Books

On Poetry: For this Poet, Words Provide the Inspiration

Friday, March 27, 2015

The question I’m most frequently asked as a poet, one I mused on in my December column, is “Why doesn’t that rhyme?” In this column, I’ll look, at least to begin with, at the second most frequently asked: “Where do you get your inspiration?” Well, fact is, I’m not quite sure I believe in inspiration. At least I have surely never believed some higher power had singled me out as …

Faith, Evil and Penance: Jeffrey Lent’s New Novel Revisits Post-Civil War Era

Friday, March 27, 2015

There’s a certain Slant of light, Winter Afternoons — That oppresses, like the Heft Of Cathedral Tunes — — Emily Dickinson A small religious group started by a charismatic woman is at the heart of Jeffrey Lent’s new novel, A Slant of Light. And there’s a double homicide that sets events in motion …

With ‘Ongoingness,’ Sarah Manguso Reflects on Recording Her Life

Friday, March 27, 2015

Here’s the question at the heart of Sarah Manguso’s Ongoingness: The End of a Diary (Graywolf: 98 pages, $20): How does a writer record his or her experiences and live them at the same time? Sitting in the stillness of her Silver Lake, Los Angeles, living room, wearing a black dress identical to …

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. …

Big Success for Author of ‘Wild’

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The big checks started coming in about nine months after Wild hit bookshelves and started its climb to the top of The New York Times best-seller’s list. To Oprah’s Book Club. And, as of this coming week, to …

Books to Buy for Fans of Felines

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Los Angeles — The felines are fighting back — on the bookshelf. Cats outnumber dogs in the U.S., but in bookstores, dog titles reign, the American Pet Products Association says. Fans insist felines are getting more popular as they ride the coattails of Internet sensations like Grumpy Cat, …

‘War’ Details Rising Military-Internet Link

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A thought commonly attributed to George Orwell holds that good people can sleep at night only because rough men are awake and ready to protect them. But in the modern world, two other groups are also vital to a sound sleep: software engineers and computer geeks. That’s the …

Writing Suffers When Language Turns Away From Physical Life

Friday, December 5, 2014

The French poet Stephane Mallarmé once opined (T.S. Eliot would echo him in his magisterial Four Quartets) that poetry’s object was to “purify the language of the tribe.” I’ve been thinking about that lately — less, though, in response to any poetic text than to a wonderful prose …

Authors Reflect On the Weight Of Books Given As Gifts

Friday, December 5, 2014

Once again, we asked authors to write about books they’ve given or received as gifts. I love this question because it isn’t really about recommendations — although it may inspire some. Our favorite gifts bind us to the …

Pulitzer-Winning Editor Describes Descent Into Poverty

Friday, December 5, 2014

“The rich,” writes William McPherson at the opening of his essay Falling, posted at the Hedgehog Review, “are all alike, to revise Tolstoy’s famous words, but the poor are poor in their own particular ways.” McPherson is writing from experience; a novelist and former editor of the Washington …

In ‘Prune,’ a Chef Speaks to Her Cooks

Saturday, November 29, 2014

New York — At 10:15 on a miserably rainy morning, a crowd huddled under the pink awning outside Prune. The restaurant, in the East Village, had been open for only 15 minutes, and already every one of its …

Gift Conundrum: What to Get for Someone Who Streams Everything?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

New York — Buying presents is hard. A good gift must be personal, but not too personal; affordable, but not cheap; useful, but not utilitarian. Ideally, it’s a physical object large enough to be worth wrapping, but not so large that you can’t carry it home. This confounding …

Bob Hope’s Legacy More Than Laughs

Sunday, November 23, 2014

New York — While today he may be thought of with misgivings, if at all, Bob Hope reigned for much of the last century as America’s wisecracking avatar of comedy. By the time he died in 2003 at …