

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Russian law banning Nazi propaganda has succeeded in removing one of the greatest anti-Nazi chronicles from its bookshelves. Maus, the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel by Art Spiegelman, has been withdrawn from Moscow bookstores. In the book, which tells Spiegelman’s family’s story, Jews are portrayed as mice and Germans …

Stephen King Wins Edgar Award

Saturday, May 2, 2015

New York — Stephen King is a master of mystery as well as horror. King and Gillian Flynn were among the winners Wednesday night at the 69th annual Edgar Awards, presented by the Mystery Writers of America. King’s crime story Mr. Mercedes received the best novel prize at …

For the Love of Books, Go to Tumblr

Sunday, April 26, 2015

To express her love to Judy Blume, a 1970s tween would have had to write a letter. These days, a young reader enchanted by YA books — by, say, author Rainbow Rowell — can make nail art that matches a book cover and share it on Tumblr, where …

The Wallenberg Mystery: Dartmouth Author’s Novel Looks at the Diplomat’s Life

Friday, April 24, 2015

W hen the writer Alan Lelchuk lived in Budapest from 1999 to 2000, teaching American literature at a local university, his errands routinely took him past a statue of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved tens of …

Morrison’s Writing Still To the Point

Friday, April 24, 2015

In 1970 Toni Morrison detonated a beautiful atom bomb of a debut novel called The Bluest Eye. In telling the story of Pecola Breedlove, a little Ohio girl taught to hate her black skin, Morrison laid bare society’s poisonous obsession with racial appearance. She also introduced a theme …

Lessons From Space to Earth

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Col. Chris Hadfield has been in the space business for his entire career. A former top graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School, the astronaut has been on three missions, logging almost 4,000 hours in space. …

Clean Reader App Fails, Dirty Literature Prevails

Sunday, April 12, 2015

I was almost sorry to see the developers of the Clean Reader app — which would have allowed squeamish or morally didactic readers to remove profanity from books — take “immediate action to remove all books from our catalogue” in March, in response to authors outraged about their …

Book Notes: Alice Fogel Wins Award for Poems Inspired by Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’

Friday, April 10, 2015

Like Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous G oldberg Variations, New Hampshire Poet Laureate Alice B. Fogel’s new collection of poems, Interval, begins and ends with the same verses, titled Aria , and tucks 30 variations in between. Fogel has …

How the Bombs Reached Boston

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy by Masha Gessen; Riverhead (272 pages, $27.95) Masha Gessen does something unexpected with The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy. In a book about Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and …

A Writer’s Choice of Residence Can Influence the Written Work

Friday, April 10, 2015

One of the reasons people daydream about becoming a writer is the possibility of plying your craft anywhere you want. A beach shack in the Bahamas. A coffee bar in San Francisco. A garret in Montparnasse. All you need is a place to set down your laptop, or, …